When she's not busy doing nothing, our columnist Claire Healy is fighting her way through the crowds in search of free pizza
by Claire Healy
Friday 5th October 2012, 18:33 BST
2 October 2012, 1000 hrs. As a new day dawns at Kelsey Kerridge Sports and Leisure centre, the stage is set for a battle the likes of which young Cantabrigians can only hope never to be witness to again. But, in this most hallowed and overhyped of weeks, the draw of the battleground is too much to resist. Upon the well-trod terra firma of Parker’s Piece, the opposing sides pitch their battle tents ready for the assault. Their target? Freshers.
Pizza Hut to right of them, Pizza Perfect to left of them, Dominos Pizza in front of them: Volley’d and thunder’d, Stormed at with shot (glass) and shell, Boldly they rode and well - into the jaws of what I could only consider to be my own, personal, Hell.
Ropey poetic analogies aside, I cannot emphasise to you enough the epic scale of the pizza-based conflicts at the ground level of the Freshers’ Fair. Bravely going where no Healy has gone before (not even the first-year me), I made the trip to the societies fair in the hope of finding a society that would have me.
Little did I anticipate that claiming an allegiance to one or another pizzeria would be an essential step in even breaching the gates of said fair. A little negotiating later, and I’d been convinced to swap my Pizza Hut plastic bag for a Dominoes one, in exchange for two slices of pizza. I wouldn’t push your luck too far with these tough recruits, however, as fellow attendees got rumbled for attempting a third slice. My tip? Upon returning to the pizza stall for a second run, create a cunning disguise with your newly obtained promotional hat/pens/post-its.
Onto the societies. Was this sweltering hall of hormones and hand-outs to be the birthing ground of my metamorphosis? I am sooner alerted to the need for a one-way system than to the society of my dreams. Five minutes in, a young man piques my interest with his blunt recruiting style: “are you single?”. Before I could explain to him that I’m really just concentrating on me right now, I am handed a flyer for the Cambridge University Flirting Service. Before moving on, I wonder if the eager love gurus are even single themselves.
As I continued on my journey, it was the sheer number of societies that really struck me. Between the ‘Cambridge University Treasure Trap Live Roleplay Society’ (intriguingly located next to the Varsity stall) and the somewhat more enigmatic ‘Go!’ Society (“Better than Chess!”, apparently), there really did seem to be something for everyone. But what about me? I had nearly given up all hope before a small stall emblazoned with the following seven words caught my eye: "DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?". "No, I don’t!" I cried thankfully, as I promptly signed up to the Cambridge University Heraldic & Genealogical Society mailing list.
What? Surely there’s no society better suited to help me discover myself - and besides, the promise of three Feasts (!) throughout the year quickly rendered my pizza begging days a distant memory.