Oxford Bops - Oxford University

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The College Bop, Oxford University

Described to a JCR1 meeting by its president as "Like this, only with the lights off and the chairs moved aside", the bop is for some an important and recurring event of the term's social calendar. The origins of The Bop are poorly defined; the word presumably relates to the trend toward bop music2 and thus considered an appropriate term for this College-approved party. Popular music of recent composition is to be heard at most bops these days. Bops are set apart from Oxford Cocktail Parties by being paid for from JCR (or where appropriate MCR or GCR) funds 3, but have many similarities.

The Bop is often themed to excite some creative considerations, "pirates and mermaids" or similar, depending on the apathy level of JCR members. Themes are frequently ignored by all but the most enthusiastic. Bops in weeks 3-74 can expect to be poorly attended due to "work" and other distractions.

Despite the stickiness of floors, warmness of drinks, and the awe inspiring inability of DJ Dave "Kid's parties half price!!" and his -'80s based, track-skipping, slightly grubby, PA overused - disco booth, the Bop can be great fun. Fun, but caution is required, not least since drinks are heavily alcholic and cheap. Actions and interactions are carefully noted down by all those who know you, which in the cloistered confines of the College is probably pretty much everyone present.

Bops end at around midnight depending on the leniency of College and good humour of its Dean5. Crowds from the bop take their time in dispersing since committees of friends have to decide on which of the choice nightclub venues available in Oxford is preferred. This process is slowed further by members trying to find, chat-up, or pull whoever it was from College who they fancied...or at least find out where they are going on to.
As bops usually take place at the weekends the options of post-bop venue are somewhat limited as townies and locals are liable to be occupying the more popular nightspots.

Returning to a friend's room is generally a good bet, especially if they are well stocked with brandy and ginger ale, cheese, biscuits, and a range of chutneys and preserves. A good Bop is often the precursor to hours of lively discussion. However the option of the PT6 should not be discounted, as a well refrigerated BGA7 will be just as refreshing at 2.15am (no Oxford venue is open after 2am) as at it might have earlier.

1 Junior Common Room, the undergraduate student body2Bop was a revolt from the confining style of swing music, and was part of the development of the jazz era; bop focused more on the harmony than the melody than did its predecessor.3MCR=Middle Common Room, GCR=Graduate Common Room. Bops run by these groups are liable to have an above average incidence of the "ugly scientist" sort, who appear magically from the darkened streets of Cowley/Botley. Bops at graduate colleges however are reportedly "wild and drunken" if one can cope with that much facial hair in a single room.4Oxford's three terms are numbered in weeks starting on Sundays (unlike Cambridge). Taught courses commence in week 1 and finish in week 8. The middle of most terms is when the most time is spent working despite the least work actually getting done in many instances, "5th week blues" (tiredness, etc..) being a common phenomenon in the undergraduate population.5Principal or Dean depending on persuasion of the College. Oxford University being collegiate in its structure, one is a member of an individual College. 6Purple Turtle, the Oxford Union's underground nightclub.7Brandy and Ginger Ale

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