The Five Stages of Drunkenness:
One: Your face gets a bit numb. A feeling of general feeling of bonhomie begins.
Two: You’re the funniest, handsomest person in the room, and you can dance like a black woman.
Three: You lose your memory. This is Nature’s way of preserving self-respect.
Four: Name-throwing. The limbs move, the mouth talks, but Mr. Brain has long since left the building. Activities range from exuberant bush-diving, to dronk vedriet crying jags.
Five: You pass out, comatose. Your brain flat-lines, and you enter the realms of death.
Never, ever listen to a student band at any level below four.
While there were one or two dedicated musos, bands were formed mainly to pose and get chicks. There’s a type of impressionable female BA student, who finds a guitar and a copy of Catcher in the Rye in a dingy Res room a sign of sensitivity. They were generally more pliant in the presence of said objects.
Acoustic Wall of Mud
Proclaiming your musical influences was a far weightier issue than actual skill at any given instrument. At the mixing desk, drowned vocals, blunted guitars and muffled drums were mangled into a throbbing aural porridge, an acoustic wall of mud. Impossible to dance to, and unbearable at any drunken stage below level four.
Bands I Remember
New Dawn, a rasping, wailing band that went through countless incarnations over nine years, in that time going through roughly 58 band members. They played muddy Chris Rea covers, and incoherent UB40 songs. It’d be easier to dance to a didgeridoo accompanied by the sound of knives and forks being flushed down the toilet.
Loomer were precociously good. But they had just one song, the only lyrics being “Over and over, roll me in clover” or some such, repeated by the winsome, angel-voiced lead singer.
A Sunday night open-mike session at the Union, where anybody with anything from a guitar to a tambourine could climb onstage and have a bash. The fireside jams were a great opportunity to watch your friends play, and drink them melodic. In front of the band, earnest groupies would leap about like yanked string puppets, dancing to the undanceable.
There are many things I miss about varsity, but the vast majority of student bands are not among them.