A long story.
Some weeks back I went to the opening of this new store in Soho. I said I’d take some photos for another friend who runs a blog. I don’t do event photography usually, not since documenting drum and bass nights in my late teens in Devon.
I’m with two mates, Kieron and Jack, we’re ‘working’ the room, searching for the free drinks, critiquing unwise fashion decisions in shouted ear conversations. Fuck this I think, it’s packed in here, I’m hot, I need to go outside. I go outside. I cool off and decide to go back in and start jabbing my camera at all the weird details going on with people’s outfits and the space itself. Tattoos, mad jewellery, black toilet paper… The crowd starts to thin, there’s some low down the list celebrity who won the voice factor or Britain’s got x amount of talent, I’m being deliberately obtuse of course.
We hang around, we are presented with wristbands to the after party at a club. It’s themed like a circus. We jump the queue and are ushered through the velvet ropes, ID scanned at a kiosk, downstairs to low red lighting, seedy looking suits leaning against bars conversing with sallow looking women. We make our way to the back, I’m not paying for a drink in here, I bet it costs loads. There’s a mini amusement arcade, beer pong, a fortune teller, punch bag, a girl with an eastern European accent selling popcorn wearing a bra made of popcorn. I ask to take a picture of her chest but she doesn’t speak good English and I sound like a pervert …
Some time goes by, before I know it the place is packed. There are dwarfs in gold cowboy boots thwacking my knees with canes to get through the crowd, we’re in a private booth and there are bottles of grey goose and luminous jugs of mixer. We end up with probably some of the only non-assholes in the whole place. Good guys, brand owners, we have a go on the punch bag, I miss once then hit a measly 325, Jack hits a 750 of whatever units punches are measured in. A group of shiny looking people are playing beer pong, forty quid a game it looks like.
’Ramo in the main room’ now, Jack and I are squeezing through the crowd, we’ve lost Kieron. There are dancers on podiums, groups of rich arabic men waving bottles of champagne and sparklers, some angry looking cholos staring at girls and baring their gold teeth. I remember I still have my camera, people think I’m the club photographer. I drop my cup and start to shoot, it won’t focus, too dark, I ‘selfie’ with some drunk girls, it’s all blurry, I’m taking pictures of a stripper’s shoes, Jack gives her a high five. More champagne sparklers, I feel like I’m in some rip off, Requiem For A Dream montage, one of the dancers is dressed like a ‘sexy clown.’
We’re moving to the exit now, that’s enough. We pass a room where girls strip off and throw paint around. Where are we again? I point and shoot one final time as we pass by, cropping out faces, do they work here? Out into the night, people still queueing, then somehow we’re back on Kingsland road, I’m climbing the stairs to Jack’s flat, I’ve never been there. Now we’re drinking something from the fridge and it stings my nose, my eyes are watering. I can’t focus on Jack and I’m slumped on a coffee table while he blasts 2chainz.
I get home at 6am, B is getting up for work and I pass out next to her on the bed.