Monday, 30 December 2013

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes How do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets In midnights, in cups of coffee or my year in Meetup

So 2013 comes to an end , life has changed so much over the past 12 months . I changed jobs at work learned to drive and dipped a tentative toe into the world of internet dating. However more than anything i got out and met up , dressed up , met people , made some great friends and met some lovely people and boogied the night away I saw parts of the day I'd forgotten existed and stumbled out of taxis in the wee small hours, braved night buses and made mad dashes to Euston station. So in a spirit of reflection this was my year in Meet Up

23 x sorties in fancy dress
2 x braving roller disco
2 x canal festivals
7 quiz nights
2 lots of bingo
1 ghost bus tour
9 x trips to the Theatre
1 to the O2
2 lots of Zombies
lots of face paint
31 trips out with Watford Social
31 with Alternative Nightlife

How do you measure a year indeed?

Maybe in Decades

For example my first meetup with Alternative nightlife was the Leyshon Brothers which was Victorian so 1837 -1901

Next in chronological order was  a trip to the 1920's in fact more than 1 in fact 1920's must be in fashion as

Black Cotton Club
Die Freche Muse
Herr Kettners Cabaret

all covered the 1920's  with music , dancing , cabaret and  general air of decadence

Blitz Party did double duty for the 1930's and 1940's swing dancing the night away in some atmospheric railway tunnels

1950's was covered by Joe's Camden , a few drinks to some tunes in a 50's bar

1960's was somewhat more problematic however did listen twice to a very good cover band the Slaves at a local pub which played music from the Beetles and the Stones

1970's was covered by several visits to Disco Inferno at Watford Colloseum

1980's was covered by a visit to Cannon Street to Strictly Electric 80's dreams and a step back to 1984 with Future Cinema as I stepped back into the realm of Ghostbusters

How do you measure a year? In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year in the life?

In fancy dress costumes maybe

January we had a quiet Month on the fancy dress
February 2nd I joined Alternative Nightlife and started as I meant to go on with something vaguely victorian or a pair of braces o-:-)

Slow to get going March saw a trip to a Tikki bar and a Hawaian theme shirt

April saw a trip back into the 1970's with Disco Inferno

May was a missed opportunity with no fancy dress opportunities at all

June however made up for a slow start to the year with:

1) The Black Rabbit at Rumpus
2)RAF at Blitz Party 

3)A trip back to the Circus as a Ringmaster/ Lion

4 and a trip back to Disco Inferno

July saw a touch of Vintage Glamour with Black Cotton Club and Die Freche Muse 

August was again quiet 
September however was another bumper month

1) with Zombie Karaoke 

2) International talk like a Pirate Day

3) another trip to the Circus as a Zebra / Ringmaster
4) and a touch of Japanese for Imaginarium  as a sailor/tiger

October being the Month of Halloween saw a Myriad of Costuming opportunities

1) Zombie number 2 at World Zombie Day 

2) Something vaguely Fashionable at the Katzenjammer club
3)Leopard/Robin Hood at the :Last Tuesday Society 
4) Zombie Steampunk  Highlander Redcoat Soldier at White Mischief

November saw a few late Halloween shenanigans with

A fox / Hunstman at TG
Another trip to the Circus this time as a Ringmaster / Leopard
a vaguely germanic soldier at Herr Kattners

December saw a final pair of outings

with a Huntman at the 5th Anarcho Dandyist Ball

something vaguely inspired by Magnum PI for Future Cinema
and a schoolboy for School Disco in Watford Colloseum

So a mere 23 opportunities to slip into costume and be someone else for the night

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand journeys to plan
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?

How else to measure my year in Meetup 

In competitions?

1 lot of Boogie Bowling
 7x Quiz Nights
Butchery and Musical Bingo 

In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died
In Music or Theatre

This year I saw through Meet Up

The Bodyguard
War Horse
Singing in the Rain
Eddie Izzard
Westside Story
Perfect Match
Robin Hood

I saw the Slaves twice, Romeos Daughter and went to Rockeoke and performed my first ever public kareoke performances twice both time Bon Jovi and both times in Fancy Dress

Or Festivals 

2 x food Festivals , 2 x Canal Festivals, a Beer Festival and Notting Hill Carnival 

 or how about through  the medium of Dance

2 x Roller Disco  evening of Swing Dancing

or How about some Random events

2 trips to the Zoo 1 to the Science Museum an Evening of list making and 1 or Film Soundtracks and a day of listening to hits from West End Shows in Trafalgar square , a night of Erotic readings and trip on a Ghost Bus  a Literary Death Match and the Funeral of Jack the Ripper

Inumerable nights in the pub or bar

It's time now, to sing out
Though the story never ends
Let's celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends

And on that note we come tomorrow and the Years End  with a Black and White Ball at Bodegas with Friends

From Loseville to a night at the Ball it's been one hell of a Journey and 1 hell of a year.

5th Anarcho-Dandyist ball

I wasn't going to go to this event but I'm glad I did. We got their slightly after 9. The event was at the Bloomsbury Ballroom which is  my most frequently visited  venue I've been to with Alternative nightlife. Despite the fact that it's basically a large box it always feels slightly different. Some of this is down to them letting us in via different entrances maybe the rest is down to the layout.

This ball felt a smaller more intimate space than normal  maybe because the other bar was shut and maybe because of the tables dotted round the outside. It felt like stepping into a scene from a PG Wodehouse novel. The only anachronisms were the occasional camera phone and the range of clothing .It was all vintage but it ranged from the Victorian explorer in his pith helmet to a sole RAF officer.

