St. Edmunds May Ball

LOTTIE UNWIN: ‘There were truly meaty burgers, delicious smoked salmon crepes and if you batted your fake eye-lashes enough, divine hog roast, but doing the ball basics well wasn’t quite enough.’

Before last night the world of graduates was an enigma.  I now know little more than ever.  The guests at St. Edmunds were an eclectic cross section of anyone to have walked the earth.  The only conclusion I can draw is that I do not want to grow old, clapping out of time enthusiastically to an appalling acoustic musician.

With such a vast array of guests I empathise with the committee who had their work cut out trying to please us all.  St. Edmunds didn’t overtly fail on any count.  There was an incredibly impressive hot air balloon that guests could, disappointingly, only bob around in, food was plentiful and the champagne was still flowing at 4.  Nonetheless, something felt very wrong.

There were truly meaty burgers, delicious smoked salmon crepes and if you batted your fake eye-lashes enough, divine hog roast, but doing the ball basics well wasn’t quite enough.  The Baileys fountain was a gorgeous glamourous detail.  Whats more, sillhouttes, charicatures, henna, fortune tellers and stilt walkers were nice touches, of course, but I couldn’t help yearn for Jesus earlier in the week when the list had just been longer.

More chronic than my unfulfilled penchant for oysters, was St. Edmunds’ post-apocalyptic atmosphere.  We watched the magnificent fireworks almost alone and then as midnight came and all those with Cinderella tickets left, the scene became yet bleaker.

I cannot stress enough, that if the end of the world really had been arriving with those big bangs and flashing lights, I was spending those last hours the way I wanted.  Even with a plus one so impatient no laser quest was worth wasting ten minutes of his time on, we were able to sample almost everything.   Tenting meant a bit of warmth, an unforgivable oversight of other balls.   But, on the downside, the atmosphere was far from buzzing.  Bijoumiyo’s fantastic set – which destroyed Homerton June Event the night before – was utterly wasted on a largely empty room and Footlights, James Moran and Lucien Young, had a horrendous last gig in Cambridge to an entirely unwilling audience.

There was an underlying irony to the event as a whole; a glamorous display proudly showed off bottles of budget vodka, marquees were beautifully draped inside but there wasn’t any sign of effort outside.  In fact, one of the few nods towards decoration and the ‘Four Seasons’ theme were inexplicable scare-crows terrifyingly emblazoned with the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s faces.  The college isn’t blessed with good looks, but some clever lighting could have worked wonders, or at least not left the falafel van abandoned in dingy corner.

On the one hand we did leave at four because the atmosphere had collapsed to that of a very distant relative’s wake, but on the other, we hadn’t checked the time till then, kept very content by St. Edmunds attractions.

Food and drink:

Wow factor:

Value for money:

Star Attraction: Hot air balloon, fireworks and dodgems.

Biggest Turn Off: The total lack of ball guests. Everywhere.

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