Holding parties is something that I regard as a skill of mine, one that has been gradually honed over the years. Last night I, unsurprisingly, heald a party – this tends to be what I do at New Year following Byron’s departure to Warrington (about five years ago) and a conversation with M-i-L about four years ago in which she said she fancied taking Christmas and I could have New Years. New Years parties were something that I had previously deliberately avoided giving as I regarded them as complex things to do right. These days I feel confident enough in my skills to give them a go.
I largely regard 2000 – 2004 as being my primary learning curve for how to hold fantastic parties. I was doing undergraduate and then post-graduate stuff as a student and had access to houses that were anything from extremely relaxed to extremely uptight about how I used them. However, this ignores the fact that my Dad throws parties every Christmas Day and has done for the past forty odd years. Certainly every Christmas Day of my life. It also ignores the fact that my parents used to throw very large children’s parties for myself and my sister up until we were aged eleven and heavily involved us in the planning – essentially giving me the basic skill set to be honed in later life.
Skills mostly aren’t developed from total scratch, there needs to be a base level, or at least a base enjoyment for you to pursue them.
After 2004 I lived in Japan for two years and threw no parties – you could tell I’d been on hiatus in 2006/7 when I came back and my parties were mostly not great. Then for the past five years I have concentrated on two big ones – the Mexican party in the summer and New Years. The breather allowed me to think about parties, throw some thought behind what had become instinctive and then stopped being.
I knew that I did consider room usage and the flow of movement from drinks to food and generally around the place. But now I actually structure parties, especially long ones, which both of these are. Afternoon into Evening into Night…and sometimes Early Morning – there are periods of activity, there are specific timings that do not need to be adhered to strictly but provide a shape to the party.
Set and Setting and Timing – it’s a bit like taking drugs I guess and every time I do it I learn something more. Pacing is easier for people when they have nuts on hadn to snack on, small but alcohol absorbent!
That was a really random and rambling entry – I’m hoping to use this year to get me back into blogging since it’ll be ten years since I started, so hopefully it’ll get better!