So I'd spent my first couple of weeks with Don sorting out my apartment affairs (still ongoing, btw), checking out grocery stores, eating pies and a hell of a lot of fresh fruit and veggies (still getting free fruit in the design department, much to other department's chagrin...still), and fighting the oddly bitter cold that exists here, and now it was time to go out for a little fun.
Lucky for me, despite not having a group to welcome me to London the way I'd had in Helsinki, I've still been able to network fairly easily due to my awesome network in Helsinki and other places. Just goes to show - you never know who knows someone else. And this was definitely the case for who I've gotten to know here in London. Everyone I've met here was through someone else I already knew and was introduced to. I've also been told that this is the only way to really make friends in London - meeting people while out and about who are not friends with someone you already know is a sure way to not make friends with someone. Interesting bit of advice but as far as I've seen...this has been true. I guess it's the mentality: big city, lots of people...don't know you, don't care.
Anyway, I'd networked with a nice Italian guy who I'll call Scooter through someone I knew in Helsinki who'd lived, traveled, and was good friends with Scooter during their 11 years in London before moving to Helsinki (to follow the Finnish woman of their dreams and eventually marry them, which is where I met them). And Scooter had invited me out to a ridiculous party on Friday night: it was called Pink at the Mansion.
Basically the idea was everyone bought a ticket to this organized party, everyone needed to wear pink, there was unlimited booze, and it was going to be at a mansion. Also mentioned was a live performing artist, live music, and a DJ.
Well, not too shabby for a first night out in the big city (or the Grand Island, as my boss calls it).
So, I bought my ticket and a pink flower for my hair and eagerly awaited my Friday plans.
Friday comes along and I get ready. I meet Scooter at the door, along with another girl I met through him who oddly works in my department at work (who I'd failed to notice in my weeks working since arriving) and started meeting everyone in his group and the rest of his network.
Needless to say it was extensive. And very Italian.
But that wasn't the most memorable thing of the night. Everyone I met was pretty lovely and that was all grand. The party definitely delivered as promised. There was unlimited booze (including a pink fruit punch that was delicious and dangerously flavorful), live jazz on the upper floor, live DJs spinning on a dance floor in the basement, and well...sort of a mansion.
Actually it was more of a converted church, but whatever, no complaints. People who had been to previous color parties (apparently there had been a gold party, a black party, a red party, and blue party, and a white party...at the very least) had said that previous locales had been actual mansions. What this meant was people could separate into other rooms and there were separate vibes. People could have conversations and the music wasn't so loud all the time. For this one there was one large room (where the live jazz was playing and the live artist, who I'll get to in a minute), and the downstairs dance floor, where people were unwilling to go to until the very end of the night. Not having separate rooms to go made people less inclined to go downstairs because they wanted to continue mingling and talking. Interesting things you get, when you change the circumstances and environs people are forced to socialize in, but I'll not delve too deeply into that.
The live artist. He was clearly the highlight of my night because he was so ridiculous.
First off, he was Korean. Ethnically, he was Korean. But he was apparently raised in France or something of the sort because when the girl in my department introduced herself to him, he gave her his card (which btw very awesomely said "Art Director" instead of something common like "Painter" or "Artist") his name was Francois-Xavier Touzard. Scuzzi?
Yus. His name was that. And he was a character. Wearing nothing but a white wifebeater, jeans, and slicked back hair, this guy did a live painting for about two and a half hours. What were his instruments of choice you ask? Paintbrushes, spray paint, wooden poles, rope, and nunchucks (nunchakus).
Oh yes, nunchucks. He only did it near the end of his painting (when his passion for his painting had really geared up) but he covered one part of the nunchucks in paint then would scream and go nuts and nunchuck his painting.
I waited patiently for him to get to this point because there were a few close calls (when he brought out the nunchucks and swung them around, no paint), but alas, no dice until the very end.
As you could imagine, by the end of the painting he was completely covered in paint himself. I stayed a safe distance away so as not to be part of the "experience."
It was absolutely hilarious. Yes, I did crack more than a few jokes at his expense. I'm sorry, I love art, but some art, is not quite art. Forgive me, modern art.
Here is him in action:
Would I pay several thousand pounds for his paintings? No, no I would not. But I'm almost certain that there's some ridiculous person out there who would. He does have business cards, after all. And someone in Scooter's group had already heard of him and seen him do his performances before. So, there you have it.
The rest of the night was not as memorable as this man's performance, but it was good nonetheless. Partying with Don is certainly going to be a lot livelier than partying with Finn, but it's all just different rather than better so far.
Pretty good for a first time, I'd say, pretty good.