YUSU club loyalty should not dictate fresher nightlife

In one of his first steps as the newly elected Democracy and Services Officer, Dan Walker has stated that the club landscape here at York is to take a “pretty dramatic turn”

In one of his first steps as the newly elected Democracy and Services Officer, Dan Walker has stated that the club landscape here at York is to take a “pretty dramatic turn”. By this, Walker means that Thursday night Gallery will now be replaced with ‘Tokyo’, a brand new club which seems to simply be a ‘dramatically’ refurbished Tru.

It’s not necessarily a bad idea. A bit of revamping is perhaps exactly what York’s cumbersome, repetitive nightlife needs. Walker has stated in his blog that the official clubs “represent what should be the best quality and value for money in York” and that the “line-up intends to provide a range of venues and music which York has, in the past, lacked”. He displays the sort of optimistic, progressive attitude that goes some way to acknowledging problems with student satisfaction, and recognises student demand for value for money in York. However, by labelling the changes a ‘timetable’, and disregarding a very prominent element of the average student’s social life by not even mentioning The Gallery’s existence, Walker has in one swift step allowed the complete ‘landscape’, as he sees it, of York’s nightlife to alter.

YUSU is supposed to be representative of the majority of students at the University, but since when did they conduct a survey to see how many students frequent Gallery on a Thursday (alas, according to the timetable, not even a Sunday) night? Since when did YUSU actually research where York students go out at night and which venues they want their Union to promote?

“But we don’t always listen to YUSU, we have our own minds!” I will undoubtedly hear you say. Which, for many of us who have been at the University for a year or two now, may well be true. But what exactly was it that we replied upon as freshers? How was our freshers’ week organised? As I remember it, it was almost unwaveringly around YUSU recommendations and advice: around the identical, mass-produced information that YUSU provided, as no other organisation on campus has the same comprehensive access to students. And the routine barely changes. You know the old cliché about the first person you meet at uni becoming one of your best friends? Well, there’s actually a whole lotta truth in it.

This isn’t about lamenting the loss of Gallery – although I think there is room for a bit of that here. I can appreciate that York’s already uninspiring nightlife may need a bit of sexing-up. But this is about the freedom for freshers to choose, and for current students to have the ability to communicate their opinion. Some people see Gallery as a pretty sub-standard night out, especially in comparison to YUSU’s successful affiliation with Salvation. But where’s The Willow in YUSU’s timetable? The last time I checked, it is the only veritable York ‘institution’ out of the handful of venues we have at the moment, and the mismatch he mentions in his blog.

Of course it is standard procedure for student unions to sponsor and recommend student nights – it is more financially and socially advantageous for us. It is not necessarily beneficial for freshers, however, to be told a select amount of information about what to do in their new city, especially when automatic trust is placed in the seeming altruism of our student union. We’re lucky: York has a student media that can ensure that freshers have access to a variety of information and can make our student union accountable. Not all students in the country have the same luxury.

I just hope that Toyko is one dramatically great night out now, and we wont be in need of Gallery lamentation… not that the freshers will ever know…

38 comments

  1. Interesting comment piece but rather isolated view and not holistic… I think before we attack the decision made by YUSU, some research around it may help…

    Luminar (owners of Gallery and formerly TRU) are evidently going down the drain … (http://bit.ly/cOYtID) … Google Luminar and its the fourth link… also a company that blames poor performance in the world Cup (http://bit.ly/arKZTk ) clearly lacks any long term business planning…

    It’s a little bit more than just recommending clubs, its about ensuring that students continue to get a great deal rather than being the cash cows of a company clearly looking for an exit strategy… Don’t know about you but to me this graph on Luminar shares looks rather messy: http://bit.ly/bXQUkx … not surprised that as recent as this week, they’ve decided to re-finance to plug the gap (http://bit.ly/9deDc6)

    On whether YUSU makes an effort to find out what students want ? It may not have been well publicised, but I do recall an ents-review taking place at the end of last term and a UGM on it, it was also mentioned in a rather public statement about N-Dubz … http://bit.ly/9vhMCJ … the question to ask is if YUSU made sure that students engaged with it …

    So in a way, this new line up may change things and I may not like all the nights and I may wheep at the loss of Thursday Gallery but I’m happy and glad that I’ll be putting my money behind clubs and bars that offer what looks to be a great night but also stand strong when scrutinised financially.

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  2. If I remember rightly… The Willow has had it’s capacity limited by the York Fire Service, which makes it in effect too small for YUSU to have an official night with.

    No doubt, people would criticise Dan for organising a night out at a venue with a capacity one sixth of the size of Tru, and where in effect all anyone would ever be doing would be queuing to get in as it reaches capacity too quickly.

