Robinson May Ball


Robinson College, Friday 12th June.
Tickets £75.


Robinson May Ball is a lot like your Saturday night back-up shag in your home town. The experience may not be as classy as could be, but by Christ you know you’re going to have a good time. At least this is how I imagine someone who doesn’t live in Robinson would view the whole thing. Being a member myself, I’m amazed that what in the cold light of day looks like the nocturnal emission of some Modernist nightmare actually approaches aesthetically pleasing by the time May Ball begins. Those used to living amongst dreamy spires where even the bins are at least baroque may have been less impressed, however.

The Ball this year promised to be a ‘Phantasmagoria’, although through some shoddy thesaurus work the term was taken to be synonymous with ‘Early Twentieth Century Surrealism’. There were some neat touches, such as a blinking holographic eye, but ultimately it’s pretty hard to comprehensively theme a May Ball around Dalí unless you want people eating lobsters in top hats rather than hog roast. On the subject of food, it’s my aim at any Ball to try and consume an amount equal to roughly double the ticket price. Robinson did not disappoint on this front delivering both quantity and quality; after two buns full of dead pig and crackling, a beef burrito, some duck stir fry, crepes, donuts and a bacon bap for breakfast I was more than satisfied. Drinks were just as good, with self service tables packed full of cocktails and beer bottles removing the embarrassment of trying to slur ‘Three double vodka Red Bulls’ coherently enough for the knackered bar staff to understand. There was even Shisha to keep me going long after my packet of Marlboros was empty.

In terms of entertainment Robinson delivered with their top billing DJ Yoda. The Star Wars monikered DJ has been described (by Wikipedia) as ‘DJ Shadow with a sense of humour’, and I was pleased to see bursts of Johnny Cash and the Marvelletes skilfully thrown amongst the D ‘n’ B standards. I’d comment on the other acts but I was too busy on the dodgems, in the ball pit or shooting an air gun at little metal ducks to bother with them. Fireworks, as ever, are a cock measuring contest of financial endowments; as such Robinson lost pretty comprehensively to John’s or Trinity. They were still distracting enough for several people to slip in front of me in the candy floss queue so they can’t have been all that bad.

At £75 Robinson was a bargain, being either a cheaper substitute for the fancier Balls or a good warm-up if you’ve given a choice blow-job here and there and managed to get yourself Trinity tickets. The gardens are big enough to disguise the Red Bricked ugliness, and when you’re upside down in a ball pit desperately scrabbling around for your beer you won’t give a shit anyway.