I love this time of year: low sunshine, crackling leaves, and not a sign of the abuse of one’s senses that is the absurd Christmas build-up. I also really love Halloween (or to give it its proper abbreviation, Hallowe’en) for its sheer seasonal impact. In other words, it’s an annual, kitschy excuse to dress up and party. Which is exactly what I did.
Following the advice of some friends who attended last year, I was recommended an events company called The Last Tuesday Society for my Hallowe’en experience. TLTS throw a series of annual (and seasonal) events, along with ‘weird-drug-memory-loss’ parties where the real party is watching yourself back on video to see what actually happened. I personally can’t think of anything more terrifying. Nonetheless, I was assured that their Hallowe’en offering, ‘A Danse Macabre’, was slightly more, er, savoury, so it was with some trepidation and absolute fascination that my friends and I bought tickets.
Before I describe the evening, I feel I should refer you, dear reader, to the online blurb. Have a read. Are you sitting there, (as described by someone who I forwarded the link to) “totally open-mouthed”? Good. Now imagine being open-mouthed, wide-eyed, bushy-tailed and walking around in a daze for the entire night. Because that’s exactly what happened to my friends and I. Drugs? Pah. The party was the drug. To say it was absolutely fucking insanely epic is an understatement (take it as a sign of the party’s gravitas that I needed to resort to swearing to even get close to an accurate description). That’s how mind-blowing it was.
Hidden under the arches of London Bridge, the ‘club’ itself is a sprawling, multi-chambered venue. Exposed brickwork and a pervading smell of damp certainly added to the ‘creepiness’, and (evident by the complete loss of phone reception), it felt like you were many miles underground.
Following ‘the beautiful and the damned’ dress code, I decided to have a crack at the most famous blonde in the world, Marilyn Monroe. I thought I did her some justice, as did my companions who dressed as a zombie, devil, bride, scary fairy and dead fortune teller respectively, but when I looked around me in the queue there were people who had clearly spent a fortune on costume hire. There were Victorian vampires and towering transvestites, Little Red Riding Hood chained, by the neck, to a wolf, exposed brains, severed limbs and priest-like headdresses. Then, of course, there were those who thought that minimal clothing would be a better (and presumably, cheaper) option – let’s just say that burlesque and bondage were common costume sights. And occasionally, there were no costumes at all. It was utterly uncensored.
The first half of the night was spent wandering around, taking photos, and adjusting to our bearings. It occurred to me more than once that this must be what spending a million pounds on a party looks like. Of course, the party’s visual impact was, without a doubt, its key ingredient. Instead of going into every minute detail about the night (you’d be reading this blog post for a while, and I’d like to keep some of my personal nights out, well, personal!), I’m going to list some of the main features of the party:
Free tattoo painting – naked actors painted gold, spread-eagled on A Christmas Carol themed feast-like buffet table – a ballroom blanketed in red feathers – candy floss and popcorn machines – hot tubs (very naked ones) – giant pumpkins – a classical orchestra – swing bands – a real sheep’s head – a vast chocolate fountain – coffins to pose in – gravestones – operating tables – hanging lilies, headless teddy bears, black angels and pheasants – cages – abattoirs – a ‘couple’s room’ – a woman ‘syringing her own blood and drinking it’ – peacock feathers – pineapples – gargoyles…and did I mention tickets were only around £20? Worth. Every. Penny.
‘A Danse Macabre’ is described by its organisers as a night of “lust and disgust”, and I think that completely re-emphasises what I’ve written here. But words can only take this night so far. I can’t recommend the actual experience enough – just go.
The next big event from the Last Tuesday Society is their New Year’s Eve Eve Masked Ball…it’s extremely tempting. I have high expectations that they will contrive something to make their guests open their mouths even wider (if that’s at all possible).