It's half one in the morning, and I'm standing in the glare of a spotlight so bright, people watching me should be able to tell what I had for breakfast (a healthy sandwich, by the way. Who needs cereal?). In front of me, four boys and four girls are downing pints in a battle of the sexes boat race, and to my left, DJ Mark and Sidekick (sorry, don't know his name) are egging them on.
Yes, I'm back playing ents monkey - doing a bit of sound engineering/light operating/DJing/whatever-it-takes-to-make-it-work - for one night only.
Back to the present and, of course, responsible licensing being what it is - and for added comedy value - the teams are downing pints of non-alcoholic soda water - useful as a mixer in your vodka and soda, and highly effective at cleaning bars at the end of a particularly messy night. Oh, and it's low in calories... ;o)
Looking out over the crowd, I realise this is a variation of a scene I've probably witnessed almost 200 times since I've worked in the Union to help pay my way through my degree. It's also one of the last times I'll be seeing it as a student, with the end of the year fast approaching, and I can't help feeling a tiny bit of nostalgia. Granted, being up on stage is just a bit isolated sometimes, but only if you stop long enough to worry about it, and given the in-built self-destruct mechanisms of the kit in use, there's always something to be fixed, bodged, gaffer-taped or knitted back together.
Next year, while I'm playing Sabb and upsetting more people than I ever though possible (one of my best in-built abilities is winding people up, usually unintentionally), I hope I'll have a chance to do some shifts on ents and maybe even the bar because they're both two of the most enjoyable jobs I've ever worked, even if they won't make me rich, and even if I actually have to do work. If I do work some shifts, it'll also be a good opportunity to meet the students who pay my wages
as a Sabb face-to-face, even if they just want to hurl abuse at me. ;o) To give them their due, the bar and ents staff who work at the Union do a bloody good - and a very hard - job: I never slept better than I did after a shift on the Lux bar in my first year.
I'm looking forward to the end of the year - and my degree - for many reasons, but a long summer without a Union full of fun-loving students is going to be pretty boring. Luckily, PWs DJ Alistair Ritchie has just the solution - join up, you know you want to...
p.s. The boys won the boat race, although I think more soda water ended up on the floor than in their mouths...