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Barfest February 6, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Durham, Lovely people, Really good day, University.

This one’s a bit diary-ish.

College Barfest.  A phrase that inevitably sounds like a knell of doom for anyone who isn’t a student.  You can probably guess what it involves as well: for a start, a lot of quite of exciting ales, lagers, ciders, cocktails that you wouldn’t usually find at a college bar.  Also, live music and a good time.

On the other hand, we’re also students, so the music was eye-wateringly loud, a fair few people drank quite a lot, and certain bits of college got very messy indeed.

For me, it was another chance to have a college breakfast – something I’ve missed a lot since I lived in, in my first year – mess about with sound equipment and good friends over a bottle of cider, and just generally enjoy the college atmosphere.  There’s always a great sense of community that tends to be worth soaking up, and who am I to turn down a chance to have a go at sound opping?

Exhibit A: band to the left, techies to the right, and practically never, in my experience, the twain shall meet.  I think – and don’t quote me on this – that this was a particularly good jazz band setting themselves up.  Music at college events is a lot less genre-narrow than it used to be – I went to a ceilidh a few weeks ago, the percentage of songs without the word ‘baby’ in the lyrics is looking up.

I had to leave mid-afternoon for a French lesson.  (Mais oui, mon Francais est tres broken still but improving un peu these days.  Je tricote, tu tricotes, il/elle tricote etc – also I now have three tenses and a working knowledge of Belgian cartoons.)  By the time I got back, everyone else had had a bit of a head-start on the cider, so the evening consisted of sticking it to the man techie-style:

(Utterly subtle techie in-joke there for you.  If you don’t get it, I can’t really elaborate except to say that if someone wearing blacks sends you for a long stand, tell them where they can shove it.)

There was tea and frank conversation in one of the kitchens, and a speedy and satisfactory clear-up.

Setting up and taking down tech equipment is something I used to hate, but now I really enjoy.  When you actually know what’s happening, and where things to, and what generally to do with them, it’s really good fun – especially because the majority of the college tech team now consists of my pretty close friends.  I’ve waxed lyrical about how much I love working with people I’m good friends with before.

A few things about tech that I really wish more people knew:

Firstly, piecing together how things work is essentially a combination of observation, practice, common sense and a bit of bodging.  A lot of people who don’t do tech don’t seem to realise this: someone came up to a few of us yesterday and said, ‘Are you techies?  Could you see if you can do something about the reception of the TV in the bar?’  Seriously?  It’s like saying, ‘You’re a computer programmer, why isn’t my printer working?’  On the other hand, if I’m actually doing something, chances are I know how to do it.  Some well-meaning chap yesterday actually explained to me what a mute button was for.  I’m still a bit gobsmacked.

Secondly, many things make sense when you differentiate ‘techies’ from ‘people’.  I have been led to conclude that the general perception of techies seems to be as wizards who love nothing better than clearing up after everyone else.  I’m not entirely sure why this is such generally accepted logic, but, well, it is.  If you’re running an event, I implore you: remember your techies exist when they’re not in the same room as you, give them time to eat, and don’t ask the impossible.  If you don’t know if it’s impossible, ask.  Just because they’re talking in acronyms and getting on with things quietly in a corner doesn’t mean they’re actually a different species.

Oh, it was good fun.  I like being back up at college, I really do.



1. Aimee - March 27, 2011

It occurred to me that Barfest might lead to a barf-fest, but then I got to thinking that perhaps you across-the-pond folk don’t use the term “barf.” Truly, who could blame you?

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