The theme is James Bond so the choice is endless.
I don’t see myself as Mr. Bond himself, I always try to hide my dashing good looks and sex appeal behind a mask at parties and I always preferred the bad guys anyway.
I plan to go as the master of all Bond master criminals, Blofeld, or Number One,
I never wanted to settle for Number Two in anything and I don’t intend starting now.
He was, of course, the villain who coined the phrase “Good evening, Mr. Bond.”
Blofeld is the perfect fancy dress character because he was a fan of plastic surgery, appearing with a different face every time so that Bond never knows what he is going to look like and so that casting directors can choose from a wider selection of luvies to play the role.
I plan to go as the first Blofeld because, in his first film appearance, From Russia With Love (1963), his face is never revealed – all we see is the back of his head, black hair, his black suit, his hands and his only friend, a piranha-eating white Persian cat.
That, my dear readers, is much more than you will ever see of me.
I wasn’t always a fan of fancy dress parties, quite the opposite in fact. I dreaded all that forced extroversion and the probability of the costume becoming very tedious long before the party ends.
I usually went in a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans and said I was Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront.
This usually went down as either sadly misdirected vanity or it kept people thinking that they had got the film wrong. Either way, it saved a lot of trouble.
I have never held a fancy dress party as I am neurotic enough already about nobody turning up to even the most conventional ones. This was made worse when I, and a whole lot of others turned up in ordinary party gear to a party held by a professional acquaintance and her husband. At first everyone was mystified why she was dressed as a pig-tailed Wagnerian heroine complete with armour breast plate and spear and her husband, dwarfed by her at the best of times, was a horn-helmeted, mini-skirted, Viking warrior.
They had forgotten to tell anyone else that it was meant to be fancy dress and, as they were both, to say the least, somewhat shy and inept socially, as far as I know, they never held another party.
My prejudice was changed in one swoop about a year ago when I went to a Pirates party as Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Somehow I was inspired. I had reviewed the film when it came out (see it in the section Film Reviews above) and I still think Johnny Depp’s performance is a cinema classic.
It was more than that though as I think I did become Jack Sparrow that night.
The drink helped, of course, but so did a particularly good costume, hired, a very realistic wig, borrowed, and a large clip-on earring. It was also my mascara debut, made all the more impressive by a knowledgeable female hand.
Since then, I have realized that the more you enter into the character, the more you leave this often mundane world behind.
The next morning, I awoke with a hang-over, naturally, a make-up soiled pillow and, just fleetingly but no less profoundly, a feeling that I had lost something. Or, was it that I had found something? Whatever it was, I was sad to say goodbye to Jack Sparrow.
In case you are interested, I wrote a short story, loosely based on this episode, which can be found above in the section marked Very Short Stories – it is called Ahoy!
Nearly a year later, I was asked to join a troupe of Jedi Warriors, those heroes from the Star Wars films, who were going to march through the streets of my home town in the traditional November 5th. Fireworks celebration.
In case you don’t know, the 5th November, in England, is the day traditionally celebrated to remember when a Roman Catholic revolutionary called Guy Fawkes, tried to blow up King and Parliament in the so-called Gunpowder Plot of 1605. He failed and was executed in a particularly grizzly way in the manner now only really favoured by countries like Saudi Arabia.
Ever since then though, our town has marked Fireworks as a major event but now, fortunately it isn’t, I like to think, an excuse for Catholic bashing.
And, even if King James I could never have imagined it, a new religion has come onto our streets too on the day when Catholic/Protestant mud-slinging is commemorated. Jedi Warriors are way above such things and now, on British census forms, a significant percentage of the country puts down Jedi as its religion.
I was truly honoured to be asked to come as that master of all Jedi warriors, Obi-wan Kenobi. He might be no Jack Sparrow but the casting appealed to my famous vanity and, almost immediately, I sent my measurements to a tailor in Hong Kong who promised to deliver a costume well in advance of Firework Night.
The other essential piece of equipment, of course, was the Light Sabre – the Jedi weapon of choice, a cross between a sword and a neon light. As an enthusiastic student of the Chinese straight sword, this was, surely, a natural development.
I now have this fine weapon but, sadly it has never been used. I also own an unopened parcel, postmarked Hong Kong.
On the 30th. October, just as I was looking forward to Halloween and then Firework Night, I had that brain haemorrhage and began a nearly three week stint in hospital, a lot of which I don’t remember.
I am told though, that on the 5th. November, I was unrelentingly and, I am sure irritatingly, insistent that I needed to go to the procession as the Warriors needed Obi-Wan Kenobi.
I think some of the medical team thought that the brain damage was worse than they thought.
I didn’t go, of course, and I wasn’t even well enough to celebrate the election of Barack Obama either…well, I am told I raised a cup of liquid morphine in his honour.
Since then, I have missed a lot of parties, none of them until now for Fancy Dress. I was hoping the theme might have been Star Wars, but no, James Bond it is – and Blofeld is now ready and waiting.
When I was in hospital, a relative gave me a present, a soft toy, a small white, Persian cat. She must have been thinking of Blofeld because that kitten is making her party debut at the weekend – wearing my Jack Sparrow earring.
You will be thinking, Obi-Wan Kenobi can always march again at this year’s Firework Night.
You would be wrong though – this year the theme is Thriller and I am more of a Marlon Brando than a Michael Jackson. That parcel will stay unopened until someone else has a Star Wars idea.
I see that Lucasfilms have opened a 3D animation studio in Singapore and they are offering a six month apprenticeship on a Jedi Masters Program – it includes swordsmanship on the light sabre. An opening for Obi-wan?
Hmm, or what about a movie?