Review: Girton Ball

DAVID HOLLAND, TABATHA LEGGETT and MILO YIANNOPOULOS agree ‘staying awake until the survivors photograph at 5am was really no challenge at all.’

absurdism Girton Ball

Girton College, Friday 12th March. From £84.

DAVID HOLLAND thinks his first Cambridge ball was worth the money…

The theme Absurdism seemed a convenient umbrella term for pretty much any décor and a wide variety of ents and performers, but that’s not to say that ball wasn’t good and that at the start of the night Girton looked pretty excellent.

I opted to begin my evening in an hour-long queue rather than in front of a log fire, unlike Tabatha, but first experience of a ball didn’t leave me feeling short changed.

Highlights included the intimate guitar set from Sophie Davies (because she was excellent and not just because she’s dating my next-door neighbour), the absolutely rammed dance tent and the novelty of being actively encouraged to drink drive on the dodgems.

There was plenty of food to soak up the booze – £25,000 pounds worth of booze to be precise which came in pretty much every format one cold desire; Champagne, beers, wine, spirits, bottles, martinis, whisky tasting, port; the whole shebang.  There were even smoothies, juices and Red Bull for those who weren’t drinking or who maybe had drunk a bit too much.

When 10 things were on at once, I missed some stuff that I would have liked to have seen such as ‘The Inbetweeners’ star Greg Davies.  With Ed Gamble and his razor sharp wit hosting, the comedy in The Old Hall wasn’t hyped enough, though at the performances were ruined by drunken heckles from certain audience members.

Also, I found myself getting lost several times throughout the evening, and I live at Girton.  Each area of the college had been given an ‘absurd’ name which meant that finding your way around was a bit of a pain in the arse, I mean did the part of Woodlands that featured a slide and some fajitas need to be called ‘Dreamscape’?

Though Girton didn’t have the prestige or the luxury of some of the bigger balls it did have a great atmosphere and was well planned, well orchestrated and crucially well stocked.

TABATHA LEGGETT thought dining was divine…

The ball committee asked us to “break away from the serious and throw off the shackles of the ordinary”. They told us to “embrace all that is ridiculous, bright and downright incongruous” in an attempt to “give ourselves entirely to living for the moment.” They certainly succeeded, and they exceeded my expectations, hosting a fun and brilliant ball in the beautiful grounds of Girton.

I opted for a dining ticket, and enjoyed champagne and a delicious three-course meal followed by port and cheese in the Fellows’ Drawing Room before advancing to the ball itself. And, the ball fell nothing short of spectacular.  A broad and all-encompassing theme meant that every taste was catered for: we were treated to first-class Footlights comedy, exotic tea sampling, foot massages, exceptional musical performances and, of course, dodgems.

A range of food, from breakfast Danish pastries to Falafels and cake, meant that we certainly didn’t go hungry whilst unlimited martinis ensured that we never sobered up. A casino catered for the more sophisticated among us; whilst the inflatable slide and pole jousting ensured that the less refined guests were also kept entertained. Hair and make-up touch-ups were provided for the girls, and arcade games kept the boys busy.

All in all, Absurdism’s unpretentious yet delightful mix of ents and performers ensured that everyone was kept busy and thoroughly entertained. Staying awake until the survivors photograph at 5am was really no challenge at all.

MILO YIANNOPOULOS felt a little was left to be desired…

Making up words is a tricky business. You might end up on the right side of quirky, like Rihanna’s “disturbia,” but equally likely is a revolting coinage like “insania,” which almost single-handedly destroyed what little remained of Peter Andre’s credibility.

On Friday night, Girton avoided most of the obvious jokes about their Ball’s theme, “Absurdism”… but only just. While there were pleasingly creepy elements to the decorations, I wonder what definition of absurd the Committee was invoking with a Ball that offered few original features beyond pulsating balls of light in the corridors and those odd hands sticking out of the walls.

There were elements of the event that really were absurd: Blueprint, Cambridge’s first (and, let us hope, last) boy band, for example. The band has achieved something really quite remarkable: despite being the most badly dressed, tone deaf, malcoordinated and ugly pop group in history, they have a pretty rabid following. I hope they don’t take themselves as seriously as they appear to (and I thought my irony radar was pretty finely tuned). Maybe I’m missing something.

Girton is a long way away from civilisation, and the ticket price (comparable to John’s, et. al.) is a big ask. But it looks like they spent the money fairly wisely: there was at least plenty of food and drink. And it was at the end of term, and May Week is such a long way off, and what else was there to do?

I think the guys at Girton can hold their heads high, though. Absurdism was an enjoyable taster of the chaos to come in May Week, and a nice reward for the rigours of Lent term.