Champar Society: champagne for the…pain?

Illustration: Zoe Schodder


Illustration: Zoe Schodder
Illustration: Zoe Schodder

With the constant posting and advertisements popping up on our newsfeed, I’m sure we have all heard of this year’s new addition to our uni’s collection of ‘societies.’ If you haven’t, let me give you a clue: first there was pain and champagne. It was all fun and games, and we had a good time going to a relatively well planned house party. This year, however, it’s a champagne party. ‘Champar’ was brought to the table, its purpose – drinking? forgetting, and…regrets?

We’re all used to the ‘classic’ drinking societies around town- though we may perpetually scoff at them, they have a sort of established presence which cannot (perhaps unfortunately) be denied. But what is Champar? Besides sounding like a cheesy-sketchy-not-so-funny-posh pun and organising so-called mass ‘parties’ does it have a purpose, let alone a place in the Bubble?

Now as completely, utterly, study-drained students, how could we deny the pleasure of socialising and drinking to drown our tears, but do we really want our university to be represented by societies like Champar?

At least the actual drinking clubs in this town either stay on the down low or pretend to have an actual ‘purpose.’ I don’t recall the Kate Kennedy Club’s ‘Charity’ May Ball  being referred to as the KK Gets Drunk May Ball, though everything Champar seems to advertise (besides trying to look like FS or Don’t Walk) involves the words ‘boozy’ or ‘alcohol.’  So what really is Champar – a society highlighting the worst of St Andrean stereotypes (feeding into the Edinburgh Tab’s despise, I might add)? Perhaps.

That being said, last year’s Champagne For the Pain parties were a huge success. I remember stumbling out after a night with all my friends, more than satisfied and thinking it was definitely a night worth spending in a cramped flat. People brought their own alcohol, didn’t have to pay entrance and could spend the night dancing and mingling with friends. Why did they decide to make it so official then?  Was it spur-of-the-moment fun, or some odd form of social climbing?  Either way, so far, it has not delivered.

I attended Champagne For the Pain 2.1 last Saturday to see if it still retained some of the fun and charm it had last year, and was thoroughly displeased. As I entered the large, dark church hall (taking the saints and sinners thing a bit far?), I spotted copious amounts of of opened bottles of alcohol on the table at the back.Whilst I am sure others, including myself, would seldom be opposed to free alcohol, there was something daunting about the fact they were just laying out, in a room with hundreds of other friends and strangers alike, for all to touch and drink.  Unsafe? I would say so. Messy? Without a doubt.

The VIP room was also spectacularly odd, with one small flashing disco light placed in a cramped space, filled with multiple champagne bottles (the only pleasing part of the night) and drunk socialite- wannabes either standing awkwardly in the middle or sitting on chairs in the corner, definitely giving me the ‘intimate’ feel I’d been waiting for all night…

Trying (too) hard to be an actual event, but also trying to uphold last year’s flat party standards whilst being held in a church hall, resulted in the place feeling like a large 12-year-old disco party, only with added alcohol and out of control students, writhing and flailing about to oddly resonating music. Moderation was not taken into consideration, with people walking around the room pouring drink down (and all over) others’ mouths. By midnight, people were falling over in the bathroom. By one, I don’t remember.

Overall, the party seemed to be stepping on an odd line between an organised event, which had the potential to be fun, and a simple flat party, creating a disturbingly bizarre blend of the two, which simply did not deliver and warded me off any future Champar events. If anything, all I got from the provided champagne, was, ironically, more pain.


  1. Can I just say that you have totally missed all of the heart of CHAMPAR. Not only is your article hilariously flawed and full of horrible spelling mistakes and grammatical errors but it is completely lacking in research. CHAMPAR never ever marketed themselves as a secret drinking society or some weird St. Andrews exclusive club. We have memberships so that people can save money. Non members are welcome to all events. We are a society aimed at giving people affordable events where they actually get their money’s worth. We charge £3 and only just break even. So we are very sorry that you didn’t get professional looking surroundings or beautiful lighting but that’s not what we are about. We are students, we like getting drunk and having fun to good music and forgetting deadlines and stress. Is it so bad that we market the alcohol? 602 is marketing 1000 free gin and tonics, is it a bad representation of St. Andrews?

  2. i don’t see how this is in any way comparable to kate kennedy etc – private drinking clubs market themselves on just that, being private, and that’s the problem. champar is for anyone! i think it’s actually quite refreshing to see an event going on in st a which ISN’T super slick and run as if by professionals, and has nothing to do with who you know.

  3. Champar is about throwing parties that everyone is encouraged to attend regardless of whatever “group” they’re in and just having a good time with your friends. They want everyone to feel welcome and not excluded- even the really shitty people, so by all means feel free to stop by at their next event.


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