Pangaea is traditionally the glorious finish to a hideous exam period, and has always been one of the most successful strings to the SU’s bow. You don’t have to know or care about university politics to want to put on a stupid costume, get really drunk and dance to Riot Jazz after being shut in the library for weeks. In many ways, then, the SU’s decision to stage the event at the end of this year’s Freshers’ Week wasn’t surprising. It’s as near to a guaranteed success as a student night can be, and the SU could do with a Freshers’ success, particularly after the disaster of last year. (The M13 Festival had to be cancelled at the last minute due to lack of interest. Ouch.)
But – I don’t know. There was something about a Pangaea before the start of term, rather than at the end of exams, which just seemed wrong, somehow. Maybe I’m surrounded by relentlessly negative people, but I heard many a grumble that it all seemed a bit unnecessary. “Pangaea’s meant to be a celebration,” my friend Jaz pointed out, “but if it comes at the end of Freshers’ it’s like, what are we celebrating? Being hungover for the seventh day in a row?” A general sense of apathy hung about. Rather than meticulously planning their costumes like they’d done for Pangaeas past, people sloped off to Luvyababes on Friday afternoon. Those partial to stimulation beyond a bottle of Basics vodka fretted about having to go to Monday lectures on a two-day comedown. Meanwhile, rumours of underselling tickets only stirred anxieties. A rubbish Pangaea would be like a rubbish Christmas. It’s always good. But what if this time, it’s… not?
Well, you know what they say: low expectations, high rewards. It was really, really, genuinely, honestly brilliant. We arrived just before 11 and waltzed straight in. Elsewhere, the easy pace of the queue might seem like a bad omen: we’ve all experienced the awkward horror of walking into a club to find three people bobbing about on an empty strobe-lit dancefloor. However, for anyone who remembers the murderous lines of previous Pangaeas, the easy entry was a blessed relief (yes, ha, ha, that’s what she said). There were no shoving hordes of lads in leotards. There were no girls in animal ears practically weeping because they needed a wee so badly. The security guards didn’t have to roar at everyone to “STOP – BLOODY – PUSHING!” It was a dream.
Inside, the cheery atmosphere continued. Pangaea is always fun, but it’s not usually relaxing, especially if you’re with a big group of people. Everyone wants to go to different rooms, then someone has to go and queue for the toilet for half an hour, then someone else goes to the bar, and then you get lost and end up stumbling round on your own for forty minutes. And of course, everyone’s in fancy dress, so spotting your friends in a crowd turns into a terrible, real-life game of Where’s Wally. But this time, everything was miraculously, happily hassle-free. Whether this was down to better organisation, more bar staff or simply fewer revellers I’ve no idea, but it was a vast improvement.
I won’t attempt a comprehensive review of all the acts that performed on the night. There were too many, and I was too drunk, and this isn’t the music section. But the Stevie Wonderland room deserves a special mention for keeping everyone – girls who like old R&B, boys who like house – boogieing away with ridiculous grins on their faces for what felt like hours, in a really, really good way. The unexpectedly balmy night meant that dancing by the outside stage felt almost, almost like being on holiday, at least until you saw a Magic Bus glide by. Kano, the big headliner of the night, performed to a half-empty Academy 1, but rather than feeling awkward, it just meant everyone had more room to dance, and reminisce about getting sent ‘P’s & Q’s’ via Bluetooth in Year 8.
There were, of course, enough sexy girl leopards to populate a jungle. There were one or two fights, people slumped in doorways, and lots of enlarged pupils. Someone got wheeled off on a stretcher, and everyone spent far too much money, and the next day we didn’t wake up until 4.30pm. But it’s Pangaea. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
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