Hello there, my name is Alex. Nottingham University has like, 200 societies and the kids at Impact thought it would be a laugh if I went and tried some of them out and told you all what I think. Not sure if you want to pay that membership fee? Whether it’s BladeSoc or BlowSoc, I’ll be there interviewing the president, attending the socials and getting involved so you don’t have to. You bunch of ingrates.  

Soc-umentary –   A factual article about a society, presenting the facts with little or no fiction.  As in, ‘Did you see that socumentary about Bellringing? That shit cray.’

Socumentary #6 – Boat Party Time!!!!!111!!1!

Yes I am perfectly aware that there is no such thing as ‘Boat Party Time!!!!!111!!1!’ Soc, but if any of you have been a member of pretty much any society in the last couple of years, you will probably be aware of the prolific night out that is the hallowed Boat Party Social. If you haven’t been on one yet, and your society of choice has one coming up, you might be considering whether you want to go and, with an average ticket price of around £25, it’s certainly not a cheap night.

This article is for people who want to experience some serious boat partying from the comfort of their homes before making the decision. Alternatively, you might like to read this just to reminisce and look at pictures of me drunkenly afloat on the Trent. Whatever tickles your pickle.

I’ll be honest; my original intentions were not to write a Socumentary about boat parties. I study English and have been a fully paid up member of the English Society since my first year. In that time I have been on two bar crawls. That’s it. So when I was invited to a joint English/American Soc boat party, I was hardly surprised. You hear of English societies in other far flung universities (read: Oxbridge) who actually put on events relevant to the academic field their members study.

Here at Nottingham we laugh at these unenlightened fools. Why would you bother furthering your studies with other like-minded peers when you could just get paralytic and misguidedly hit on that girl from your T.S. Eliot seminar? To this end I’ve decided English aren’t really worth writing about: sure join if you study it, but if you’re looking for anything other than a chance to get boozy with a load of people who know an unnecessary amount of Old English, I wouldn’t bother.

Anyway, as you can see from the snazzy poster, this was the boat party that I would be attending with my two fellow Bachelors of Art, Edward and Rahul. Please ladies, try to restrain yourselves.

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Boarding the arranged transport to the dock, we were anxious. English isn’t one of these subjects like Medicine or French where everyone is inexplicably best mates with everyone else on their course. I literally know about 10 people who do English, and we were hoping that tonight’s claustrophobic conditions and free bar might be an excellent opportunity to spread our wings and meet some new people.

This would be our vessel for the evening. The Nottingham Princess. A boat that has probably seen more than its fair share of spilled drinks and seamen (sic).

I feel at this point I should explain exactly what it is you get for your 25 British pounds:

1) Entrance onto the boat, which floats up the Trent for an hour or so before turning around and coming back to where you left.

2) UNLIMITED FREE DRINKS!!!!!111!!1!*

3) A hot meal of some kind.

*Drinks menu severely restricted to single measures with a ‘splash’, house alcopops, cheap wine and pints of lager.

 Having boarded, we instantly collected our first beverage of the evening as well as a not entirely bland plate of chilli con carne.

As was to be expected, the initial queue for the bar was pretty lengthy both upstairs and down on the boat.

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Admittedly, this queue does look pretty horrendous but due to the severely limited drinks menu, lack of any need for money and well-staffed bar it actually moved pretty quickly.

Having quickly put away our first few beverages, we began to worry that we weren’t socialising very well. The music (a strange mix of German porn music and Avicii) was blaring and the lights had been dimmed, but everyone was resolutely staying to their tables in their own little groups. Young Edward’s response to this? ‘Let’s get fucked!’

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Sufficiently lubricated, we ventured out onto the deck for a breath of fresh air (irony). It was out here that the party really started, as we bumped into some familiar faces and maybe (gasp) made some new friends. It certainly helped that we were at that excellent stage of drunk where you could become best mates with a tree; a state of mind which Rahul kindly demonstrated here.

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It’s at around this time that my comprehension of the evening’s events becomes a little clouded. Looking back at my photographs, I begin to question what exactly I was trying to capture.

Take this example. Here we have my good friend Gemma smiling maniacally at a pint glass holding a half-pint glass containing some dubious black fluid. What were we trying to say? Is it some sort of ritual? Is it an artistic statement on the segregation of race in a glasshouse of confusion? Were we simply rushing off the E numbers in the house alcopops? Why did I photograph it three times? Who knows? Maybe Impact could run some sort of caption competition to help us clear it up. (Leave your captions in the comments section below -ED.)

Either way, I was clearly having a GOOD TIME.

The flood gates had been opened. People were breaking away from their groups and mingling, dancing and making the most of the free bar. Friendships were forged that were most probably forgotten the next morning. Romances flourished that some people might wish could be as easily forgotten the next morning.  Whatever happened, I’m sure I made the most of the free bar.

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It’s like I just have this one drink and I’m suddenly incapable of doing anything other than a pout in photographs. I don’t know how or why it started; it’s clearly not a good look, but I. Just. Can’t. Stop. I’m seriously considering getting hypo-therapy to kick the habit. The pout. Ruining photos since the dawn of time. (They had Facebook at the dawn of time, right?)

Thankfully it was now time to get off the boat and back onto our arranged transport for an eventful journey back to Nottingham City Centre and that mecca of student clubbing, Forum. The fact my memory is almost negligent for this portion of the evening is helpfully explained through photographs such as this.

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What is clear however is that our original worries of remaining forever alone were clearly unsubstantiated, and we partied long and hard with our new-found, slightly more sober friends.

That said, the last photo on my camera does give me some cause for concern.

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This photo shows a lost and confused young man, his formal attire ruffled and his expression desperate. What had I seen in this picture to cause such an alarming expression? Here we have a casualty of the boat party. Lost without his free bar, German porn music and wood panelled surroundings. Hopefully I went home soon after.

***

And that my friends, was a boat party. Now I’m not saying your experience will be exactly the same as mine, but that was my second and it was pretty much identical. This doesn’t mean that it was any less enjoyable. Boat parties are probably one of the best things you can do if you really want to have a great night with your society and get to know some new people in sometimes claustrophobic conditions. Even the more prudish amongst you will be tempted by the open bar and the general feel good vibes. If you only do one crazy/drunken night before you leave Uni, I’d seriously recommend it.

Now, on a related note, I need 19 other signatures to set up Boat Party Time!!!!!!11!!!1! Soc.

Boat Parties

Good: If you want to really get to know your society or, alternatively, the banks of the Trent.

Bad: If you’ve got no sea legs / don’t know your limits or would rather have a lively discussion on post-colonial literature.

Alex Mawby

Like what you see? Read more Socumentaries:

The Socumentaries: Freshers’ Fayre

The Socumentaries: Hide and Soc

The Socumentaries: NU Surf

The Socumentaries: BandSoc

The Socumentaries: Swing Soc

 

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