It was the Union ball on Friday.
Hilary balls are always tricky things. Michaelmas balls benefit from hordes of overexcited freshers desperate to fling money at anything that sounds like a party, and so selling tickets is never a problem. Union balls in Trinity are often big, spectacular events held at a country house somewhere, and so sell out simply for novelty value. But Hilary balls are absolute buggers to organise. Everyone’s tired, jaded, and broke, and so selling tickets is no easy feat. Very often, they lose significant amounts of money. Running a decent ball is absolutely crucial to a Union Secretary’s electoral chances – a poor ball was partially responsible for sinking Anna Williams’s run for Librarian last Hilary, whereas Laura Winwood’s Trinity ball, which bounced back from near disaster when the proposed venue fell through, was good enough that no-one wanted to challenge her in the elections three weeks later. So Will Chamberlain will probably have been feeling pretty pleased with himself on Saturday morning.
For a Hilary ball, this one was really quite good. OK, there wasn’t enough Champagne [sic – the Union never serves real Champagne, at least at public events, but at balls everyone’s too drunk to care] – by the time I arrived at about 10, it was all gone. The Oxford Revue fell flat (enlivened only by some guy at the back throwing ice cubes at them). The guys doing the food packed up before I got a chance to try it. But everything else worked really well. Out of the Blue were good as ever, almost every girl in the room looking absolutely mesmerised as the lead singer strutted up and down in front of the audience. The decorations were pretty spectacular, even down to the leering Roger Moore in, I think, the Chamber, and the beer, VKs, and vodka shots were plentiful. The Chamber normally hosts a sort of disco thing, which at the beginning of the evening is fairly embarrassing: a scattering of insufficiently drunk couples jerking awkwardly to crappy pop tune while the bored DJ texts his mates. But this term, to kick things off there was a really good salsa display. One girl in particular was absolutely mesmerising, dressed in a shimmering silver dress that was little more than a bikini and doing utterly incredible things with her hips. This was followed by organised Russian country dancing, everyone forming into a circle and marching, clapping and twirling to bellowed instructions from a faintly scary instructor (‘dance like Russian peasant!’). It was hilarious to watch, and everyone looked like they were having a good time. There was the traditional disco thing too, but only at the end of the night, when everyone was drunk enough to enjoy it.
Everyone looked like they were having a good time, and some clever cost control by Will, combined with good ticket sales by Hilary standards, means that it will almost certainly end up profitable.