Liverpool “Crystal Maze” SSAGO Rally

Last year I was a student living on “less than thirty Altairan Dollars a day” and up for an elected ‘job’, this year I’m going to see my replacement elected just as I’ve started a career. It’s kinda ironic I guess, I’ve been a little uneasy about the whole process as I’ve done a lot for the SSAGO Publicity role and I don’t want it ending up in ruin. I thought the only truly happy outcome would be someone to fill in the voids I purposely didn’t address as it wouldn’t so much be a replacement of my work but a continuing in the direction I left it heading in. Luckily a charming lady got elected, the wonderful Heather Coupe, the sister of a previous PO. I look forward to seeing her exploits over the coming year, hopefully the rest of the exec won’t be a roller-coaster ride.

As for the rest of the rally, if the Crystal Maze has been set in fields and woods with a low low budget I imagine it would be very similar to this, the activities were varied and numerous with a strong focus on teamwork. The costumes in the evening were spectacular, so many home brew Crystal Domes and a plethora of Golden and Silver Tickets everywhere! I think what certainly made the Rally a lot more enjoyable is having more in your pocket than lint, it was a real pleasure to buy a round for the friends I’ve made whilst in SSAGO at the Ceilidh bar.

Additionally this was originally going to have a new Rally Booking system, the intention being to add the booking system onto the blog I hacked onto the SSAGO message board but unfortunately due to a communication error my work was in vain. It was a pleasant learning experience nonetheless and I learnt a few things about the admin area functions of WordPress. Shame though, would be nice to have all the login details in the same place with the ability to create an archive of who did what and when over the years.

So here truly endith my life as a student, all loose threads coming to an end, only thing really left is to handover to my successor. I doubt this will be my last Rally though, I’ve known people to hang on for a few but I don’t think I’ll be doing this too many more times. Thanks.

Loughborough “Down-under” SSAGO Rally

This is of course the Rally of the SSAGO AGM, this was to be the big one, the rally where everything that had gone wrong (and the few things that went right) over the previous year I would have to face upto. I wasn’t reluctant to go, infact I was eager, I couldn’t wait to see the outcome because I knew at heart what I hadn’t done, I hadn’t done for a reason.

Either way this was certainly going to be a memorable Rally for me, my last as an Executive member or the beginning of another year on a vastly different governing committee. Standing uncontested I figured my chances were pretty good but knowing how controversial the entire election process was going to be with the new (broken) rules, the political mess that had been brewed and the importance of the 2007 year I expected a lot of action at the AGM.

I didn’t get off to a good start, after a slightly bodged travel arrangements I arrived at a respectful time of 8pm, not my earliest, not my latest (1am!) I missed the Rally last summer through automobile mechanical failure; attendances are never as big as the Spring ones, especially with the locations being the center and extreme of the United Kingdom, respectively so I missed out on seeing quite a few people for 6 months or so since they weren’t at the autumn Rally.

I sat in the mess hall for quite a bit, Muriel’s Wedding (1994) was on. I knew this was the “Down Under” rally but couldn’t they at least put on Mick “Chocodile” Dundee?

With Rallies being only 3 times a year and few members managing to make it to the external national events it can be quite a while between being each other. Talking on MSNM is fine but you learn alot about another person through their mannerisms and inflictions that you could learn through typing on messaging facility. So whilst chatting with Mary and Colin about how their journey had gone (without me!) Faz and Emily walked in, luckily M+C knew how much I was going to have to mosey around the crowds tonight to scope the scene for the AGM on Sunday. Not so much for my own survival but that of another unfortunately re-election that had the possibility of stagnating SSAGO.

In the 2005-6 year Exec snowballs had been set into motion for monumental changes that would raise the status of SSAGO beyond any status it had had in the last 20 years. (Edit: What happened to these snowballs? They melted, as of May 2007 it turns out the people that could’ve kept the momentum going dropped them either through passing on the project to someone else or because they weren’t re-prompted by the new SSAGO Exec, so really there is no-one to blame but ourselves.) I had hoped to be a catalyst in the change but unfortunately my hands were tied because without action I can not react!

There were 3 levels of interest I found in people not running, either people were apathetic, unbeknownst or carefree. Which meant that more time was spent on the more interesting subjects such as jobs, club activities and member suggestions.

As you can see in the photo (right) the reps meeting on the Saturday was a hoot (end sarcasm) but there was a rather humorous Policy Document put forward about Pigeons. And a rather serious event which has produced ripples that are still felt today, in a way there good but it would’ve been better if an unfortunately incident hadn’t have to happen for it to be realised.

