It’s Saturday, 9 p.m. You sit alone in your halls. The phone buzzes. Upon the luminescent screen in golden letters appear the word: ‘Lemmy?’
It’s done. It’s over. Complex psychological changes have occurred turning you from introvert to extrovert. Your night will be changed… forever. Time to get ready: Shower? This is Lemmy. No one will be able to tell. Run down to the shops and pick up a four-pack of something horrible and a shoulder of Chekov.
Pres are an impromptu and small affair, but they always make the best pres. ‘Are we actually going to Lemmy?’ someone will ask in despair. Glare them down for their blasphemy! How dare they question Exeter’s deepest ritual in its hallowed (student) halls. Get silly drunk and forget what course you’re doing or where you’re from or what year you’re in (although obviously you’re a First Year), for the Lemmy is an egalitarian place where we can all live, love, and learn.
Ready to launch an assault on the night with your ragtag team of student bandits. From all over, the Lemmy’s glow is your north star. As you arrive, the zig-zag queue is one that is better scaled than followed. ‘Yeah,’ your look says to the bouncer, ‘I’m serious about this.’ The bouncer considers you and checks your student card. You’ve made it into an elite club, although, to be fair, letting you in by virtue of your student status isn’t exactly the highest of standards.
Lemmy is not, as has been claimed, the institution that we love to hate; it is the institution that we hate to love
You spend the first ten minutes by the bar, surprised by their sick deals on jagerbombs. The next ten minutes will be on the dance floor, before a consensus arises to get some fresh air.
Go outside and grab a biscuit off the ECU, asking whether it’s okay if you take advantage of them despite thinking everything they believe in is rubbish. As you go back in, your friend gets caught up arguing with one of them about gay marriage. You can’t be bothered, but this is Lemmy, and no one is left behind. Grab them (and grab another custard cream too) and go back through The Grove, not tempted by their overpriced and underwhelming chips.
Once again on the dance floor, now its time to set up camp. Make a little circle with some mates, preferably by a pillar – partially for a landmark for the stragglers and partially as cover when the fists start flying when S Club comes on. Time passes and the only thing reminding you that you’re not at a Year 9 disco is the amount of people getting off and the fact that your friend cannot seam two words together.
This year we students have abandoned Lemmy and the Lemmy died for our sins
Suddenly something happens. The atmosphere changes. A single lonely piano is heard. Could it be? Is it time yet? ‘I sit and wait’ – IT IS TIME – ‘Does an angel contemplate my fate?’ Robbie asks. The lights turn on and you can see the light and the queue for the cloakroom and everything makes sense! The night was a smooth operation, and you’re rewarded for your loyalty with a free jam sandwich.
Lemmy is not, as has been claimed, the institution that we love to hate; it is the institution that we hate to love. What made Lemmy wasn’t anything material – Fever, TP, Unit 1 and Move are all materially better. What made Lemmy was that it was reliable and easy if you’re a First Year and, more than that, Lemmy was one giant joke. But that made it. Lemmy may not be materially as good as the clubs mentioned above, but it has personality beyond any of them.
I’m obviously biased and sentimental: the refrain that made First Year ‘there’s always Lemmy’ is no more. This year we students have abandoned Lemmy and the Lemmy died for our sins. I can only hope that the only night cheesier than Cheesy Tuesdays returns at the beginning of next year and that hoards of Freshers will turn up, student card in one hand, drunk mate in the other, and dignity nowhere to be seen.