At a university flooded with balls and functions galore, the brand-new St Andrews Gin Society hoped to wade through mediocrity and monotony to provide a dazzlingly unique experience for the budding socialites of the university. While the night did include a fair few positives, much to the chagrin of this reviewer, the society was only partially able to deliver the spectacle promised.
Conceived by two first year brothers, Gin Soc, as it is affectionally known, began the year with a controversial yet highly effective “First Kiss” video, which to date has garnered over forty thousand views on Youtube. This viral marketing brought the society quite a few ardent admirers, and almost as many irritated detractors, who threw out words such as “pompous” and “pretentious.” As someone who did not fall into either camp, I was quite intrigued about experiencing this much-publicised event.
Upon entering the venue space in Hotel Du Vin, the first impressions were exceedingly favourable. The square room was adorned with tendrils of ivy, giving a whimsical air to the night’s proceedings. Additionally, overhead lights bathed the room in a warm green glow, reminiscent of a jungle. The setup was split into five connected sections, four of which were manned by the Gin Soc Committee members as they each served distinctly different yet quite enjoyable variations on a G&T. The other space was occupied by a customised ice luge with complimentary vodka shots, a welcome alternative to all the gin provided. The centre of the room was used as the dance floor, with the speakers pumping out a mix of throwback tunes and modern hits while dry ice wafted through the densely-packed area. The guests, the vast majority of whom were first year students, went all-out in typical St-Andrews fashion (pun intended), donning a wide array of bright floral cocktail attire to match the pseudo-rainforest theme.
Unfortunately, despite the enthralling aesthetics and novel approach, the night did have its fair share of roadblocks and issues. The bathroom situation, with only one for each gender, became quite problematic, with incredibly long lines and women eventually resorting to using the male bathroom. In addition, towards the start, while the majority of guests were huddled together in small groups enjoying their gin-focused drinks, the music blasted so loudly that yelling proved to be the most effective means of conversing. In conjunction with this, and perhaps the biggest issue of the night, was the dilemma of consistently entertaining the attendees. Once the complimentary alcohol had been consumed, there was a lengthy space of time during which it seemed too early to begin getting down on the dance floor. This sentiment was shared by many other attendees, and led to many leaving the event entirely to seek out more booze. While the snake in the lobby did help to provide a brief spark of amusement, the lack of variety in the revelry hurt the longevity of the event.
Looking back on the night as a whole, The Maiden Event was an admirable, if not entirely successful, first endeavour for an ambitious new society, and I looking forward to seeing how the experience gained from this function can help improve future gatherings of merriment.