Our Events Editor, Nina Edward, reviews On The Rock’s 2019 Launch PartyRead More
Social Media Editor Cate Casalme Reviews DONT WALK Charity Fashion Show 2019.
From that infamous Kate Middleton dress to the exclusive black audition cards handed out during Freshers Week, there was just no way of not knowing about DONT WALK, first year or not.
However, for those of you who have somehow slipped through the cracks, according to their website, DONT WALK (est. 2001) is “one of the most prestigious student run charity fashion shows in the United Kingdom”. Their entire mission statement can be summarised by their desire to make an impact -- their ambiguous name symbolises the aim to not walk past their problems but to fight against them. DONT WALK uses their fashion show and its arts influence to “influence the discourse of political affairs and daily events”.
No one can deny that from the get-go the 2018-2019 academic year has been a bit tough on the DONT WALK committee. There were rumours that that their charity status was set to be revoked, whispers about the committee going bankrupt, and criticism for its lack of size inclusivity and its strict adherence to the conventional. Then, misfortune compounded as the infamous Scottish winds struck, and, on the day of the show, right at the last second, DONT WALK had to announce its postponement of the show.
However, for all their obstacles, the committee must be given kudos for being able to turn it all around. In my books, and, as I interviewed many others, the event was a success.
The week of the event had a bit of a rocky start. Postponing created an air of confusion surrounding the event and guests had more questions than there were answers. Class Facebook groups saw countless DONT WALK ticket listings, with people slashing the price down by often times more than half the original. People who stuck with their ticket were confused as to when to pick them up, others were struggling with assignments, and I spotted some students coming straight from a test.
After the fiasco with the tent, the DONT WALK committee made the sensible switch to a proper building. This year’s venue was the Bowhouse farm in St Monans -- which, for people who think that the 20 minute walk to the science buildings is long, moaned about the 30 minute bus ride the the small town on the underside of Fife. However, people were quick to quiet their criticisms when they looked out the window at the unquestionably stunning Scottish countryside, and thus the journey was quite pleasant. We arrived to a rustic farmhouse, and probably what is my favourite venue to date. The main room held a three pronged-esque stage with the DJ booth right in the middle, creating an inner area for VIP guests, and a balcony above the entrance for corporate guests. On the stage, the lights formed the iconic “DW” and encased it in ambience of red. A side room contained three food trucks with picnic tables to eat. Drinks were easily accessible with two smaller bars in the main room, and one large bar in the side room.
If you spent the extra cash to get on VIP (on top of the already £90 standard ticket), VIP guests were treated to complimentary champagne and a chance to get settled in their exclusive VIP area. Standard ticket holders came in about 20 minutes later, and soon the venue was buzzing with excitement. DONT WALK as a whole was impressive -- the lights and tech went off without a hitch; the models came out, completely acing their choreography, and the hair and make-up team completely stunned with the fierce looks. For everyone, it was completely evident how hard every member of the show worked, with every audience member being blown away by the production.
DONT WALK felt more intimate and casual, in the best way possible, as the DJ passed a bottle of prosecco to walking models, a JUUL being passed from guest to DJ, and models quickly grabbing the hands of screaming guests on the sidelines. The fashion itself was more streetwear, with attendees noting that they would actually wear these outfits. For me, the intimacy of DONT WALK that might have originally appeared to be a problem was part of what made it so successful successful. Everything was easier and faster- no lines to the bar or the bathroom. The event was more comfortable to be a part of, less overwhelming and way easier to find people in.
DON’T WALK was probably one of my favourite events this year. I’m completely amazed by how the committee managed to recover and pull together such a stunning event. For many of the guests, the delay was completely worth it. However, was it worth the £90+ tickets? (To be quite honest, outside of the St Andrews bubble, is any student event worth that?) Sure! -- if you have the money to spend. But the real winners of the event, were those who bought relisted tickets at half the price.
Deputy Editor Alexandra Rego reviews Amnesty International's annual music night as part of On The Rocks.
As a long time appreciator of the Amnesty St Andrews Society (and Amnesty International more broadly), I drifted into Sandy’s Bar at 8pm ready for what I assumed would be a relaxed night featuring an variety of musical acts, which ranged from jazz to folk to a cappella. The event was billed as a night celebrating ‘music, talent, and human rights’. I would say that this billing was, for the most part, apt.
