A Night Less Ordinary

Can you imagine…

THERE was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. […]

By seven o’clock the orchestra has arrived, no thin five-piece affair, but a whole pitful of oboes and trombones and saxophones and viols and cornets and piccolos, and low and high drums. […]

The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.

The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath; already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment the centre of a group, and then, excited with triumph, glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light. (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chapter 3, The Great Gatsby)

[And I will do my own referencing style, thank you very much Warwick University, with your bizarre rules and lack of tutor-to-tutor communication]…

Exchange an orchestra for a funk/soul/jazz/pop band, with our very own Gatsby’s brother on drums, playing Twist and Shout and Superstition, to which we all danced and clapped and were generally merry. Throw in a beautiful Tennysonian speech from the birthday boy himself – we will forever be mariners from now on –  and a convenient (if not a little lumpy) camping field adjacent to the public house in which aforementioned frivolity was occurring. Some lovely people, a six-way spoon and complementary cutlery jokes (“Mate, you’re facing the wrong way, you’re setting off the cutlery drawer aesthetic.*” … “Fork off.”… “Guys, we need to get a knife.”) made this twenty-first a first twenty-first to remember.**

*The lexis “aesthetic” or any term longer than one syllable is likely to be misremembered, due to sincere inebriation on most partygoers’ parts.

**At least in part.

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