Who likes to party? Of course you do, but do you know what a party is? The term is used a lot. Unfortunately, it is rarely used in the correct context - a group of people getting intoxicated and fondling each other. Take this quick test. Which of the two parties below would you like to go to?
If you think the image on the left looks like a great party with a good opportunity to hold a baby and chat to a woman in a pants suit you should kill yourself. Obviously the image on the right has a lot of the elements required for a party. Although there is a suspicious lack of alcohol or drugs so they may be Christians celebrating their love of Jesus, in which case it’s a trick question and you should avoid both like the plague.
You would think getting older would give people the experience to throw better and better parties, resulting in retirement homes being the hottest most exclusive clubs in town.
For some reason the complete opposite happens.
Unless you were (and most likely still are) an unpopular little spud, your first experience of a party would have been a birthday for one of your school friends.
This amazing event would have been an eye opening experience filled with the promise of something special. The birthday child was inundated with gifts, the food consisted solely of cakes and sweets and more often than not there was a dodgy looking clown whose only job was to make you happy with balloon animals.
Games would be played, like pass the parcel or musical chairs - important games in any child’s development, as it teaches them that only a tiny minority will actually achieve anything in life - then everyone would leave at the designated time and be given a present on the way out. A going home present! A small plastic bag filled with a couple of loose sweets and the love affair with parties began.
While kids parties were fun, things didn’t really get going until our teens. It’s no coincidence that birthdays began to get really good with the discovery of alcohol; it’s a sad fact of life that people are generally pretty uptight due to the horrible pressures associated with being alive. Alcohol dials down that pressure and allows someone to let go for a brief spell. Of course some people are wound so tightly by their parents or school or work or repressed sexuality that the release offered by alcohol sends them spiraling out of control in spectacular fashion (this is usually pretty funny to watch). Either way the first party where someones parents are away without a locked liquor cabinet is a pivotal moment.
I was slightly ahead of the curve in this, having found an unguarded bottle of red wine at Marc Jay's bar mitzvah. I consumed half of it and projectile vomited over most of his house. One hour later I was hosed down and passed naked to my mother in a bin bag but I digress.
Teenage parties were great, and served as an important training ground but parents and a lack of cash were a real limitation to getting adequately funky. Then along came our twenties, we had disposable income, we knew people who sold drugs and we rented houses with furniture so filthy it was a public service to throw it out the window. The twenties (the age not the decade) really were the golden age of parties. It's really sad how quickly they end.
The first sign that parties are on the decline is when you get an invitation to a party at a bar. This is bullshit. Nothing sucks a ball bag like being obligated to go to a bar and spend loads of cash. If someone is not willing to risk having you do a wee in their fish tank and an upper-decker in their toilet then they are not allowed to have a party. Sadly it is all downhill from the ‘bar’ party. As people get older they buy flats and houses and stuff that they don’t want to have destroyed. Owning stuff is anathema to parties. I remember the first party I went to where the person owned the house. He called it a ‘house warming party’. Turned out it was a few people sharing a couple of bottles of wine, staying sober and talking. It was basically like being at work.
Towards the end of the night the host said we should play some games, which I got excited about because I was sure it was time for naked Twister. Instead of pulling out the Twister board and getting freaky, we got presented with Trivial Pursuit. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Where once we would spin the bottle and snog a hot chick, now we are trying to impress each other with the useless shit we may have heard and remembered. Fuck those people and fuck those parties.
Before you know it you're going to a ‘dinner party’, which is actually just dinner and the exchanging of opinions on serious social issues. Nothing could be further away from a party than eating soup while some poncey dick-lord explains how he would solve the Middle East crisis, and his plan for diversifying his investments to mitigate the economic downturn.
The dinner party is the end of the road for parties and signals an admission by anyone involved that they have given up on life and having fun. As Hemingway said: "When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead". Then he killed himself. There's a lesson in that for all of us.