Press Play at The Vic

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Photograph: Celeste Sloman
Photograph: Celeste Sloman

On Tuesday night representatives and followers of ST.ART, The Art Society, Inklight, HA@STA, Stereoscope, and The Design Team all mingled over Smirnoff and Sharpie pens.  The event was ‘Press Play’, the location was The Vic and the brief was to be creative and share ideas.

Lauded as an opportunity to ‘enjoy live music, student artwork and sketching’ whilst meeting the committee of the various societies present, ‘Press Play’ was evidently aimed at those who enjoy spending their time in ways more creative than cutting shapes in Venue One on a Friday night.

I have to admit that except for stringing words together and trying to make them sound clever or funny I’m not really a ‘participator’.  I like to grumble from the sidelines about the enthusiasm of others and am an armchair expert on just about anything.  This means I find the organized fun of others quite an intimidating prospect, and the idea of going to the social of a club to which I do not belong leaves me a cross between a grumpy old woman who likes to make a nuisance of herself (we must all have ambitions) and a nervous five year old, jaded by memories of not being allowed to be the yellow one whilst playing Power Rangers.

However, both my Pre-Prep One self and I were pleasantly surprised because in many respects ‘Press Play’ at The Vic was a magician shy of being the ideal birthday party for a five year old.  There were arts and crafts, fruity drinks in jam jars, which granted were somewhat stronger than um bongo and would have probably led to the arrest of the parents who served them, and the sort of assorted guests that resulted from sending balloon and teddy decorated invitations to the whole class.   There truly seemed to be a cross-section of St Andrews’ residents present, in itself reflective of the nature of the event; a collaborative event by some of St Andrews leading creative societies.

Many of those in attendance wrote or produced work for ST.ART, the initiator of the event, but this was by no means a ST.ART social.  It was an opportunity to chat with like-minded people in an informal atmosphere.  I had never attended a social or event run by any of the societies before, and my Biologist flatmate hadn’t attended an arts-based event since GCSE English so it was with trepidation that we crossed Market Street.  However, both of us were doodling away in no time, having said a few hellos to a few familiar faces.

This welcoming and informal aspect of ‘Press Play’ was certainly the highlight of the evening.  It can be so easy to see clubs and societies as territories and to hide behind the war paint they offer.  ‘Press Play’ did not consist of ranks and members but cocktails and crayons and anyone who wanted to have fun with either of these items.  It was not the aggressive ‘join us or else’ tactic that I feared it would be, but a friendly setting which welcomed people to come and go as they pleased, and I certainly intend to in the future.  No war paint, just poster paint.

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