Emmanuel May Ball

DAVID DRAKE gives Emma May Ball a 2:i – unimaginative, but it did the job.

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The Planets

19th June 2011, £116

Working at a ball removes the glamour of the spectacle and exposes the back stage pandemonium. I had the pleasure of serving up VKs for four hours at Emma last night, so what follows is an insider’s view of what went down. Having turned up for my shift half-cut from too many G and Ts at the Squires garden party, no-one seemed to care as I played some Time Crisis and Pac-Man on the arcade games and picked at some extremely tasty scraps from the plates of the diners (the crab was fiendishly good) while everyone else was running around worrying about extension cables.

My slacking was by no means reflective of the rest of the committee’s hard work; this was a highly enjoyable ball. The decor of the first court had significant wow factor; enormous drapes poured from third floor windows, and the string of fairy lights was “extremely fit” according to an ex-committee member. The rest of the scenery was mixed: while one pond was steaming with dry ice, another had a haphazard wooden bridge leading to a shit-covered duck island that provided little in the way of romantic appeal. There was not much evidence of a comprehensive theme.

D.I.Y Decor: Innappropriate for Radio Four?

The food was pretty flair. Those dining were wooed by a string quartet from the minstrels’ gallery which serenaded me as I scavenged for leftovers in the kitchen. There were a lot of tasty alternatives on offer in the main ball; however the queues were outrageous. No matter how tasty the thai curries and moules-frites may have been, it was a mission to get your mitts on them. Queuing at a ball is my, and no doubt many others’, pet peeve. Ball guests turn into greedy petulant children who want that extremely expensive and mouth-wateringly good food, and want it now. It was unfair of the committee to dangle such treats before the guests and then make it so unobtainable at the same time.

Booze was of course plentiful: Irn Bru VK may not be the classiest drink, but it does bring out the partying scot in everyone. Despite having had more than enough, I tucked into a hefty amount of Hendricks, Rum, sparkling wine and many shots of flavoured vodka from a solid ice bar (after my shift was over, obviously).

While the music in the infamous Emma bar was hefty and intimidating (probably good for those in the know) and the headliner was witnessed by a core of elegant mosh bandits, the other ‘minor’ ents of the ball made for a great night. The cover band ‘Brian School of Dance’ knocked the tiresome and over-hyped Truly Medley Deeply off their inflated pedestal with some excellent tunes and particularly good bass guitar work. The Care of Douglas sketch show, with a sterling performance from Emma Sidi, had me lolling in the aisles when I should have been working.

Overall the ball had a whiff of the 2:1 about it: some cracking elements that were not quite pulled off with the amount of style one expects, or demands.

Food and Drink:

Wow Factor:

Value for Money:

Star attraction: Brian School of Dance

Biggest turn off: Queue mania