Now bear with me here, but I’ve always thought of The Fellowship as being remarkably similar to the Spanish Inquisition. There you are, living your life, when they suddenly rush in screaming, “No one expects The Fellowship of St Andrews!” before scattering to renovate a garden.
Which is fair enough, because no one ever does expect The Fellowship; they’re such a mysterious organization that I’m not sure even their members really know what they do. A friend of mine is their ‘History Coordinator’ – sounds ominous – and I once read something about “promoting Town and Gown relations”. So there you have it, something in that general area.
But once a year The Fellowship emerge from the shadows and put on a Ball, this year entitled ‘602 Ball’. Acting as a birthday party for our weird little University, and on the eve of St Andrew’s day weekend celebrations. All profits from the event will go to Class Gift, which provides financial aid to students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend the University. It’s really a superb cause; make sure you check them out.
My first thoughts on entering the ball were “oh cock I’ve turned up a day early” as half the marquee was in complete darkness. Luckily, my fears were assuaged by someone in a lanyard, who explained that half the marquee was closed off because there weren’t enough attendees to warrant using the whole thing.
This was possibly due to 602’s proximity to Christmas Ball, and though the timing is admittedly unfortunate, the Fellowship can’t control when St Andrew’s Day weekend occurs (Maybe the can? Like I said I have no idea what they do). I personally blame King Malcolm III for starting the tradition of celebrating St Andrew’s Day in Scotland without first consulting the Christmas Ball committee.
Anyway, the marquee was further divided, with a dance floor in one half and a large square-shaped bar in the middle of the other. I headed straight for the latter, brandishing my two free drinks tokens. ‘Free drinks tokens’ usually implies shitty prosecco in a plastic cup, so the Eden Mill gin and tonic I found myself holding (admittedly still in a plastic cup) was a pleasant change. Cake was also on offer at a Cottage Kitchen stall, manned by a fantastically charming guy named Tim who spent a good five minutes enthusiastically telling me the recipe for his flourless polenta cake.
As more people began to filter in from their respective pre-drinks, the event reached a happy medium between awkwardly empty and crushingly full. Pleasant though this was, the night never really kicked off, feeling more like a very, very nice drinks party with some mates than an all-night rager. As a bitter and tired fourth year this suited me down to the ground, but I understand if it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Although not serving tea, for most of the evening it wasn’t too difficult to get a drink at the large bar. Despite being an inventive attempt to resolve a perennial issue at St Andrews events, you still faced the typical long queues of people waiting for drinks at peak hours. The evening’s musical highlight came in the form of the wholesome-yet-unnervingly-sexy The Bluesberries, and if anyone has the lead singer’s phone number please message me on Facebook as a matter of urgency.
602 was ultimately an entertaining evening, and I’d recommend going to whatever the Fellowship cooks up in 2016. Having said that, one of the main strengths of 602 was its intimacy, so maybe don’t come next year; you’ll ruin it for the rest of us.
Photos courtesy of Lightbox Creative