Thursday, 6 November 2008

Halloween in London

I first heard about White Mischief when they added me on MySpace about their latest event 'Around the World in 80 Days'. It was sold to me as a one night indoor festival combining live music with vaudeville and circus acts and fancy dress galore. I was immediately interested after recognising some of the fantastic announced acts, such as Miss Behave, through the Edinburgh Fringe Festival I decided it would be a fun thing to try out. This event was on the 7th June. At the time I was in Carmarthen, Wales at University and going to London for the weekend was a fairly regularly occurance. It never seemed too much for me to do as I have so many family and friends there to visit that White Mischief is just another excuse to see them. I managed to easily convince my boyfriend to accompany me and that weekend it was off to London!

Although I do love dressing up I had no idea of the amount of effort people put into their costumes. It was extraordinary. 'Around the World in 80 Days' had time travellers, exotic beauties, 'machine punk', explorers, the balloon itself and a gold man with a boat on his head of course!

The music ranged from swing to indie/punk to electro to Jacques Brel. The people looked fantastic, but not intimidating. We both felt considerably under dressed, but has the most amazing time.

Before I even began to consider what I was doing for Halloween, on the 21st of September I got an email from the people of White Mischief, announcing they had teamed up with Whoopee for a Halloween bash like no other at 33 Portland Place, the home of Edward Davenport. Very fancy. Although when they sent me the email the location of the party was secret and it was not until that same week that I knew where it was apart from central London! The theme was 'House of the Sandman' and I immediately resolved to go as a clockwork doll and my boyfriend as one of the sandman's victims. After rummaging around vintage shops, borrowing from lucky friends who just happen to have an original Victorian bustle and rifling through my parent's costumes from performances gone by, we managed to assemble two pretty impressive outfits.

The night was not as good as the first one we attended, partly due to the venue being completely ill fitted for a party: the only way to access the toilet and smoking area was down a tiny staircase only one person wide, necessitating a back against the wall sliding up or down the stairs affair in order to pass anyone which is incredibly difficult with a giant key sticking out of your back! Or any costume for that matter. And, of course, all of the acts were upstairs, but as it took up to half an hour just to get up a thin winding staircase a lot of acts were missed and it had to be something we really wanted to see or a desperate need to go to the loo to get us to attempt facing the unpleasant squashed stairs. There was that and also the extortionate drinks prices. £5 for every drink; one measure of spirit or a tiny 330ml bottle of beer! We spent something close to £75 and it might as well have been nothing after sweating it all out on the staircase. Unlike Scala, where they held 'Around the World in 80 Days' which is actually a club venue, this was completely inappropriate for a mass of people with costumes sticking out left right and centre. They also hadn't even bothered to decorate it, presumably relying on the house itself to provide the Halloween-spooky atmosphere. It was a beautiful and impressive feel, but for me it was certainly not in any way scary or anything like the House of the Sandman.

The next White Mischief is on the 10th November which doesn't leave quite enough time for me to save money and go down to London again, but I would definitely like to go to another event in the future and hope that this was just a temporary oversight as opposed to an over expensive event without much effort put in. Saying that I still had an amazing time as did most of the people there, but with a few tweaks here and there and perhaps a few drinks before going I think it would be a mind blowing extravaganza.

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