Having never ventured to King's after dark before, I was not sure what to expect from Friday's end-of-term bash. Starting at 9pm and going strong until 5am, this was clearly going to be a bigger event than your average college bop. After hours deliberating over what to wear to a night themed 'Oddity', I wandered down to King's with a facefull of facepaint and an excited spring in my step.
The theme gave a lot of scope for creativity, but perhaps a little too much. There were some predictable costumes, including dozens of ‘Space Oddity’ Bowies and people covered in 3s, 5s and 7s. The most impressive and exciting efforts were those that embraced full blown strangeness. Human strips of bacon, giant Lego men and neon ravers stole the show, but the majority of guests didn’t take on the theme in such an excessive manner. Other party-goers took a minimal approach to the theme, wearing just a colourful wig, stripe of face-paint, or funky headdress. With a theme this broad it clearly took quite a lot of thought, time, and effort to come up with something truly odd to wear: I don’t blame anyone suffering from end-of-term exhaustion for paring down their costume efforts.
The vagueness of the theme was reflected in the décor. Although the Bunker did look delightfully odd with impressive neon graffiti, the other rooms lacked real impact. Mannequin limbs were scattered around the bar and Chetwynd Court. Vines, balloons and drawings lined the walls of the Chetwynd room, where tired guests could lie on mattresses and watch strange French cartoons. Keynes Hall had banners emblazoned with eyeballs hanging over the dancing crowd. The lack of cohesion between the spaces was not an issue for a night with such a strange theme, but the impression was one of haphazard and sometimes half assed decorations rather than a journey down a rabbit hole of oddities.
The best thing about night was, of course, the music. Guests were able to flit between the bouncy jigs of Mo’s Gold Teeth’s, Lorelai’s smooth and chilled out cover songs, and the incredibly danceable DJ sets in The Bunker. Wuthering Wuthering filled Keynes Hall with guests singing along to classic 80s tunes, and the dance floor of the bar was always far from empty.
King’s Mingle manages to strike a near-perfect balance between a college bop and a club night. You can dance the night away without worrying about losing your friends in the crowd, drinks are affordable, and the musical options are diverse and of a really high quality. Yet, for the £14 price tag I was expecting a little more variety in the entertainment. One of my friends commented that Mingle was a bit like a mini May Week event, and if the entertainment could extend past a shisha bar and chill-out room then I think that King’s would have something really quite special on their hands.