    I welcome the changes, and look forward to visiting York next year to see the latest offerings!

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  3. tbh, we’re all kidding ourselves if we think YUSU are giving out free advertising for city clubs and bars – these recommended and “official” nights are bought by these clubs. And Luminar are, as “A little research” points out, in the shit, and probably don’t want to pay additional expenses, and hope that students will go anyway, without YUSU’s blessing.

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  4. I wouldn’t say that it’s true that freshers depend on YUSU and go where they advise. I think stycs and ‘parents’ have a much bigger influence on freshers in terms of where’s most popular. A good example would be in autumn 2008 when Alex Lacy’s new sport night in salvation fell completely flat after the second and third years dragged all the freshers to ziggys.
    I am interested to see how Vodka Revs does as a Sunday venue though…

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  5. 25 Aug ’10 at 11:29 pm

    Boom Boom Boom Let Me Hear You Say Bayo, Bayo

    I just wanna say….Connor, you are smash.

    That is all.

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  6. It’s interesting how Wednesdays Have been left empty, it seems an admission that no matter what YUSU do, they can’t complete with Ziggy’s.

    It seems that only time will tell what happens to York’s club scene. Having a punt, I would say that unless revs becomes a lot more affordable, then students may stick with the good old SNG.

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  7. This is the best thing to happen to York’s nightlife for a while. Tokyo industries has much more experience than luminar at running a top notch club. Tokyo owned clubs such as Digital are among some of the most highly regarded clubs in the UK.
    Willow on the other hand is a cheesy dive. Yusu has made some bad decisions in its time but even they haven’t been as stupid to recommend Willow as part of the weekly timetable.
    Walker has made a good decision in changing the clubs that Yusu has backed, for too long have the Luminar clubs just coasted with unimaginative, repetitive nights. Gallery has had its chance to shine for the last several years and yet Luminar did nothing with it.
    For all the clubs in York, its gonna be a very competitive term. Lets hope they don’t dissapoint.

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  8. Cynic makes excellent points. While of course it would be preferable if YUSU would recommend the most popular – some may say best – venues, it would damage their commercial interests. Anon, too, makes a good point, STYCs and parents are there to give freshers an ‘insider’ account of York’s nightlife. The YUSU timetable is not, in fact, guaranteed to dictate fresher nightlife.

    Miranda Thomas, where are you?

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  9. 26 Aug ’10 at 11:45 am

    Brick Tamland

    Just to the above – I’m pretty sure STYCs are there to help students bed into York and help them with problems – not just as glorified club reps…

    I know that, and I’m *edited by moderator* – I don’t know what that says about the rest of you.

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  10. Having been to some of Tokyo Industries’ clubs in Newcastle (e.g. Digital – sometimes described as one of the best clubs in the country) it is brilliant news that they are deciding to build a presence in York.

    First Fibbers and now Tru, they can hopefully revive the stale club scene in York, neglected for too long by Luminar’s dominance. Refurbishments/makeovers and better events/nights (and awesome new sound systems). While I’m sure we’ll all miss Gallery, it will still be there and SNG will probably still be popular.

    Freshers may follow STYCs but will, in the end, make up their own minds. When YUSU Tuesdays switched to Salvation last term most people made up their own minds to go their and not still to Tru.

    Basically Tokyo Industries = best thing to happen to York’s nightlife in a long time. Mint.

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  11. Hopefully now York won’t be so dominated by whatever is in the charts. York needs more a music scene and lets hope Tokyo industries will provide it. If not students do have other options, Leeds is only half an hour away after all…

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  12. We’ll have to see how well it does but I at least think that it’s a boost for York and for the students thereof. York is still known for its pubs and these places aren’t incredible – a bit of investment by people who know what they’re doing and we’ll see how good York nightlife can really be. Other than the above clubs, the Duchess is the only real place that could feature – and since YUSU makes money out of student nights and Luminar are failing, it can only be the best solution?

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  13. 26 Aug ’10 at 7:21 pm

    Boom Boom Boom Let Me Hear You Say Bayo, Bayo

    Frankly, if people were that concerned about the nightlife they shouldn’t have elected to come to York, because obviously it’s pretty dire.

    Decent uni, though like.

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  14. This is utter nonsense. I don’t remember YUSU having any ‘official’ nights any day of the week.

    Rather, it was what my STYCs told me that encouraged me to go out on certain nights. I went to Ziggy’s fairly often despite it having nothing at all to do with YUSU.

    Gallery is god awful anyway. It’s management are rubbish, the bouncers are nobs, the music sucks and the drinks aren’t cheap. I’m glad it’s going down the drain and hope that Tokyo can do something half decent.

