I had Friday off work as my dear Brother, you know, the one who lives in the hollowed out volcano in the eastern Mediterranean Sea came over to the little old Baltic state of England for a visit. There was beer, and Chinese food - It was great, we watched Most Haunted and everything, it was like the good old days.
On Saturday, I went to a party. It was the Eighteenth Birthday of someone I've known for quite a while - Probably ten years or so (and no, I don't make a habit of befriending eight year old children specifically so that I can be invited to their significant birthday parties... Not... specifically...)
Anyway, it's not like it's the only eighteenth I've been to recently, there was this Fancy Dress one last year. And it certainly wasn't the strangest party by a long way, I mean, there was the one with all those transvestites and where that chap offered his wife to me as a nutritional supplement.
But this was a bit of a first.
I'm about to go full-on middle-class, hold on to your re-enforced Burberry gussets.
Let me give you a bit of background - The Birthday Boy, let's call him George, as that's his name. Is a great... Well, I suppose he can officially be called a 'bloke' now. He's one of those people for whom 'over-exuberant' is a oft-used adjective (amongst others). He plays the guitar, the drums, and has been known to occasionally beat the living daylights out of any piano keyboard that's been too injured to run away from him. Horribly, horribly talented. And a nice guy, which makes it even worse. You can't hate him, which tends to be my reaction to people I consider to be in any way more talented than myself, lucky there aren't many of them about.
That's George, on the stage there. (he's bigger than that normally)
He also goes to our local Performing Arts College and is a bit of a 'Thesp' in his spare time. (This is important, try to remember it.)
The party was held in a 1940's church hall, there was catering and a proper professional DJ with lights and lasers and smoke and a karaoke and songs that had been written (and I use the word 'written' incredibly loosely) in the past few years and everything.
It was a mix of family and friends... So far, so average, you might be thinking...
But, there was a large contingent of - Well I was going to say kids, but Young People is probably more politically correct, from the Performing Arts College. If anyone in the room had happened to have a flamboyance meter with them, it would either have exploded or, at the very least, the needle would have been quite badly bent against the stop.
I know what you're thinking, especially if you read my post last week about musical theatre, yes, a lot of the male students were indeed, obviously and faaaaaaaabulously, 'Friends of Dorothy' (but no doubt great chaps) and a lot of the female students fell into the standard three young actress groups:
- Very attractive, slim girls for whom talent will always come second to looks when being selected by a lecherous producer for roles. These people would have to be truly, truly awful (or not willing to regularly subject themselves to the casting couch) not to succeed.
- Plain girls who can sing and dance and could be dropped into the chorus of any show anywhere and be great, but they will have to work at it and maybe take a second job and get used to rejection.
- Sturdy girls, or as I like to hear them described, normal sized women, who have insanely good voices but will all end up fighting for the same roles (Mama Morton in Chicago for instance).
You know that feeling when you're a little drunk at a party where there's a karaoke and someone gets up who can actually sing? Where there's that sense of shock, then jealousy, then wonder? Well, imagine that happening twelve times in a row. (OK, not everyone was brilliant, and I'm fairly sure that a couple of local dogs may well have exploded purely due to harmonic resonance.) There were a couple of truly great performances, worthy of an X-Factor contestant whose entire family had been killed the previous day in a freak custard tanker accident.
We were treated to pretty much the entire soundtrack of 'Wicked' - With one notable exception (See the title of today's post) and a few things that I didn't completely recognise, with me not being a huge fan of the genre and everything.
Then we come to the dancing. There was a wide age range there, so obviously apart from the standard jigging about party music, there was a waltz (ever seen a waltz at an 18th? No, me neither) and there was Gangnam style and Whigfield's Saturday night and suchlike - where everyone forms up into lines and does 'the dance' with varying degrees of style and grace.
Then 'Beat It', by Michael Jackson came on. We were treated to a pretty accurate rendition of the video (with some parts of Thriller' thrown in for good measure) as performed by people who had possibly had one too many WKD's - It was a huge hit, there were applause and everything.
Then the DJ (Who was great, by the way), knowing his audience well by this point, played the Jason Nevins remix of Run DMC's 1983 hit 'It's Like That'
So there was a dance off, obviously... I mean what else could one do? OK, so we were in a church hall in the East Midlands, not under an overpass in West Detroit, and the people taking part were not wearing baggy jeans and ironically over-large beanies - But the thought was there, they carried it off pretty well. And again, it was something I've never seen before.
Maybe this is a fairly standard party nowadays, maybe I'm just out of touch, maybe the average 18th party now involves unicycling unicorns and hot and cold running meringues in a selection of flavours and sizes.
I certainly hope so, there should be another one coming up next year, and every year for the next ten or so years.
[Exits Stage right to maniacal laughter and lightning effects}