Addenbrooke’s May Ball 2013

TIM SQUIRRELL is left unimpressed by a surprise end to his May Week.

Addenbrookes Hospital illness May Ball queues review waiting

The day after Pembroke, my last ball of May Week, I was treated to a surprise ticket to Addenbrooke’s 2013.

Upon arrival I bumped into a friend who had received a pair of tickets, and we spent a long couple of hours in the queue, surrounded by fellow ball-goers. It had been a long week and I ended up falling asleep whilst waiting, only to be awoken promptly by a lady dressed as a nurse, who told me that I was in the way and that the door would hit me in the head if I lay down there. They were clearly taking the theme very seriously, which made a change from some of the balls I’ve been to.

After a couple of hours I was finally admitted, though it turned out this was only the first of many queues. Food and drink were only served at certain hours, though this didn’t affect me as I was told that in order to go to one of the ents (themed around an appendicitis operation) I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything. Unfortunately that ent hasn’t yet materialised after nearly forty-eight hours, and so I’m pretty hungry.

Commitment to theme: entire college decorated as a hospital

The lack of decent headline acts let the ball down quite a lot, although the chap in the bed opposite me was certainly entertaining in an ‘oh god I feel so sorry for you’ kind of way. Having said that, almost every single person was drugged up, which was oddly reminiscent of King’s Affair. Each to their own, but I personally believe that if you need to be on drugs to make a ball bearable, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Having said that, after about a day of waiting around with no food I thought ‘fuck it, why not?’ and asked one of the women dressed as nurses if she’d give me some morphine now. ‘Um… no,’ she said. I guess they’d run out – poor planning on the part of the committee, who should have anticipated the level of demand for drugs in advance, especially given that they more than likely knew about the waiting times we were likely to experience.

Themed wristbands

It was a decidedly noisy ball, with the commitment to theme meaning that I was surrounded almost constantly by the sounds of bleepers, phones and people groaning in agony. The lack of any real form of chill-out room made this occasionally a bit much to bear, and whilst I did try at multiple points to take a cheeky power-nap, I was usually rewarded for my efforts by one of the staff coming round to take my blood pressure or offer me food before quickly apologising when they saw that I wasn’t allowed any.

As I write this, I’m still waiting for the main event to materialise. I’m hungry and tired, and the atmosphere is really leaving something to be desired at this point. I can tell the staff are flagging – most of them are working the full ball and aren’t even half-on, half-off. They keep telling me that the headline act will be here soon, but I’m losing hope that they’re going to turn up at all.

On the bright side, I got a personalised wristband – nice touch, very in keeping with the theme.

Food and Drink:

N/A, I was Nil by Mouth

Wow Factor:

5/5 – ‘Wow, I never thought I’d wait this long for anything’

Value for Money:

3/5, I didn’t pay for my ticket and still felt cheated


Star Attraction: Absolute commitment to the theme, even down to putting all guests in fancy dress

Biggest Turn-Off: Endless waiting times

Survivors’ selfie