Review: King's Affair 2017

Image credit: Johannes Hjorth

Standing outside Clare Gate in the shadow of that iconic chapel, anticipation weighed heavy in the air - perhaps influenced in no small part by the immense volume of face paint now sliding slowly down our sweaty faces. When the time finally came to enter 'Uncanny Valley', we were pushed through the chapel and into the expansive inflatable wonderland of the front court.

Food and drink was naturally everyone's number one priority, and there was no shortage of it. With plenty of savoury and sweet delights on offer, I made the tactical decision of loading up on ice cream before tackling the formidable pizza queue (it was worth the wait). There were fewer elaborate cocktails than might be expected from other college balls but the classic spirit and mixer combinations were more than sufficient (the same level of praise cannot be afforded to the apparently limitless supply of dodgy canned ale).

Then we turn to entertainment. The infamous bunker was its familiar self, akin to a nuclear bunker in atmosphere, a sweaty techno hellhole. At some point during the night, perhaps divine intervention or active sabotage, the bunker flooded, freeing its traumatised captives to the surface world. Keynes Hall and the Chetwynd Room housed a variety of talented musicians and the Great Hall was transformed into a silent disco. The sensational Conchita Wurst graced the main stage, supported by Courtney Act (featuring a delightful cameo from Cambridge's favourite chaplain). Both were exquisite performers and were rightly greeted with rapturous applause (my outstretched hand brushing against her calf as she crowdsurfed past being a personal highlight).

King's Affair is truly unique amongst the June events. It is sheer, unadulterated fun, unhindered by scratchy and cumbersome ball attire, the perfect expression of freedom following a harrowing Easter term and for half the price, it was more than worth it. I close with a final ode to the amusements; the mandatory bumper cars were accompanied by some more unusual articles: an inflatable laser tag labyrinth (turned out to be a simple grid on closer inspection but an impossible maze after a couple of dodgy ales - those things really start to grow on you), a questionable bucking banana and finally what can only be described as an inflatable death-trap for drunkards - a quick scramble up a ladder (inflatable, of course) followed by a blind plummet from a great height onto what we hoped was a lovely absorbent landing pad. I hear this was a nightmare to get past health and safety but I for one am glad it did. The adrenaline rush garnered from it was surely the greatest high on offer at KA...maybe.

More of Johannes Hjorth's photographs from the night can be found here.

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