The [Van of] Life and Death of Some Cheesy Chips

The heart-wrenching tale of how a post-essay night out coupled with valuable research for blog writing evolved into an incident of unprecedented destruction.

Katey Parker

Food. We all love it. But we all love it even more when it's that cheeky snack you treat yourself to after a night-out when calories literally don’t exist. In Cambridge, after the clock strikes 7pm, the fast food fairies elegantly dump two trailers outside Marks and Spencer and the magic of the night ensues. Such enchanted goings-on just had to be exposed to the spellbound world, so I bravely took on the challenge.

 With the aim of creating an impartial masterpiece, I initially planned to conduct this investigation into both enchanted caterers of the student masses: The Van of Life and The Van of Death. To charge my writing with an air of sophistication, I even intended to astound them with my inspiringly average interviewing skills.

 Yet a few hours later, and with more than a few Gin and Tonics guzzled down my neck, my towering ambition was swiftly demolished by the target of trying to cram in 4 hours sleep before a rough 9am lecture I obviously wasn’t going to attend. With ABBA’s ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’ ringing rather violently in my abused post-Cindies ears, camping outside a food trailer asking a disgruntled individual about the best way to assemble a quesadilla seemed increasingly bleak, when all they want to know was if I fancied a hefty helping of salt, and all I wanted to do was funnel the tray of oil-laden carbohydrates down my yearning oesophagus.

 In light of this situation, the Van of Life was sadly the only one blessed with our presence. My friend ordered with an unnecessarily formal request of “the chips served with cheese”, and I supplied the cash. Despite setbacks, I was still intent on enriching this pioneering writing with revelations about revitalising ravenous students. Unfortunately, I only managed a frankly embarrassing, “Do you, my good sir, too like cheesy chips?” in a voice reminiscent of a Charles Dickens character. Yet to my delight, I received in return, an answer. An answer explosive in content. An answer that went like so:


 Happy to take this absolutely no further, we scuttled off like a pigeon about to be trampled by an abnormally large herd of tourists.

 Probing questions asked, our attentions turned to devouring. They were everything we wished for, and were even given 8/10 stars on the ‘Cheesity Scale’ by one intoxicated taster. But the pleasure was not to last.

 Without an ounce of inhibition, I had been recklessly gripping the salty sticks of delight with my naked fingers. But on approaching college and being reminded of the civilised individual I pretended to be in the daylight hours, I opted to continue my munching with the aid of the (complementary) wooden fork.

 Surveying the carby mountains, my gaze settled upon an exceptionally cheese-enrobed number. I launched the wooden instrument into the puddle of yellow resting in my friend’s arms. Nursed as though an oily baby, I cradled the potatoey offspring with delicacy until my enthusiasm overwhelmed the arms holding the tray. They collapsed open, and the beloved chips had life cruelly torn from them. All I remember now is that what I felt, deep inside, as I saw the polystyrene tray fling itself in slow-motion to the bowels of the Earth below.

 Horror. Distress. Pain. Dismay.

 An explosion of beige splattered the canvas of grey tarmac. As I threateningly glared at my ‘friend’ (title now disputed), behind I heard revellers scream out their deepest sympathies. In front, my other friends stop mid-step. They turn. They choke. Their knees fold under the weight of the tragedy lying before them. Heads resting on grasped hands, wailing erupts. Our mourning lasts for an entire minute, at which point a heartless individual mentioned they were cold and that we were probably being a bit dramatic.

 Not all nights out are successes. I failed to get my first taste of trailblazing journalism when I simply couldn’t be bothered to ask any questions. I seasoned my organs with a healthy helping of heart-disease. I had delight snatched away. I had a friend become an enemy.

 But not all is bad - Cindies did play three Beyoncé songs in one night.