May Ball

Discuss these photos

The Date: 18th June 2001

The Place: Cambridge (Anthony's room)

The Occasion: Jesus and Trinity May Balls


Update (23/9/2001): I've added two new photos; they are a portrait photo of Frances and I, and a photo of Ash playing live.


Please be patient while these images are loading up (nearly 460kb worth). Most of these photos are of us having pre-May Ball drinks, but the last few were actually taken at the May Balls.

Want enlarged versions of any of these photos? Email me at


It's hard to describe exactly what a Cambridge May Ball involves to someone who has never heard of them. They are not simply evening parties. They don't even 'just' have lots of free food, drinks and entertainment. Cambridge May Balls are the highlight of the year, they're what every student looks forward to. Trinity May Ball, for example, is widely touted as one of the best regular parties in the world which is probably a fair assessment considering its unlimited champagne, 3000 oysters, hot air balloons, A-list bands, parachuters, £800,000 budget and 2000 attendees.

The other May Balls are pretty good as well (but not quite as good as Trinity's). Anyway, what with the hugeness of the May Balls, you really have to gear yourselves up for the event. I went with Frances and Anthony to a medic's garden party in the afternoon of the May Ball day to line the stomach and so on.

Unfortunately, due to the insidiousness of Pimms and lemonade (first time I'd had it), we were all pretty much out of action for the couple of hours after the party. Fortunately, a brisk walk later we managed to sober up and meet back at Anthony's room for pre-May Ball drinks before we parted our ways (Frances and I were going to the Trinity Ball, everyone else was going to the Jesus May Ball).

Here you can see Matt brandishing a champagne glass with glee.
Anthony holding the champagne with Frances in the foreground.
Philippa looking expectantly at the glass of champagne Anthony is pouring.
Matt and Philippa.
Anthony, Frances, Matt and Philippa.

Question: Why aren't you in any of these photos, Adrian?

Answer: Because I'm taking them. I did actually get someone to take a photo that included myself on my digital camera, but the problem is that you have to hold it very steady if I don't have the flash on (and I very rarely use the flash) so most of the photos that aren't taken by me are slightly blurry. Which is why I haven't put them up. However, at least two other people were taking photos at the same time so rest assured that I can obtain some scans if people are really anxious to see what I look like in a tuxedo.
Frances and Philippa.

A few minutes after this, we all went off to our respective May Balls and had lots of fun. I probably wrote up a May Ball report somewhere in my weblog. I didn't get any photos, since I didn't want to worry about carrying around my camera during the evening/morning although I might do next year, considering the truly incredible number of digital cameras I saw there.
All of the photos below here (this one included) were taken by Matt on his camera and grabbed via PhotoCD. Here's me (Adrian) looking amused at something while toting my digital camera.
Frances, me, Philippa and Anthony. I have a sort of nervous smile here, it's quite easy to tell. Not sure why it's nervous but there you go.
A scan of the portrait photo of myself and Frances at the Trinity May Ball.
Yes, that's right - Frances and I managed to get to the front row of Ash, playing at Trinity May Ball, and this photo proves it. We were pretty pleased about this, I seem to recall.
Philippa on the right, with some unidentified girl on the left. Philippa is wearing a shawl (or stole, or whatever) that I know for a fact isn't her's. Shocking, I know. This photo was taken at the Jesus May Ball.
Anthony and the same unidentified girl at the casino in Jesus May Ball. I never got around to going to the casino at my ball, which was a bit of a blow but I will admit that playing at the casino isn't necessarily the most sociable of activities.