As one of the two truly iconic party streets of North Dunedin, Castle is locked in a never ending tussle with Hyde to prove their status as the true home of O-Week. It’s hectic, as parties spill onto the street and combine into a frothing melee of noise, dancing and vomit.
We sent a dedicated reporter down Castle to interview partying students every single night of O-Week.
Interviews by Charlie O'Mannin, with help from Edan O’Hanrahanrahan, Connor Seddon, and Saskia Rushton-Green
O-Week on Castle Street started with a rumble, followed by a distant “CUNT!” which faded into the babble. We wandered down Dundas, past a legion of men pissing against walls, into a thicket of happily milling people. Hi-viz vests were popular attire, no doubt reflecting either heightened safety awareness or the large presence of surveying students.
“I’m a big deal,” our first interviewee informed us, “I had sex with this one girl, she was kind of a big deal, I don’t like to brag. I had sex with her and she was like ‘you’re so amazing’. There were actually a few girls around. I couldn’t have sex with them all, because, you know, I was pretty exhausted. I’ve got quite a small penis, in fact a very tiny penis; it’s not always a drawback. It’s not really the size; it’s not even really how you use it. To be honest I just lie there.”
Someone screamed, “FUCK SECOND YEAR SURVEYING,” we turned around, and when we turned back he was gone, presumably to ruminate further on his tiny penis.
The surveying students wanted to talk about shapes. One told us that squares are the most attractive geometric shape because they are “easy to find the area of. I don’t know what you find sexy, but I like finding the area of stuff.”
Another guy (who rated his froth level as “a 9 and a half, I’ve smashed like three boxes”) launched unprompted into accounts of his sexual exploits. “I was fucking this German chick and we were full swing and she was like ‘yo’ and I was like ‘nah-ah’ and that was when she put a finger up my bum.” His tone changed, “How do I fuck a chick so good that she remembers my name the next day? Because that shit doesn’t happen.”
Strangely, he also told us about his small penis. “It’s the way you float the boat at the end of the day, not the size of the ship.” Small penises: projected trend for 2018.
Then, in a classic small dick move, he started talking about politics. “National is a left wing party. They’re so socialist. They’re like Bernie Sanders.” Having outed himself as a crazy person, he doubled down on the subject of eugenics. “If we let people who cannot use their legs biologically breed with people who can, then what happens if the entire human race becomes unable to use their legs? We’re just going to die.” We left pretty quickly, before he could talk to us any more about “imperfect humans”.
Off the street a large crowd formed around some fire-dancers, offset by a scattering strobe light and some aggressive men kept from fighting each other by a large pile of rubbish.
On the outskirts of a rave, we talked to two women who were planning on doing a seven-night bender. One was planning on going “140%. I reckon half a bottle of vodka wild, so not excessive. I bought three bottles of vodka today and I’m planning on drinking them all this week.” She was fairly happy about the froth level. “It’s an ok level of froth for a Monday. I went out Friday of Flo-Week and it was fucking shit. There was no one out. 0/10.”
We moved back to the street and talked to some women lying stretched out in the middle of the street. They told us about someone who jumped “from the roof of a two story flat into a massive hedge. They went to hospital; they got stitches.”
The street was cold and wet and dead. Two party animals, one wearing a novelty drinking hat, walked door-to-door in the rain, asking at every house if they could come in and party. They were turned away again and again. At one flat the door was opened by a man who said, “you can’t sleep here,” before closing the door in their face.
Wednesday also sucked. “It’s winter bro,” one guy muttered as he brushed past us, hood up, icicles frosting his beard, eyes reflecting a sober abyss.
Wednesday was the night of the Toga Party. “FRESHER!” yelled a person with the brain of a small invertebrate as he hurled a bottle across the street, smashing a metre from a guy in a toga. He ran away.
Later we saw an awkward group of people stood in a perfect circle, shivering in sneans and matching hoodies. “This is lame. Let’s go back to Cumby and then to 10 Bar,” we overheard.
Thursday was better, but there were still half as many people as there were on Monday. One person told us they were “quite disappointed; it’s supposed to be O-Week and no one’s out.”
When asked what the weirdest thing he’d ever put up his butt was a man replied, “Which is weirder, a cucumber or a parsnip?” Apparently the parsnip was “buzzy; it was a great feeling but also a weird one at the same time”.
One translucently white woman was repeatedly calling other white people the n-word, which made us very uncomfortable, so we left. To get out, we waded through a large patch of gelatin-like greyish vomit. I saw two small pieces of tofu.
