May Week

The Date: 18th - 20th June 2002

The Place: Cambridge

The Occasion: May Week


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From left to right: Adrian, Katherine Leech, Frances Rees and Matthew Taylor.

If you do a search for Trinity May Ball on Google, one of the first results is my gallery of photos from last year - despite the fact that it has no photos of the May Ball itself. I suspect there are a lot of disappointed visitors out there.

The following set of photos were taken during May Week in Cambridge in 2002. May Week (which occurs in mid-June) is one of those infuriatingly quaint and self-consciously misnomered Cambridge traditions. It begins on the Monday after exams and kicks off with a series of college May Balls. Confusingly, some colleges choose to have their May Balls outside of May week. The point of May week, if there has to be one, is for Cambridge students to unwind after exams and it's usually filled with lots of other entertainments other than the balls such as funfairs, garden parties, club nights and so on.

In 2002, I went to Trinity May Ball again, with my then-girlfriend Katherine. And no, there are no pictures of the ball here, although I'm sure that you'll have come here searching for them. Let me tell you something - Trinity May Ball lasts for about ten hours and if you're a guy, you really don't want to be carrying around a digital camera in your dinner jacket for the duration. I suppose that girls might fare better with a small camera in a handbag, but then you'd still have to worry about carrying around such a valuable item on all the slides, hot air balloons, dance floors, mosh pits, etc etc. So personally I prefer to leave my camera at home. And of course you don't want to be worrying about taking photos all night instead of enjoying yourself (although the two things may well be one and the same for many people, I don't know). This year (2003) I'm going to Emmanuel May Ball for a change and I may take my camera since it'll be my last year in Cambridge.

This particular photo was taken at some garden party the day after Trinity May Ball (18th June) - I can't remember what it was for, the important thing was that it had some good punch. Also, I have a serious Beatles hairstyle going on.
Anthony Ng and Sophie Lennox at the garden party.
Another group photo at the garden party featuring Adrian, Matt, Katherine and Frances.
Katherine, Matt and Frances.
As far as the United Kingdom goes, Cambridge has some pretty good weather. It helps that Cambridge has a lot of open green space and water. This photo was taken a little after the garden party on the Backs of Trinity College. Not only do I still have the Beatles thing going on, but I'm standing right in front of a weeping willow which gives the hair an even more surreal quality.

Going on a bit of a tangent, I had a conversation with some friends a couple of days ago comparing Cambridge to San Diego. It went something like this: "You know, I used to think that Cambridge had pretty good weather. But then you go to San Diego, and for the two months I was there, it didn't rain once and it was sunny every single day. My sweaters and trousers were just dead weight." And it's true. Southern California has possibly the best weather in the world. It's a wonder that they manage to get any work done over there.
The day after the garden party (19th June) I took Katherine and Frances for a wander around the Museum of Zoology in Cambridge. Yes, I certainly do know how to have a fun time. Seriously though, it is quite an interesting place to have a look - and it's free entry as well. This is Frances, with maybe a rhino skeleton.
A happy-looking stuffed Koala.
The complete skeleton of a whale (I forget which species). Very impressive. I insisted on taking enormous numbers of photos of this skeleton (I had an idea for using them in a game).
At this point, Katherine and Frances were perfectly happy to pose with the skeleton.
However, they became distinctly impatient later on. What's an aspiring immersive fiction games developer to do these days?
The day after this museum nonsense (20th June), the funfair visited Cambridge and took up station at Midsummer Common. As is the tradition of British funfairs, all of the rides were honed to perfection in inducing nausea, and there was also the added thrill of wondering if the ride you were on would decide to fling itself apart after years of neglect signalled by worryingly loud ratting bolts. Katherine had gone back to Oxford by this point (those poor schmucks finish term a week or two after us) so it was just me, Frances, Matt, Anthony and Sophie. Anthony and Sophie are the ones in this photo.
Anthony, Frances and Matt.
What with my old age and all, I no longer feel comfortable about going on all of the rides at the funfair. I decided to stay on the sidelines for this particular ride and try out some neato deliberately-smeared photos. This one came out quite nicely.

Anyway, that's all the photos for this gallery. Who knows, my next one may actually have some photos taken during a May Ball!