Robinson May Ball

NANCY NAPPER CANTER almost runs outa puns in her review of Robinson May Ball.


Red Planet

15th June 2012, £85

Robinson College doesn’t have to try very hard to look like a red planet.

Given this, the themed decorations were surprisingly ineffective. What I can only assume were intended to be Martian rocks bore too much of a resemblance to small, squat pigs to be evocative of the pinkish orb, and the ‘rockets’ looked unintentionally if pleasantly like oversized crayons. But none of this detracted from my enjoyment of the night. Given the budget and setting, Robinson had a great atmosphere, and the delightfully lit gardens provided a charming space for a May Ball.

The food was variable. Alien Eats provided us with pizza over-zealously topped with goats’ cheese. Seriously, these were hefty wedges of cheese. Other Martian beverages included one of The Tab’s old favourites, Pussy, and some excellent falafels. For breakfast, pain au chocolat and instant coffee turned out to be the best 4.45am meal I’ve ever had, despite being accompanied by a literally dated cover of ‘Friday’ from The Brass Funkeys. In the early morning light, even Rebecca Black’s asinine lyrics couldn’t dampen my (caffeine-induced) high spirits.

Organisation was a bit disappointing. I queued for 25 minutes for a cinnamon and apple crepe, which, being a crepe, could only ever have been anticlimactic. Not only were we denied seats at ‘off limits’ empty tables, but the Shisha was broken, a lot of the booze ran out by around 4am, and I overheard irate hog fans complaining that Outer Space ran outer hog roasts in just half an hour. And while Outer Space ran outer hog, venues often ran outer space. When our aching feet rendered the queue for dodgems too exhausting, at 2am we found ourselves watching Abba Karaoke at the comedy stage simply because we were guaranteed chairs.

The Ents, however, were great. Comedy headliner Adam Riches was a particular hit. Riches’ is a coconut-in-the-crotch kind of humour, to coin a phrase – it wasn’t my thing, but he had lots of (Pussy-induced?) energy, and the audience rollicked at his swing-ball propelled gags. In his wake, the Footlights were their usual witty selves, and a less expected pleasure came in the shape of Stanley in Heaven at the 3.30-4.15am on the Alternative Stage. The guitar duo provided a nicely mellow atmosphere that rendered their occasional mess-ups endearing rather than irritating. And the Ella Funks – who proved better than their name – served a funkin’ ellava good soundtrack to the daybreak.

But The Correspondents were the highlight as the headline act. Magnetic front man Mr. Bruce beguiled men and women alike with his charisma and superbly elastic limbs. Watching him dance in his Steampunk-esque tails, waistcoat, and knee-high socks was mesmerising. I can’t get it out of my mind and I’m not even going to try.

Despite its flaws, Robinson turned out to be a great Martian ball.

Food and Drink:


Wow Factor:


Value for Money:


Star Attraction: The Correspondents

Biggest Turn-Off: Disorganisation

  • Beyonce

    We Couldn't Handle That.

    Embarassingly shite. If they have been booked by any other May Balls Ents Committees should start killing themselves through the shame of their own incompetence.

    • whatever

      bullshit, they were hilarious.

    • Penny

      SO TRUE

  • Profound

    "Robinson College doesn’t have to try very hard to look like a red planet." bore off

  • Mr Crayola

    Have you ever seen a rocket that didn't look kinda like a crayon?



    You make no mention of the brilliant paints created by the one and only Miss Charlotte Belllamy and the stunning flower arrangements.
    You also do not mention any of the f-ing cool cones, archway etc), which all looked incredible.
    You neglect the walking ents, from the aliens to the neon man on stilts (who was awesome)
    My Conclusion. you are a retard.

    • truth

      mad robinson commitee member detected

      • can you blame them?

        when this article is such a pile of shite?

  • you look like

    a small squat pig, unintentionally evocative or not. You are either imagineless, or Martian Ideologist fascist, or have actually been to Mars and can enlighten us all about what it looks like-if this is the case, of all your misguided criticisms, "innaccuracy" is surely the most absurd and moronic- you assume that this was the aim and it failed? why should you ever assume this? If they had been going for accuracy rather than creating an excellently interpretive atmosphere, you for sure would not have been allowed in; even on Earth it is difficult to legitimize someone of such stunted tunnel vision.. I sympathize with your incapability to imagine as I'm finding it hard to imagine you and your existence

    • Wow.

      I can't actually believe a Cambridge student would come out with such random vitriol… whoever wrote this (and the 'at least' comment below) should be ashamed

  • at least

    you're ginger so added something to the red atmosphere. oh wait, but you shouldnt have actually been there because they didnt have gingers on mars did they? how ever did you reconcile your attendance with this fact? oh right, you didnt manage to, hence an ignorant, specious and erratic article completely skewing and neglecting what was actually there

  • Red Boy

    I thought as a red college this ball would appeal to me but there was an embarrasing lack of lads, ladettes and BANTER. So many idiot jibsons that needed seriaus educaaation. Next yar I'm just going to stay in the John's Bar (Cindies) and get bellend-ed

  • CommitteeMemberAbove

    Needs to chill the fuck out

  • Well then

    Seems we've got a few Robinson commentators in.

  • You what?

