11 May 2010

Style Cramp at the Blitz Party

What a thoroughly spiffing Saturday night Style Cramp had! We were guests at the Blitz Party, where we swing danced the night away in an air raid shelter, stopping only briefly to rehydrate on a gin fizz or two.

Village Underground in Shoreditch was blacked out for the night to give us a real flavour of an East End wartime dance, complete with sandbags and ration books for cocktail menus. There were even pork pies and doorstop sandwiches for the peckish.

Style Cramp began the night in heated rollers, preparing our victory rolls. After many attempts to do my own, I gave up and asked Kid to help me. How did these gals deal with bobby pins before Youtube tutorials?!

I donned a pale blue crepey-cotton button-down frock with a cotton slip underneath, bobby socks and Oxford loafers (bare legs). I figured if i'd have been a young woman in wartime London, i'd be working down the munitions factory, so I didn't bother with feathers or a fancy hat or all that lark.

Apollonia wore a stunning and very flattering wrap-around Hawaiian print dress from Vivien of Holloway (someone's been dating a GI!), lined stockings and a white flower in her hair, and Kid wore a long red ruched dress with netting on the neck and simple brown Mary Janes. Somewhat posher than my outfit. But all our dresses were genuine 1940s vintage! For makeup we wore simple black eyeliner and matte pale eyelids with red lipstick and bareish cheeks.

We all got very excited as we got on the tube, imagining an air-raid siren might sound and running up and down the platform shouting "VICTORY IN EUROPE!!" and cursing the blasted Gerrys. I must try and remember to act with some decorum at these events...

After a round of cocktails and a wander, the swing band kicked off, playing 40s and 50s tunes with flair and imagination; the lead singer got out a set of bagpipes and did a mean impression of a trumpet that we didn't even believe possible! We couldn't quite believe Satchmo wasn't hiding behind the curtain! He was like a jazz Nick Cave. And when he screamed Winston Churchill's Fight Them On The Beaches speech the crowd went wild.

The standard of the outfits was very high. Some of the girls hadn't got it quite right - there were a couple of poor-man's Betty Grables - but all-in-all everyone had made a stellar effort and the majority of costumes were enviably authentic. The boys who weren't quite sure of the best way to wear a cravat had gone for the safe option of an army uniform and it really paid off.

We left tired, sweaty and very very satisfied. As we started out on the dreaded night journey back to Brixton.

we all cursed that we were born in the wrong era. Sunday morning I woke up and put some Billie Holiday on the Ipod. I wish every Saturday night could be like that. No fights, no aggro, just good ol' fashioned fun. And music I can actually dance to!

A couple of minor grumbles. Firstly, i'm disappointed I didn't see a Bettie Page (though props to the popcorn seller girl! Very sexy) and secondly, there were plenty of boys in GI and allied uniform, so why did none of them offer to walk us home?!


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