The event was, as Ihave implied, billed to begin at 8pm. When I arrived (a little after 8), DryIsland Buffalo Jump seemed to be tuning instruments, practicing harmonies, and,generally preparing to start the night. However, as ten, then fifteen minutespassed, we were informed via a few (very apologetic!) members of Amnesty StAndrews that until someone arrived to mic check the event, the band would beunable to start. While this did not strike me as being Amnesty’s fault, itcertainly implicated the flow of the night, which otherwise had a relaxed, openquality. At a quarter to nine or so, the Hummingbirds, an all-female student acappella group, performed a few covers of alternative and pop songs. It wasunclear whether the Hummingbirds were meant to perform at this point in thenight or not, but they deserve commendation for delivering an ambient and confidentset in the midst of what could have been a distracting environment (as theyperformed, a few Union or otherwise personnel worked on the sound system in thebackground).
Credit is owed to theAmnesty St Andrews Society members for also staying calm under what must havebeen an irritating turn of events; they had the good (and much appreciated)sense to update the audience every ten or fifteen minutes or so about themic-check situation, apologised frequently, and even cracked a few jokes inbetween. When the event did properly start, the audience (all of whom hadstayed, again, I think, owing to the positive attitude of committee) clearlyengaged with and enjoyed the event.
Despite a technicalmishap that struck me as something which was in no way Amnesty St Andrews’sfault, Jamnesty offered its advertised relaxed and welcoming environment,providing, once the music did start, a series of talented and diverse acts allfor a very admirable cause.
Art and Photography Editor Hanabi Blackmoor reviews the On The Rocks' dance show, Resilience.
The independent dance show, produced by Imogen Carruthers, named and themed‘Resilience’ provides an eclectic range of music and dance to be enjoyed by even newcomers of dance-watching and entertainment-appreciating. From Panic! At the Disco toHozier, from tap dancing to ballet to hip hop, I enjoyed every aspect of this wide rangingshowcase. It was held in the Barron Theatre, and thanks to the small setting felt quitecommunal as friends and family came to watch their loved ones perform.
My favourites included Democracy by Jessica Linde, which included a satisfying cyclicalchoreography (lying down with decadence), with each movement clearly thought out andcarefully executed. The surprising but intended fall at the climax of the song particularlyhit me hard, and successfully played to the audience’s emotions as it signified setbackand turbulence.
The tap dancing by Helen Yeadon was also incredibly impressive (this is also coming fromsomeone who had *attempted* to do tap dancing a few years ago). The choreography inboth High Hopes and Happy Tappy included an impressive single-legged multi-tap move,something that clearly required a lot of practice, muscular strength and balance.
Overall, Resilience and this independent dance show produced for the On The RocksFestival was exciting, fun and communal. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience, and wouldlove to attend and am excited to hear next year’s theme.
Art and Photography Editor Hanabi Blackmoor reviews Taste of Asia 2019, an annual culinary event that showcases the best cuisines of St Andrews' Asian community.
Coming back from the communal atmosphere of Trinity Church back to the grim Swedish prison house of Agnes Blackadder Hall, my boyfriend and I were interrogated by our corridor mates on the origin of the boba teas we held. The famous and fashionable boba tea, we explained, came from the annual Taste of Asia event; showcasing the best foods from St Andrews' Asian societies.
Taste of Asia 2019 had apparently been bigger than previous years due to the introduction of the Boba Tea Society and the Korean Society. This year, nine Asian cultural societies in total collaborated to provide and represent local delicacies. These nine Asian societies include: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. It was quite exciting to see this array of countries mixing and mingling and cooperating together to create an event to showcase respective culture.
Therefore I was extremely excited for not only being able to try different foods from a range of countries and support societies, but for (hopefully) the taste of home. Upon collecting the tickets, I discovered that my previous expectation (greedy and naive as I was) that Taste of Asia would be an all-you-can-eat try-all-food-culture event was ostensibly wrong. In fact, we received four tickets each of which you could exchange for a single portion of food from any stall. Each stall had around 3 foods - mostly consisting of meat stews and fried rice, but some glutinous rice balls, teas, fritters, and tempura. All in all, the range was as eclectic as imagined if not more so, as you could go for a light sushi, or delve into the deep spices of Thai green curry.
