Tag Archives: last tuesday society

The Mask of the Red Death

(Warning – this entry probably NSFW, we’ll see how it goes)

Having engaged in the usual Halloween activities of placing razor blades in apples, poisoning Haribo and breaking several dangerous psychopaths out of prison to roam the streets, I’m fully prepared for the trick-or-treaters the evening may bring. In the meantime, I probably ought to recap the events of Friday and the Last Tuesday Society’s Danse Macabre event.

The day did not go well. Two of our party cancelled, a cashpoint ate my card and it was raining when I set out for the evening. When I got to Borough, the intent was to meet with the Directrix and others at her new studio – unfortunately, I managed to balls up the communications there. On the way in, I bumped into someone who directed me in a play a few years back, which continued the tradition of weird coincidences around Last Tuesday Society events.

Nevertheless, I managed to meet up with Tiny Emma and some others who were new to all this. We went and queued up, where we were delighted to meet some of the security staff. I don’t know where the staff came from, but they seemed to be quite determined that however much fun we were having standing in the cold, we should be having less of it. The Society handed out bananas, which improved matters somewhat (and you know what? Banana skins really are slippery!).

Eventually we got in, and I tried to seek out the Directrix’ party in an effort to unite our two groups. Unfortunately, I was hampered by the fact that the event was extremely crowded, and my mask made it kinda difficult to see.

Overall, the costume – pictured left – was a bit of a hit. I lost count of the number of people who wanted to take a photo of or with me. I also managed to startle quite a few people, and had a couple of women who wanted to kiss the skull. Not bad for a customised £3.50 mask from Sainsbury’s.

As for the event itself, it seemed a little less OTT than previous balls. I think there were fewer freaks than usual – I certainly didn’t see as many, but as previously mentioned, I had trouble seeing anything at all. A lot of people seemed utterly bewildered by the whole thing (“There are naked people! In the buffet!“).

I wonder if this was perhaps because, with it not being strictly a masked ball this time, people were less willing to drop their inhibitions. There were a lot fewer people at the hot tub this time by the time we got there, for instance.

The bar service, credit where credit’s due, was a lot better this time around. Separate bars had been set up for those who just wanted water or beer, which helped, and the staff seemed a lot more competent. So kudos there.

These two delightful young ladies were very complimentary about the mask.

As previously mentioned, we weren’t too impressed by the security people, who seemed rather overzealous. One of our party bitterly noted that the plastic club (about the size of a truncheon) that formed part of his costume had been confiscated because it was considered to be an offensive weapon. Upon his pointing out that several people had canes and the like, which are far more offensive as weapons go, he was told “We’ll get around to them.” In fact, he seemed rather annoyed that I still had my cane. I’ll be honest, I got the impression that he didn’t like me much. He was Tiny Emma’s ex, and such people tend not to like me. I don’t know why, it’s not like I’m some Adonis who’s going to whisk their former girlfriend away. Seriously, I don’t even have a face.

Still, there was much to enjoy – the pop-up cinema was showing the classic of silent horror cinema, Nosferatu, and Tiny Emma was mildly horrified by a man who offered to put hoops through her spine and suspend her from the ceiling. I told her she should have gone for it, but she remained sceptical. So much for open-mindedness.

Oddly enough, I managed to remain pretty sober throughout. I don’t know if this is a by-product of the diet and exercise, but the alcohol just didn’t seem to have any effect. Given the amount of effort it took to drink anything with that mask, I thought this was jolly unfair.

Despite the general lack of freaks, this event lasted rather longer than the others. Usually things start to properly wind down around 2.00, or so it seemed to me. This time, things were still going pretty much full swing when the party came to a close at about half four.

Goodness me, I don’t have much space between these two pictures… Ah, that’s better.

With the party over, I made my way back through the mean streets of Southwark and Elephant and Castle to Kennington, where I got the night bus home. One of our party asked if it was entirely wise for me to be wandering through the rougher parts of South East London at this time of night. I pointed out that dressed like this, it was unlikely that I would even be approached, let alone mugged. And it was so.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON'T TAKE YOUR MEDICINE, BILLY

I arrived back home just in time for my alarm to go off, indicating that I had now been awake for 24 hours. Not bad, really. Between that and the clocks going back, my body clock is royally screwed. Oh well.

Roll on New Year’s Eve Eve, I say.

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The Beautiful and the Damned

Halloween is coming, hurrah! And that means the Last Tuesday Society (them again) will be holding another ball this Friday. Of course, Yr. Humble Chronicler will be in attendance.

