Big Scott off campus: the Exeter College ball

Bart Breve has been wearing shorts for the past few days. This is a promising sign.

While I don’t normally use a person’s wardrobe as a barometer for much, if anything, Bart is from Louisiana; he has a sense of when things start to get nice out. It also hasn’t rained in a few days. Our last eight weeks at Oxford (that’s right, we don’t finish until the end of June) will have a lot more sun than the first two terms – at least that’s my hope.

Sunday, in fact, marked the beginning of Trinity term. At this point, just about everyone has returned from his or her respective vacations, and is at least thinking about starting to do work.

The past few days brought both the Exeter College ball and May Day celebrations. The Exeter ball was the first of many balls to happen in Oxford this term. I liken it to a cross between the high school prom and a state fair with a Beatles cover band (that’s right, we’re in England and there was a Beatles cover band. I can’t make this stuff up) thrown in for good measure. Besides the Beatles cover band, there was a band called Funky Divas, who covered R&B tunes, and a techno DJ.

In another part of the college there was a whole other set of bands, some of which played Caribbean music, while others played jazz. There was more than just music, though. Much more. They had bumper cars. In England, though, they call bumper cars “dodge ’ums,” which, in the words of Jon Kravis, is a bit like calling dodgeball “get hit by the ball.” But hey, the fact that they were there was cool enough for me.

Of course, there was food. They had grilled hamburgers, crepes and a stand where you could get freshly fried doughnuts – similar to Krispy Kremes. Needless to say, vast amounts of alcohol were consumed. The ball began at 7 p.m. and lasted until 3 a.m. Most people began drinking before they even arrived, but kept on drinking the entire time they were there. Alcohol, dodge ’ums, Beatles cover bands: it was a cultural experience indeed. Plus everyone was dressed in black tie. All this for a mere 24 pounds (plus drinks and food). I even got to dance.

Unfortunately I missed out on the festivities for May Day. As far as I understand, May Day actually is an old pagan tradition, in the same way that Halloween is. It also happens to be the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker and International Workers Day. In the words of Dan Bubb, “There weren’t a lot of people supporting workers this morning, but there was a lot of paganism.”

Dan was referring to the fact that thousands of people stood on Magadalen (pronounced “Mawdlin”) Bridge at 6 a.m. to listen to choirs sing. After the singing, all the pubs in Oxford opened their doors and everyone piled in. Various sundry events soon followed.

I, however, did not attend any of the festivities. I could neither stay up all night nor get up early enough to go down to Magadalen Bridge. In fact, I actually had to start going to lectures and doing work. After finishing my work, I went to the first practice of the Exeter basketball team. I haven’t played organised basketball since the eighth grade, but that’s okay. When we practised outside today, I even wore shorts. I’m just hoping that the shorts weather holds up.