The Big Cheese: VKs, S Club 7 and sexual harassment

The Big Cheese is an amazing place to be on a Saturday. It’s in the name – the music is cheesy! That means that the people who go aren’t too serious. Nobody takes themselves, or the event, seriously. People go to the Big Cheese for fun music and a chilled environment. The university event also attracts the widest range of people I’ve ever seen in a club. It attracts weird (and usually wonderful) people from all across the university, and sometimes beyond.

However, my experience of the Big Cheese hasn’t been wholly positive. Being a student event, there are no older, creepy guys that you sometimes get staring into club dancefloors, making all those sober enough to notice feel very uncomfortable. Although this does make the place feel safer, it still doesn’t make me feel as safe as a women in a club in 2016 should. I’ve actually experienced more sexual harassment at the Big Cheese than anywhere else. (Yes, that’s including Hive.)

I’ve had my arse slapped by many of the ‘lads’ in the Big Cheese showing off to their ever-so-unfunny friends. There was also one guy, who came directly up to me and asked “Can I have sex with you?” I’m glad that he was clear about his intentions, but I also felt very uncomfortable. Particularly when he proceeded to put him arm round me and try to dance after I had (clearly and a little rudely) declined. I don’t expect this from a student venue.

Sports Societies are a frequent occurrence at the Big Cheese. They can be easily identified stood by the bar in similar outfits, often their training gear. Although some people do find these groups intimidating, and often their incestual nature means they keep themselves to themselves, they’re not actually doing anyone any harm. Besides, where else can you to go in lycra on a Saturday night?

The dancefloor is unlike any other, being littered with plastic VK bottles that everyone keeps kicking as they try and bust a move to something oh-so-2007. I have never, ever, ever, seen so many people drinking VKs in one place before. Not even at pre-teen parties, which is clearly where VKs belong. Is it that a high percentage of students lived sheltered lives before university and therefore cannot handle their alcohol? Why are there people falling over with bottles of VKs in their hand? If someone asked me to describe the Big Cheese, I’d mention two things: the music that everyone knows and loves, and the obsession with VKs that the night seems to bring out in people.

Finally, I’m a big fan of the Big Cheese, despite the uncomfortable situations the clubbers sometimes put me (and others, I’m sure) in. However, the recent suggestion in the EUSA elections for a second, midweek Big Cheese, does not get my support. Granted, sometimes the queues are unreal. But if you put the Big Cheese on a Wednesday, and charge £3 entry, I’m simply going to walk that extra five minutes and go to Hive, which is free and has £1 shots of absinthe. I know it’s not classy, but if you take a step back, you’ll see that neither is the Big Cheese.

 

Image credit: sfu.marcin

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