Thursday, August 23, 2007

Virgin Records Party

Last night, I was on the guest list for Virgin Records Industry Party, at Pangaea, in London. For the last couple of months, I have been trying to do some clubbing, with disastrous results. I stopped doing the club thing back when I was married. My evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, wasn't into clubbing and refused to go with me. As I recall, we only went out to a club once during our marriage and that was for a work night out. Since I have been single again, I have gone a few times, but only to local venues, in or near Bracknell. Sadly, I haven't found any place in the local area that wows me, like big clubs in London, Frankfurt, and New York have, in the past.
Over the past couple of months, I have made several attempts at sticking my toe back into the proverbial club scene water, but each one has been sidetracked, for one reason or another. When I received the invitation to attend the Virgin Records Party, something about it set off a fire in me. A fire of desire. That something was "CD giveaways." I set my mind to the task of going. Trying a few folks to see if anyone would be up for going with me, I had the usual success. Nando couldn't be bothered, despite agreeing, a couple of years ago, that we would go clubbing in London, sometime. Not willing to move his lethargic ass off the sofa for a change, I looked elsewhere. I wasn't surprised that Nando turned me down, but I needed to ask as a matter of politeness. Tom seemed unreachable. I still couldn't confirm if he has gone to France, as planned, or not. Mucky Sarah came the closest to saying yes, but when she heard the party started at 10PM, on a weeknight, she declined. She had to work the next day, but hey, so did I (and I have to be at work a lot earlier than she does!). Finally, I asked TV presenter, Opal Bonfante. It was a long shot, but again, it was a nod to politeness. Opal has never agreed to go anywhere with me, but you never know. It's been so cold in southern England this year, that I thought hell might have finally frozen over.
With Opal's not unexpected decline in hand, I went ahead and RSVPed from myself, alone. Once I set my mind to doing something, I don;t let little bumps in the road stop me. Was the box stopping people from agreeing to go? Who knows, but to hell with the box. For my re-emergence on the London club scene, I decided on my black suit. I matched it up with a white and lavender, striped shirt, but no tie. A couple of squirts of Giorgio Armani's Acqua di Gio (courtesy of a close personal friend) and I was ready to go. Due to the quirks of the local British transport system, I would not be coming home after the party, but taking the first train to Camberley, in the morning, and going direct to work. Because of this, I had to carry my work shoes and shirt in my travel bag. To cut down on bulk, I swapped the black suit trousers for a clean pair of black work trousers. In a dark club, no one would notice that they weren't a perfect match and I would only have to switch shirts, and shoes, for work in the morning.
On my way out the door, I made a side trip to the kitchen and grabbed two slices of pizza for my bag. One would be my dinner, on the bus, while the other was held in reserve, in case I got hungry before I got to work the next day. Opening the front door, I was greeted by a downpour. I had left my favorite, big, black umbrella at work, so I opted for my little, old, beat-up, folding one. It barely protected me and a bit of water was blowing in from the sides, but I would have to do. As I was walking to the bus stop, a route 190 went by. If I had just been five minutes quicker, I could have caught that. The rain and just missing the bus seemed like last ditch attempts by the box to dissuade me, but I was determined. It didn't mater, as there was an inbound 194 due in less than 15 minutes. That would be in plenty of time to get me into Bracknell's town centre to catch the 8:10PM coach to London.
The 8:10 is the last Coach to London on a weeknight. At £4, it's much cheaper than the train. With few passengers, I got my favorite seat, with extra legroom. I tried to get some sleep, as I knew I would be up late, but I was too excited for more than a slight doze. The closer I got to London, the more the funk eminating from the box seemed to lift. Perhaps the box's range was limited. Maybe it could only affect people and events near to its location. Whatever the reason, I felt the best I had felt since the box came into my life. As the coach roared eastbound, along the M4, I snacked on one of my slices of pizza. By the time we were entering the outskirts of London, the rain was abating. Looking north, as we traveled the elevated section of the motorway,just before it ends into the A4, I saw the arch of the new Wembley Stadium, in the distance. Although it wasn't my first time seeing the arch, it was the first time I was able to appreciate it's architectural beauty.
