Run by a bunch of chimpanzees

Yes it's official. Warwick University Student union is nothing more than a testing ground for cross-species experimentation, where the ongoing experiment is to test and see if it really is possible to train a set of primates to run a big business profitably. Results are not yet in but early indications aint promisin.

I have just strolled back in from Farnborough in Hampshire, which in itself is a good 80-odd miles away from the monkey sanctuary, where I spent friday night in good company. The company of which I speak, Jay, DJ Charma and his bird, crammed into Jays car on friday night from Farnborough and shot up to Warwick for a good night out at Remedy, the only decent thing on there in my humble opinion.

Had a good time there, with Jay and the guys, I didn't have a load of people coming up that I don't like, Charma pulled out the stops with an old skool speed garage set, including I refuse, and It's a London Thing and it was all good, despite the straight up incompetence of the Warwick ents lot.

Now where do I start with the catalogue of cock-ups that happened that night-it's a real Argos Superstore size catalogue, and I know you dig that term, Bags.

Along with the flabby soundsystem and minimal decorative effort and air conditioning as is the usual approach that characterizes a night out at the union, this had the added bonus of the Cooler having defective audio equipment which struggled to drown out the audio leakage from the Marketplace next door. In fact the audio output would have had trouble drowning out the noise of the audience at a world chess championship as was proven by the fact that Jay heard my voice in the bog while he was takin a piss and I was at the bar on the other side of the Cooler ordering a drink and the music was on full blast. I could have had a louder rave on a Hare Krishna sound system. For that matter I think I already did earlier this week...

The decks were set up haphazardly on the stage for the "benefit" of the guest Mike "Ruff cut" Lloyd. As everyone knows about the union, guests on stage is really about as practical as a helicopter in a glassware showroom. It means less place for the real ravers who want to dance, it pisses the punters off, it pisses the DJs off and only really benefits the wankers who want to piss everyone off. So that's why the union keep going for this tack then...

So let's proceed and list exactly what is wrong with the decks being on the stage by way of examples from last night alone

  • Some pissed cunt fell over and knocked deck one in the middle of DJ Charmas set right in the middle of Brian Chambers "All I do". The record had to be taken back to the start and the vibe was gone. Everyone was pissed off
  • The stage is not too far removed in stability terms from a trampoline, at least where decks are concerned. Even people dancing on the floor cause the DJ all sorts of havoc and the DJs had a real hard time mixing because they had to take into account the fact that the needle was slippin and slidin across the record like a pondskater
  • What's the point of tryin to make the guest feel welcome by puttin them on the stage when you are gonna supply them with decks straight from the Dark Ages!?! These things didn't even have a target light on them!!!
  • ...which would have been nice when the Cooler was plunged literally into the dark ages. What the hell happened to all the lights in the Cooler for half and hour!?! Dancin in the dark should be reserved for Bruce Springsteens album

I could go on because it really was a catalogue of errors. The DJ was really just too close and they get in the way when they're on stage. The aim of the DJ in garage is as the catalytic creator of the atmosphere, an entity who thrives on watching the crowd, but whose role is passive. By trying to put the DJ in the centre of the action, Warwick is really missing the point of what a DJ does.

Still, I can't say it surprises me at all, given that the place appears to have been run by a crack team of trained chimpanzees since the day I walked in 3+ years ago and nothing seems to have changed. Scrapping the box office was a move that even trained chimpanzees would be ashamed of, and that makes me suspect that in truth a far worse body of idiots is behind this...Warwick graduates.

Let me take one second to put this into perspective for you. Warwick advertises that it has a great business school and maany blue chip companies send their employees to Warwick Business School for MBAs. Even Mark Hughes, former Wales football manager and Chelsea player studies here.

I guess that they don't advertise the union as a prime example of Warwick business in action.

For fucks sake, this place has one purpose and it is to sell beer to students!!!!!!

How hard can that be!?!

