After missing out on last year's Around the World party, I wasn't going to make the same mistake this year and snapped up my ticket as soon as they announced this year's Story of Life party. Last year, you were taken around the world, stopping off for exotic and multicultural entertainment along the way (or so I'm told). This year, you were invited to take a journey through life instead.
Of course, like any good creche, there was a bar at the back.
The next stage of life to travel through was found in the next room where you could get some careers advice or recreate that old staple of bad behaviour at the office, by having a body part of your choice photocopied. I, rather unsuccessfully tried to do my boobs, but only managed to fit one on. One of my friends told me she had seen someone photocopy his bare penis. Careers advice consisted of either being assigned a job, or telling a couple of officials what you'd wanted to be when you were a child. You were then interviewed by the specialist consultants who would approve your career choice. (Only after you had proved to them somehow - in my case, interpretive dance - that you were fully qualified.)
On to the next phase then, and by now you've probably copped off with someone at the office party and are well ensconced in Settled Downsville - time to get married! So the next room was decked out as a wedding chapel, and for quite a bit of the night the music in here was decidedly and intentionally wedding disco. Throughout the night the preacher would also get up on stage and 'marry the crowd'. He was definitely of the evangelical school when it came to faith and was whooping the crowd up to love their brothers and Praise Be!
The main room (the family room) was beyond this and was where the live acts were as well as a mahoosive sofa. First, our comperes were two big babies, who introduced who else but Musical Youth (see - Youth - it all fits) who serenaded the crowd with some classic reggae anthems before finishing the set with Pass the Dutchie. I was beside myself, this being one of my favourite childhood songs (what that says about what my parents listened to in front of us I don't care to analyse). There followed an interlude here of some pretty heavy hip hop - I'm sure Dead Presidents featured, before Crazy P graced the decks at some point.
We spent the evening wandering around all the various places so there were definitely acts and genres of music we missed in each room as they didn't strictly adhere to one or the other. By the end of the evening they were more or less all playing a form of house music, but even this was different between the rooms - with the baby room playing remixes of some old school RnB, such as Aaliyah (I loved it!).
But I haven't even finished yet - not content with the representing the high points of life, there were also areas to represent when life tails off. What would ordinarily be the chill out zone was, in the Story of Life, a retirement home. Here there was meant to be soup and bingo but either this didn't happen or we weren't around when it did. Whenever I popped in, it was fairly empty and unnecessarily realistically cold.
And then finally there was a small funeral parlour where you could have your own funeral ceremony. This was a rather popular area and when I went by I couldn't even fit into it. I was quite sad to have missed out on that bit - I've always thought eulogies are wasted on the dead.
There was probably even more other little bits and pieces that I didn't notice as we went from room to room, depending on what music was satisfying our whimsy. Spotting what other people were wearing for their costimes (theme - favourite stage of life) was also a form of entertainment in itself. Lots of people in onesies and some impressively decrepit-looking pensioners raving around.
The night took place at Pulse, and as you can guess it was a vast space. There was a bar in at least three of the rooms, which meant you didn't spend half the night queuing for a drink, and almost everything was priced at 5 pounds, keeping it simple.
I had a really, really good night and can't wait to go to next year's. In the interim Bearded Kitten turn up at festivals such as Secret Garden Party, Lovebox and Glastonbury to provide interactive entertainment. If you're going to any festival at which they're in attendance, do check them out.