The coach dropped me off at Hyde Park Corner, just before making a turn to the south for it's final destination, Victoria Station. From Hyde Park Corner, it was relatively short work further east, along Piccadilly, into Mayfair. Pangaea is at 85 Piccadilly. I made such good time, I reached number 85 by 9:45. The party didn't start fr another 15 minutes and I didn't want to be the first one there. The club bouncers were just setting up the ropes outside. A little further on, I spotted a Starbucks. I decided to nip into Starbucks for a cold drink and a seat. More misfortune awaited me. Starbucks had let the supply of chilled, sparkling water run out from the refrigerated display. They offered me the choice of a warm bottle (yeah, right!), or a cold bottled of still. I settled for the still, as cold was more important than bubbles. My roving eye spotted a lone, remaining piece of some rich looking, chocolate cake. It was called "Chocolate Decadence," or something like that, and I decided to treat myself. Yum, chocolate! The bloke behind the counter insisted that the last slice of cake is always the best. Armed with cake and water, I plonked myself down at a table and began to enjoy my treat, at leisure. I pulled out a copy of a gossip magazine I had in my bag, to catch up on the latest celebrity gossip. It helped pas the time and slowed my consumption of chocolate. I wanted the pleasure to last as long as possible. Looking to my left, I noticed a group of four girls, dressed for a night out, They were doing the same as I was, killing some time before going to Pangaea.
I managed to use up a half an hour in Starbucks, but they looked like the wanted to close. I left just behind the gang of four and followed them back to Pangaea. There was enough of a gap between us that a girl on her own managed to slip in between us, as we reached the velvet ropes at the door. The bouncers cleared the gang of four, then started speaking to the single girl. She reeked of alcohol already and was having trouble answering a bouncer's questions. While she was fumbling, trying to come up with the name of who's guest list she was on, he decided o have her wait to the side and move on. I guess I looked more coherent. He found my name on the list and then asked if I was on my own. Wincing, I confirmed I was. No need to rub it in, pal. I was admitted immediately. The next step was being frisked by the next bouncer. He also checked my bag but didn't take my last slice of pizza. Once he was satisfied that I didn't pose a risk, I was cleared to proceed. I walked downstairs to the club, proper. It was still early and very few people were there yet. I walked around, looking for the coat check. I wanted to leave my bag there. I spotted the gang of four, then found the check room, on the opposite side of the room from the entrance. That seemed a most unusual place to put the check room. Usually, it's near to the entrance. I paid £2 to check my bag.
Free of my luggage, I started surveying the place. This was my first time at Pangaea, even though I had passed it on several occasions. I was a little disappointed. It was small and had a tiny dance floor. There was an attractive, female DJ, but her choice of music was leaving a lot to be desired. The sound system didn't seem to have enough base. I found a place to sit and waited for more people to arrive. My location, next to the coat check, ended up being advantageous. Every woman who entered ended up coming over to check her coat. I was treated to a show of legs, as it seemed that most of the female guests chose to attire themselves in short dresses. I was really impressed with the beauty of the women that night. I'd say 98 percent of the women in attendance were beautiful. A tall, leggy blond, with a sporty figure and sporty attire to match, walked up to me. As she started to speak, I was a bit surprised. It turned out she was selling massages. I'd heard of this. I remember seeing an ad for people to work giving massages in clubs, last year. She said I could pay whatever amount I thought it was worth, after the massage. I was very tempted, but I figured I'd need to at least give her a fiver. After paying two quid to check my bag, and spending over three quid in Starbucks, I decided I'd better put a stop to the hemorrhaging of my budget. Besides, I'm not into massages. I was just being tempted by the thought of her putting her hands all over me. I declined as sweetly as I could, explaining that I'm not into massages. She took defeat well and told me to let her know if I changed my mind.
As the crowd built up, the music got quite a bit better. The DJ played a number of the current crop of popular dance tracks, although the sound system still sounded a bit flat. Then I thought, "where's the CD give away?" In due course, another attractive woman strolled over, her arms full with a stack of CDs. She offered me one, which I gladly accepted. As she moved on to other patrons, I looked at what I had received. "The Last Trick," by Anja Garbarek. Never heard of it. But then, I suppose that's the point of these events; to introduce lesser known artists and promote stuff. Obviously, the CD was a Virgin Records product. It was a single, so I didn't even manage to get a whole album.
As the night wore on, I had to fight to stay awake. I kept catching myself nodding off. At one point, after 2Am, a bouncer came by and touched me, to see if I was alright. I was fine, up till he touched me. I didn't enjoy that! I much prefer a woman's touch. Although the party was due to last till 3AM, I packed it in at 2:30. The majority of folks had left by then. I caught a night bus to Southbank, then walked to Waterloo Station. I napped while waiting for the 5:05AM train to depart. Once on the train, I changed my shirt and shoes, getting ready to work. Another nap on the train, then again, on the minibus to work, would be all the sleep I would get. It would have been more fun if I had company, but the words of Paul Newman in, "The Color of Money," came to mind: "I'm back!"

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home