Best. Party. Ever.

I’m chairing our weekly project meeting in a few minutes time, and wondering if the headache and sore eyes are the start of a hangover that’s so far been blissfully absent.

Yesterday was 30th birthday party at The Hobbit. Given a general theme of Chaps and the 1920s (which in practice seemed to cover everything from the turn of the century to the 1930s) and a touch of Lovecraftiana, he’d booked the downstairs bar from 2pm until late, and decorated it with palm leaves, vases, prints of Arkham MA, hatstands, oriental fans, and the like. About the only thing missing were antimacassars on the chair backs (which, to continue a conversation from last night, are decidedly Non-U), and a few eldritch volumes (the rules according to Hoyle don’t really count). Vices were well catered for, with a hookah in one corner and a plentiful supply of snuff (having now tried the stuff, I can see why people take it, but I don’t think that I shall be doing so again any time soon – the burning sensation in my mucus membranes was a bit too much). Music was good – Chris had a good party mix (with enough Fats Waller to keep me happy), and had arranged for some fantastic live music. I don’t know what they were called, but they were excellent and entirely in keeping.

(back from a mercifully short meeting)

No photos yet, since I haven’t downloaded them off the camera. looked stunning, as is her wont, in a slinky coffee-coloured gown. Slight wardrobe malfunction towards the end of the evening, but we don’t think that anyone noticed. If she was going for the upmarket sophisticate look, I was going for more of the chap-about-town look: tweed jacket, mustard waistcoat (thank heavens for Beatnik Emporium – it may not be Bath’s Vintage to Vogue, but it’s the best we have in Southampton), natty cravat, brown corduroy slacks, brown shoes, and a flower in my lapel (thanks to , since I wouldn’t have though of it).

Other folk were similarly well turned-out: looked rather dishy and, dare I say it, ambivalent, while ‘s cavalry uniform was set off well by the (drawn-on) moustache. was a model of sartorial sophistication, with his suit, tidy moustache (not drawn on) and side parting, but was slightly upstaged by ‘s flapper dress and Louise Brooks hair. I can’t possibly list all the people who were there, so without intentionally leaving anyone out, some notable mentions: (wearing a rather jaunty turban, with a Keith in tow), Maria (who I initially didn’t recognise when pointed her out, so was I admiring her outfit), Rich (wearing a lab coat, because all Lovecraftian fiction should involve an insane asylum at some point) and Stuart (in full white tie). With Dr Nick, Sideshow Al, and my long-suffering ex-officemate Steve also in attendence, we had a TotL quorum for the first time since, oooh, our Not-Quite-Burns’ Night Supper. No , alas, since she was doing things of a SG:A persuasion, though J. was there during the afternoon.

Some things that I’ve learned from this party:

  • When loading a hookah, put the tobacco in before the charcoal.
  • The Hobbit only sell vermouth in double measures, so if you want a Martini or Manhattan, the best thing to do is order all the components in separate glasses and mix it yourself.
  • Fewer of my friends will make a bee-line for Gentlemen’s Relish and caviar than I’d expected. Maybe this is because it was only lumpfish? Discerning folks, obviously.
  • Beetroot, parsnip and carrot crisps are Dangerous, and should be kept at arm’s length, or preferably just out of reach.
  • Few people will eat pickled walnuts. All the more for me.
  • Wearing tweed made me want to hold a pipe.
  • Holding a pipe made me want to sit in a shed.
  • In brief: tweed leads to pipes, pipes lead to sheds, sheds lead to pottering
  • Holding a pipe also felt incredibly natural. I’ve no interest in smoking the things, but there’s something reassuring about having something in your hands that you can fiddle with and use to point at things.
  • I now have an Extremely Bad Plan of future pottering involving a briar pipe and a laser diode that I feel compelled to carry out. Watch this space.

Bloody hell, that was a good party! Again, happy birthday !

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