Monday, July 24, 2006

Fancy Dress

Triumvirate of evil, originally uploaded by Mr Atrocity.

This weekend was Vivswindy's barbecue spectacular. And spectacular it was. Above is a photo of me as MacReady, Vivswindy as Captain Jack Sparrow and Tinseltroos as Laura Palmer.

Tinseltroos and I departed London Euston on Saturday morning and discovered that due to computer crappage all seat booking information was lost so we couldn't sit together. I got to sit next to some fat old geezer who spent the entire journey looking disapprovingly at my iPod and choices of magazines (Private Eye and American Cinematographer) whilst simultaneaously spreading his copy of The Financial Times as wide as possible and picking his nose. Charming. Eventually we arrived in Crewe, the town of my birth, which is notable only for it's huge train station. After a suspicious BLT and a drink we got a tiny train bound for the North Wales' coast. I'd booked seats in Coach B so you can imagine our disappointment when only coaches A and C turned up. There were many other disappointed faces too in the packed carriages as we all tried to cram ourselves in amongst the suitcases of those going on holiday and the pushchairs. That said, it did improve my opinion of human kind as fellow passengers helped those in wheelchairs negotiate the luggage and sorted out luggage for the elderly holiday makers.

Finally we arrived at Rhyl, which is not an example of provincial lovliness. It has in fact been a long contention of mine that the Welsh, not known for their love of the English, conspired to have the towns of Wrexham and Rhyl just over the border to ward off any English visitors, the theory being that anyone encountering either town would turn and flee back whence they came. It's a pity because North Wales beyond these towns is incredibly beautiful. Vivswindy collected us from the station and, with the windows wound up and the doors locked, drove us at speed away from the horrors of Rhyl and back to St. Asaph to his parents' house where the party was to be held.

As we were a few hours early we helped set up tables, and rearrange the furniture ready for the revellers and then at about 6.30 we all trooped off to our rooms to get changed. It took me about 15 minutes to successfully brace the hattest hat with enough double sided sticky-tape and masking tape to be confident it would survive the evening. Once that was done my costume took about four minutes to change into. Meanwhile, Tinseltroos had to apply bluish, deathly make-up, wet look hair gel into which bulger wheat was poured to add a river gritted look and only then could the actual costume go on. I taped her into her plastic-sheet fabulousness and we were ready to go.

After a couple of brief heavy showers, which improved Tinseltroos' authetic "just dragged out of a river"look and threatened to turn part of my costume into papier mâché, the skies cleared and it was lovely for the rest of the evening. Everybody looked fabulous and most had made a real effort with their costumes. Inevitably some were too cool for school and couldn't bring themselves to look a bit silly by dressing up, but that was their loss I felt. It's one of the best aspects of fancy-dress that it really breaks the ice with people you don't know if you can chat about each other's costumes. We met some really cool people, and it was great that there were people who'd been Vivswindy's teachers at school, people like me who were contemporaries of his at college and also some of his current students (he teaches film to 16-18 year olds). A really good mixture of people. So we all ate, drank a lot of beer, danced, played air-guitar, and chatted until the wee small hours.

After a few hours sleep in the softest bed I've plonked myself into (imagine being dropped into a king-size marshmallow) we got up and helped clear up the detritus in the garden. Many buckets were filled with cans and bottles. I'm not sure North Wales' recycling services will quite be able to cope but that didn't deter us and after a while the recycling was sorted and most of the mess cleared up. Then we all decamped to the pub for Sunday lunch and hair of the dog till it was time to be driven back to Rhyl (also at high speed with the doors locked) and thence onto trains back to London. The return journey was much better and we got back to Euston ten minutes early, tired and sleepy but very happy after a fantastic weekend. It may have only been one night away, but I really feel like I've had a mini-holiday.

And the hattest hat survived the whole ordeal. Result.


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