Ma Bells: rose tinted spectacles or the end of an era?

George Wilder looks back on wild days at Ma Bells and asks, 'what has gone so wrong?'


We are an old university, ancient in fact. Everywhere you look our hallowed town is coated in references and indications to historical relevance. Be it the ever present, infamous PH or annual event such as the Gaudie, legacy is there to be found. It makes me wonder, what will be the legacy of my years at this institution? Will denizens of St Andrews look back in centuries time, inevitably still wondering why they don’t have a nightclub, and mull over what the ruins of Kinkell Byre used to look like? Maybe they’ll query life before the instant bibliography, or even what Pret actually was and why it seemed to command the love or hate of so many students.One thing is for certain, if I were telling a member of the future about my initial time at St Andrews, Ma Bells would make the cut. During my first year every Tuesday, without fail, would lure in hundreds of drunken students ready for anything. While it is true that to sober up in the middle of Ma Bells was also considered a common source of trauma for those unlucky enough to experience it, it is also true that it’s the only place students would be remotely happy to drown in sweat and yet keep on going. Whether a resident DJ  was pumping out house music that rendered me confused, or a playlist of throwback induced deafening renditions of ‘Mr Brightside’.

But there is something terrible happening dear citizens of St Andrews, as despite attending several Tuesdays at this mainstay of old I find myself wondering what went so horribly wrong? The venue is often near empty, and commands no way near the regular attendance it once had. Perhaps this is a case of rose tinted specs, as I have heard the hallowed floors where I spent some of my best nights was, in fact, even better before I arrived. Yet, regardless, as I once again think about the idea of legacy, one thing is clear. We can afford to lose our Law Faculty, and for our Cathedral to be burned down but, for all our sakes, we cannot afford to be losing a night out.


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