You may have noticed that it has been nearly two months since my last blog post. There is actually a very good reason for that…REVISION!!! Second year ICSM exams are notoriously difficult and thus I have literally hibernated away for the past couple of weeks trying to cram as much medicine as possible. However, such is the way that second year is structured, although the bulk of the exams are over, they are not completely done and there is still more teaching and one more exam before the ultimate freedom comes. Ah the joys of a medical degree.
With exams, comes of course the epic post-exam celebrations. Whilst alcohol is the standard practise for most people, it usually ends up with some kind of embarassing stories, especially when exams finish at midday and there is choir pratice in the evening. I find that celebrating could be done in a more smart and sophisticated style, rather than your body being written on with various messages and images on your birthday (er…not that I would know…). Black Tie. I know with this year’s summer ball, the subject of black tie is quite a touchy one but I do think it is a wonderful way to celebrate and recently I have been fortunate enough to be innundated with black tie events.
First of all, there was the ICSM Music Society AGM. Coincidentally, it coincided (I’m not sure that is grammatically ever allowed!) with the night of the Classical Brit awards at the Royal Albert Hall. I happened to be walking past the RAH in Black Tie at the time when the Red Carpet for the event started and even though it is insanely cheesy, it does make you feel like one of the stars of the event and that any moment now, some crowd of people with those massive camera lens will start marauding over you to take the perfect picture for the tabloids tomorrow. The AGM and the dinner afterwards was awesome and Black Tie does make everyone feel a bit special, even through the infamous ‘hands-free dessert’ challenge.
Secondly, just a mere two days after the AGM, came the ICSM Music Society concert, again in Black Tie (albeit with a hint of red, blue or white as the theme for the concert was ‘the best of British’…an interesting choice in one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the country!). Now this was indeed an interesting concert. Only one rehearsal allowed before the concert, one rehearsal on the day of the concert and then we are on! Preparation was scarce to say the least, especially as I have mentioned that the ONLY choir rehearsal fell on the day exams finished. However, as ever, in that true ICSM Music spirit (see post on “It will all be alright on the night”) with the added zest of Black Tie, somehow we managed to defy gravity and complete the concert with even a flourish of the national anthem at the end. On a side note, Imperial has really taken to the notion of pulling-off-a-show-with-the-minimum-amount-of-time-effort-and-rehearsals-as-possible. Before the Easter holidays, ICSM Light Opera managed to pull off an epic “Glee” musical in its traditional annual 24 hour opera and just recently, I’ve read that Imperial Musical Theatre society pulled off a similar 24 hour musical: “We will rock you”.
Whether you are in the Black Tie camp for the summer ball or not, it is undeniable that the dress code is something special. When I taught english in China, I showed them a picture of a Black Tie dress code. There is no straight translation for the words but my students promptly replied “special event dress”.