Refreshers Week 2016: the highs and lows


Refreshers week has come to a close, and with that comes the sinking realisation that our wallets are empty, our workload has doubled, and the circles under our eyes have not-so-inconspicuously darkened. The real question to ask, after our first week back, balancing chaotic nights out and lectures, is “was Refreshers really worth the empty wallets, doubled workload and dark circles?”


Refreshers week kicked off on a high, with the Mànran Folk Concert and Ceilidh eclipsing all we love about Scottish culture. Swirling kilts and smiles lead the night into a promising start for Refreshers, with the general consensus being that of a cheery daze and sore muscles, which unfortunately ended in a somewhat less charming scramble for the Vic… on a Monday night. Nevertheless, Monday’s event seemed a great way to start the week, judging from my mild hangover and my ability to get to lectures on time.

I always find it funny how I can thoroughly enjoy my night, then wake up swearing to never drink or go out again (knowing perfectly well the absolute lie I just told myself). Thus, my ultimate low of the week: having to get up. Recalling Freshers memories also recalls the joys of being able to sleep in for an entire week. Unfortunately, that is not what the gods had in store for Refreshers. Though Monday night was not the most “chaotic” of nights, the thought that I had another five nights of events ahead of me was both thrilling and surreptitiously frightening.

If there was one 80’s band whose lyrics have been perpetually ingrained in several generations’ heads, we all know the winner would be ABBA. Whether you’re a Mamma Mia enthu- siast, closet ABBA fan, or simply born in the twentieth century, you are sure to know at least one ABBA song, and could easily pick up on at least another five. With that in mind, the ABBA concert marked the Union’s second success of the week, with dancing queens lining our town’s streets deep into the night. Though the event might not have appealed to all, the town generally proved to be in high spirits, with pubs crawling and the Vic’s beats pounding down Market Street.

Though I didn’t venture into Ma Bells, I’m sure it didn’t fail to disappoint, with its classic wall of sweat greeting all, and the crowded feeling of a flat party reigning throughout the night. After a week of spending infinite amounts on events and Vic entries, free entry to Ma Bells was, if you could endure the place long enough to enjoy this, a perk.

Though I’ve established my relationship with Ma Bells to be a somewhat unpleasant one, I often find myself conflicted in a love-hate relationship with the Vic, and I can never quite decide whether it reveals itself to be a high or a low. After a slightly bumper-car-like experience in the line for BYOV on Monday (resulting in an unexpectedly early departure on my behalf), I was curious to see how the rest of the Vic’s Refreshers nights would unravel. Unfortunately, Vic entry fees were not readily greeted, and, after my second £5 Pablo, the Union generally seemed to be the place for me (and many other bumper-car-like individuals) throughout the week, turning the Vic into a definite low on my radar.

12593833_936753279723161_761739055705898530_oI’m not exactly sure when being tossed around, tipsy, on a machine, in cowboy hats was deemed a good idea, or who thought the Union was the perfect place to plant one of those machines, but it proved to be a crowd-pleasing idea, transforming the Union into a dynamic Rodeo and sending Wednesday off with a high. Wednesday night also seemed to be one for flat parties, resulting in a mass movement of students gathering their way to the Union at midnight for another crowded night.

A smaller event, which was the cause of some frustration in the Union, the Battle of the Bands Launch was subject to mixed opinions. For those who had no particular interest in the event, charging entry to Sandy’s was less than ideal, and resulted in an unpleasantly quiet atmosphere for the event. Though Sandy’s remained calm, after a “raging” (in St Andrean terms) Wednesday night spent on a mechanical bull, I was surprised to see students’ seemingly undy- ing Refreshers flare lighting up the Union’s main bar yet again.

Low and behold the Refreshers’ colossal low – Wiley. Saying that Wiley was a disappointment is probably the biggest understatement of the week. After Wiley’s grossly late entrance and subsequent downfall of a night, Yik Yak was flying with all sorts of rumours concerning the singer’s unfortunate performance, beset by his blatant disrespect for the crowd. A unanimous low for the week and a setback for the Union’s events, Wiley is sure to steer clear of St Andrews in the future.

After Friday’s catastrophe, the Union managed to end the week on a high, with Big Narstie bringing Refreshers to a close and RAG week to an auspicious start. So after a week, were the empty wallets, doubled workload and dark circles really worth the hype of Refreshers? Though the week may have been expensive and though we may be cursing ourselves now, Refreshers week did not fail to meet my expectations. With a hint of Freshers memories and the excitement of reuniting with friends, the week opened its doors to the coming semester.


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