This time, though, I have an extra motivation for going. This isn’t really a “personal” blog, so I don’t like to get too emotional on ya (though that doesn’t stop me from inserting my own opinions and crap jokes into every entry). But this is kind of important for me, so please forgive the general sappiness upcoming. You may want to skip a couple of paragraphs.

You see, for a very long time, I’ve been overweight. I mean, we’re talking twenty years here. We are talking at school. I’m not trying to paint myself as some kind of victim here, nobody forced the chocolate down my throat, but it isn’t exactly fun to be a fat guy. You get an awful lot of jokes made at your expense, and if you actually say “Hold on, guys, I have enough trouble getting trousers that fit without you prodding my belly and demanding that I chuckle like the Pillsbury Doughboy,” then you’re seen as a bit of a spoilsport. In my case, it became a sort of vicious circle. The only way I could feel good was to eat more, which of course made me feel worse in the long run. I’ve actually heard armchair psychiatrists suggest that it should be okay to ridicule fat people, because it might encourage us to do something about it – anybody who’s struggled with their weight knows what a lot of bollocks this is.

What got me to actually work on shifting the poundage was a number of factors. First of all, vanity. I was having real difficulty finding clothes that fitted. Nice ones, anyway. Secondly, health concerns. Hell of a lot of diabetes in my family, and I realised how much crap I was eating. And thirdly, bloody-mindedness. I read that only 2% of diets work, so the stubborn bastard within me thought, “Oh yeah? We’ll see about that!

The method was simple – I don’t believe in miracles, and whatever method I chose had to be sustainable. Therefore, I started thinking long-term about food. In other words, “This cake is nice right now, but if I don’t eat it, I can be thinner in the future. I will enjoy the cake for a few minutes, but I can enjoy being thin forever.”  The food I did eat had to be nourishing and well-balanced, and in the last couple of months I began a strenuous twice-daily exercise regime.

The end result was that, upon measuring myself yesterday, I discovered that I am, in fact, now a healthy weight. Given that the exercise programme was designed to build up muscle as well as burn fat, simple weigh-ins weren’t going to be a reliable indicator of progress. So, as with so many things that are important to a man, I decided to measure my progress in inches. Men should be aiming for a waist-hip ratio of 0.95, I’m now 0.93. There’s still work to do, but I’m feeling better about my body than I have in years.

That is my additional reason for looking forward to this ball – at last, I can work it without looking ridiculous.

A lowered budget has forced me to be creative about my costume. The theme for the ball is “The Beautiful and the Damned.” I’m going with something inspired by the excellent Poe story, ‘The Masque of the Red Death,’ which features people who are both beautiful and damned. Fortunately, I had most of what I needed in my wardrobe already, and what I didn’t have I was able to obtain inexpensively. I don’t want to show you the whole thing just yet, but here’s part of it.

In accordance with the style of the Last Tuesday Society, I’m going for something Victorian-esque, but a bit more bohemian than the standard top hat and tails. The real bitch was finding a mask I could wear comfortably over my glasses and customise to my design. I suspect I’ll be making adjustments right up to zero-hour.

I’ll let you know how the night goes. If there’s time – I’m also going to a party on Saturday and another Sunday, so basically I’ll be dead by next week. Appropriately for the occasion.

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C U Last Tuesday

NSFW WARNING

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.

Yr. Humble Chronicler in full regalia

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.

Further Reading

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.

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Last with the news

I cannot believe I missed this story. Now, as regular readers of this web-log will be aware, I’m a fairly decadent sort. I was seated in my armchair at home in a mood of ennui just a short while ago, attended by my butler, Stives.

“Stives,” I said, “it is Saturday night, I am at home alone but for your faithful company, and I have nothing to do.”

“If you’ll pardon my saying so, sir, it is my experience from working with you that such boredom is generally the precursor of a deep and dark melancholy.”

“Ah, Stives, you have worked for me too long. The usual, then?”

“Indeed, sir. I shall fetch a revolver and discreetly leave the room, while you hold the barrel to your head with your finger on the trigger for up to two hours. Then, in a mood of some embarassment, you will also leave the room, I shall collect the revolver and we will both pretend that nothing has happened.”

“Capital. Wait a second, Stives, what’s this?”

“It is a newspaper, I believe, sir. The Daily Telegraph.”

“A what paper? A news-paper? Does one use it to wipe up news?”

“No, sir. News is printed upon it, and you may read the news.”

“Hmm, isn’t that awfully wasteful?”

“Indeed, sir. The technology was superseded some years ago by the Internet. However, this particular newspaper has an article that may be of some interest.”

