King's Affair - Review
King's Affair 2012's 'contanimation' themed event proved to be an unforgettable night.
by Madeleine Morley
Sunday 24th June 2012, 16:45 BST
This is the one May Week event that really is the most appropriate way to finish off once and for all the highly turbulent pressure of exam term. What better way to say goodbye to dusty ancient halls, pacing, buttoned up dons in gowns and the incessant nagging 'stay-off-the-grass' signs than by trampling, bouncing, sliding and even racing a dodgem on the highly cultivated main court of the most photographed college in Cambridge. What better way than to see the grand walls that symbolise the establishment severity and rigor of Cambridge life explode in chaotic colour as projected cartoon characters smash into each other? What a relief it is to see the stressful reality spectacularly burst apart.
To wander across main court behind a student dressed as a giant Pac-man followed by three tie-dye ghosts and to then enter Kings Chapel and see it transferred into a dreamy, delightful folk cavern is without doubt a better, more imaginative and subversive way of dealing with the ferocious sternness of exams than jelly wrestling. Perhaps it is a shame that the Daily Mail didn't get their hands on photographs from this evening, and twist and shout in moral outrage about all the hedonistic havoc, as this event ultimately represents the more surreal, strange and lovely side to Cambridge, the side that goes mostly unnoticed or ignored. The side where concentration and hard work turns for a few hours into liberating revelry, connecting scholarly endeavour with the unleashed imagination.
Summer Camp were the perfect choice of music to capture that feeling that this is the end of an era, either your Cambridge year, or Cambridge life full stop if you're graduating. Summer itself sparkles in their hooks and melodies, their songs perfectly reflecting both the excitement and anxiety about what's to come. They're the kind of band you wished could have played your high school prom, if you had a prom. This was like a demented prom, featuring Super Marios', Little Mermaids' and Denis the Menaces's, and the persistent Pac-man gobbling and bobbing about like a kind of deranged homecoming queen. Headliner Mount Kimbie were spectacularly blissful, their plummeting, dissolving beats making you feel like you were dancing under water and breathing in pure pleasure. The music magically enhanced how the Kings Affair transformed the college into a wild, surreal fun fair, an escape into the psychadelic Cambridge usually tantalisingly out of reach.
It is impossible to mention all that there was to do at Kings Affair, as there was so much to do, see, feel and experience. It was like a great festival in miniature. Those who were there made up their own highlights from all the choice and potential. It was impossible not to find somewhere novel to dance, or something great to dance to as the choice was so eclectic (Klubnacht and Itchy Feet making appearances). It was even possible to dance in silence in the dining hall's silent disco, everyone together, but apart. Despite large queues for food, the variety was fantastic (the Taste of Cambridge falafel stand being a personal favourite), and the only real problem all night was lack of drink choice, and the sudden, alarming drink shortage at about 3 or 4am. Rumours spread about which bars were going to get supplies next, and there were mad, panicky dashes from bar to bar, in search of vital refreshment and fuel. Somehow, even this little late night emergency merely added to the night's unpredictable magic, as if the drink shortage was actually some kind of treasure hunt, and if you found what you were looking for, there was nothing else for it but more pleasure, and seeing the sun come up as though that was part of the show.