The entertainment started with 2 dancers , rendered slightly amusing by the fact we had inadvertently heard them  discussing their routine  "backstage" as we queued to get in .

Which reminds me as we came in from the cloak room we bumped into " Viv the Spiv"  An authentic WW 2 South London So if who I'd seen around at previous WW 2 events. He offered to sell the ladies in our group some nylons personal fitting thrown in for free.

The crowd was warmed up by the third member of Terpsichore a cheeky chalky in loud check jacket and a Sun helmet. He started the crowd off with a Charleston  then proceeded to get every one doing the Lambeth Walk compelled by a conga line which several of our party joined in.

Then their was a bit of general dancing  of t he swing dancing . Some of the more talented proponents  of which could be on the dangerous side if you weren't on your guard. With arms and legs flying about at quite a fast pace.

After that we were treated to a rendition from Sir Henry at Rawlison' s End . My hat goes off to Mike Livesley who peformed a half an hour at least of comic monologue complete with changes of , costume, character and accent  as well as various songs with musical accompaniment including two instruments which I'd never seen before. One involving a hose pipe and a funnel and another which was a distant relation to the accordion family which appeared to have started life as a wooden drawer.
Unfortunately he wad let down by his microphone and the general background noise from seven eigths  of the attendees who weren't paying attention.

This was even more s shame because when he switched  from his head mike to the free standing mike for a rousing rendition of ginger geezer he was very audible.

After this masterpiece a short while later we had a wobbly knee competition which was keenly contested

Next up was Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer who brought a very funny British sensibility to Hip Hop. His version was called Chap Hop and was all about scones, cricket, wearing tweed and the sartorial faux pas of buttoning the bottom button of your waist coat

I highly recommended you check him out on You tube.

He had the crowd eating out of his hand with his Banjulele playing. Especially his intepretation of early 90's rave music :)

It was an enjoyable evening and highly recommended.

Unfortunately the wonderful system which our Train network was playing up so I had to leave like Cinderella at Midnight arriving at Euston  at 12.15 just in time to sit on the 11.44 train for 15 minutes while someone pulled the emergency cord and then sit for 5 minutes 10 minutes out of Euston while someone again pulled the emergency cord after  which I can only assume the offending individual was ripped to shreds by his or her fellow passengers who were anxious to get home . Finally got home just after 1:00 having spent  about 50% as much time travelling as I did at the venue.

However it was well worth it .

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Zombie Walk 12th October

Myself  and 3 intrepid companions took to the streets of London  along with 1997 other people approximately to walk from Marble Arch to Denmark Street dressed as zombies and raise some mony for St Mungos Homeless charity.

We set off from Watford Junction having rendezvoused there. Me and my friend Heken had walked as Zombies from her house. I felt a little guilty as we'd made a small child cry just by walking past him.

Although as you can see we were a fairly scary bunch

We proceeded to Marble arch gathering ? vote zombies as we went.
Marble Arch itself  was a sea of zombies of all shapes and sizes from zombie Jesus to zombie Winnie the pooh via zombie decorators and zombie  parrots.

The zombie walk is basically a long fancy dress pub crawl combined with a chance to scare the be need is out of the tourists.
While waiting for  the off our small group managed to find out what it must be like to be a celebrity.

Maybe we looked more approachable than most or maybe it was our location but we got flooded with requests to have our photo taken.
Including by a very straight laced looking Asian matriarch. Which goes to show you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

The walk itself was  between various waypoints. A waypoint was an opportunity to head for the nearest hostility . Given numbers this was a mad dash to be through the door first and to the bar before the rest of the Z o mbie swarm.

At one point our Watford Zombie cohort got pecking so when we reached Piccadilly circus we made a break for the nearest Macdonald s.

I resisted asking for brains from the server who took a mini invasion by zombies in his stride. Mainly on the principle of don't ask don't tell. Macdonald may contain things you don't want to study too closely . So why tempt fate. It was a somewhat surreal experience.

We had nt got our tickets for the after party so we  left the main horde drinking in Leicester square and made a dash to Denmark street and the intrepid fox.

To get our tickets before the main rush.

The intrepid fox has always intrigued me and the interior matches the exterior. It's a proper metallers pub.

At the pub we had a few drinks saw a live band upstairs.

We finished our zombie experience with a trip  to the church opposite  where we listened to some more live music which had several lyrics you wouldn't expect in a church but it was all for a good cause so respect to them for being flexible and open minded.

We finished the day with a trip to KFC in Leicester square another somewhat surreal experience but very satisfying after a hard days zombieing.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Inspired by Literary death match and a conversation on the way home from it

To the tune of Ruby don't take your love to Town

Outer greater Zone 8 London Blues

The end of the night
Is drawing near
It's the early hours in London
But it's another hour of traveling till my beds in sight
The shadow on the wall
Tells m e it's the beginning of the day
So Boris
Send the tube my way

I could of course
Go out in Watford sure
An occasional trip is fun
But London has so much more
And yes it's true
That in 2015 the tube  Will run 24 hours a day
But still the tube won't run my way.

It's hard to get home now
There's a nightbus to Stanmore
But it's still an hour's travelling and  a 20 quid taxi
Till I get to my door
It's so hard to get around
So Boris
Send the all night tube to Watford town

The last train from Euston' s heaving
And you have to sit on the floor
It's 2013 in the nation's capital
A 2am last train is poor
And if I could move I'd leave zone 8
Somewhere with a24hr tube line would be great
So Boris
Send the tube my way
Even watford 's own nightbus
Woul d  really make my day