While it’s hard to draw a comparison between the two Balls before the Belfield equivalent, on paper the differences are many and striking. The first is the terrain: the Trinity campus is notoriously difficult to traverse in even flat heels. Throw in copious amounts of alcohol and wonky stiletto heels, and accidents abound. Conversely the only obstacle in Belfield are the few steps leading to the pit. Not exactly a death-trap, you might agree.
Another major difference between the two Balls (as the actress said to the bishop…) is the allocation of ticketing. The Trinity Ball, to be blunt, is far from a Trinity Ball: it merely panders to the whim of anyone who wants to check out the musical luminaries(!) peddling their wares at College Green. Any two Trinity students can bring a ‘guest’ – basically translating as meaning that it’s open to anybody, and the few Trinity students with bizarre enough tastes to enjoy the music on show are left out in the cold. Not so in Belfield: tickets are only sold to those in possession of a valid Student Card. No card, no studenthood, no entry. Simple as.
The final – and surely most striking distance – is the quality and variance of musical acts on show. Trinity’s 2006 Ball boasts such musical legends as Felix Da Housecat, Who Made Who (who?!) and – wait for it – those musical maestros, the names on everyone’s lips, the Next. Big. Thing. That’s right, it’s Ocean Colour Scene. Scoff… The business that is Anto Kelly has secured a line-up worthy of the students of Belfield: Tiefschwarz, The Blizzards, Republic of Loose, and the real guys on the up – Bell X1. The author is sure he’s not alone in believeing that the Loose boys would put on a far better late night shindig than Ocean Colour Scene peddling The Riverboat Song ad nauseum.
The Tale of Two Balls – Students by birthright, but UCD by the Grace of Anto.