Personally, I opted for: a chicken and potato brew, Korean kimchi fried rice, green tea boba, and an Indonesian stew. All were incredible. I couldn’t quite believe that students in St Andrews managed to acquire all the necessary ingredients and tools to create such delicate concoctions of spices and hues of flavour that tasted so authentic. For those thinking of going next year, I would definitely recommend bringing multiple people along so you can taste their choices and have a wider array of selection and experience all nine Asian stalls and their food. Surreptitiously too, I would recommend bringing along people who have never tried Asian cuisine (since the food might not be to their taste, allowing you to swoop in and collect the remnants of your friend’s leftovers which I eventually did with my boyfriend’s boba tea - who doesn’t finish their boba drink? Unforgivable, frankly).
Overall, Taste of Asia 2019 was a true glimpse of the highlights of St Andrews multiculturalism and a melting pot of different cultures and cuisine. The food delicious, and the society people friendly, I personally had a great time learning about not only the amazing cookery and skill of fellow students, but different local delicacies. Although the portions were relatively small, the diverse range you could choose from and the quality of the food gives the Taste of Asia the stunning reputation it deserves.
Editor in Chief Elliot Douglas reviews Bacchanalia - St Andrews' most affordable black tie event. Photographs by Jessica Newell.
Now in its third year, the night of musicand revelry which advertises itself as “St Andrews’ most affordable black tieevent” is already well-established on the Spring semester events calendar. I,however, had never been before and had little idea of what to expect of anevent which seemed to promise a mixture of ball, music festival and Ancientworld-inspired frolics. As a fusion event, it certainly did not disappoint.
After my photographer and I spent a pleasant hour stressing out over what level of formality to go for in our outfits (we played it safe in the end with, respectively, me in my trusty kilt and her in a knee-length navy dress), we made it there as early as possible, normally a faux pas which I would do my best to avoid but in this case a necessity in taking in the whole space before it got too crowded. Greeted by a harpist in the foyer of Younger Hall, decked out with beautiful white roses to give off the impression of being in a garden of some Roman or Ancient Greek villa, we were immediately thrust into the world of Bacchanalia.
The space of Younger Hall had beentransformed by the additions of a stage, a reasonably-priced bar andlife-drawing area, complete with chaise-longue. As the crowd started to fillup, so did the music. The Roundabout Midnights, with jazzy numbers, goteveryone dancing and the night started in style. As the hall began to fill out,it became evident that this was not your standard black-tie event; many peoplehad eschewed the floor-length dress or three-piece suit for something moreindividual or glittery, even emulating the Classical influence in someinstances.
The mish-mash of colour and style all came together for the headline event of the night: The Other Guys. I can take or leave a cappella as a performance style, but I’m no less averse than the next homosexual to twelve suited posh boys with perfect pitch serenading the crowds, and I cheered along with the rest. The energy was electrifying.
Downstairs, on the second stage, was a moreacoustic, less high-energy vibe. This was a great space to come and chill outand listen to groups and strangers come together, the pre-prepared numbers andthe improvised jams becoming indistinguishable so high was the quality and sorelaxed was the atmosphere. Special shout is necessary to Guy Harvey and TheaMoe Bjoranger’s Joni Mitchell cover which brought me (ever emotional and twogin and tonics down) to predictable tears. In this space, guests could also payfor Pound Poems and Pound Portraits, provided respectively by ArtSoc andInklight, or else for a fortune-teller, but such were the queues by the time Igot to this that I didn’t manage either. Instead, I spent a great deal of timeat the glitter table, explaining to a patient glitter artist that I wanted theglitter on my cheeks to be “asymmetrical but the same, you know?”
As the night continued the dancing became more full-on and the music followed suit, with the whole crowd on their feet for Whaleshark Daddy and Alfred and the Chameleons. It was unfortunate that BPM, the advertised final act of the night, decided for uncertain reasons to leave before their timeslot, but the organisers dealt with this with alacrity, ensuring that the audience were not left wanting for live music. It should also be noted that there were times when the space felt a little too large for the size of crowd, and however well it had been disguised, there is something a little disconcerting about, mid-boogie, catching a glimpse of Younger Hall’s vaulted ceiling and being forcibly reminded that graduation is but a few short months away.
