Travelling on an absolutely packed Virgin train with no leg room due to the fact that a rucksack and a bass guitar were shoved at my feet was not my idea of a fun way to spend nine o’clock on a Friday morning! I was, however, extremely excited about arriving in Sheffield and our ‘battle of the bands’ competition that lay in the weekend ahead of us. We had reached the national final and were somewhat astonished at how far we had gotten. After finally arriving at Doncaster train station (our route had been changed as a result of the serious flooding surrounding our destination) with my other bandmates and our country representative, we dug out a crumpled and soggy map – typically, someone’s juice had leaked – and began trekking up what seemed like a never-ending hill towards our accommodation, the halls of residence in Sheffield University. This took well over an hour, as there were various arguments among our group of which road to go down and when we finally reached our home for the weekend, it was 6pm and we had been travelling for over 10 hours. Not such a good start!
Having dumped our belongings in the main hall, we were shown to our rooms. They could only be described as dirty white boxed-in walls with small sinks at one end and dilapidated beds in the corner. I did not have a particular opinion of Sheffield, but from what I had seen so far, which was not very much, it may as well have been a suburb of somewhere else. When I peered out of my filthy window, the view was really nothing to shout about. More halls of residence, a miniscule green area with a few benches beside it and a graffitied wall were all that I could see. I made a quick mental note never to go and study at Sheffield University.
Six-thirty on Saturday morning came around surprisingly quick and we were all woken by the dulcet tone of an air horn and a lady with unfortunate hair cheerily telling us to “rise and shine!” This did not go down well with the Scottish crew and even