Bops are Oxford’s fancy dress parties that form some of my fondest memories in college. For bops held in college bars, there’s no need to trek to Atik and pay an arm and a leg just to walk through the metal detector. There’s no fumbling around for change for the cloakroom, only to run the risk of losing the precious scrap of paper which secures a reunion with the Oxford puffer at the end of the night. Unlike a club, a bop in college is full of people you know. There won’t be a fifty-year-old man begging you to dance with his friends, or the thirty-five-year-old following you around for hours trying to kiss as sweat drops down from Plush’s walls. Bops are full of familiar faces, yet everybody looks remarkably different from their usual selves. Shy boys strut around in satin bodycon dresses and nineteen-year-olds live out their childhood dreams as Tellie Tubbies.
For a punk bop I enjoyed cutting up a cheap t shirt with scissors, and backcombing my hair into a bird’s nest. Bops in Lincoln start at eight and finish at midnight. They begin with tentative dancing and escalate to meek, mild mosh pits. The night always ends with Lincolnites forming a sweaty circle and slow dancing to Robbie William’s Angels, a rather random tradition that took some getting used to. Then a drunken crowd belts I’m Lincoln till I die, swaying on the death trap that is the sticky floor. Bop juice creates a slip and slide that glistens when the lights are turned back on.
Bop juice has recently been banned at Lincoln college and replaced with just buying drinks at the bar. Bop juice is a lethal blend of juvenile juice with vodka, sickly sweet wine, and the finishing touch of a sophisticated mint leaf. One cup of bop juice, served from a plastic tub of corona virus soup, contains an unknown amount of alcohol. The mysterious lack of measurements led to the removal of this beloved beverage. A drink that tastes like juice is therefore easy to guzzle and is also free of charge, leading to unnerving hangovers. Bops are popular on the last night of term, which has personally led to some sickly train journeys back to Edinburgh.
Some Bops involve a short walk to a nightclub. Recently I broke the promise to myself that I would not go to Bridge the night before my French translation collection. Sometimes I feel like I have a devil and angel weighing on my shoulders. The angel tells me to get an early night and be well rested for the collection of my intellect the next day. The devil insists that I won’t sleep anyway because Bear Lane is so loud, and when I’m old I’ll remember a night out more than a collection. Bops in clubs welcome collaboration with other Entz teams. The space age Turl Street Bop invaded Plush in Trinity term. Hundreds of space buns bopped it to the top. I put a lot of trust into a silver slither of fabric.
Bops invite rifling through sale racks for a costume. Halloween happens three times a term here. Rather controversially I wish bops didn’t involve the dressing up. I’d rather just wear an outfit that I already own instead of sourcing a costume or making a sign. This week I pottered around Westgate looking for a beret. The theme for Lincoln’s freshers bop was ‘When I was three, I wanted to be…’ Some Lincolnites even wanted to be priests or prisoners. I went as an artist without a paintbrush. The beret became itchy and a few hours into the night I put it down and then discovered it was stolen. The Entz chair delivered it to my pidge.
Despite the hassle of the obscure themes, bops are some of the best nights in college. Reunited with my beret and Atik bound, I was uplifted by dancing at my dream university to the music I used to listen to in the car on the way to nursery.
Image credit: Cecilia Catmur