Regardless, I had tremendous fun and the space had been fantastically used. Long may there continue to be a black-tie event which prioritises affordable tickets and quality music, a true rarity in this town where, for a tired fifth-year, all events begin to feel the same.
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Cate Casalme reviews the launch event for the Ambassador's Ball, the first International Relations ball in St Andrews.
The School of International Relations and Foreign Affairs, infamous in St Andrews as the most impacted department -- especially by American International students -- launched its annual Ambassador's Ball this past Thursday at The Adamson. The event, advertised as a “night of glamour, adventure, £5 cocktails and assorted musical guests as we traverse the globe in search of this year’s theme”, delivered exactly that. Upon entering, I was warmly welcomed by committee members, who, with a quick scan of my Fixr ticket, let me into the venue where I was suddenly surrounded by IR students in cocktail attire sipping on the appropriate cocktail.
The decorations were subtle, a plethora of flags from different countries encasing the bar and hot air balloons suspending from chandeliers, quietly hinting at what would be revealed to be the ball’s theme: Around the World in 80 Days. While the cocktails were only £5 -- a deal for the Adamson -- and attendees were promptly served, many students still found it to be a bit too pricey and some could even be seen sneaking out to the Rule for shots.
What probably set the launch apart from any other drinking events was the touch of live acts. Attendees were treated to a wonderful selection of the Other Guys, Ukelear Fusion & Whaleshark Daddy. The Other Guys were energetic and vivacious throughout their set, and even surprised guests with a pleasant, if not fairly odd, rendition of Break Your Heart by Taio Cruz. Ukelear Fusion, a nice follow-up to the Other Guys, delivered with its soft renditions of popular classics. And lastly, Whaleshark Daddy was perfectly suited to the mood of the event with its quintessential jazz tunes.
However, like all other events, the Ambassador Ball Launch was not without its criticisms. Speaking with many attendees, photo-taking and volume of the microphone bothered many. The amount of flash, preceded by a red light on the subject’s face, made many feel that it was “intrusive” and “ruined the flow”. However, to the photographer's credit, the photos turned out quite beautifully. In regards to the other criticism, attendees noted that they had wished for a louder microphone, as it was quite hard to hear some parts of the musical acts and the committee's announcements.
All in all the event was enjoyable with a nice touch of live acts and cheaper cocktails. But nonetheless, it was essentially, just another drinking night for many St Andrews students.
Jenna Galapia reviews DRA Ball, historically one of the best attended hall balls in the academic calendar.
Attended by hall residents, past and present, and even by students who’ve probably never even set foot in DRA, the DRA and Fife Park ball has always been one of the more inclusive events in the social calendar. Considering the cheap tickets (relative to the small fortune needed for a ticket to other balls and fashion shows) at £5 for residents and £15 for non-residents, the free Jannetta's, and the extensive lineup of acts, guests are definitely getting a good tradeoff for their money. For myself and some of my best friends, it was a chance to drink to our year in DRA and enjoy getting all dressed up for the night.
From 7 Deadly Sins, A Night in Venice, and even Casino Royale, the eclectic themes of the annual DRA and Fife Park balls have always surprised, impressed, and occasionally flopped. So, when I found out that the theme this year was Atlantis, I was honestly dreading a tacky collection of blue streamer decorations and fake fish around the marquee. Thankfully, the ball committee delivered well on the theme; with a bag of sweets in hand, we entered the marquee into a packed dance floor as the DJ was ending his set. As usual, Bunce and SJM had my friends and I singing along and having a great time on the dance floor. On the other end of the marquee was a tasteful selection of statues and photo spots—very similar to the layout of the ball in the year prior. It was easy to see that the sitting areas were much appreciated by anyone who went to the ball in those torture devices called high heels. As expected, I spent almost as much time in the free Jannetta’s queue as waiting for a drink at the bar, but it was definitely worth it for free ice cream.
While themusic played by headliner act James Hype was not my style, it was fun to seepeople enjoying themselves. I don’t think the students of St Andrews have “puttheir hands up in the air” as many times as they did in his set. (However, I dohave to say that my friend Claire was very concerned that My Humps by the Black-EyedPeas was not for played longer than 20 seconds.)
