Ball Busting – the Tab’s guide to breaking into balls

No one likes paying for stuff, so here’s how to sneak into the most expensive (and often overrated) parties this term.

  • Are you a left wing activist waiting for the impending proletarian revolution who wants to fight for your right to party whilst simultaneously rejecting the subjugating powers of capitalism?
  • Are you pouring all your time and money into overthrowing the patriarchy but like a night of free food and drinks every now and then?
  • Are you a dirt-poor student who’s had one too many outrageously overpriced burritos this term but wants to let loose in black/white tie on the cheap?
  • Were you once rich, but are now living hand to mouth having spent your whole student loan on your new Buller tails but wish to hark back to your golden age of wealth?

If any of these apply to you, check out our guide on how to break into a ball. Even if you don’t make it, we promise some amusement.

This bloke snuck in to Anne’s Ball 1956, he’s yet to get out

1. Be sober

This is of paramount importance.

To get into a ball, and stay in, you have to be coherent enough both to overcome the high vis wearing trained monkeys on the door, and the Oxford degree holding trained monkeys inside who, because they’ve helped organise an event half paid for by one of their dads, develop a superiority complex rarely seen outside the queue for Berghain. Thus, to be able to explain how you’re late for your performance because you ‘got stuck on a punt’ without sniggering at potential innuendos you need to lay off the booze, at least until you’re inside.

You may not have paid for the evening, but you’ll always be ginger

2. Dress the part

Whether this means donning your white tie (a uniform requirement for all Banter Squadron members), pulling out the elaborate (but relevantly themed) fancy dress or buying a cheap earpiece and walking everywhere in a hurry talking about drinks supplies and hog roasts, your outfit is also key.

Half arsed efforts wont suffice, and don’t think that you can rock the ‘aloof cool kid at a party’ look by wearing a small part of the full outfit so as to look less ridiculous, because you’ll be spotted from a mile away. If you’re going to do this, do it properly. It’s highly unlikely you’ll shell out more than the price of the ticket on an outfit, and if successful the same routine can be used time and again.

3. Act the part

You have to be ready for some questioning if you don’t make it past the first line of defence. As stated above, sobriety is vital, but learning your part is equally important.

This may mean being able to perform the whole of the Buttless Chumps’ most recent routine, memorising to heart the financial intricacies of ball management or starting a band and becoming widely enough known around Oxford so as to be able to sneak in on reputation alone. Whatever it is, effort will pay off, and there is nothing more obvious than being caught without a wristband and claiming you ‘lost it in the mosh during Gentlemen’s Dub Club’ (especially if they aren’t playing).

Queueing is for old people and losers

4. Know your entry method

Most colleges are built like young offenders institutes designed solely for study (coincidence?) and can be locked down to Fort Knox level security when Ball season comes around. As a result, a well thought out entry route is always important.

We suggest hiring out an oversized warehouse in a surprisingly convenient location, buying the floor plans for the college you intend on entering (from the floor plans shop, duh), memorising the exact layout of each level, planning an elaborate sneak in involving far more steps than are really necessary (such as clinging to the bottom of delivery trucks or scaling outrageously high walls), and then executing the whole thing with unrealistic precision. If realism takes your fancy instead, try walking through the front door  – you’ll be amazed how far a proper execution of the above plus a home counties accent and expensive education will get you.

5. Once you’re in, don’t be a cunt

There’s nothing ticket buying ball goers hate more than a stowaway who, once into the event, brags about their efficient planning and Jason Bourne-esque execution.

You’re there taking advantage of the booze and food someone else has paid for, so it’s common courtesy not to rub it in their face whilst munching on an undercooked Paella or drinking a vodka-cranberry so sweet you can’t tell if its alcohol or urine mixed with the juice. With luck, if you are acting like a prize bell end, someone will notify security and the reflective gorillas will have you out on your arse quicker than you can say ‘complaint email from ball organisers’.

A veritable Gulag