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  15. Thanks for your feedback guys, rest assured we are very busy at Tokyo making sure your student nights are top quality and packed with acts and entertainment the like of which have never been seen in York.

    Acts booked at fibbers already include… Kano, Shed 7, The Courteeners, British Sea Power, Two Door Cinema Club, Dirty Sanchez and Egyptian Hip-hop.

    Check out http://www.tokyoindustries.com for profiles of the clubs in the Tokyo family, and http://www.fibbers.co.uk for more listings and information.

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  16. 26 Aug ’10 at 11:33 pm

    Jason Daffodil

    Is Jason Rose even a student at York anymore?

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  17. Jason Rose will be a student at York until the day he dies…

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  18. 1) I don’t see the point in complaining about York’s crap nightlife. Nobody decides to come to York for the clubbing scene, anyway. If that’s your objective, go to Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, etc. York is not and will never be a clubbing nirvana, so get over it.

    2) I didn’t even know YUSU had ‘official’ nights at some venues, but had I known it wouldn’t have made any difference as to where I went. Even as a fresher, you generally go where your STYCs point you and then explore on your own. YUSU doesn’t really come into it, so God knows why they feel their opinion is so bloody important.

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  19. I think this piece is a bit confused, in that I don’t really get the point. The title states the opinion that YUSU club loyalty should not dictate fresher nightlife. As far as I can see, it won’t be doing, because YUSU aren’t being ‘loyal’ to clubs – they’re ditching Gallery. Apart from that, you seem to be taking unnecessary issue with YUSU’s actions, implying that they’re greedy and ignore students’ views, which is pure fantasy.

    I think in general what makes a night out is the company rather than the surroundings. We shouldn’t kid ourselves that any of the places under consideration by students when planning a night out are actually sh*t. Some people’s comments about the changes would have us believe that bouncers at certain clubs go on random killing sprees before making the dead buy and guzzle champagne in filthy abandoned workhouses.

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  20. So, a rather poorly informed article as described by ‘a little research might help’ furthered by how little knowledge it demonstrates about any interaction YUSU might have had with Gallery before choosing their nights.

    Ironically, it is within this rather poor article that we find a compliment for York’s student media (at least it’s one of the more overt ways Nouse has chosen to praise itself *cough Nouse top 50). It seems rather elementary to expect our student media to at least be able to do some investigating before the publication of an article which aims criticism at the elected officers.

    Regardless, it seems Laura has remained silent in the face of the criticism here. Surely her comments should be held to account too, especially when they tar the new officers in such a light to freshers who are yet to even meet them?

    Lets hope that both Gallery and Nouse improve over the next year…

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  21. Oh, and correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure that the colleges organise almost all the nights of the freshers weeks except the Freshers Ball (race-course) and Access All Areas (campus).

    This point becomes more pertinent when you find out that apparently some of the colleges are still considering dealing with Gallery.

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  22. I feel that colleges and YUSU will promote the tacky clubs and bars in York (I won’t include Tokyo in this as I don’t know what it will be like) so long as they can charge for events to them. YUSU and the colleges should do students the service of telling them that Leeds and Newcastle exist and are brilliant nights out, in fact my experiences at Digital are making me look forward to Tokyo…a lot. There’s very little information about the brilliant smaller bars and pubs with great (albeit more expensive) drinks and good atmosphere. They can’t make money from Ziggy’s, the fantastic independent pubs, personal trips to other cities as well as those by private (often student led) companies, so they don’t mention them at all.

    I presume that the colleges don’t make money from events, and the same with YUSU and the Viking Raid, but often the profit making organisations can do trips for LESS but are flat out rejected because they offer competition. I don’t want to be cynical but I feel that YUSU are in it for themselves not the enjoyment of the students.

    The best club night out that I’ve had whilst at York was the Mayhem event at Digital in Newcastle. Going with a group of friends as part of a group of 100 or so people meant that it felt like we were just having a night out. College events feel like a stag party “Yeeeeaaahhhh let’s hit Leeds up!!”. They’re caught up in the egos of the reps and not having a great night out. Now I’m old and a graduate student so I go try out Trappist beers and real ciders. The Rook and Gaskill, the Maltings and Pivo (changed name I think?) are great places, it took accidents or people who I met in the third year to actually know these places were any good, or existed at all. I think somewhere in one of the student papers had an article about alternative places in York, something like “what sort of night out do you want?”, run it again, make it more obvious and have lots more places listed!

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  23. 27 Aug ’10 at 8:01 pm

    If you want a good night out in Leeds...

    Try the Otley run. It’s awesome :-)

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  24. 27 Aug ’10 at 10:12 pm

    Miranda Fay Thomas

    @ Max Rouffier, I don’t understand why I’ve been summoned. Do enlighten me. Until then….

