...looking for
Girls who are boys
Who like boys to be girls
Who do boys like they're girls
Who do girls like they're boys
Always should be someone you really love

Blur: Boys and Girls

I fear that I was actually responsible for the goth-fest that became TheLady's birthdaymeet. In a roundabout way. TheLady was fuelled by a burning desire to dress me up as a goth. La petite mort was somewhat intrigued by the concept, too. I have to say that I was in favour of the gothing experience, but wasn't so struck by their timing, as they had planned it originally for our flat warming. Thus came about Noder Love Cats.

I arrived at the LilyPad with as many black items of clothing that I could muster from my wardrobe. (Actually, that's not true, I arrived with about four. I have far more than that.) From here on in, it was all down to La petite mort. She proceeded to scatter half of the contents of her extensive wardrobe across the flat, in an attempt to find something that would flatter my - in her words - diminutive frame. This proved a highly amusing escapade for StrawberryFrog and CloudStrife. The lovely CloudStrife had flown over from Dublin, bringing with him the remnants of his younger gothing days, when he walked about with 'Slut' scrawled on his cheek.

At this point, StrawberryFrog would like to interject that he had suffered the gross indignity of being informed that he would not, under any circumstances, have the chance to watch Doctor Who, for we would already be on our way to the pub when it aired. Of course, the extensive application of black lace and eye-liner delayed our departure, and guess what? The boys could have sated their desire for BBC-provided aliens and cyber-technology.

The temporary misplacement of La petite mort's Oyster card exacerbated the rush to the train, carried out in a selection of black patent high-heels and rather large boots. Of course, four goths walking down a quiet suburban street in south London was sure to turn a few heads. We managed to turn even more by finishing off application of eye makeup on the train.

We arrived at the venue not later than one and half hours after the appointed gathering time. We didn't think we'd done too badly. The pub was blessed with an obvious contingent of apostles from the headless cult of writers, in particular the birthday girl, sporting a cleavage that rivaled the Grand Canyon and defied gravity. This doesn't even take into account a skirt short enough to leave StrawberryFrog spoonerising. K9 was harking back to his halcyon days, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a punk baby's head, pierced in all the obvious places. spiregrain and paraclete were coping remarkably despite their jetlag. AlbertHerring, archiewood, BaronWR, Fondue, sloebertje and her other half all came bedecked in as much black as they could manage. TenMinJoe was accompanied by the Beautiful Hannah: need we say more?

In order to ensure that all members of the party would be admitted to the infamous Slimelight, TheLady and La petite mort attacked all and sundry with their makeup brushes, whilst The Debutante assumed her role as chief sheitl advisor to TenMinJoe's Beautiful Other Half. Under the careful attention of TheLady and La petite mort those who were deemed to be falling beneath the requisite makeup and safety-pin levels were transformed into the closest approximations to geek-goths that could be achieved in a crowded London pub. Not to mention that I was frog-marched into the ladies' room by TheLady and had my demure black and green satin skirt changed for black vinyl mini-skirt, to be followed shortly by lpm, who laced TheLady into her corset.

There was much drinking, even more imbibement, and a little more consumption of alcohol.

After locating everyone - in a slightly hazy, blurry fashion - it was resolved there would be cat herding to Slimelight, apparently the be-all and end-all of goth clubs in London. Here, we said goodbye to archiewood, Fondue, paraclete, TheLady's friend Jenny, and spiregrain. Naturally, it fell to me, being the teacher-type, to count on to the tube and count off of the tube all members of the Slimelight attendance contingent. Our passage through Morington Crescent clearly demanded a game, to the continued amusement of non-goth onlookers.

lpm was afraid to admit to the steely-eyed bouncers that she and her twelve companions were not members of the elitist institution that holds the reputation of the Ultimate Goth Club, but somehow found the courage to lead us into the darkened underworld of the subculture that is Goth. Having been approved by the rigors of Slimelight security, which could possibly be employed at Heathrow in place of their regular enforcers, we passed through the murky portals into a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Descending the industrial-style staircase, our eardrums were assaulted by the thumping music, our respiratory systems by the swirling smoke, and our eyes by the vast of array of humanity encompassing everything from cyber-goth with their pink dreadlocks, to Victoriana-goths in their lacy froth, via the Lolita goths looking sultry. We paled into insignificance.

Concluding that we had no alternative but to drink, dance, and be very merry, we waved our glow-sticks amidst the cyber-goths, stamped our boots on the industrial goth floor, and practised our tai-chi movements with the trad goths. A small number of the party were lost to the allure of their beds, but the harder-core members continued to cavort with those who have switched their allegiance to the dark side.

We continued to integrate ourselves into the underbelly of the undead until it was deemed by the hostess that we had possibly had out fill of darkness, debauchery, and disgusting toilets. (Yes, truly disgusting toilets. You couldn't be sure if you were hearing a couple having sex, or snorting cocaine, perhaps even both, emanating from the cubicles, which were paved with semi-comatose malingerers whose sex you could not determine.)

Escorted by her delightful husband and the mysterious Gideon, the birthday girl made her way to her lodgings. Meanwhile, the residents and guests of Chateau LilyPad treated ourselves to an exorbitantly-priced taxi, that actually ventured south of the river. To celebrate, we indulged in toast topped by a variety of accompaniments, that would stave off the hunger pangs during our dreamless slumbers. By this point, we'd all had so much fun that it didn't seem to matter that removing our makeup took longer than the time we'd spent in the club.

Thinking that ending our evening at 5 am marked us out as hardcore, we were astounded by AlbertHerring's resilience. He arrived home at 6:30 am, and promptly mounted his attempt to continue in a vein that reasonably approximated family life.

Surprise, shock and astonishment were clearly the mantras of the gathering: from TenMinJoe's willingness to throw himself into the spirit of the event, AlbertHerring's old-school blase approach, via La petite mort's surprise that a bluestocking could make such a good goth, down to TheLady's sublime, decadent punk-schoolgirl.

Thank yous are owed to TheLady for organising the evening, to La petite mort and StrawberryFrog for their housespace, and for everyone who attended for making it such a memorable evening.

Just in case you were wondering what we all looked like you could take a look:
or here.