Devil's advocate at lawyers' sin ball

Nina Chang 22 November 2007

Celebrated in the swanky surroundings of Newmarket Racecourse, this year’s Law Society Ball proved to be a fabulous midwinter affair, well suited to the stylish crowd who attended it.

On arrival, we were greeted by invigorating drum beats accompanying our entrance into the decadent underworld of a ball named Sin. However, once inside the building there seemed to be little that reflected the theme as we were ushered through an organised cloakroom system and upstairs through archways of friendly purple balloons.

The champagne reception awaiting us was accompanied by such classic jazz favourites as the Bond theme and the Jungle Book, which rapidly created an atmosphere of well-contained excitement – nothing too debauched here. Peculiarly though, they had chosen to envelope us in an eerie green light – perhaps reflecting the multiple glasses of champagne some people were happily quaffing.

Dinner was elegant, albeit one of those tastefully dainty affairs that leave one feeling rather inadequately prepared for the generous flow of alcohol. A starter of melon and berries paved the way for the more satisfying duck with potatoes dauphinoise (cut in a very neat non-potatoesque square which initially had me perplexed).

Dessert was unremarkable – a chocolate pudding with mocha cream – but seemed to go down well with most of the guests.

The highlight of dinner, in fact, was the Mexican Mariachi band – complete with sombreros, tassels, moustaches and a repertoire which unfortunately seemed to include ‘Happy Birthday’ for a rather implausible number of people.

Upstairs, post-feeding, was where the true delights awaited.

As at many events, these were not for the tardy – by the time I made it to the smoothie bar, I was informed they had completely run out, despite suspicious heaps of mangoes and bananas adorning the bar.

It would seem that the decorative fruit was just that, as I discovered when I attempted to stray from the modest supplies of strawberries and marshmallows at the chocolate fountains (yes, fountains plural – other balls take note) and use a whole banana I’d picked from a bunch on the table, I immediately attracted the attention of some intimidating people in sashes, who began to make for me in a purposeful and unfriendly manner.

I ditched the banana and scarpered, thankfully finding my way to the cookie stand. This stood between the fabulous devil ice sculpture which handily doubled as a vodka luge, and the first of two dancefloors.

Entertainments were not in short supply either, with beauty treatments, the casino, arcade games, comedy acts, and the attention-grabbing burlesque performer Miss Honeyb’lush, whose hyped ‘sultry striptease’ in fact revealed less flesh than your average Cindies’ clubber.

Amusingly enough, it was the ladies in the crowd who seemed to most enjoy this one, whilst gentlemen stood with looks of deep unease any time Honeyb’lush wiggled in their direction.

All in all, this ball left nothing (except perhaps bananas at the chocolate fountain) to be desired. It was clearly a carefully planned and executed event, and the scale of the entertainments and delicacies on offer was truly impressive given the ball’s relatively modest size.

Sinful it may not have been, but delightful it certainly was.

Nina Chang