Friday was full of energetic people being wheeled in shopping carts or striding purposefully towards the horizon. We conducted a dynamic interview with a man running down the street, “Toga party was shit, music was shit, and then the one last night [Chase & Status] was shit”.
Another student described their hangover routine, “I wake up, lie there depressed for three hours, get out of bed, sit in the shower, listen to Drake for two hours, get a box of Wild Moose, drink that, start again.”
A Christian group was giving out sausages down the end of the street. The guy running it told us that he’d been giving out sausages on O-Week for the last three years and the road’s been chocked, but that now it’s not as much of a problem.
One student was unhappy with the sausages, insisting that they were “part of a conspiracy. You know what you can’t do at the exact same time? Drink and eat a sausage. It’s part of the conspiracy man, look,” he gestured around him, “no one here is drunk.”
Another student eating a sausage told us that a flat they were at the day before had had thirty holes punched out of the roof.
We headed to Leith Street which, contrary to every other night of O-Week, was going off. “Leith Street is the new Castle Street, man it is fucking lit boi,” one man claimed, “I fucking went down Castle Street before, it was fucking tame as fuck boi. Even the sausages were tame.”
We asked a group what the most disgusting thing they’d seen on O-Week was. “The previous Selwyn College committee vomited in a wheelie bin all Flo-Week and then at their initiation they poured it over [my friend’s] head. They pissed in it, they vomited in it, they put old fish in it. It was fucking disgusting,” said one woman. Another member of the group told us with a cheeky smile that he once put a Speight’s bottle up his butt, “I was pretty happy, ay”.
We tried to interview Campus Watch, but Harlene’s Private Army wasn’t having a bar of it, so we talked to the police instead. A sergeant told us that he thought the level of disorder this year was “about the same” as previous years, but that there was “probably a bit less” glass throwing, and that couch fires were “way, way, down”.
Moving on, we saw a woman get carried out of a window and dropped on some rubbish. She told us (unprompted) about how much she likes her boyfriend’s penis. “It’s round and it’s nice to suck and it’s one of a kind; it’s yummy.” We asked her how her O-Week was going, “It’s been good, I mean, it’s pretty repetitive. I’ve got to wee on the side of the street every half an hour, but that’s pretty standard right? I drink a Nitro and a half because I’m a little girl. I like to show my tits, but I’m secure.”
“I don’t bang people for self-confidence,” she continued, “but a lot of people do, and I think that’s pretty gross. Honestly, bang someone because they care about you not because it makes you feel secure. I’m secure. I’ll show my tits to anyone,” she lifted up her top, “A lot of people aren’t secure and I wish they were. I have a boyfriend, I’d rather keep my top on, but I’m literally only lifting it up to just prove a fucking point.”
We swam into a rave’s tepid moisture, the sweat causing water damage to the roof. Very few people were dancing; mostly they just stood very close to each other and yelled. “This is the lamest O-Week I’ve ever been to,” one person told me outside, “What the fuck is everyone doing. There’s no one here, they’re not committing to the party,” someone interrupted him by throwing a bottle, “Ya fucking missed me ya cunt,” he screamed.
Saturday on Castle Street was a real party. If the street were a piece of toast, it would have been spread inches thick with the jam of human filth.
“I was just upstairs at one of the house parties down on Hyde Street and I saw one guy lying down, girl on top of him, riding obviously, having sex with him, and there was another girl riding on the back of the first girl, like a piggy-back,” a guy with a beautiful silken voice told us.
One man squatting in the gutter started with, “One day I put a traffic light up my butt,” before getting upset at our giggling, “If you’re from Critic why can you not be fucking serious and take a proper interview”. He returned to the detail, “I put a butt plug, then lube, then the whole iceblock up my arse”.
We ran into Josh Smythe, OUSA Recreation Officer, who told us the best thing he’d seen on O-Week, “A fence got kicked down and it was beautiful. They stacked mattresses against the fence and they jumped off their roof together and they fucking smashed it down. It’s a really good metaphor as well. People just want to connect.”
A Castle Street resident backed Josh up, describing the general vibe of O-Week as one of “actual love and peace”.
“I’ve seen a lot of fights - one of my friends last night got blindsided to the back of the head - but I’ve seen a lot of beautiful times as well; when the people are just dancing together, vibing out to the music, and everyone’s so fucking mellow. The whole vibe of the party has to be super homogeneous. Everyone has to be on the same vibe; everyone’s dancing the same, it’s fucking cool. Those are the beautiful times that I’ve been seeing every single night.”