From thousands of twinkling lights, to multiple chocolate fountains and spirited Christmas music, guests truly fell down the rabbit hole at this year’s Mermaid’s Christmas Ball. Christmas Ball is always one of the most anticipated nights of the year, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Everyone was having a fabulous time, whether it was their first time or their fourth.
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Twinkling lights, rousing live music and a sea of jewel-tone clad revellers: these are some freeze-frames of the 2017 Mermaids Christmas Ball. Rarely an event that disappoints, this year was no exception as Kinkell Byre was transformed into a Fairytale of New York. Unlike previous years’ themes this year was not modelled after a film, the committee choosing instead to create a glitzy winter wonderland complete with motifs of the city decorating the space. The New York skyline adorned one wall and recognisable street signs dotted the venue, with miles of fairy lights interwoven between.
There is a particular frisson to the Mermaids Christmas Ball that you either love or hate— and, generally, people belonging to the latter party are people who have cold memories of sitting in the rain at 3am. Thankfully they made the decision to move to online ticket sales which, while causing a lot of controversy, meant there weren’t students dying of hypothermia clogging up the streets in the early hours of a Scottish winter morning. In a St Andrews with events failing left, right and centre, Christmas Ball will never not sell out; something the Mermaids are right to be thrilled with, as it enables them to take shows to the Fringe every summer in the name of #art.
For those luckily enough to find themselves with a weekend breather with deadlines and exam revision yet to set in, you might, like me, feel at a loss as with what to do with yourself. Should I stay in bed ad watch Netflix all day? Or should I get out and try to get as much fresh air as possible before being confined to the library? To help you plan your weekend for maximum fun and distressing, here are our top 5 things to do in this no-man’s land weekend.
The Mermaids Committee held their annual Christmas Ball in the Kinkell Byre, this year with a quirky theme: Harry Potter. A bold move on the Mermaids’ part, to offer up a night that so many of us book and film fans have dreamed of, and especially after the nightmare that was ticket sales, attendees were expecting magic. Overall? It was lacklustre, it was ’meh’. Across the spectrum, from music to giveaways, they offered us a night that had some entertaining moments, but was definitely flawed.
‘You’re a wizard Harry’ is the phrase I think we’ve all spent a good portion of our childhood waiting to hear. I mean we all came to University in St. Andrews; we might as well have Hogwarts in brackets on the prospectus. In the last couple of weeks, the myriad of Harry Potter beanies may have actually had you believing you were in the Hogwarts library. Unfortunately those beanies won’t be around for long, the clever Mermaids have been playing on our wildest Harry Potter fantasies. That’s right Christmas ball is nearly here, and this year the Yule Ball is coming to St. Andrews.
What’s the verdict on Christmas Ball 2014? Was it a fun evening? I suppose that is the central question a review is supposed to answer. In as few words as possible then: excellent music, a wide appeal to many segments of St Andrews student body, and really good food. I can’t speak for everybody who attended but I personally had a great time. On the one hand, if you wore especially uncomfortable heels and had to wait in the daunting queue for the toilet on several occasions, then this might not have been the best night of your life. On the other hand, at one point I saw a couple slow dancing together and gazing into each other’s eyes so intently they blocked out everything around them. They just radiated love for each other. I bet they had a pretty good night. I hope they did.
It’s the final week of term and the perfect time to feel christmassy before exams kick in. The festive spirit is supplied by Mermaids this week; Christmas ball is here and the modernised theatre version of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ hits Venue 1. On the flip side, both the film and book of choice this week explore dystopian futures. William Gibson’s novel ‘The Peripheral’ mixes thriller and time travel with real, compelling characters and jumping story line. The Hunger Games’ newest installment is a must see alongside the new three-part supernatural thriller ‘Remember Me’ on BBC1. The mini-series sees Michael Palin back on-screen for the first time in 20 years; its set to be inexplicable, scary and down right amazing.
Christmas is coming. Britain’s lack of a Thanksgiving to provide a bookend to the Christmas season means that it is only October 21st and I am already using the word ‘Christmas’ in a sentence without any trace of irony. God help us all. Fortunately though, I have the task of writing about Christmas Ball and not the shopping season madness, which is preferable by far.