A mammoth entry queue, crowded bars and sticky floors. They’re the downsides of hosting a club night which the students’ union has been ill able to enjoy in recent months – indeed, in recent years.
Last night’s relaunch of The Cube, a space which has dented the Union’s finances and reputation so many times in the past, saw over 1200 pile through the doors. The dance floor heaved with students who threw haphazard shapes with a look of surprise on their faces: their Union had actually transformed itself into a decent venue.
The swelling queue was admittedly not an ideal start to the night. Hundreds braved the January weather and several confessed their doubts about whether the experience inside would actually be worth it. At first glance their worries seemed likely to hold weight as students filed past the reception, paying £4 for entry. A makeshift cloakroom, free of charge for those who bought a drink, was the sole diversion from the norm – an excellent addition, though it would have been better placed directly by the tired and thirsty queue.
Downstairs, in the bowels of the building, the real improvements came to light. A VIP section, bookable for any student who can promise attendees via a birthday or general popularity, enjoyed exclusive rights to their own bar, lots of violet curtains and generous seating. For those who didn’t carry the black and gold card there were cheap drinks and the usual smokers’ courtyard on offer. £1 bottles of Fosters spilled out from the bars, served by ranks of staff which were just about sufficient in number.
So far, so surprisingly good. But the gem was unquestionably the dance floor.
The genius was in the detail, the prime example being the split into separate levels. The Cube’s ironic flaw has historically been its cubic shape. Clubbers don’t tend to favour an expansive arena with a high roof; an intimate atmosphere and breaks in the floor space attract the masses – look at Jesters or Sobar. With dance podiums and new mini-bars installed, this was no longer a problem. Of course the huge crowd helped. But credit has to go to all those who helped manipulate several square metres of room – usually used as a cinema, sometimes a meeting hall – into a viable club.
There’s potential for improvement as well. The DJ decks were manned well enough, but next week will see the Ministry of Sound play the music. And a smattering of new wall panels – for those that were there, I doubt you even noticed them – are equipped to facilitate 3D imagery. What they’ll be projecting in the coming months remains a mystery but they’re bound to provide a bit of fun for the hazed raver on a Friday midnight.
SUSU President Sam Ling was delighted with the superpanels and he was was delighted with the night as a whole:
“It’s gone very well,” he said. “There will be a debriefing on Monday morning and we’ll take a look at all the feedback we’ve collected. That’s the advantage to a student union night. We can engage with our customers and they can engage with us. If you’ve been to The Cube you can have a say about what changes need to be made to make it even better. For instance, we’ll be tweaking the queue system after this.”
Sam also told the Wessex Scene that all those students who had come last night would be notified via email about buying tickets for next week with Ministry of Sound ahead of general release. The marketing plan isn’t subtle because there’s nothing to hide. To make the Union become the weekly extravaganza it once was just a few short years ago, people need to come week in, week out. Starting with February 3rd. The organisers have done their bit and now it falls to us punters to show up.
In the past a worthy criticism angled at SUSU has been that with each relaunch they’ve changed nothing but the name. Kinki morped into Twisted but still there remained the lingering sense that you’d turned up to a disco your parents had organised. Last night was titled Friday Night at the Cube. It’s a refreshingly dull name for an extremely impressive event.