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British Students Now Hate Fun and Would Rather Play 'Rave Badminton' Than Drink Pints

The party-animal student stereotype is dead; long live raveminton.

Some freshers who've been drinking rather than playing "raveminton." Photo by Jake Lewis

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

Consider every word of this sentence from an article in Sunday's Observer, titled "Students cut out the boozy nights as freshers' week sobers up," about how students are eschewing fun to instead do this shit:

Salsa classes, quiz nights, and raveminton—where students play badminton under UV lights with glow sticks attached to their rackets to the sound of rave music—are some of the events on offer to first-year Loughborough students who would rather not spend the next day nursing a hangover.


Rave-min-ton: A portmanteau so abrasive it wants me to shove both my arms down my throat and then pull them apart until I die. Rave. Badminton. The worst of both worlds: raveminton. The badminton game that is also a rave.

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At the heart of all this sadness is the Observer finding that more of these wretched young people—with their Snapchats, the young people, and their backwards baseball caps, and their memes; they like Amber Rose, the young people, don't they? Amber Rose and casual vaping—these young people, these students, now more than ever, are going teetotal.

Recent Office for National Statistics figures have found a 40 percent increase in young adults shunning alcohol between 2005 and 2013, and the proportion of 16-to-24-year-olds who drink has fallen two-thirds. As a result, student unions are organizing more wholesome freshers week activities, like sober dancing and sporting raves.

"Things are becoming less focused on going out," Loughborough University SU President Jess Excell told the paper. "There's been a shift in attitudes—students are focused on their studies and investing in their education; perhaps it's down to the rise in fees. People are also more conscious about spending lots of money, because everything is so much more expensive these days."

Obviously, from my distant pulpit as a human whose freshers week was now a literal decade ago, the weight of age decaying my body down to dust, my enthusiasm for things evaporated like dirty water in the bottom of a hot well, I view this news with cynicism and contempt. Young people? Choosing not to blot out the doomed reality of their future with alcohol and drugs? And maybe some quite sloppy and inadvisable sex? Hotbox the Citroen Saxo their parents bought them for getting two Bs and a C and getting in through clearing? Is a badminton rave really better than that? Are salsa lessons—the dance lesson your mom does on Wednesday nights when she decides she's bored with life but not quite bored enough to divorce your dad—are salsa lessons really better than doing party drugs and spending your maintenance grant on a really big speaker? No.


I mean, again—and not to labor the point—but: Are we saying that nobody—not one student rugby player—will shit in a pint glass and make a fresher drink the beer that is left in the pint glass around the shit, the turd bobbing slightly in the beer, the turd bumping gently against their lips and teeth as they chug it? No. I refuse this.

But then this might be me relying on an outdated student stereotype. Students used to be sort of walking Pot Noodle adverts, the kind of people who would turn up to freshers week knowing that they could shed the skin of their old nerdy sixth-form selves and be an infinity of people, with a new name and a new personality and a new group of friends, and they would translate that excitement into "incorporating a hat into their look." They would drink into oblivion as some sort of metaphorical two fingers up to mom and dad, animals let off the leash and running instantly into a pub with a warm handful of bills. They would get really good at pool. They would spend a lot of time getting their Facebook profile just right, before non-students were allowed on. I am talking about myself.

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Eighteen-year-olds these days, though—with their Tumblrs and their Twitters and their self-awareness—already know hats look bad on them, already have their "About Me" page on lock. Maybe they know drinking isn't for them, either. Add in study abroad students who aren't as British-ly into drinking, as well as students who don't drink for religious reasons, and suddenly a massive amount of the student community can't really enjoy "£1-a-pint night followed by a cheeky little piss on a war memorial" like the rest of us can.

Raveminton isn't really the sad death of student drinking culture, is it? Student sobriety isn't new. As long as students have been drinking, there has been some RAG Week weirdoid in fancy dress standing outside a pub jangling a bucket of coins, a human "Keep Calm and Carry On!" fridge magnet come to life. For every one student who thinks an SU-organized coach trip to the theater is a good way to spend a Tuesday night, there are seven or eight who will spend that evening drinking until they vomit, and then drinking that vomit. The moral of the story is that all students are bad and how they decide to be awful is up to them. The moral of the story is that there is no way raveminton can be considered in any way good or fun.

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