At 11.50pm, the first squads had mobilised and embarked on perhaps one of the longest, most treacherous journeys in all of Scotland: the Daft Friday queue. The first group had taken the HIVE door and overhang. Whilst this is a prime spot, I would argue my spot had been better positioned. The benches on the hill of the Stevie have small flat areas perfect for setting up camp. We brought hand warmers, chairs, sleeping bags, and foam mats to keep off the ice-cold concrete. We had rations of Galaxy bars, chips and guac, 1,000 Jaffa cakes, as well as Tennents and Bucky, that we certainly would not drink in the street as that’s against the law. We were well prepped for the trek ahead.
Within the first hour while spirits were high, our rations were becoming depleted. People raced to their spots and by 1.30am the whole hill had been taken. While we went for more of a camping vibe, others had brought in air mattresses, tables, and even a full-on sofa. The issue with these is that they are often logistically obnoxious, especially when you consider that you have to carry everything through the union when you purchase the ticket. While a pop-up tent seems ideal, many tents aren’t free standing and often are cramped, but if there were ever rain during a queue night, it might be a shout.
By 2.00am the mood had changed. We were short of resources and called in for reinforcements of McDonalds from UberEats. The cold hit all at once and I tried to get some sleep. This is not really sleeping as much as a vicious cycle of shivering until you pass out for 10 minutes, change positions and repeat. There are fewer lower moments in my life than spooning a bottle of Buckfast. It reminded me of my time in the scouts camping in the tundra of the midwestern winter of Ohio. Despite being in two layers of thermal tops and bottoms, sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and a hat and gloves, the cold was still getting to me. This went on for hours and created an uneasy peace. This part of Bear Grylls they never show; the sheer painful boredom of being cold for hours on end.
When I “awoke” just after 6am, I decided to walk around the queue. It had wrapped around the Stevie and the Union building, finishing just mere steps from the HIVE door. The queue had wrapped around the entire block. This is the largest it has been in years. I descended up the hill and took in the morning air, which had the distinct odor of weed. Many were still shivering, and spirits were quiet. This was the point Bank Street and Rajous (and Rajous 2) had opened and their queues were long; thankfully, we still had some snacks left from the night.
Then our rescuers came, GUU board members began giving placeholder tickets and we knew the wait was nearly over. We broke camp and packed up our waste. We marched through the Disneyland-esque queue of switchbacks. The excitement made me feel like a kid getting onto a ride. I finally had reached the dining room and got my golden ticket. Nine hours of waiting were over, all the cold and suffering for this piece of paper in my hand. ‘Twas a magical moment for all.
I went home and slept for the next six hours, then I awoke and checked my Facebook. Not only did the queue not get cut, but they had over 200 tickets still available. The trek was for null. That being said, I think the queue is a good thing. I appreciate Daft Friday more and feel like I’ve been a part of this strange tradition that many Glasgow Uni students hold as a badge of honour. The suffering isn’t just for the ticket, it’s for the history and the daftness of Daft Friday. Sure, no sane person should lock themselves into a 12-hour HIVE and pay £40 for the pleasure, but it is all about the crazy experience.