    Miranda Thomas away! *whoosh*

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  25. 27 Aug ’10 at 11:12 pm

    A man with sense

    The dire state of the clubs in York will more than anything dictate fresher nightlife.

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  26. there definately does need to be more uni trips, some of the best nights I have had have been the trips to leeds and newcastle. Yusu should be putting more of these on, although they are planning on introducing a fortnightly bus to leeds and back for nights…

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  27. Miranda I would like your input please. Your comments are always brilliant.

    I think this Laura/Nouse bashing is a bit much. It’s a worthy story for a comment piece but, ok, perhaps she could have dealt with it more sensitively.

    @Henry James: No-one’s calling for York to be a “clubbing nirvana” as you so obnoxiously put it, and I don’t think anyone’s *particularly* complaining. York certainly isn’t an alternative to Ibiza but for the huge population of students it has, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t have a better club scene. Ziggy’s is okay, but it should really be a scraggy alternative rather than York’s premiere venue – which unfortunately it is at the moment. Tru and Gallery are pretty bog-standard clubs with no particular individual style. Tokyo is genuinely something to be excited for, judging by the general feeling from those in the know.

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  28. 29 Aug ’10 at 10:18 am

    Jason Stackhouse

    Beware of corporations baring gifts! Tru/Tokyo will still suffer from that dripping with sweat low ceiling.

    YUSU have made logical decisions on which clubs in York to work with.
    Most of which are purely governed by the capacity of the venue. People harp on about the Willow! It has a capacity of 100 people.
    Revolution-350, Fibbers-70?(It’s tiny), Blue Fly-150ish, Duchess – 500.
    On an official YUSU night around 2000 students will go to a club.
    The only ones with anywhere near the capacity to cope are (in order of capacity. Salvation- 1000?, Gallery – 800, Tru/Tokyo – 750, Ziggys-650.

    Once the capacity has been sorted it out, it should then be a matter of thrashing out what the venue is going to do for the customer. All student nights feature discounted drinks and entry prices, so dont expect Tiesto. Profit margins denote how much clubs can spend on entertainment.

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  29. The old capacity of Fibbers was 280. The new capacity is closer to 500. This should be viewed as a testimony to the scale of change and ingenuity which has been employed throughout the undertaking of such a massive project. 4 days to go.

    If anyone is around in York over this coming weekend and would like some VIP tickets for the opening then email me :: [email protected]

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  30. 30 Aug ’10 at 1:41 pm

    Jason Stackhouse

    “closer to 500”? are you sure? Fire regs go on exits and space. Fire exits for “closer to 500” does not mean there is space for “closer to 500” people.
    Plus, what will you do when 2000 students turn up to get in a “closer to 500” capacity venue.

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  31. YUSU is a ridiculous riddle of mass bureaucracy and incompetence. I genuinely believe the union could be cut by at the very least two thirds. The ‘club loyalty’ within YUSU and determination to have its tentacles in every corner of our university is far short of any ‘democracy’. Plus was I the only one disturbed by our current ‘President’ being allowed (let alone elected) for a second year…surely we should have one term presidents and former presidents should simply vacate the comfort of the position and get a ‘real job’ in the big wide world,

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  32. Capacity is at 450. Floor Space & Fire Exits cover this, we’ve enlarged one exit and added another. Our floor space is now also much greater after extending the venue into the garages behind the venue. We will also be able to open the newly positioned stage on club nights to increase floor space. Other problems e.g. toilet space have been addressed. There are now eight cubicles for Ladies.

    The York University student night is to be billed as an ‘alternative student night’. If 2000 students turn up to get into the venue we will operate safely under a ‘1 in 1 out’ door policy.

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  33. “There are now eight cubicles for Ladies”. Does that equal out the number in the men’s or are we going on the commonly held yet surprisingly incorrect assumption that men don’t give a sh*t about privacy?

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  34. vodka revs has merged with orgasmic, so that should have a massively increased capacity anyways.

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  35. 3 Sep ’10 at 11:47 pm

    A man with sense

    Fred you are mistaken. Don’t believe everything you hear sugartits. x

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  36. still it would have to try really hard to be worse than sng was…

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  37. 8 Sep ’10 at 10:24 pm

    Lashly Cole, William Gallash, Richardo Lash Te, Cesc Fabrelash and Javier Lashcerano

    Woooooooooo! Variety.

    We feel it’s about time the provincial town club scene was spiced up in York. Luminar are specialists at running dire small-town clubs.

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  38. 9 Sep ’10 at 7:46 pm

    Janny Chollen

    Roque Banter Cruz?

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