Drinking is all about being comfortable, and to me, The Marquis of Granby hits that nail on the head. It really is like a surrogate front room. I know that I can go in, get a round of Guinness, stick a pound on the pool table, put Hotel California on the jukebox three times and then sit down for ages. Us Goldsmiths lot are creatures of habit – we know where we like to drink, and we’ll stay there. Two pubs in one night? Don’t be daft.
However, as I’m sure you are aware, this is a special case for our beloved Goldsmiths kind. For many universities across the country, there seems to exist an ethos where you stay in any one place for a maximum of twenty minutes before moving on. You begin to feel like Phileas Fogg, only you’re not traversing around the world, just a shitty British market town.
And before you ask – yes, I am speaking from experience. I, Benjamin James Edward Henderson, am far from proud to announce that I have attended a campus university bar crawl in an undisclosed Northern haven for my mate’s 21st. I did it properly as well – I bought the ‘big red’ t-shirt, was pre-drinking out of a jug at six, and I was ordering a tequila in the first bar when The One Show was still on at seven-thirty.
One of the most accurate ways I could describe the night is that it felt a bit like a kids birthday party. That is, if the kid was really into shot-glass cocktails and en-masse misogynistic chanting.
A glaring positive that I will admit to though, was the price. All of the bars on the crawl had various drink deals: a shot and a single for two quid, or what have you. But the main issue with this was that these deals were literally all that was on offer. What’s that? You don’t like Apple Sours? Tough tits lad, that’s all we’ve got. Now get it down you, get up there and do Africa by Toto on the karaoke. There’s a good art-school student.
But I will be honest – for a number of reasons with varying degrees of cynicism, I did kind of enjoy it. The part of me which forgot how much he loves Steps was swept up by the nostalgic cheese, and I took much joy in seeing one of my best mates fall asleep on his feet in the middle of the dance floor – on his own birthday. There is also a definite novelty in doing the limbo under a mop handle in a sweatbox ‘club’.
However, the other 80% of me felt like Holden Caulfield, watching this situation unfold from the outside and taking a pretentious pride in knowing that I was simply a tourist and not an actual campus #lad. And if that analogy doesn’t make me sound like a massive Goldsmiths dickhead who doesn’t belong on a bar crawl, then I don’t know what does.
The critical question that comes to mind is that, after the novelty wears off, do lads really enjoy this, or is it just another uni right of passage that comes with British drinking culture? Are you really the Archbishop of Banterbury, and would you really chant about the ‘lady in red who made a living in my bed’ if nobody else was?
That’s the beauty of New Cross – there’s no pressure. You don’t need a red t-shirt or planned route to feel good about drinking a dangerous amount, do you now? Maybe it’s all just another play into lad culture façade? Is that a Smirnoff or a WKD mate?
I’ll leave you to deconstruct and unpack the answers to those for yourself, you little liberal prick.
See you in The Granby.