I’ve never been to Girton College before, but I made the journey to the off-town college last week on March 14th 2014 (a Friday night) for the hyped-up, lavish biennial spring ball. This is my first real ball in Cambridge, having been to a few mini balls in The Guildhall last term held by the Marshall Society and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. Here is my brief and honest review of the night.
Theme- 3/5 : The theme was Les Années folles, which meant the ‘Roaring Twenties’, and a lot of people dressed up true to the theme. Girls wore shiny dresses, and personally I enjoyed admiring the styles of everyone’s outfit. The theme itself suited Girton College well because the College was built back in late 1800s, which meant that the College didn’t have to change it’s interior to create a vintage effect. The College was lit up with green and blue lights, and the whole College looked rather fancy and grand.
Food and drinks- 2/5 : Food choices were rather limited and nothing special- burgers, fries, fish fingers, ice cream, frozen yogurt, popcorn, cookies and candy floss – the typical snacks that you get in a carnival. The ice-cream van left quite early and the twin chocolate fountains were gone after a few hours, which meant that there wasn’t much choice in edibles after a few hours of the ball. There were smoothies, cookies, hot tea and hot chocolate in another room, which was comforting for those who waited for hours in the cold for the queue and wanted something to eat. There was a selection of unlimited drinks, which was great because they did not run out even until dawn.
Entertainment- 3/5 : There wasn’t a time where I had nothing to do during the ball. I was impressed by the helter skelter which was constructed right next to the entrance of Girton College. It was great fun sliding down the ramp, and the queue wasn’t long at all. Where the queues are long were the bumper car rides, but it was worth the wait because who wouldn’t enjoy crashing your dodgem into a friend’s as hard as you can? There was a successful disco in one of the tents in the main court, where the DJ played funk music and we all donned on rectangle-shaped black sunglasses as we danced to the beat. Live music was streaming in the main hall, which was enjoyable because the singers were extremely talented. There was a comedian in another room, whom performed stand-up for a while, but he left too soon before I could catch more of his jokes. The music and dodgem were definitely the highlights of the evening.
Atmosphere- 4/5 : In various rooms scattered around the College, live music was being played by student entertainers, which brought a very gothic atmosphere to the College. The theme it self was reminiscent of the golden, bustling burlesque era of the 1920s, and the College decorations were generally consistent with this vintage theme. Drapes and fairy lights were strung across ceilings, and candles in coloured glass lit up the pathway outside the College. There were a lot of guests in the Girton Spring Ball, which gave the College a lively atmosphere because everyone was excited, eager and happy. In fact, there were so many guests that the “survivors photo” (a photo taken of those who stayed until 5:00 a.m, the end of the ball) took an extremely long time to take. because the crowds had to keep changing positions just to fit into the frame.
Overall, it was good evening of fun, catching up and partying. The only thing I was surprised about was that it took quite a while to queue up for the ball, especially having to stand for a long time in the cold March breeze. However, I enjoyed the night because it was fun to go out with friends from College and to be in a new, beautifully decorated environment for a ball. Also, the Girton ball was a great way to end the term because life in Cambridge is indeed quite hectic at times, especially with the short 8-week terms.
Cambridge is not all about working all day, it’s also about people taking some time off to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings that are the scenic and picturesque Colleges and what they have to offer.