Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Winter is a cold, dark, depressing time, even here in the comparative warmth and sunniness of Western Australia. That's why I decided to shake my fist at winter in its longest, darkest depths and hold a Winter Solstice Soiree Musicale.

I dug through my address book and managed to scrounge up a poet, two jazz musicians, a classical pianist and half a dozen other people who could be relied upon to know the difference between John Donne and John Grisham. Only one of them had ever been to a soiree before, and I think some of them were a little frightened by the prospect. But I badgered them until they agreed to take part, and when Friday night rolled around I had a dozen talented friends in my living room, lulled into a suitable frame of mind by vol au vents, spring rolls and some hot, fragrant mulled wine.

winter soiree 07

Once the mulled wine kicks in, a soiree is a little like a freeform karaoke session. The jazz musicians set the tone with some snappy numbers, including the ever versatile 'Favourite Things'. The poet read an evocative 19th century ode to the sailors who don't survive a shipwreck, and the pianist gave us a gentle rendition of 'Fur Elise'. I read two short stories, one in the style of Mickey Spillane, the other in the style of PG Wodehouse. Then before I knew it even people who hadn't been asked to perform were shyly pulling poems and songs out of their pockets and stepping up to centre stage (otherwise known as the living room rug). Sometimes the most interesting performances are the ones you don't expect.

Once we were all soireed out, we adjourned for rich chocolate cherry coconut cake and hot chocolate. We were so warmed and de-wintered it's a wonder we didn't fast forward to mid-spring there and then.

So, I think it's safe to say that the soiree was a big success. The only downside to the whole affair was the feedback I received over the next few days. When I saw my friends, they'd invariably fix me with an astonished gaze and say, "You know, I really enjoyed your party on Friday night," in the same bewildered tone they might use to proclaim that they'd suddenly discovered that they enjoyed getting hit over the head with a croquet mallet.

I sort of feel sorry for the third person who did this, since they got the full force of my response:

"Yes, I am capable of hosting a decent party! Don't sound so freakin' surprised!"

I wonder if their hearing has returned yet?


Anonymous TroyG said...

Wish I'd been there. I know the calibre of your soirees [insert grave accent over second 'e', and also over 'a' in both 'graves' in this parenthetical comment].

I think any tone of astonishment from enjoying a noggin thrashing by a croquet mallet would be occasioned by (1) the fact that it was a CROQUET mallet. It's just not something that you feel you could boast about: being hit with a baseball bat, yes. Not so anything as 19th century as a croquet mallet; and (2) the fact that croquet would need a mallet. It sounds like the sort of activity involving potatoes, frogs and a blender.

1:04 PM  

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