Warwick business in action seems to consist of the following though. Firstly, put the price of beer up to such a rate that it is actually cheaper to buy elsewhere, including i may add, in Coventry union where I decided to cash in a few chips when I was at Warwick just to strike a blow to our shoddy place. In this way, less people go to the union because it just doesn't represent value for money.

Then make the union as dull a place as possible, phasing out any sort of feeling of homeliness and streamlining it to make it feel a little more like one of those trendy places on the high street, like wetherspoons, where incidentally they sell beer cheaper. Not to mention in classier surroundings. Look union people, it is acceptable for the union to be shoddy as long as it is homely, bashed up sofas will always triumph over hard metal chairs. There is a time and a place.

So having completely failed in the selling of drinks to students manifesto, the union is then faced with another business challenge - the task of selling food to a captive audience, who will always get hungry but have nowhere else to shop for food without getting a bus. So the university food outlets thus have a complete and unrivalled monopoly.

But do they seize upon this opportunity to offer fantastic meals at low prices to hungry and (on the whole) fairly wealthy students, thus making a killing? Hell no!

The business plan thus follows that rather than take a major time burden of cooking off the hands of the students in order that we may do something better with our time like study, the union then goes and gets rid of the Cooler Diner and replaces it with something that looks like McDonalds and tastes a bit worse, and is more expensive to boot! Hence no bugger eats there, while the union scratches it's head and wonders why it's losing money.

Some time back the decision was taken not to have any beer offers or drop the price of beer to the levels of some other unions because "This is an educational establishment not a brewery" but I would argue that the kids will always drink, and will go to the places where it is the best value. In pursuing value students will have to look off campus and hence will waste a helluva lot of time getting to Wetherspoons to pursue the good stuff.

On top of this, so much time is wasted cooking, and so much money is going into the coffers of Costcutters and Tesco rather than in potential earnings for the union that the current business plan of the union goes completely against the ethic that it espouses, that of trying to facilitate learning. By not providing cheap, edible food (not expensive rubber as is currently the dish of the day at Cooler Diner) the union is hardly doing it's bit to establish a stressless learning environment for the students and is subsequently missing out on a great earning opportunity.

...and finally back onto the subject of events, where I began.

The current method of event coordination is possibly the most laughable I've ever seen anywhere in the world. And I've been around the world enough to have seen some seriously bad shit, not to mention my birthdays which are consistently shambolic.

But these put my birthdays to shame. i wonder if these people have EVER been out and if they have ANY understanding what a rave actually is. The basic premise that the union uses to run an event is as follows: seize upon a trend which is fashionable and do it to death, then get bored of it, stop supporting it and wonder what the hell happened.

And if that doesn't work, put on more cheese nights as everyone likes cheese and we won't have to build up a following because most people will use it as an excuse to get pissed rather than anything else.

So a night like Quench, which isn't really my bag, but I acknowledge that it was a cult success or Remedy which also has a cult following start getting completely the wrong set up by a panel of committee execs who really have no fucking idea what they are doing. These people are there because it looks good on their CVs not because they want to organise a damn good rave. They wouldn't know a good rave if it waved it's white gloves in their face!

Remedy has become a casualty of the managerial incompetence of a group of people who really make no effort to understand what it is they are trying to run. Bill Gates did not get where he is today by not knowing how to program a computer.

But at the end of the day, I am no longer at the university. I didn't like it when I was there, and I don't like it much now. In theory I shouldn't really care less about the place going to pot so why am I writing this? Well i'm writing this because I went back for Remedy for a reason.

Remedy to me was the only good thing about Warwick, it was the only thing that kept me sane, an outlet for my frustrations that saved me from dropping out or turning psychotic and ultimately the reason for me owning a degree today. There will be people after me who feel the same about one event or other, be it Remedy, Quench, Soul Nation or whatever, but it is these people I am writing this for.

The union has a duty to these people and at the rate it's going it's not only going to see it's income drop but will probably bang the final nail in the coffin of many disillusioned students at Warwick.
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