All work and no play can make Jack a dull boy, and if Jack also happens to be a Cambridge student, he’s probably bored out of his mind. A healthy balance of study and recreation is the best way to top exam results and maintain good mental health. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult in a city of dwindling entertainment options.
A narrative of increasing issues and problems within Cambridge’s music scene has weaved its way through this term’s news stories. In this very issue, we report on the restrictions being placed on non-King’s students attending King’s Bunker, a blow for both the alternative Cambridge music scene and the institution itself.
Cambridge is notorious for the lack of nightlife options and diversity. Last month, Which? University Guide slated the city, with only 39% of Cambridge students agreeing that there is a different range of “pubs, clubs and music venues near your university which cater to a range of tastes.” This embarrassingly low score puts it in the same ranks as other party capitals Durham and Chichester.
Perhaps the issue at work behind the scenes is one consistently plaguing relations between the university and the city – a town/gown divide.
A spokesperson from the Portland Arms explained their low student attendance as being linked to low student awareness of any events “beyond the confines of the University”. Maybe the times have changed, and not for the better. Rose-tinted glasses wearing alumni claim that “back in their day” students played more of an active part in the city’s entertainment scene. It’s more than possible that as students we stick too rigidly to life in the centre of town. How many third years could point to Cambridge landmarks like Hills Road on a map? Why do people talk about Mill Road as if it is some distant, far away land?
If we want Cambridge’s nightlife options to improve, we need to vote with our feet and support our local entertainment scene. Let’s be brave and even try somewhere we haven’t been before. Such actions would be good for our cultural scene, good for our relations with the locals and most importantly, good for our wellbeing.
In the same way we preserve our buildings and museums, we are caretakers of Cambridge’s cultural legacy. It’s our task to ensure its survival.