The cold, the queues - the cut throat shaves? Not everything was your standard winter ball at Selwyn this Bridgemas...
Selwyn Snow Ball does not have a good reputation. But after years of disappointment, last night they finally got something right.
As ever, the ball experience started with a horrendously long queue. Of course, unlike at a May Ball this was no long fashion parade, with groups of girls forcing disgruntled boyfriends to take innumerable photos whilst desperately assessing whether their dresses are nicer than those around them. This, was bitterly, bitterly cold, with everyone huddled up in thick coats and sniffling audibly. At first glance, it was more like the food queue in a Stalinist gulag. That said, I didn’t really mind. The committee rushed up and down the queue with impressive regularity, handing out hot chocolate and mince pies, and though the chipolatas wrapped in bacon the programme also promised us failed to materialise, I didn’t feel too hard done by.
I got the impression that Selwyn’s committee had decided very consciously to not over-stretch themselves. The ball was focused largely in one building, and they took few risks with entertainment, choosing sure-fire crowd-pleasers. The ever popular Churchill Jazz band kicked the evening off well, and Truly Medley Deeply (have they played at every single ball I’ve ever been to or does it just seem that way?) drove the crowd to near frenzy with a set that began with “We Are Young” and quickly descended into “Call Me Maybe”. Karaoke and a silent disco were also predictable favourites.
Probably the most original element was Todd’s barbershop, offering wet shaves in keeping with the evening’s “Danse Macabre” theme. Perfectly planned for the end of Movember, they did a roaring trade all night. Outside, those who braved the 10m high helter skelter loved it, although it was a bit too cold to attract the masses.
For a low budget ball without a big allocation for the set, the committee had done a reasonable job of keeping in theme. At least I didn’t at any point forget what the theme was, although this was largely due to the apt naming of food and drink items rather than aesthetic creativity as such. Aside from the small graveyard which had sprung up in one corner of front court, the sinister Victorian theme was mainly upheld by the cocktail tent (True Blood proving more popular than the alarmingly green Frankenstein’s Monster).
Food was plentiful, and after the initial rush, queues were minimal. Simple but satisfying, stands included pies, hog roast, and every type of deep-fried carbohydrate you could possibly desire: sweet potato fries, chips, wedges AND onion rings. What decadence. For those who require something a little more sophisticated, later in the evening port and cheese was available, still with an exciting lack of queuing.
Negatives included main stage headliners The Fillers being delayed forty minutes due to technical problems, with the crowd essentially waiting in silence in the intervening period; an often unnecessary one-way system; and probably the longest girls toilet queue I have ever seen. Guys, you may laugh, but when you really need to pee, a twenty minute wait seems far more upsetting than the gender pay gap, being unlikely to ever get a first in your degree, or even the prospect of childbirth. Being a girl sucks.
Don’t go expecting a May Ball. With tickets cheaper than for most June Events (£69 for a standard), that would be setting yourself up for disappointment. But for the price it was a great night. The music was good, the theme was fun, and the food and drink kept coming. What more could you ask for?