Scary towers, entertaining speeches and a double-dose of S Club 7. This was the UL Dinner 2012.
The day began with the traditional UL ring at the Queen’s Tower. Having heard about the tower’s fearsome reputation, it was with some trepidation (and exhaustion, what a lot of steps!) that I made my way up the tower. However, given that the Dinner took place towards the end of ‘Movember’, the only truly terrifying sight were some of the ringers! Personally I was more than happy to sit out after one ring and enjoy the view, which, despite the less-than-ideal weather, was spectacular. While some rather good ringing was achieved, my lasting memory of the Queen’s Tower was seeing certain ringers pretending to surf as the tower shook!
Next, after some truly exceptional dithering by some members of the UL, we eventually made our way to St Magnus. These far-more-manageable bells allowed for a pleasant change, and lots of great ringing took place. Afterwards, some left to change into their formal attire, whereas, in (as I’ve learnt as a fresher) traditional UL fashion, others instead simply went to the pub!
The 67th UL Dinner was held at Browns, Old Jewry and as everyone arrived, they were greeted by the welcome sight of champagne. Everyone discovered his or her allocated seat, some complaining was endured (*cough* Tim Forster *cough*), and the food arrived. The meal was utterly delicious, Rupert made some excellent toasts as President, and crucially the Sweepstake was organised very efficiently.
Then came the speeches, beginning with Katie Town, who, despite having to deal with some lighting issues, made an excellent speech focusing on the number of OUS members at the Dinner, and the relationship between London and Oxford. Next came Alex ‘Dixie’ Dicks, who, despite appearing somewhat worse-for-wear by this point in the evening, pulled off an entertaining speech detailing his experience as an OUS member in London.
Finally we had the Master’s Speech by our very own Andrew Hills, who brilliantly summarised the past year while also discussing the new freshers. In doing so he referenced the ‘impact’ certain individuals had made, but there’s really no need to go into such things now. Anyway, the speeches went on for longer than many had anticipated, which meant that Rhiannon Meredith won the prize by choosing the longest time.
After the speeches came the true highlight of the Dinner, the dancing, and the unavoidable absence of a smoke machine certainly didn’t stop the UL from having a great time! While mentioning all the great songs played that evening would take forever, some particularly memorable moments included tracks by Queen, Blur and of course S Club 7. While there was a significant amount of shirtlessness, the evening concluded largely without any incidents (or new Captains!). As a side note, special mention must be given to the enormous conga-line that weaved its way through Browns at one point.
After we were treated to ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, everyone made his or her way home, having enjoyed a fantastic dinner. Speaking as a fresher, I had an amazing time and wish to thank Rupert and Charles for putting on such a great night!
Roll on UL Dinner 2013!
By Ben Barnes