Amidst a swirling tempest of internal turmoil, Shakespeare’s Hamlet poses the head-scratcher: “to be or not to be”. If only he would ask us: ”to bop or not to bop”. “Hamlet mate” I would say, “that is not the fucking question. The question is, in fact, bop juice—orange or Red Bull?” Remembering what the lads at Wittenberg used to say—that “there is nothing either good or bad, but drinking makes it so”—he’d probably down a few there and then. Instead of feigned insanity, Hamlet would go on a “legit mad one”.
There would be nothing rotten in the state of Denmark, and Denmark, like everyone else, would be an absolute state. At midnight, the Dane would slur into the ear of a baffled porter a lovesick eulogy. And, come the morning, Hamlet and Ophelia would linger in bed to catch up on Stranger Things and ‘deliveroo’ some noodles.
Cannot we learn from this cautionary tale of what might have been? The start of term has potential for some serious Hamlet-style ‘Oxistential crisis-ing’. For a start, you’ve just realised that your vac reading list was not intended as a hilarious joke. And, whilst you may not be the monarch of Denmark who’s been visited by the ghost of his murdered father, you’ve still got a lot on your plate.
Bops are the answer to this stress. Being required to only deploy two phrases throughout the entire night—”Who did you come as?” and “Well, I’m off to get another drink”—you don’t have to fret about small talk. You’ll sweat out all your toxins, Gwyneth Paltrow style, attempting to breakdance and by running around avoiding people you’ve just been rude to. The headspace and endorphins will combine, catapulting you to new levels of clarity.
Post-bop, you will deem life to be generally okay, and consider it amazing if some cheesy chips and a Rubicon are thrown into the bargain, which they duly will be. “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t” (Hamlet, Act II Scene ii)
I love dancing. I love partying. I love to boogie. I worked hard to attain my BNOC status by being an absolute legend in first year. And yet, despite my party proclivities, I hate bops.
Firstly, the age-old conundrum of timing. Do you rock up fashionably late, like the cool kid you are, when the bop is Certified Live™? Or, do you arrive early, join the freshers, and awkwardly stand under the harsh light of a single coloured globe in the middle of an empty dance floor?
It’s true, you never want to be too early to a bop, and yet, most bops end so early that by the time you’ve had a few drinks in someone’s room and perfected your costume, the whole thing is already winding down. Result: you arrive ready to slay, with the last round bell already rung.
This brings us to problem number two: post-bop indecision. Or, as I like to call it, ‘the-disintegration-of-social-relations-as-you-realise-that-all-your-friends-are-snakes’.
You’ve somehow managed to concoct a runway-worthy look out of all the junk in your room, and just reached a good level (because, as always, the bop juice ran out too early), and now, finally, you’re ready to party! You frantically stagger about the room and at last find some faces that you recognise.
“Cellar?” you shout confidently around the room. Your ‘friends’, however, drearily respond with the likes of: “Sorry mate, I’ve got an essay”, “No way, I’ve got finals” and “I’m the literal snake who convinced Eve to eat the apple and release sin into the world”, as they disappear faster than the aforementioned bop juice.
You are struck by indecision, paralysed by the dilemma of whether to drag your sweaty corpse to a club. Like the trolls in The Hobbit, your friends bicker and argue about the logistics of clubbing until the the bright lights of the bar come on. Inevitably, you’re all turned into stone, and perish.