Walking into the office about a month ago, my boss declared she was planning her birthday party and I was head of music. Hurrah! As I’m a “pretty much everyone else’s choice is just not good enough” variety of music lover, this was ideal.
I’m a control freak. Occasionally (VERY occasionally) someone else will choose music that is spot on for the occasion and desired (by me) vibe. When this happens it’s like getting an aural blast of minty freshness via a supersonic wind machine (exaggeration not included).
See I’m all for the vibe and like to make an occasion out of pretty much anything. When out and about and/or in the company of others, I want the experience to be worth moving for. I take my iPod and pre-prepared playlist to other people’s houses and I choose the right sort of bar depending on the people I am with. I like to think that I have delectable taste and not that I am easily hyper-bored and extremely impatient of social lulls.
Either way, if I am invited to someone’s house, or go out to a bar, I do not expect the telly to be on. Yes I am that inconsiderate. Having a telly on is distracting, vibe-killing and general flow blocking. I do not dress up to watch TV and I dress up for most things; nights out, trips out, visits, work (even when from home) even to write this blog. But to watch telly? No! (Unless it is for a specifically themed film night… then we’re talking).
So, being Grand Dame of Party Music (note swift self-promotion) my thoughts quickly turned to venue, theme, guests etc. I am no willy-nilly playlist maker. I had been set a musical task, which I would undertake to perfection. Seeing the venue and guests were in hand (not literally, my hands are big but cannot hold entire buildings full of people) I sensed a vague air surrounding the theme (aka “what the hell do you mean there is no theme”). I quickly charged in yelling “glitz and glam” in the manner of Bet Lynch reading aloud from an 80s edition of Vogue and all was good in the world.
Glitz and glam is not original but absolutely right for this occasion. Why? Because it was a special birthday party and so the birthday girl had to feel special (or I would scream and scream until I was sick). I am all for the totally shallow but pleasing on the eye Gok Wan/TV make-over school of psychology. That is, I think that most people would benefit from sartorial self-expression. It isn’t just the clothes you wear, but the way you want the world to see you. Yes… it is!
Some people are just laid back and casual (damn them and their uninspiring ways), some love fancy dress (aka, “I can dress totally outrageously and it is not at all a reflection on my respectability within society”), while others like to dress to the nines, tens and elevens (that’s me, me and me!).
Those who see me regularly would probably dispute this to a certain extent. I am not a designer fiend (unless it involves make-up), approx. 75% of the clothes I own are some form of second-hand and I am just one of those people who NEVER looks neat. However, for me (conveniently) glitz and glam is not about neatness and price tags (I am with Jessie J in this respect, though in reality her clothes approximate the sum of a small body-conned planet). For me, glitz and glam is about originality, fabulousness and drama.
If I were to make it into a cocktail I would take one part imagination, one part luvvy (strength can vary from respected theatre dame to drag queen), one part bling and three parts glitter; mix in a sexy, suave but off kilter manner and pour from a great height into a martini glass; it costs very little, looks fantastic and feels simply wonderful to drink. Yes, I am also a cocktail fiend.
Taking this theme by the hand I ran with it (laughing like a mindless fool as I went). I was now self-appointed party organizer. This meant balloons by the bucket, gin by the barrel and gold and silver decorations by the busload. And yes, there were glitter balls. On the day of the party (last weekend) we transformed a social club into the hybrid love child of Ludwig’s Castle and a Fred Aldous flagship store. It was the embodiment of my glitz and glam ethic.
On the night of the party, however, the real sense of glitz and glam evolved. The party girl herself made a fantastic outfit from things she already owned; think shimmering gold cowl neck, brilliant beaded chain necklaces worn as a belt and a ton of gold accessories topped (or bottomed) with a pair of new shoes that pulled the whole ensemble together. One or two wore genuinely expensive designer numbers, some wore deliciously vintage pieces but most pulled together all that they owned that was dark and sparkly (we all have more than we think), added a load of glitter, and looked all the more fabulous for it. I, myself, made a fascinator out of thoughtfully donated scraps of lace and feathers I found underneath the stairs. I also wore a pair of velvet gloves I got from the charity shop for 50p (two right hands but no one noticed, much better than two left feet). Everyone made glitz and glam their own and had a fun time doing so.
I make no exception for my seeming shallowness here. This is not just about things looking pretty but about people feeling wonderful. If you cannot eat, drink and be merry, and look damn fine while doing so, what is there in life to enjoy (maybe I am making excuses here, damn it, don’t read this while watching the news).
Last night I tweeted my most recent clothing concern (they occur hourly). Having just decided to spend only on others until Christmas, I found a fantastic pair of boots online that I desperately desired. My boss, whose party it was, replied “Buy them – we’ll enjoy seeing them so you will have bought them for others really.” No sentence could more sum up my glitz and glam ethic. Make the best of yourself and others will benefit from your fabulousness. Looking and feeling amazing (in whatever version you like best) is not a self-centered act, but one of extreme generosity. As the season of giving approaches, I’ll certainly go with that.
Today I listened to: Build a Rocket Boys by Elbow and Biophilia by Bjork
Today I read: Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
This was all beautifully colourful when we bought it from Blackpool earlier int he year. As with everything, the red has faded from it. Still it looks lovely and does it’s job (looks lovely in bad weather). I am trying the technique of zooming while I shoot in this with varying degrees of success.