“Oh, really? Sum it up for me, do.”

“Well, Ms Jane Goldman, wife of popular entertainer Mr Jonathan Ross, purchased a two-headed skeleton last week from an antique shop in Hackney.”

“Antique shop? Hackney? Two-headed skeleton? Why do I sense the sinister hand of the Last Tuesday Society in all this?”

“Most likely because it was bought from their establishment, sir. Perhaps you would care to read the article?”

“Hmm, sounds like an awful lot of effort. How about if you tell me where I might find that article online?”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7519249/Jonathan-Ross-wife-buys-two-headed-skeleton.html

“Thank you, Stives. I shall blog this for certain.”

“You do seem to blog about the Last Tuesday Society quite a lot, sir.”

“Perhaps so. Still, it’s all publicity, is it not?”

“Indeed.”

“I ask nothing in return for this.”

“Most magnanimous, sir.”

“Nothing, that is, except for first crack at the buffet.”

The buffet

“I resign, sir.”

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Wonderful world, beautiful people

Something I often find happens, don’t ask me why, is that people have this need to strike up conversations with me in which they go on about how awful London is and how terrible Londoners are. I have no idea why they specifically feel the need to tell me this. It’s always in a “they” kind of way, as if I’m not a London person and therefore will not be offended by the suggestion that I’m rude, arrogant, immoral and unapproachable.

And indeed, these allegations about how Londoners are so terrible will never include the person making the accusation. Oh sure, they live in London, they work in London, but they’re not a Londoner. My reply to such people tends to be “And what are you doing about it?” My personal experience is that you get out of people what you put in. If you’re friendly and good-humoured, then people will generally be friendly and good-humoured to you. Of course, you’ll always get some jerks who repay your good humour with rudeness or speeches about how Londoners are rubbish, but I find that generally the rule holds.

Today was a rather interesting day if you’re me, and I am. I took a trip into Hackney to pick up some tickets for a Last Tuesday Society event. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Hackney. You know what? I quite like the place. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I’m sure. But I reckon I could live there quite happily. The Last Tuesday Society’s HQ is roughly equidistant between London Fields and Cambridge Heath stations on the line out of Liverpool Street (although my estimates of distance tend to be skewed by my tendency to wander off the main road whenever I see something interesting). The road runs parallel to the railway and crosses the Regent’s Canal.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect of the Last Tuesday Society’s HQ. From the outside, it looks like one of those weird junk shops you get, the ones that are really gloomy and messy and grimy and there’s nothing you’d ever want in there and the whole place stinks of cheap tobacco and you decide to leave, but when you turn around there is no door. Inside it’s not so bad. The woman behind the counter was, contrary to my expectations, not a witch. Well, not that I could see, anyway. And I was able to get the tickets cheaper than expected – not so much because of my immense personal charm as because they’re cheaper when the Society don’t have to post them. There is a museum attached to the shop, and when I have more time (possibly next weekend), I’ll take a look in. It advertises itself as being for the over-21s only, so it should be awesome.

I crossed the canal and headed to Cambridge Heath station. I also photographed the structure you see on your right, which, contrary to popular belief, is a gas holder, not a gasometer. There’s quite a lot of former industry around here, and I plan to photograph as much of it as I can before it gets turned into exclusive luxury flats or some bee-ess like that.

The train service from Cambridge Heath seemed pretty infrequent, perhaps due to the proximity of the Central Line. In any case, I simply couldn’t be arsed to wait the better part of 20 minutes and so walked a bit further into Bethnal Green.

Last time I was in Bethnal Green was a few months back, and that time I had made an ill-advised late-night walk to Aldwych. This time I simply hopped on the Central Line to Holborn. I really do need to explore the area, though. Maybe next weekend.

The other part of my plan for today was to visit the London Transport Museum (thank God they’ve done away with the ridiculous “London’s Transport Museum” title) and take a look at their Suburbia exhibition, which closes next weekend.

I have to say, I think the Museum has improved greatly as a result of expanding its remit. Back in “the day,” as the kids say, it was purely the collection owned by London Transport. It now deals with all forms of transport from the late 18th century onwards, and as a result gives a much broader view of the city. It even has an exhibit on the future of transport in London, which seems rather dystopian (one of the possibilities they give for the future, for example, is 30% of people in London suddenly dying). The only complaint I would have is that the labelling for many of the exhibits is unclear.

