King's Mingle: Occupied

Two members of Mo's Gold Teeth Image credit: Lucy Scovell
Drinks deals at the three Mingle bars Image credit: Lucy Scovell
Two inspired 'occupied' costumes Image credit: Daisy Schofield

On Friday 6 December, the last day of Full Term, revellers descended upon King’s in a wide variety of fancy-dress costumes to see out the term in style. The night, dubbed ‘Occupy’, opened its doors at 9pm and continued into an after-party finishing at 6 o’clock the next morning, in a superb event showcasing just how great a party the Bunker Committee can throw, if left to its own devices.

The theme of ‘Occupy’ suited the Bunker’s ethos perfectly, and stimulated some fantastic artwork: the Manhattan skyline behind the DJs in the bar; Priti Mohandas’ Banksy-esque graffiti in the Bunker; the ‘Pussy Riot’ banner in Keynes Hall; the stencilled images of ‘Anonymous’ masks along the corridor leading to the Bunker. I found the bunting, made out of copies of the Financial Times, and the miniature tents in Chetwynd Court to be slightly less impressive. I was also dismayed by the absence of themed cocktails, with the exception of some rather disappointing champagne; although service was fast, particularly at some of the subsidiary bars, and there was no shortage of cheap drinks.

The key significance of the theme, however, lies in the costumes it inspires. It was perhaps not the best theme from the point of view of costumes, and a few of the guests did not seem to have dressed up at all. Others bore placards stating their political viewpoints, real or ironic; and there were a fair few bankers and Anonymous members. There were even a few octopus costumes, from a couple of people who seemed to have some confusion about the theme. Amongst the most inventive outfits were occupied toilets, a kettle, a Che Guevara or two and a group of Welsh miners – overall, a very impressive contingent of costumes, to match a hugely enjoyable night.

One of the strengths of the Mingle format is that there is a certain level of predictability, in as much as each room hosts a certain type of music. The Bunker’s atmosphere was similar to other Bunker nights, although far better than any this term; and the DJs in the Bar maintained the balance required to suit the space both to dancers and people chatting. Rather than music, the Chetwynd Room contained mattresses and balloons, acting as a chill-out space and serving as a transitional period of calm – and a chance to refill glasses – between Keynes Hall and the Bar.

For me, Keynes Hall held the best entertainment, with live bands throughout the night, although unfortunately I didn’t manage to see Venus Entry. The evening started strong with the “funked-up cheese” of Wuthering Wuthering, the music choice encouraging party-goers to sing along with the powerful vocals of Georgia Macqueen Black. Completely different were Mo’s Gold Teeth, where voices fell away in favour of three different stringed instruments leading a wild jig; Laurie Lewis & the Fat Cats brought to the stage a strong reggae-ska set, and the evening ended with traditional King’s favourite, Holly & the Sorchestra. Early on in the night, there seemed to be a relaxation of the one-way system (intentional or otherwise), which allowed people to naturally and easily gravitate towards the best acts. The flaws of the one-way system unfortunately became apparent later on, when technical problems resulted in the temporary closure of the Bunker and so blocked access to other rooms.

This particular Mingle ‘suffered’, as did the last, from a fire-alarm midway through the event. Yet the gap was spectacularly filled by Femi Oriogun-Williums, who played in Chetwynd Court earlier in the night and who entertained the crowd on the grass – at least, those nearest the doors – with his acoustic guitar. Particularly moving was his rendition of Tracy Chapman’s Talking ‘Bout a Revolution, in memory of Nelson Mandela, which he played until we could all sing along. Combined with the usual thrill of walking on the forbidden grass, this turned the fire-alarm into one of the unusual highlights of the night.

Although there was, as always, a very heavy King’s present – even a fair few students who graduated last year came back to visit – the great decoration, cheap drinks and fantastic music made the night enjoyable even for guests from outside of the college. Indeed, the crowd attracted by the event always ensures some memorable conversations with complete strangers, the artists included. The event was rounded off with an after-party in the Cow, just around the corner, at which guests were joined by post-clean up Mingle workers in a final end-of-term celebration of just how far the Bunker has come this term.


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