Well, chums, I think I’ve finally recovered from Friday night, physically if not morally. You see, Friday was the night of the Last Tuesday Society’s May Masked Ball, an event so very over the top that it actually caused reality to collapse in on itself, leaving me in a confused state.
When it comes to events, the Last Tuesday Society really goes the extra mile to provide an experience that is, shall we say, unique. If I might be permitted some cheap and amateurish philosophy, I have a theory. You may want to skip this bit if you’re of a non-wanky disposition.
We, humanity as a whole, are a deeply confused species. We’re expected to behave ourselves at all times – don’t say this out loud, don’t scream, mind your own business, eat your prunes, be pure, be vigilant, behave. Yet in reality, once you strip away the bullshit, we’re basically governed by the two imperatives of life – survive and reproduce. Or, to put it more crudely, eat, drink and screw.
The conflict between the way society expects us to behave and the way we want to behave instinctively creates the desire, every so often, to be a little bit naughty. Victor Wynd and the Last Tuesday Society caters to this desire.
The masked ball, as I have said before, is effectively a licence to misbehave. The tickets make it very clear that the event is “Masks obligatory, clothes optional.” I was particularly in a mood to misbehave, having been on this diet for two weeks now. I wasn’t brave enough to go without clothes (more on this later), and so had assembled a look inspired by various sources – part 1890s thug, part the Emcee from Cabaret, part A Clockwork Orange. The waistcoat and cravat were lucky finds in Camden (I think they were glad to get rid of it), the cane originated in 1901 and had not been out in public until then and the bowler came from a market stall in Seven Dials. The finishing touch was translucent white make-up from Charles H. Fox in Covent Garden (I’d told them I was looking for a “corpse-like pallor” and they found the stuff right away).
Also in attendance were various chums, including Mistress B, the Directrix, Teachmaster D, Catlady, Tiny Emma, Long-Haired Tom and various others who don’t have nicknames yet. Two leading lights of the blogosphere were in our party, namely Shoinan and Izzi, both of whom are linked to on the right. Weirdly enough – and this was the point at which reality began to collapse in on itself – also in attendance were a former next-door-neighbour of Yr. Humble Chronicler and, stranger still, the Bro, neither of whom had been invited by me or my friends. Their presence was not unwelcome, just weird is all.
While there, I met another fellow-blogger. I had just been alco-philosophising to Shoinan and Izzi while giggling in the style of the late Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, when a young lady came up to me and asked if I was the chap who writes the London blog. Somewhat confused by reality collapsing still further, I confessed that yes, I was. The blogger in question was Johanne of Mara and Johanne in awesome outfits (http://pleasegiveusfreestuff.wordpress.com) who said that she had learnt of this event through this blog. Which was utterly flattering and totally made my night. I just wish I hadn’t been giggling at the time is all.
One problem that became evident was the difficulty of keeping track of everyone. There are many rooms with many exciting things to see and do, and the event was a popular one. It’s therefore particularly easy to lose members of the party, particularly when naked people naked people naked people.
At some point I was photographed.
I got the impression that people enjoyed themselves, and certainly as the evening went on, quite a few inhibitions were lost. Tiny Emma, Mistress B and Mistress B’s boyfriend ended up in the hot tub and invited Yr. Humble Chronicler to join them, possibly out of masochism.
I was eventually persuaded through a combination of peer pressure and wine. But fear nothing, readers, I am a highly moral individual, and so did not go entirely “as nature intended.” I kept my bowler on throughout, as befits a gentleman.
Eventually we left the hot tub, largely due to an uncouth gentleman who found the presence of so very many unclad folk a little much and decided to “take matters into his own hands,” as they say. Getting it on with someone else in the hot tub is cool and totally in keeping with the occasion. Getting it on with yourself in the hot tub is just not cricket.
There were parts I missed out on – there was, for instance, a life drawing class. I used to be pretty not-bad at life drawing back in the day, so this would have been a fine opportunity to see if I was still any good. I also avoided the bucking-mechanical-woman, as I suspected it would not have gone well with the amount of gin in my system at that point.
I’d only have one real complaint, and that’s the bars. There were several, and they all had massive, massive queues. Now, I appreciate that bar staff are only human, and that the more staff you have, the more staff you have to pay for, but the waiting time for drinks was just ridiculous. Izzi was half an hour buying a round of drinks (we love you, Izzi!) and the Bro reported waiting an hour at a different bar. I gave up myself, but in turning around managed to trip and fall flat on my arse which, even at the time, I had to acknowledge looked pretty funny.
This was the one major fault I would raise, though, and on the whole we all had a fantastic time and learnt many interesting things. For instance, I learnt that, after the first few hours of seeing random naked people doing decadent things, you find your perception altering. That is to say, you’ve seen so many crazy and naked things that it kind of stops being an issue. It’s just like, “Hey, there’s a guy. Hey, there’s his gentleman’s prerogatives. Congratulations, naked guy, your girlfriend is a lucky woman.” I mean, I never thought it was possible to see too many breasts, you know what I mean?
We stumbled out at four in the morning, as the sun was coming up. I staggered towards Elephant and Castle, still in my consumptive makeup and full costume, getting some funny looks from the passers-by in the style of the late Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
I woke up at 3 the following afternoon, thinking I was terribly hungover. It turned out I just hadn’t taken the makeup off yet.
Roll on the October event, I say.
http://pleasegiveusfreestuff.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/14/ – Mara and Johanne offer their take on events.
http://bryndlewindle.blogspot.com/2010/05/last-tuesday-society-may-masked-ball.html – Another review, this time from a Walthamstow-ite.
http://alisonadventures.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/the-great-may-masked-ball-a-review-in-prose/ – Another review, this one less nudity-filled than the previous ones.