I hadn’t been planning on attending this year’s Nobel Ball, which took place on Friday 21 November. But, when a press pass for the din-ner fell into my lap a mere two hours before the supposed start time, I did what any good journalist would do: I poured myself a G&T, pulled on a party dress and prepared myself for a decadent evening of dinner, dancing and (lots of) drinks.
The event kicked off at 7pm, and guests were encouraged to arrive promptly at the Scores Hotel for a ‘bubbly’ reception. I arrived a little after 7 pm, and things were already in full swing with hoards of guests pouring through the hotel’s reception to the sound of bagpipes. Echoing the sentiments of one reveller, “I’m not sure what bagpipes have to do with Scandinavia”, but it was a nice touch all the same.
Guests, waiting for the call to dinner, sipped their complimentary Cava and mingled in a cramped but lively reception area. Excited guests huddled around the seating chart to discover who they’d be spending their evening with.Given my last minute invitation, I was more than a little apprehensive to be sitting down to a three-course dinner with total strangers. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the seating chart was entirely random, meaning that most people only knew one or two others on their table.
In my opinion, it worked really well to break up friendship groups and mix things up. Putting random people together ultimately meant that, unlike at other balls, there was a really social and in-clusive feel as everyone bonded over their mutual love of wine and all things Scandinavian.
There’s nothing that us St Andreans do better than dress up, and Nobel Ball was no exception. Guests had been invited to “go all out” and they certainly did. The black tie dress code had been adhered to by all ball-goers, with gentleman sporting slick hair and sharp tuxes. Swathes of velvet, sequins and silks in rich jewel colours floated along the floor as ladies made their way to tables and to the dance floor.
The concept of having a “drinking master” (one person per table designated to ensure everyone at their table had enough wine) meant that everyone was feeling very merry, very quickly. In fact, way before dinner was even served, numerous tables were standing up on their chairs, bursting into Swedish songs and promptly polishing off their glasses of wine.
As for the dinner itself, we were served all three courses as stated (something not always guaranteed at St Andrews balls). I found all three generally pretty tasty, although admittedly, everything seems tastier after a bottle of wine.
In addition to the food, there were also speeches from society mem-bers throughout the course of the evening which were humorous in parts, if slightly distasteful in others. However, I’m assuming (hoping) they were meant in a tongue and cheek way, so all’s well that ends well, I suppose.
A performance from The Other Guys made for a nice surprise. The boys were on point as usual and their performance made for a nice segway from the dining to the dancing portion of the evening.
As the evening wore on, the event showed no signs of slowing down. The music underwent a swift change from a cappella to old school pop (a favourite of mine) and from that mo-ment onwards until lights up, the dance floor was packed with bodies.As events in St Andrews go, the Nobel Ball is excellent value for money. As a well-seasoned fifth year, I thought I’d experienced every kind of St Andrews night out, but Nobel Ball is a really unique event; the combination of a three-course dinner, a care-free atmosphere and copious bottles of wine made the event the good kind of forgettable.