In my silliness, while wandering around the museum, I managed to leave my jacket somewhere. It’s a lovely bottle-green jacket in corduroy that inspires many compliments, and which I like very much. More importantly, though, it had the tickets from the Last Tuesday Society in the pocket. According to the face value of the tickets, they would have been worth a total of £240 (approximately one hundred times what I paid for the jacket itself). I retraced my steps with a rising sense of panic. I found a staff member and asked if they’d seen it – they rang down to the cloakroom, and not only did they have the jacket, but another staff member offered to show me the way to said cloakroom. Excellent service all round.

In short, London Transport Museum = good.

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2009 in retrospect, with naked people

Typically in the first blog entry of the New Year, you’re either supposed to talk about the year that’s just gone or make your predictions about the year coming up. I intend to do the former, but only going as far back as December 30th. I’ve spent the entire year writing about the things this blog is about, and so a recap is surely unnecessary.

The 30th, however, was a night of note about which I have not written so far. The Directrix organised a trip to the Last Tuesday Society’s event, the New Year’s Eve Eve masked ball, held at The Bridge under the arches of the London Bridge railway viaduct. The dress code, according to the website, was “Divine Decadence.” The same site also advised that while masks were obligatory, clothes were optional. I decided that clothes were certainly the preferable option in my case due to my compassion for greater humanity. In the meantime, I busied myself painting the mask you see on the left there.

On the day of the party, it soon became clear that there was a problem I hadn’t anticipated, namely that of condensation – the mask had almost no ventilation, and within a few minutes I had something akin to a tropical rainforest going on in there. In the queue I found there was actually water leaking out of the eye holes. Classy, not to mention sexy.

Anyway, once we got in I was pleasantly surprised. Generally when “decadence” is promised, the full extent of said decadence consists of a fat guy in a nappy and a 17-year-old drinking too much and being sick on you. This time, however, the party was very much as advertised. Decadence was abundant.

The best thing about the masked ball, as a concept, is that your face is hidden. If I might get a little philosophical here, one of the major things that prevents you from being naughty in your day-to-day life is the fact that you might be recognised. You might also be prevented by reason of being boring, but that’s outside the scope of this article I’m afraid. My point is that the masked ball is an opportunity to really misbehave.

Thanks, strategically-placed peacock feather!

This one was no exception, if the dude wearing nothing but a mask and a leash around his gentleman’s prerogatives was any indication. I mean, seriously, I’m hardly a prude, but there were enough naked people around there to turn a chap vegetarian.

Of course, it wasn’t just a case of making your own entertainment, and there was plenty laid on. Music was being provided by the Texas Chainsaw Orchestra, Seas of Mirth, the Trans-Siberian Marching Band, Jimbino Vegan and his Jazz Cannibals and various other escapees from The Mighty Boosh. If that wasn’t to your taste, there was a Santa Striptease for the ruination of your childhood. There was a giant mechanical penis that one could ride and, if successful, receive a bottle of gin as a prize. I don’t know if this was supposed to be a tribute to William Hogarth or what, but one of our party received a bottle for her mastery of bucking genitalia.

The bar, it has to be said, was a little slow – on one occasion I found myself recalling when the entire area was fields. The buffet, however, was really something else – as you may see a couple of photos above, it was presided over by four naked ladies. Apparently there was supposed to be a man as well, but “he pulled out at the last minute.” Well knowing the double meaning of this phrase, I avoided the semolina pudding. Having said that, I can’t remember what I actually did eat. I consider myself a fairly enlightened guy, but when faced with four unexpected naked ladies, my thought process goes something along the lines of, “By George, how Bacchanalian – but are not all pleasures of the flesh closely linked? Are not the act of eating and the act of love traditionally associated with each other? This display is, in fact, an illustration of that which we instinctively BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES

CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION

We left before the hot tub, but in that time I learnt many things. First of all, in a lesbian orgy, it is important to expect the unexpected. Secondly, you can get away with a lot more if nobody can see your face. Thirdly, if you feel something prodding your left buttock on the dance floor, you should not turn around. Fourthly, full-face masks make it a little difficult to drink. Others of the party learned that the more complex your costume is, the harder it is to get to the toilet, and that nipple damage is no laughing matter.

Overall, the event was Most Enjoyable, and I would heartily recommend it to licentious folk across the city.

I should probably warn you that this entry was NSFW.

Further Reading

http://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org/index.html – The Last Tuesday Society’s website

http://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org/gallery_2.html – The gallery of the night. Yr. Humble Chronicler’s party was among those photographed, but you do have to scroll through quite a lot of nudity to get to us. As in real life.

http://www.vimeo.com/8472597 – A video of events.

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