‘What does Fruity mean to me?’
This week In The Middle ran an exciting competition asking applicants to summarise their own personal relationships to Fruity in 400 words or less. First place, an inspired piece by Mikhail Hanafi, won a season pass to everyone’s favourite student night, whilst second placed Catherine Woodward won herself a free Fruity T shirt. Both parties also received a place in print, and a chance to reminisce about their last Friday, arguably greater prizes.
Leeds makes people edgy. Spend more than an hour in Eddy B and you’ll find your jumper’s been magically swapped for a vintage denim jacket, your hair’s gotten 27% greasier and your socks have suddenly become mismatched (but in an aesthetically-pleasing way, you know?)
You start to listen to more neo-psychedelic indie-popcore and talk about how you feel as though the “pop machine just churns out one inauthentic pop prince/princess after another, and it’s just so fucking soulless and bland.” You’ve outgrown your older, less-informed tastes. You’re better than that now that you’re at uni. You’ve matured as a person. Out with Bieber, in with Bon Iver. Out with Coldplay, in with Tame Impala. Out with Calvin Harris, in with Shy FX. And then, one fateful Friday night, your housemate says “Maybe we should go to Fruity.”
You think about saying no, but then you log on to the Santander website and realise that you’ve blown all your student loan at Beaverworks and Canal Mills. You haven’t been to Fruity since that one night in first year, so why not? It’s only £4, and even if it’s not a good night at the very least the smoking area’s decent.
You head into the union with low expectations, your housemate more excited than you are about the night ahead, and roll your eyes when you hear ‘Gold Digger’ blaring out of the speakers as you walk into Stylus — you love Kanye but ‘Gold Digger’ is so totally overplayed. You down two Jagerbombs. You prepare yourself for a night of cheesy songs which you are “so over”.
Then the DJ puts a new song on. It’s a chart song from 2011. You used to listen to it all the time with your friends in Year 9 and suddenly you’re 14 again and singing along, dancing like you did when you didn’t care about anything other than how catchy a song was, remembering every single lyric that you thought you’d forgotten years ago.
You’re dancing to Taylor Swift, double vodka lemonade in hand, and you are absolutely loving it. Edginess be damned.
Fruity does that to people, because Fruity is the ex you keep going back to. You think you hate them, but when you’re with them you realise how much fun you’re actually having. You’re going to dance the night away to pop songs you thought you hated, drunk on affordable drinks, and you’re going to get with your housemate and regret it the next day.
You’re going to enjoy yourself whether you like it or not, because no matter how edgy you are, no one is too good for Fruity.
One peculiar memory I’m sure we all share concerns your youth, when your mum drags you to a family party and all you want to do is go home to your bedroom. Your happy place, where’s its warm, safe, perfectly messy. That place that owns your heart, it’s home. That’s what Fruity is to every University of Leeds student, whether they want to admit it or not.
The sticky floors, the cheap drinks, the awkward flings with your seminar crushes, the same Taylor Swift songs week after week. This has built a nation of trust around Fruity, ensuring a mind blowing night out at every visit. Not to forget you can stroll (stagger whilst falling into someone’s bins and off the curb) home via Crispy’s with ease. You don’t even have to fight to the death against the sweaty hot messes of High Rise where you end up paying a hefty amount of money to get back to Hyde Park, just to sesh until 9am.
Like a rollercoaster, and every Friday is definitely that, you finish where you began. Every third year will come back to their roots, come back to where they began in first year, and finish what they started. A morning after Fruity is never filled with regret but pure pride on how abysmal your behaviour was the night before. Waking up to the the selfies of you and a stranger doing £2 Jäger shots together whilst your friend gets with someone else to the inevitable sounds of Bump ‘n’ Grind , this is what we live for. On the day of my graduation I’ll be taking my Mum and Dad down to Fruity and showing them what my £9,000 a year has been truly spent on – and they will be proud.