Well the campaigning is well on its way. You have probably been flooded by constant invites to various ‘Support A. N. Other in their bid for Director of Organised and Forced Fun’ evenings and groups, and you have probably said maybe to almost all of them. There’s various different things on the agenda of course. Accommodation, student employability, study spaces and transparency are of course amongst them and rightly so, however one cannot help but feel that this kind of thing is really for the Association President or Director of Representation.
There’s one job which will, arguably, have the greatest impact on your personal university life, namely the position of Director of Events and Services. Whoever wins this, the candidates being Chris MacRae and Emily Rogers, will have a huge impact on the way in which we spend our evenings and weekends. Effectively, their job will be to organise events and book acts to play in the union and Venue 1, which (to be fair to the incumbents) might no longer be under construction by next year…
That’s a huge responsibility in a town where to be honest not a huge amount happens. If it wasn’t for our impressive ability to continually go out to the three ‘clubs’ in town without becoming utterly sick of them, we would not really have a huge amount to do. The union has really been quite devoid of bookings of note recently. We had Vengaboys but let’s be honest that is really not anything to write home about. It’s not even something to feign interest in. St Andrews had Pink Floyd play in 1969 after the brilliant Saucerful of Secrets was released, and The Jam in 1978, the year of their seminal album All Mod Cons. We used to have big names play here. Now we manage to get an chintzy, accidental one-hit wonder group to prance around the stage.
The premise by other universities in Scotland is considerably better than ours. Edinburgh got Biffy Clyro a few years back, Nirvana and Queen have played in Glasgow QMU, which itself has Charlie XCX playing in March. Now I’m not saying I necessarily want Charlie XCX personally, but surely we could get a turn out for someone like that. I mean she was in ‘Fancy’ by Iggy Azalea. You know the one where she spends the whole time in the fast lane? Yeah that one.
Fresher’s week this year was the most successful one ever according to the figures that count; the ones with £ signs, but Scouting for Girls was the only real live music. And the only album you’d be able to hum anything on by them came out in 2008. Which is 7 years ago. We need to be looking at bands on the upward curve. It’s not difficult, just open up NME and stab at the page or something. If you were to put on a properly big name, rather than someone you might have liked when you were twelve, it would be a huge draw for students.
And more importantly having a Venue 1 which becomes known for putting on and publicising live events would lead to a far greater artistic culture of this kind in the town, and if we could start to support local music maybe St Andrews could be on the map for a reason other than barbour population density, that University Challenge thing, and a poem to Tescos. Oh and some bloke called William. Alt-J met at Leeds uni, while Childhood and London Grammar both formed at Nottingham uni. There are some very very talented musicians here, but they are forced into spending their whole time playing open mic nights, rather than using those evenings to prove themselves and use as a springboard onto proper live shows.
The fact as well is that I can only talk about people who I, personally, would like to see, but with a student population as diverse as we have here you could book any reasonably popular upcoming artist from any genre and, if publicised properly, get a good crowd together for them. We are desperate for things to do. There’s only so many times we want to Throwback on a Thursday, or hear Summer by Calvin bloody Harris on a Tuesday. So please just give us something else to do. A huge amount of us would take it, and St Andrews would be a much more interesting place because of it. Promise me live music, and I promise you my vote.