Being onDRA committee last year, I know first-hand that arranging a ball, especiallyone for the largest hall in the university, is a monumental challenge. From thecreative aspects of choosing a theme and designing graphics, to the nittygritty work of booking toilets and first aid, the behind-the-scenes planninginvolved is extensive and very time-consuming. The time and effort that thecommittee put behind the ball was obvious from the moment you entered the gatesof Lower College Lawn. Big shout out to Mhairi Shepherd and Jodie Costello, andeveryone on the DRA committee, for putting together a successful event to beremembered.
Georgia Luckhurst reviews one of the biggest fashion events of the academic calendar. Photos by David Lee.
In my three years at St Andrews I had never been to FS before but the collective excitement of the queue as I waited to get in suggested that maybe I should have. As we wended our way around the quad towards the marquee on Lower College Lawn, one girl screamed: “It’s happening! It’s happening!”And so it was – months of hard work, tireless behind-the-scenes planning and preparation realised in a marquee packed to the tented ceiling with St Andrews’ most fashion-conscious crop. The dress code is unspoken, but the intention is clear: dress up, but dress subtly, in homage to the understated class of London Fashion Week with which the event would coincide.The St Andrews Charity Fashion Show – dubbed “FS” for efficiency, but also again for that added quality of swish, speedy insouciance – is the most established of our town’s series of catwalk events. Begun in 1992, the show had decided to look back to its roots with this year’s theme of Origins. In an interview with the Saint published on 15th February 2019, this year’s Creative Director, Hunter Pruitt described the theme’s intention as being about “exploring who we are, where we come from, and where we’re going”. I was hoping to see this realised, and waited eagerly for the show to start - patience aided by the hard slog of the bar staff, who were working tirelessly to quench the crowd’s thirst.As the lights dropped and the crowd began to scream, the two screens bordering the stage started to count down the course of a minute. And then the screens bled into the painstakingly professional footage heralding the show’s beginning: a trailer that promised a focus on distinctly urban style, shot in the light of subterranean walkways and city streets lit by lamplight.Then, the models, strutting through the curtains with their characteristically unmoving faces. The initial designs spoke to that third clause of the creative vision: futurism, and where we’re going. The fashion on both the male and female models was a pure, clinical white; the dresses gauzy and cut on geometrical slants.As the show progressed, its vision seemed to travel backwards, with the male “casual” clothing reminding me of the Britpop cool of bands like Oasis and Blur. The tailoring favoured slouching fits hanging loosely over the body, and as it moved towards dress-wear the jackets stayed large. Much of the prevailing look reminded me of Harry Styles’ recent Gucci collection – bold prints that hinted at a playfulness and a knowing near-androgyny. The female models were dressed according to a similar mood – the slinky, nineties’ slip dresses of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell’s early campaigns.Overall, the collections met the theme’s challenge. The show felt like a tribute to FS’ foundational fashion moment, while managing to combine it deftly with the metropolitan boldness of current sartorial tastes. This was all complemented, of course, by the hypnotic rhythms of a techno beat; necessary for the models’ fast-paced choreography, but also for the collective mood – the audience were appreciatively slapping their hands on the sides of the catwalk. It was a show with panache. And I definitely won’t be missing it next year.
As a couple of ancient fifth years who often find ourselves with a cup of non-caffeinated tea in bed by 10pm, it took a fair bit of work to recast ourselves for our stint at Starfields as hipster event reviewer and photographer. We were determined to adequately fit into one of the most fashionable events of Freshers’ Week. Dressed in dungarees, corduroy, liberally sprinkled with glitter, and with vintage camera primed, we dared to leave our jackets behind (it may have been chilly) – and headed in.
The FS Committee had transformed Lower College Lawn, with an enormous tent and stage initially seeming ludicrously huge as the space was fairly empty when we arrived. We took the opportunity before the crowds arrived to try out some of the toys on offer, a ball pit and a blow-up unicorn amongst them. These were great additions and constantly popular as the night wore on.
People were in good spirits as they arrived, and it is testament to the social institution that is Starfields is that so much effort was put into having the most colourful, out-there outfits. There were more rainbows than your average Pride, and despite intermittent rain, everyone was determined to have a good time. Though the crowds kept expanding, the space was never too crowded and the queues at the bar were never out of control.
