Nightwatch: A lifetime of ridiculous events
As I check my emails on a lacklustre Wednesday morning, an interesting prospect drops into my inbox. It's an invitation to the album launch party of the year's biggest pop star.
It's to be hosted in a converted post office in West London, one that has been featured in an Elle Decoration list of best converted post offices (or something). This is all very exciting. There will probably be canapés. I ring the boyfriend. "Boyfriend," I coo. "Your fab, music journo, media-darling girlfriend has received an invite to the hottest party of the week."
"Oh cool," he responds. "Where's it on?"
"It's only an hour and a half away," I mumble. There is silence on the other end of the phone. An hour and a half is an awfully long way away. "It will be fine," I promise. "It's a big bash -- they'll probably have taxis sorted for everyone after." That satisfies him and we agree to meet at home after work and get gussied up, before heading out.
I am a connoisseur of Ridiculous Events. During my year-long sideline as a fashion blogger, I went to roughly one Ridiculous Event a week. Off I would tramp, fresh from a lecture, in a pair of high heels and lipstick. These Ridiculous Events couldn't last, what with the country running out of money and all that, but the final Ridiculous Event that I went to was a fitting swan song.
It is the launch for a new car. I have received my invitation in the post -- a piece of metal, with my name engraved on it (AMAZING).
As I enter, along with my partner in crime, we are greeted by a pyramid of cocktails. So exciting. We remain by the cocktail pyramid, entranced, before noticing that there is also a free bar. Free! Bar! We saunter up, in the manner of two schoolchildren eyeing up the sweet counter in a cornershop. "Excuse us," we ask the bartender, trying our best to be sophis' and polite, "what exactly is on offer?" He gestures to the whole bar.
We barely have time to ZOMG before waiters begin to bring around trays of canapés. By our fourth miniature roast dinner, we are growing tired -- and longing for spectacle.
And spectacle we are granted. Who comes out to play a DJ set, but only Gary Numan! 'DJ set' may be a stretch, as all he seems to have brought are five songs, which he alternates with his hit Cars -- appropriately. We are suitably impressed. As the night, and the set, draws to a close, we gather our things and begin to leave -- only for the house lights to be turned down.
"NOW, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WELCOME THE FUTURE OF AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGY," boom the speakers. There it is. The waterfall, in the room. No big deal. And then, the waterfall begins to spell out the name of the car. We gawp. If this is not enough, the car in question then drives through the waterfall spelling its name -- like it was a dog being called by its owner. At this point, we realise that if we had any more excitement, we would explode, and that we should probably try to catch the last bus.
So while the boyfriend and I begin our hour and a half trek to Elle Decoration's Favourite Converted Post Office, I regale him with tales of waterfall cars and cocktail pyramids. We are both suitably excited, and begin to imagine what delights the evening will hold.
As we round the corner to our destination, wide-eyed and buoyed up, we are stopped in our tracks. There is a queue at the door that leads past us, and into the neighbouring park. "That's just for people who aren't on the list," I reassure him. "No," says the girl in front of us, "we're all on the list." Oh dear.
We crawl along for an hour, until we reach the velvet rope. Shangri-La! Or not. "It's at full capacity, love," says the burly bouncer. "It'll be another 45 minutes to wait."
I turn to the boyfriend, who is looking equally doleful. "Let's go home, Ailbhe," he suggests. I mournfully agree to do so, but not before quipping loudly -- "You can keep your launch party. I bet it didn't even have a waterfall." It would have been an amazing parting quip, if only I hadn't fallen over on a cobblestone in my indignation. You can't win 'em all.