What’s the deal with the dress up?

Boys in waistcoats, trilby hats, sharp suits, braces  and leather jackets. Hair in quiffs. Girls in polka dots, full circle skirts, neckerchiefs and stockings. Hair in waves. During a recent party at my place of residence I remember looking around the room thinking how stylish everybody looked (not sure these pics quite capture that vibe but for further proof of the chicness see Mars’ blog..)
It was, as is customary for our house parties, a fancy dress party. The theme? The rockin’ 1950s. My conclusion? Everyone looks better in old school dress up. And if you need further convincing of why a decade-themed party is necessary, here it is:
1. Great ice breaker to help with the initial mingling process- ‘love the Buddy Holly glasses! Who are you?…’
2. Perfect excuse to put together a vintage playlist of classic tunes. (Although these do tend to go out the window when various drunks decide they’d rather hear Meat Loaf)
3. Handy for identifying random out-of-era gate crashers.
4. Easy identification of individuals for post-party gossip sessions. ‘Oh you mean the one in the rubber elvis quiff? You didn’t?!’
5. The perfect excuse to put together a retro feast. In our case, candy coloured cupcakes and the haze-inducing Gin Daisy cocktail, which went down exceedingly well.
6. Aesthetics: For those concerned with such things at a house party and for some reason I am one of these people, a chic fifties or sixties themed party lends a little fantasy to what can otherwise be an ordinary  affair.
Now if only we could replicate the surrealism and humour of the notorious cake fight in the 1960s Nouvelle Vague classic Pierrot Le Fou!

April 3, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . fashion, films, Me, nights out. Leave a comment.

Experiential London

I’ve been to a couple of social events recently that have been slightly out of the ordinary so I thought I’d take the opportunity to offer some thoughts on them.

Firstly, Shunt has been my Saturday night destination for the past two weeks running.  Both times it has been a bit disappointing. This is a performance arts venue in London Bridge station with live music and art exhibitions. The location is amazing – a labyrinth of tunnels and caverns with a unisex toilet, cinema (of sorts) and the odd tree (!) Previously they used to have DJs and pack the place out with a crowd happy to take in the randomness but safe in the knowledge they they’d have a good dance and feel suitably merry. Now it has reopened they seem to have removed the DJ from the equation and, quite frankly, bopping along to an acoustic performance, doesn’t quite cut the mustard for a Saturday night out in London. That said, it is worth at least one visit. But get there early or book in advance.

So moving on to a more successful recent soiree, with equally unusual credentials: I recently attended one of the Science Museum ‘Lates’. This is a free adult only night and the one I went to was all about the science of music (not sure if they change the theme each month). Here I discovered that ukulele karaoke + breakdancing demonstration + silent disco = a winning combination. Plus you could play with all the interactive exhibitions which are usually reserved for kiddies. (There’s something very satisfying about seeing grown ups at play.) As an added element of randomness, the world’s first pregnant man also made an appearance… All in all a very fun and FREE evening.

The conclusion I’d draw from these recent excursions is that when organisers are trying to do something different it is still important to keep fun at the heart of their idea. I do think that some of the fun has gone out of Shunt and I won’t be returning until I can be guaranteed a good dance, a laugh, an upbeat atmosphere or ukulele karaoke. Any of these would be more fitting for such an awesome venue than the gloomy atmosphere that seems to reign at present.

February 28, 2010. Tags: , . London, nights out. Leave a comment.