These were just a few of the secrets your fellow St Andreans revealed at the University Charities Campaign’s Secret St Andrews event this Thursday. As you can see, they ranged between “shocking or silly or soulful”. This is how founder Frank Warren described the secrets sent in to PostSecret, a small art project that began in Washington DC and grew into five books and a worldwide community. On paper, the concept is simple: people anonymously mail their secrets on the back of a postcard, and they’re posted on a website. In reality, the organisation has been a lifeline for many people, connecting them with strangers feeling the same pain or with messages of hope from those who’ve come out the other side.
However, the best thing about the project, and Thursday’s event, was the way secrets veered from tragic to hilarious. Held in Rascal’s, you could enjoy a ‘Secret Cocktail’ and the ambience of several Music is Love musicians and JazzWorks, who provided the perfect relaxed soundtrack to the evening. Indeed, the notoriously hard-to-fill venue was packed with groups sitting in booths, scribbling away on postcards and on the pages set up around the bar with titles like “My greatest fear is…” and “When I grow up…”.
Across the night many running themes emerged: apparentely almost everyone likes to walk around naked when their flatmate is out of town, and there was an astoundingly high amount of Freddie Fforde-related confessions. It was an evening to realise how much you actually have in common with your fellow students, however weird that might make all of us.
The event could only have been improved with a slightly more zealous curation of the secrets: many were clearly hastily-scrawled jibes which detracted from the beautifully designed, thoughtful remainder. It was a great idea to have postcards displayed on Rascal’s TV screens, but they changed too quickly to be read, and it would have been nice to see some careful juxtaposition of similar, or very different, secrets together.
Nevertheless, Secret St Andrews was a wonderful start to the 2012-13 Campaign’s bigger events, drawing all kinds of different students and secret-keepers together. In the middle of a Reading Week-less semester, I left feeling less inclined to be cynical about St Andrews and its denizens, which attests to the warm and good-natured feeling of the night.
Images courtesy of Serg Zastfakin, Svetlana Fedoseyeva, Sunsetman, and Ryan Jorgensen. Compiled and edited by Kerri Pandjaitan.