XanaduThis year’s Jesus Ball, Xanadu, was simply spectacular. Generally considered the best of the second level Balls, Trinity, John’s (£20,000 fireworks) and Magdalene (which enforced a strict white tie dress code) being a little rich for my blood this year! As such, Jesus tends to attract a lot of the first years as a great induction to the world of Cambridge May Balls.

This year was no exception as they prepared everything within easy reach so that there was always something new to enjoy, from donuts to dodgems and cocktails to origami, by stepping around the next corner or into the next courtyard. Unlike Downing, the college separated into areas that can be decorated and lit wonderfully for an event such as this. Much as I was impressed by Downing’s efforts in March, I think this clarified just how much work we have to improve things for next year.

Before the Ball was the LawSoc Garden Party which Roger and Chris came along to, now back in town for May week. I spent a while lounging with the first years, drinking champagne, sipping Pimms, eating canapes, strawberries and cream and listening to some average a capella and a decent string quartet. Nick swanned around looking Presidential and I eventually settled down with the some second year lawyers and went off to dinner with them afterwards. Meanwhile, Matt was getting rather more inebriated on Viney’s pub crawl (which I had decided would be a bad pre-Ball idea, so he was rather wasted before we left.

pre-Xanadu | the guysI went down with the K bunch and Cara who was visiting Dave, so it was nice to see her fully done up too. Once we arrived I ended up splitting off fairly swiftly, not being a huge fan of all the company, and determined to enjoy myself as much as possible for the £85 ticket! After a quick photo with everyone I headed over to the main tent, drawn in by a female-fronted emo act called Bodixa whose haunting tones filled the night air. It’s one of the few new female voices that I’ve found really captivating recently (I’m openly a bit of a Nazi when it comes to female vocalists, in that for me they’ll never have the power of a broken male voice or the purity of an unbroken one, so definitely need something special).

pre-Xanadu | the dollsI spent much of the evening with a slightly drunken Engineer Sarah, another Downingite (there were a huge crowd of us there), who was great fun and improved my night immeasurably. I haven’t spent much time around her when she’s drunk before, but she managed to insult swathes of people often entirely unintentionally. At times she’d be trying to compliment someone and inadvertantly insult everyone else present. Fortunately I generally managed to drag her off before she was hit. However, the result is that I’m in several of her photos (which I don’t yet have) and not that many of K’s (which I do). I also bumped into Adam, who is at Jesus, several times during the evening and chatted about some of the finer points of the Ball. As the sun rose once more, I recoupled with the K crowd as the music switched to cheese and the survivors photo loomed.

The rest of the week has been a quieter run of various garden parties (the JCR’s being particularly good – well done Gubby!) and, at Irina’s behest as a birthday gathering, a waterfight on the Paddock on Thursday afternoon. She, Ravi and I headed into earlier in the day to acquire suitably large, phallic water pistols which is actually harder than it sounds in Cambridge. We were eventually successful and proceeded to both soak and get thoroughly soaked. Although the bucket eventually became Ravi’s weapon of choice, I managed to outrun him twice while desparate shooting behind me. Meanwhile Ali took Viney’s backpack fuelled behemoth of a water gun and reigned merry hell for as long as she could…but ultimately ended up in the same state as the rest of us.