The new club night in Divas on Tuesday proves that Swansea still has the upper hand when it comes to providing a vibrant and varied nightlife for its students.
I have a confession to make, Siren readers. It took me two whole weeks to get round to going to my first Flux. Seriously. And I was rather pissed off about it, because it turned out to be one of my favourite nights in Swansea so far.
I think I’d forgotten until then what it was like to be in a club for more than three songs before having to run outside for some “fresh” air on the smoking terrace because the atmosphere inside is like a replica of the Amazonian rainforest (Sin, I’m looking at you), or feeling a tad zombiefied because the last five songs have sounded exactly the same. Same beat, same DJ (Calvin and David, that’s you guys), same voices (Rihanna, Nicky), same drop where everyone in the club goes mental despite the fact that they can’t tell the different between that song and the last.
Resident DJ (and I’m pretty sure he actually sleeps in his office) and SU President Tom Upton came up with the idea of “Tuesday? I’m in Flux” with SU Societies and Services Officer Josh Hayman to fill the last day of the working week that didn’t have its own club night. Mr Upton and Mr Hayman are partly to blame, then, for my finally having a grand total of seven nights out in a row for the first time since I started university. There might be a few seasoned freshers who sneer at this, but I genuinely didn’t have “week of liver abuse” written on my pre-graduation to do list.
It took me until right near the end of my fresher year just to get round to going to Tooters, which is still imprinted in my memory and I imagine will be for some time. I’d been with the one and only Elena Cresci reviewing my first restaurant for the Siren when she got a call from another one and only, Sammy Siddique, who said one word twice.
Naturally I got dragged along so everyone finally found out just how awful my dancing is. But that was the start of my happy and rather long-term relationship with Swansea University after dark. In my third year I’ve branched out to Wind Street a bit more (just look at my bank balance if you want proof), but second year was all about Divas and Sin City on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before staggering up to Uplands Diner for Sunday brunch.
Some of my best memories come from your bog-standard night in Divas, screeching “double vodka and coke” across the bar as politely as you can over the noise and seeing how long you can dance for before your shoes fall off. So far Flux has been pretty quiet so there’s no need to screech, and you don’t even have to queue. I’ve heard from a few people that this is how Tooters was back in the day at its inception, so I don’t doubt that by next term it’ll be a firm favourite for those with more select taste in music.
I asked Tom Upton how Flux was created and how he thought the night was going so far.
“As Josh Hayman and I started the new sabbatical year together we talked about starting an indie night in Swansea like the ones we had been going to at home for years,” he told me.
“We decided a Tuesday on campus would be ideal and with input from Rosie Hunnam and Design work from Toby Hughes we got the ball rolling.
“Since the first week the night has gone from strength to strength attracting societies, charity nights and now dedicated Fluxites. Our final Flux of the term – Flux Presents a Jingle Bell Rock – will be a fantastic way to finish the term for Flux. Our staff and fantastic patrons have made it what it is and we are very proud to have brought something new to The Students’ Union.”
There are a few things that make Flux stand out from the crowd compared to other nights in Divas. For one thing the publicity and merchandise thought up by the creators of this night are both great. Drinks prices are outrageously low, and the entry price varies according to what’s going on, but I’ve never seen it above £2. Another great idea was to have someone to take photos each night to promote it during the week.
While you might think this isn’t the best idea for those who’d rather not see what kind of state they were in- the photos are all in black and white, which tends to make most things look better- and the photographer has enough technical skill to make even the most hammered of students appear as simply “merry”.
So although I’m currently recovering from my third bout of tonsillitis in just over a month, the main motivation for me to actually follow doctor’s orders for once and stay at home is so I can have one more round of Flux before the end of this term. I have no doubt that when everyone returns to Swansea in the New Year I’ll have to join the queue.
By Roisin O’Connor