Magdalen Ball

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Credit: EIBN Photography

Another day, another ball. Oxford in Trinity term has a bit of a travelling circus feel about it – it seems that every weekend the bands of performers, fortune tellers, firework technicians, magicians, tentists and fairy floss vendors just bundle up shop at one college and trundle over to the next (there’s a surprising mileage on those swing boats). Magdalen’s June Ball was themed ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’; the same as Brasenose and at least a couple of other colleges (I suppose the options are somewhat limited. ‘Taming of the Shrew’ Ball doesn’t have quite the same romantic ring to it…). Neatly ensconced between my 1st and 2nd week of exams, it was a welcome break from the stresses of study. For one evening, my only stress was trying to drink and eat my ticket’s worth of cognac and cake pops. And getting a few nice photos before my eyes took on a drunken glaze.

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Credit: Romain Reglade

My prep was the same as for any formal event: attempting an updo (delusional that I can get a T Swift coiffure with my Gollum hair + a few bobby pins), tearing it down and then having to have it partially up (because it’s too far gone on the crunchy hairspray front); attempting fake eyelashes but then ripping them off (for fear they’ll be half hanging off by the end of the night like desiccated butterfly wings); and knowingly making a faux pas by donning a short dress (black tie = between knee and ankle length, which gives me horror flashbacks to school skirt regulations).

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Credit: Romain Reglade, Oliver Robinson

At Brasenose Ball, I’d assumed that laser tag was the off-kilter ball element. But apparently it’s just standard fare. As are shisha tents, henna and caricature artists, massages, and face painting (here, offered by the offputtingly-named Lapis Lizard). The gratuitous entertainment at Magdalen was probably the mechanical sheep.

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Credit: Oliver Robinson, Vikaran Khanna

The music was an eclectic mix of harp melodies, Cuban music, ceilidh, jazz, and dance music. As is typical of Oxford balls, it culminated in a silent disco (which speaks to British considerateness, though perhaps undermined by drunken caterwauling of multiple songs at the same time).

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Credit: Vikaran Khanna, Oliver Robinson

The food and alcohol spread looked like something out of the Biggest Loser temptation room: ale bar, cocktail bar, mixer bar, Courvoisier cognac bar, waffles, brownies, pizza, cakes, candy floss, fajitas, popcorn, burgers…

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Credit: EIBN Photography, Vikaran Khanna

So decadent! And because I had an exam on the Monday (and needed Sunday to study), I had a good excuse not to go out after. All up, all the elements for a magical evening!

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