In an act of rebellion I choose to do the pyjama party with 28 other girls. I had planned to do this ever since it was going to be an Anne Summers party as boys aren’t supposed to go to them but SSAGO is all inclusive. Anyway, due to criticism it was made into a harmless PJ party which I fully intended to go dressed a la Arthor Dent. Seeing as I don’t usually have any PJs I went and brought some rather fetching blue striped ones for £10 at Matalan.

Having woken up thinking it would be silly to get dressed then get undressed for the PJ party I spent the entire morning and lunch in my PJs and dressing gown. So by this point I had managed to rally (:lol:) many others into getting their PJs on and doing the party thing properly.

I expect there would be a sofa somewhere and the projector setup for us all to watch, what we actually got exceeded these expectations. Chocolate fondue for Bananas, Marshmallows and strawberries, all the cheesy board games you can imagine and a movie!

The evening was possibly one of the best Ceilidhs I’ve been to in a long long time. We were right next to one of the Loughborough Student Union Bars which meant much cheaper liquid refreshment than the usual bulk brought bottles and a great sound system.

I felt especially good about myself for being able to buy a round of drinks for my fellow Exec members, something I haven’t been able to do because of the financial restrictions of studentdom. Being able to properly relax with good chums (photo above) that you just ‘click’ with is a rarity so I just took a load off, talked, played and danced until it was time to go back to the campsite on a good old double decker bus.

When we got back on site I collected my raffle winnings (funnily enough I suggested the raffle idea to the people running it!) which was a choice of 3 crates of lager, not being a lager drinker I decided to offer them to anyone that wanted one, which funnily enough few people were, apparently the majority of SSAGO men are bitter or cider drinks.

At last the AGM, suffice to say it was rather whimsical, the minutes can (or will) be found here, obviously they don’t convey the full atmosphere of the moment but they useful. Highlights include; a pigeon flying here or there, a few groups getting permission to do stuff, a (well deserved)vote of no confidence and the return of the Golden age of SSAGO through a phenomenally cosmically powered Exec consisting of myself, Daz, Ilona, Paul and the suitably re-elected Matt.

And so it begins again.

Birmingham “Chocolate” SSAGO Rally

Thursday 18th

Apart from a rather disheartening phone call I had a fantastic stay in Birmingham, Went up on Wednesday to visit my old school chum Div. After driving flawlessly for ±90 miles I counted up the road to Div’s house number and somehow it jumps from 60 to 125 right house number after 30 mins of searching I found the right number yet I kid you not I was still 100m off; I was on the wrong road!! So we then went to the pub for drinks.

Friday 19th

Friday was spent checking out the University of Birmingham Student Guild Newspaper, the Red Brick had me a lovely chat for about an hour with tea and coffee. Overall they were greatly impressed with our Business cards and Magazine, neither of which they have but I was impressed at how good their paper looked even when the majority of the page was text.

At night SSAGO Rally commenced the usual meet and greets was unusual to be there so early considering the last rally I arrived at around 3am on a Saturday morning.

Saturday 20th

A difficult wake-up and an uncomfortable get-up. I’ve been cold before but this was shiver city, seriously, last February Rally I camped on snow and that was warmer.

Greatly planed rally with the Reps Meeting beginning at a relaxing 10am. This I thought gave me enough time to get a shower in after flag break. I tell you these showers were my ultimate test of manhood; I had to first rout the water to my shower then when I did it was warm so I striped and jumped into ICE WATER! Considering I was now wet I thought I’d finish so I at least smelt better. Certainly interesting turning upto a Rep Meet with a towel and wet hair.

Then it was a quick rush to get myself sorted for CADBURY’S WORLD! It was great fun getting there, bobbing up and down in the minibus, chatting away, then touring the place with the ‘leaders’ picking up chocolate to share out at the end.

I didn’t really do much at the Ceilidh mostly spent my time in the chillin’ tent chatting to the current exec

Sunday 21st

Today was the culmination of a lot of work and preparation running for the SSAGO Publicity Officer 2006-7 position, it was myself versus RON and I won with only a small percentage wanting nominations reopened. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the result as there was some controversy surround one of the victorious parties and other is doing it for the fame and not because they want to or can do. I’ve just been elected into a year that in all likeliness will not be as productive as I want because I’m going to be frequently out voted by a minority before we get to the majority. Stupid maximum term limitations.

Trip home was easy, had along a passenger too, Colin, was good to be able to have someone to chat to but my throat decided to swell up but luckily I’d though ahead and had some paracetamol nearby.