Michaelmas balls

With Michaelmas term firmly trudging on, emails constantly pinging on your phone, and a three week hangover taking its toll, 3rd Week has begun. And we think it’s about time you got some respite. For those of you that are more freshly planted in Oxford, you may not have come across the Oxford ball scene. But if you have a bit of spare cash, then you can shortly heal your blues…

This coming Friday (30th October) is the historic RAG ball. The town hall will be transformed into a dark fairytale forest. The theme? Brothers Grimm. Which is pretty fitting on the eve before Halloween. (Cinderella… Pumpkin? Anyone?).

As with all decent balls, food and drink is unlimited – so you can sip the night away on cocktails, beer and wine, and munch on pizza, hog roast, and curry (and, um, salad. If that interests you). More interestingly there is a themed vodka luge. You don’t know what a vodka luge is? Neither did I. Well, I’ve done the googling, and I can tell you that it is a bad ass ice sculpture. It’s in the shape of a glass slipper to fit the theme, and of course – it’s not just decorative. Otherwise that would be a bit of a waste of vodka.

If you’ve had your fill of the mains, and alcohol isn’t for you, or if you are needing to soak up accidentally getting too drunk too quickly because you inevitably didn’t eat beforehand so that you could take advantage of all the free food, then don’t worry. They seem to have thought about that too. They are serving tea, alongside gingerbread decorations, brownies and Pic N Mix. (We at the Cherwell Ball Team are going for that alone. Pic N Mix? I haven’t had that since Woolworths shut down.)

Alongside consuming your ticket’s worth of food and drink, they have a casino, a funfair shooting stall, and, wait for it…inflatable jousting. I don’t really understand how that is going to work, or whether they made it up themselves, or how it really particularly fits into the theme, and I would love to hear a recording of the committee meeting when this decision got made, but…to be fair, it does sound pretty cool.

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When you’re bored of sparring, you can jump in on some funky beats. There are two stages. On the main stage DJ jigsaw is headlining, with other acts include DJ Ibob and DFO. If that doesn’t suit your vibes, with your ballgown/tux and cocktail, then no fear. Head towards the acoustic stage where there will be lighter music, including the ever popular Deep Cover that usually roam Cellar, as well as a jazz trio and MAWRI.

Dress Code: Black Tie

Cons: You may throw up from the excess of food and drink you attempt to consume

Pros: All proceeds go to charity, which are split between four charities: Against Malaria Foundation, Jacari, Oxford Rape and Sexual Violence Prevention Centre, and Student Minds. Not bad.

Ticket Price: £79 a ticket

Now let us turn to the other Michaelmas Ball. Set in a Draconian Lair, also known as the Union, if you’re looking for a place to schmooze this is the place to go. Their Facebook page doesn’t seem to give much away, but we know for sure that this year the Union are hosting a ‘Venetian Masquerade’. Occurring the week after the RAG Ball, on Friday of 4th Week (6th November), they claim you will be transported to the most beautiful city in Italy. I’m afraid I don’t think they mean literally. Indulge on food, bet at the casino, and according to their Facebook page, “get…lost in the revelry of the Carnevale di Venezia”. Sounds cool, but I have no idea what it actually means. They have an open bar which is always excellent news, as well as after-dinner Italian liquer shots and unlimited chocolate fountains. Meanwhile the entertainment is equally fancy, with opera singers, a live band, a juggler, a fire performer and a silent disco.

Dress: Black Tie with Masks

Cons: The proceeds don’t go to charity, and you may be stabbed in the back

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Pros: You will probably meet the future prime minister, and you will definitely be immersed in a very strong dose of debauchery. 

Ticket Price: £70 (Member £60)