The choice of music was fitting, and Gorgon City in particular played a set that got everyone pressed to the front of the stage. House and electronic aren’t everyone’s cups of tea, but the energy and atmosphere kept moods high and people dancing.
From a logistical point of view, the event seemed to run smoothly. I would only comment that for the hefty price tag of a ticket maybe I would have expected more. In contrast to other St Andrews events of this ilk, there were no freebies and although there were ample food and drink stalls away from the main bar, they all constantly had long queues.
However, there were no complaints from those I spoke to and the event kept hopping right up to the last possible minute. Altogether, it was a fun way for these oldies to wrap up our last Freshers’ Week, but definitely a tame night in comparison to a "real" music festival.
FS donates an undisclosed amount of profits to Social Bite, a social enterprise supporting homeless people. Text by Elliot Douglas; photos by Jess Newell.
This is my first time reviewing a fashion show, so you'll have to bear with my unprofessional outsider's eyes - yet this was a wonderfully enjoyable evening out, with the Label managing committee, creative minds, and models all coming together for a great take on 'deconstructing a fairytale.' A tale in two acts, the show promised to move "our runway from lighter, more traditional silhouettes and prints, to a place of darkness, disarray and opportunity." Welcomed by the St Andrews Bells a cappella group, whose stripped back rendition of Stormzy's 'Blinded by Your Grace' set the tone for the deconstructed fashion show to come. In the immaculate venue of the Rufflets Hotel just outside of town, the garden suite and surrounding greenery was transformed, with lights flickering on the ceiling like stars, into a blank slate for the featured designers and models to imprint with their own styles, passion, and their unique human imprint. Each model brought their own personal flavour to their walks which, combined with the chemistry among the entire team, led to no end of poses, laughter, and enjoyment on the runway. Founder of Label Jo Boon described the performance and entire operation as "superb," with credit going to Charlotte Riley and Caitlin Krause, co-directors of Art and Fashion. Act I, the lighter half of the production, featured traditional Scottish dress re-evaluated from Slanj Kilts, the work of This Modern Love Bridal and the first featured designer Rose Appleton. The changes of pace with the background music led to a show that ebbed and flowed with marked precision - every transition presumably planned meticulously by an efficient choreography team. With the new location and production value, this was Label's attempted break into the high-fashion world of Don't Walk and FS Charity Fashion Show - but make no mistake - this show maintained the feel of a family production that sticks true to its roots of body positivity, inclusivity, and model sensitivity. Though the scarcity of taxis for a venue that's just beyond walking distance proved an issue for many, attendance was reasonable considering the size of the performance, and the Label team should be proud for transforming the hotel into high fashion for a night whilst compromising none of their values in return. While the walks didn't seem as rigidly drilled as other shows, I wouldn't say that's a bad thing. These are real people being showcased, real people's designs on real people walking in what, for many, is their first show. Credit goes to the models, designers, and strategic team for keeping that humanity and unique element about Label front and centre. Two incredibly well-rehearsed routines from local K-Pop dance troupe the Saints of Seoul bookended the interval, where guests were invited to roam the grounds and mingle with committee members, models, and designers alike. Act II, that "picks up from this alluring discord with our most challenging and provocative runway yet," proved even more daring and designed than the first with flapper dresses, lingerie, and swimwear the highlights. Mojo Lingerie, Label's own clothing line and Holly Jane O'Leary (the second featured designer) took centre stage here, and excelled in the transition from light to dark. Yet this wasn't daring for daring's sake - Head of Press Alex Ehrenberg described it as "questioning silhouettes," and the theme of constantly reimagining norms and concepts of gender, light and dark, and political slogans rings true with both the show's overarching theme and Label's core values. A heartfelt thank you from the Label 2018 executive team and choreographer after a year of work took a moment to reflect on the show and to praise the team, followed by a model walk with thunderous applause that rounded off the performance. It was a pleasure to see Label's last St Andrews show, and all credit goes to the team, models, choreographers, dressers, and background staff. Label, in this sense, has transcended its humble beginnings into an altogether streamlined fashion show without compromising any of its principles. To transform into this while maintaining integrity, feel, and enjoyment seems itself to be a deconstructed fairytale - almost too good to be true, but I saw it with my own eyes. Henry Crabtree