    The Brass Funkeys most definitely did not play Friday. Not sure whose set you were listening to…

    • anon

      They most definitely did sorry, at 5pm – they closed the ball and were great

      • Brass Funkey

        Erm, no we didn't (well, unless you count our sousa player dancing around to the DJ…)

      • Brass Funkey

        But glad you enjoyed it though – we had fun!

      • Brass Funkeys

        Thank you very much. We did, however, not play 'Friday'. I think that was the Ellafunks just before…

        • Ellafunk

          Nope, not us either…

          • It was the PA

            between the two acts. Strangely they played someone's cover rather than the original.

  • Committee member

    You're of course entitled to your opinion but I'm not sure how much you really understand goes into organising a May Ball. There are 14 committee members who are pretty much responsible for the whole thing, so being completely organised and on top of things is a near impossible task. Given that, I think the committee did a commendable job, and people like you who go to the ball, get free alcohol all night and have great entertainment on offer should have more respect for us. Everyone I've spoken to has said that this year's Robinson Ball was a roaring success, and they had particular praise for a) the way it was organised and held together on the night and b) the quality of the design and decoration.

    So next time you decide to have a go at 6 months of hard graft and effort from our committee just to get yourself noticed as an amateur journalist, maybe you should think about organising a May Ball yourself and then see if you can be so condescending and negative.

    • Huh?

      Free? She paid at least £85…

      Not really sure why you're getting your knickers in a twist, anyway. Did you miss the part where she gave four stars for value for money?

    • Cambridge alumnus

      "Committee member"… I think what you're forgetting is that no matter how few of you there are, whether or not it's your first time doing it, how much of a personal achievement you think it is etc, at the end of the day people are paying £85 (minimum) to attend an event which lasts 9 hours or so, so I think it's reasonable for them to expect professional standards of organisation. Sometimes as an undergrad I did wonder whether may balls mainly existed to give the folks involved in organising them something to put on their CV, rather than to provide an experience that's at all good value for the guests.

      • Committee Member

        And we try to provide as professional standards of organisation as best we can, but when you appreciate that we are just students, we're not professional event managers, and we have exams and stuff to do at the same time, it is unreasonable to judge us by the same standards that you would judge a professional event. I know the May Ball costs £85, and for that amount of money you expect it to be good.

        What I'm saying is that it was good, in fact it was great, and I disagree with your comments about organisation and design.

        And FYI all of the committee were heavily invested in providing an experience for the guests. That was our primary concern ahead of any CV boost, hence why we have found it a bit upsetting to hear it being criticised in such a way. May Balls are quite decadent things anyway, so in spite of the money the ticket costs, it does sound a little spoilt to try to find holes in what was a really good event, even if it is your job to scrutinise and discern.

        Nancy, and indeed anyone else, are perfectly entitled to their opinions, but I just don't agree with them is all.

        • Queens'

          Its all relative anyway, when people say something is disorganised, it is just disorganised compared to other balls they have been to. Chill out.

    • Calm the fuck down.

      She's not trying to be noticed, it's her job as a Tab writer to criticise what was bad about the ball – a ball go-er doesn't care about how hard it is to organise a ball, just how good the ball is, and she would get equally fierce criticism if she praised it just for how hard you worked, rather than giving an honest opinion of her experience. Which, by the way, wasn't exactly horrendously negative.

    • Perspective

      Alcohol ran out at 3am. All night my arse.

      This year's ball was great. Unfortunately last year's ball was so good that you guys had a really hard job (Gentleman's Dub Club were unbeatable). I really enjoyed myself all night: Ents were excellent, food was good (when it was on) and the decoration was tasteful, subtle but really added to the night. Shame all the booze ran out.

      Our tech team were fantastic, our stage manager was amazing, performers get a sweet deal and we loved our time. Unfortunately we see so many balls every year that we can criticise that much easier: some things don't work and some things do. Don't have a go at the people that spend the whole year practising for no fee but do so much to make your night a success.

    • suspicious


    • Grow Up

      Ya dick.

    • Robinson member

      Robinson always has a decent Ball no matter what.

      However, this year there is a general consensus in Robinson that the committee was shit. The Ball was very badly organised and definitely did not live up to the standard of previous years.

      Bungee run and the swings did not appear, food and drink were cleared out by the early hours, and other places closed before the Ball did, communication about when the ball started was shit (when we bought tickets, we were definitely promised entry from 8, not 9…). Oh and they didn't bother clearing up Robinson afterwards…

      So, basically, really crap committee, but doesn't detract too much from what is always a decent ball.

  • Slghtybiasedobservr

    I feel that as a Binsonite (but not a committee member) that this is unfair – I, and everyone I've spoken too, thought that the ball was an absolutely rip-roaring success, and that everyone had a great time. The ents were outstanding, and everything seemed to run very smoothly.

  • Perspective

    Heather Holland may or may not throw the best may ball, but she has a cracking rack

  • yes


  • balanced

    I've been on the ball committee at a different college in previous years, and what was frustrating about robinson was not the organisation on the night – which appeared to be slick. Rather, the programme was very confusing, and several parts of it were just plain wrong (''the correspondence'', ''rock & rock dancing''). Some timings were wrong which meant we missed out on one of the music acts which we wanted to see. THe result was 1) it looked really unprofessional and 2) it was just plain annoying.

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