At the earlier time of 3:30pm (whether this is to avoid collision with Christmas Ball pres is up for debate), the Acapella Society committee scheduled a holiday bonanza this year. All six St Andrews groups performed alongside worldwide hit, Trinity College Dublin’s The Trinitones, following their successful US-tour and having gained 23 million views on their viral video of a George Ezra medley. This event, supporting Music in Hospitals & Care Scotland (MiHC), helped not only to boost the town’s morale in the longer, darker nights, but also to raise much-needed funds for a charity whose “live musical sessions are designed to humanise clinical settings, to reach and connect people, to encourage communication and meaningful interactions and to elicit emotions and memories when it matters most.”
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.
This week, the annual one-day phenomenon that is Szentek descends upon St Andrews’s Kinkell Byre, promising “an eclectic sensory extravaganza” of art and music. When one thinks of nightlife in this small East Fife town, minds might wander to bowties and ballgowns – but Szentek (Hungarian for “Saint”) promises once again to be a breath of fresh air. Offering an underground alternative to students and a larger platform for electronic music, Szentek fosters young local creative potential from behind the decks to on the canvas.
While ‘The Challenge’ may sound like a cringey 5pm game show, it is actually an annual November shooting competition that brings over 140 shots from universities around the country to East Fife. Some might see the Welly Ball that follows as a quintessentially St Andrews event – playing host to thousands of students in ball gowns, tweed, and most importantly, wellies – but it remains one of the few cross-university events that the town hosts, with attendees from as far as Exeter. The Clay Pigeon Shooting Club somehow manages a finely-tuned schedule starting with a day for the shots and then followed by a ball for both Dinner and After Party guests, greatly to their credit. Welly 2018, though not without its detractions, was yet again a fun experience, with the proceeds going to a great cause. Plus, it had the added bonus of Wellington boots as a barrier both to the usual mud, and toe-stepping revelry of Kinkell.
To all new students, welcome to the Bubble! For the returners, you all know that Freshers’ Week is the time to reconnect with friends after the break and kick off the semester with a bit of dancing and imbibing. What better way to welcome in the start of term than a night out with DONT WALK?
If the arrival of week eight seems daunting, here’s a playlist to get you through the influx of work. This Tuesday the Vic plays host to the launch of 602 and the uni’s extended birthday with a special gin cocktail on offer and DJ Asquire, its the perfect mid-week celebration. If you’re feeling the Halloween blues, the book of choice this week ‘The Making of Zombie Wars’ by Aleksander Hemon should cheer you up. The comic book follows an aspiring writer of a script titled Zombie Wars as he engages in an affair and feels the consequences which seem to follow his own script. Released this Friday, ‘Kill Your Friends’ is a similar mix of comedy and outright killing. Set in the music industry of London 1997, the film follows Steven Stelfox (Nicholas Hoult) as he sacrifices his friends for his career with a great soundtrack and cast the films set to be a cult classic. Following a similar theme this weeks student-written play, ‘An Impromptu Performance’, follows a group of naive criminals who try and rob a drug baron. Whereas if ‘Ghost’ with Patrick Swayze is more your thing, check out The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC2 this week. While it is yet another spin-off of the Great British franchise, the show promises some great art that reduces the judges to tears.
It’s the fifth week in St. Andrews and if the real world is hitting you a bit hard here’s a playlist to take you away. ‘Stories from Other Places’ is a collection of short stories from Nicholas Shakespeare encompassing different continents with different characters all in some way searching for an identity among cultural, religious and political tensions. Danny Boyle’s ‘Pan’ is the best escape from deadlines and responsibilities, designed as a prequel to the traditional Peter Pan stories, ‘Pan’ (starring Hugh Jackman) tells Peter’s story from orphanage to the saviour of Neverland against Blackbeard. Despite the ‘Bake Off’ having just finished, BBC are back with reality TV in ‘The Apprentice’ –time to take some tips on how not to impress a Lord in a boardroom. Debuting on the Byre stage with a leap for student drama is ‘Equus’. Though famous for its nudity, the play is a psychological story of a boy who blinds six horses and is set to challenge stage conventions. And finally, to keep your spirits high for Raisin weekend Itchy Feet are back to take you back in time with the swing, soul and ska beats of the 50s in the Vic this Tuesday –dust off your dancing shoes it’s going to be a big one.
It’s week three and a week of new releases and new perspectives on The Playlist. Ridley Scott’s new sci-fi blockbuster ‘The Martian’ is to be released this week featuring Matt Damon as a quirky botanist who becomes stranded on mars forced to survive with only a month’s worth of supplies. From Mars’ barren climate to the infertility of T.S Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ which has been rehearsed for the stage as the first Mermaids play of the semester. The multiple perspectives of Eliot’s poem leads toward the book of the week ‘The Girl on the Train’ in which the protagonist, who gets on the train everyday to pretend she’s still employed, tries to piece together the night a girl went missing. Also attempting to offer a different perspective is The Kennedys, the new series is based on Emma Kennedy’s life and her best-selling memoir about growing up on a Stevenage council estate in the 70’s. And if you’re craving the big nights of Freshers’ week, Music is Love are offering up something bigger and better this week as they present a night of electronic/ techno music in Club 601 which cannot be missed.
Week two and as we all begin to settle into the swing of St. Andrews life again it’s time to slow down the pace. With the return of both Doctor Who and Downton Abbey a much needed catch-up session is on everyone’s cards. If you’re after something more fast-paced head to the New Picture House and catch Tom Hardy as the Kray twins in the much anticipated Legend. As student productions are yet to begin, why not head to the Byre Theatre and watch Tribes; a drama based on a deaf central character blocked out of the world around him until he finds the tribe he belongs in through a love interest. Sebastian Faulks is doing what he does best is his new novel Where My Heart Used to Beat. The themes of war, love and illness become intertwined as the main protagonist confronts his life and the Twentieth Century. Also returning this week is the Lumsden Club Secret Garden Party with a new location and ‘day meets night’ theme. If last year’s event was anything to go by the Garden Party is the best way to round off your second week.
With the last week of the semester on the horizon, here’s a few cultural treats to keep you occupied. It’s nearing the General Election and Channel 4 are doing what they do best with ‘Ballot Monkeys’, a sharp satire on the election debates and mishaps with each episode written and shot just before transmission. The theatrical season ends this week with ‘Hamlet’ as its final fling. Part of the RSC’s Open Stages Project, the production will inject some ‘Nordic Noir’ into the Prince of Denmark. Irvine Welsh is back with his new novel ‘A Decent Ride’. Set in Edinburgh, the novel sees the return of Welsh’s rowdy cabbie Juice Terry from ‘Glue’ and the return of Welsh’s gritty appeal. Along the same thread, this week’s film ‘Glassland’ follows the relationship between a son and his mother in her battle with alcoholism in a classically British, jarringly honest and grittily powerful portrayal. And finally, this week marks the return of Under Canvas. Despite the new location on Lower College lawn, Under Canvas is keeping its festival vibe with an incredible line-up that will ensure your semester ends on a high.