Sunday, June 10, 2007

party crashers

I really enjoyed Laura's birthday party last night. I wonder if that's typical or an anomoly. Do I actually enjoy parties? I'm not sure.

I was telling Dave the other day that I was quite a canny kid. Every child looks forward to birthday parties, of course, because they provide solid-gold opportunities to get psychotic on fizzy drinks and icing sugar. When I was about five or six I talked my parents into the idea that I should have two birthday parties rather than one - one to which I would invite only boys and one where I'd only invite girls. Rather amazingly, they fell for this and my coke and sugar intake took a double recharge. Ha ha.

I've only ever given one party myself - it was at University. Five of us lived in a nice big place off Elm Grove in Brighton and we threw a very successful house party with all the cliches - odd coloured light bulbs, a huge stack of beer bottles staying cold on the damp grass of our garden, and uninivited guests crashing the party. My friend Daz fell asleep an hour in and spent the whole evening, night and morning curled up in the corner of the living room. At one point Chris went up to his bedroom and was refused access by the occupants, who, it turned out, were all eleven members of the University football team - none of whom we knew. It was fun, and didn't adhere too strongly to the principle that giving a party is much much more stressful than attending one.

Generally, though, that's what stops me organising this sort of thing - worrying about how many would attend, is everyone having fun, what's the breakages situation, things like that. Attending is far easier and one can even enact a modest amount of accidental destruction without being spotted. Except the question remains, do I actually enjoy parties?

Yeah, I normally do, but rarely as much as I feel I should. There's something lovely about collecting together all one's friends, occupying the same space and being able to meet a bunch of new people, too - but at the same time I'm always slightly wearied by the concept. I guess the time will come in my life when parties reach a natural end at around midnight or so, but for the moment there's an assumption that everyone will keep going way into the small hours, and there's invariably a moment when, at around ten o'clock, you glance down beyond the fifth or sixth bottle of beer in your hand to the clock on your phone and realise that there's gonna be another six hours of this...

Added to that, there's all the other bits and bobs that press and crack at the genuine pleasure of being at a party - the awkward early exchanges, the uncertainty about whether you'll stay within your group or find new people to talk to, about whether you'll end up dancing or not, drinking too much or not, wondering whether people will start taking drugs, to what extent you'll write off the next day with a monumental hangover... Occasionally I'm at a party, having a great time, and I just think, oh, I'm ready to leave now, but the desire to not offend the party host prevents me from doing so.

Yesterday I was feeling full of cold, a bit rough, very tired, and really not in the mood for a party. I even considered crying off. I'm glad I didn't, and glad that the party reminded me why parties can be really great, even taking into account the negative stuff I've written above. I'm not bothered about music and I'm not bothered about getting drunk, but I love listening to music with my friends and I love drinking with my friends.

Laura had hired out a nice basement in a pretty awful bar on West St and we hooked up Dan's iPod to provide us with our music. Not realising it, we also took over the PA playing upstairs in the main bar, which was playing banging house music 'til Dan pressed play, at which point the clientele were treated - doubtless to their utter bemusement - to a few minutes of Ethiopian Jazz. Fantastic. We were swiftly shown how to play music in our room only.

And despite foggy memories of myself, Vic, Anita and Dan repeatedly hammering down shots of tuaca during the closing stages, I actually felt pretty good this morning. So, yeah, parties are good, I've decided.


Anonymous said...

noisy american rock plays loud over a room full of hirsute men playing pool and drinking jack daniels. in the corner a scuffle breaks out. a tattooed biker has rival gang member in a headlock, using his free hand he breaks a bottle on the edge of the pool table and is about to set about his victim. suddenly god (played by dan) intervenes and switches the biker metal over to ethiopian free jazz. around the pool hall the bikers seem to awake as if from a hundred years of sleep. they scratch their heads in confusion and begin to hug each other with tender affection.

x x yy y z z

jonathan said...

or, slightly more realistically....

Thumping European house plays loud, reverberating through a room full of square jawed lads shouting about football and drinking stella. In the corner a scuffle breaks out. A shaven headed lad has rival lad's girlfriend in a headlock, and using his free hand he violently pinches her backside. His friends start clanking their pint glasses together and whooping, while several nearby girls start shouting abuse at the perpetrator. The girl's boyfriend breaks a bottle on the edge of the fag machine and is about to set about his victim. Suddenly god (played by dan) intervenes and switches the euro house over to ethiopian free jazz. Around the fag machines and under the disco lights, the lads seem to awake as if from a hundred years of sleep. They scratch their balls in confusion and begin to hug each other with tender affection. The E's must have kicked in.