For me the night began in the line outside, behind the white girl wearing a bindi. Someone didn't get last year's memo about cultural appropriation! (If you missed it too, my little brother writes an articulate blog post about it, in particular check out 'part 2' – “sacred things are a no, no”).
The line moved along fast enough, there were heaters outside, it was fairly pleasant. I was there by invitation, as everyone was, because I am holding an event next year at Sushi Samba for 350 people. I went because I wanted to see how the space worked as a drinks reception. You won't be surprised to hear that it does work. I will change a few things, like what doors to the balcony I have open, but that's mainly due to the fact I'm having May event, as oppose to a November one.
I brought my friend Zoe as my plus one. She has extensive experience in events and could help me look out for good ideas and any possible issues. The first drink we had was a sparkling sake – it was great! I shall definitely be doing that again – fresh, a little bit sweet. Something to make me stop and think, plus a conversation starter, if I needed one. The cocktails were great, a negroni with tequila, I think!? All beautiful, all with a twist. The food was fine – actually quite a lot going around, which is unusual for nights such as this. Nothing I can remember, for good reasons or bad.
Whilst waiting for our cocktails Zoe and I noticed not one person said thank you – what is about free stuff that makes people turn into rude lumps of humanity? Couldn't they see the place was packed and the staff were working incredibly efficiently, fast, and with a smile!? Dudes, dudettes – rude, shame on you!! No amount of wearing Dior's Poison, in retro/irony and your hair in a top knot can excuse that kind of entitlement.
Side note – Missy Elliot came on, and nobody danced! Not even a wiggle. I don't even think there was a moment of recognition. I almost cried. When did people become too cool for Missy?
And so the highlight was the staff. Smiles, and quick to top up my glass of bubbles (post cocktail I moved on to bubbles – two of those negronis and I would have been out cold!). A glass broke, and within seconds it was clear. Bravo team SS, you did an excellent job, under very annoying circumstance.
Other than maybe opening a different door to the balcony, the only thing I would change for my event is not having asian women dressed up as geishas... I love a theme, I get that it's a Japanese fusion venue. But, there is more to Japan than geisha girls. I mean, we're in London. And in a part of the city that is the corporate centre. It's a big ,western city. Geishas have a particular cultural association that involves status and gender and no doubt other things that I don't know about. It was all a bit awkward. (If you're not particular sure what my issue is, I suggest starting with Edward Said's 'Orientalism').
And so, with the dulcet tones of Vanilla Ice wafting across the room and rebuffing a lovely, flirtatious 24 year old's advances, I realised my life was complete and it was time to leave. Zoe and I waltzed out the door secure in knowing my event next year would be more than fine, it would totally rock (as long as all the staff are the same!).
Tuesday 11 Novmeber, 2014.
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