September 20th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Val, Doug and Heather on Thyme

The talk of the day was how one was going to get into the party, supposedly a “secret” party, being held tonight at the Banana Court for the cast + crew of “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence”.  Even Dick was interested, until I told him Mr Bowie might be doing a number – then he ceased to be impressed.  I’d heard this, by the way, from Corky, who’d been bopping at tne Banana Court Friday night.  He’d had the good fortune to get into some jam sessions with DB ( an interesting story – DB had started to play Jean Genie but had forgotten the words) + seemed to think something might come of it.  There was good news for Heather – she had wanted to go to Tonga, but hadn’t been able to afford to change her air ticket.  However, an American couple on the neighbouring boat to us, the Helaine, had agreed to take her, so she was busy for a good part of the day helping them shop etc.  We agreed to meet her at about 8 at the Hibiscus, so that we could brave the plave together.  Squeaky + Clean would be there too – they had come round to ask if we knewe anything about the party – I told them we didn’t, but that they were welcome to join us happy throng.  And we were hoping that George would be able to swing it for all of us, him being the only insider we knew.  Not much chance of that, tho’ – when we met him i9n town, he’d already been sacked.  Ho hum.

Val + I spent the day getting various bits of shopping.  We even lashed out on 2 extravagances – a ukulele for Val, + a Newsweek for me.  Oh yes, I’d even done my bit of rescue work during the morning, when Helaine’s bow-line had come adrift at the shore end, so she was swinging rsther dangerously against Blue Moves.  No-one was aboard Helaine, so I picked up the spare l the dinghy, scrambled up onto the pontoon with it, + was just stepping onto the dock proper when I encountered a problem.  The line reached exactly to the gap between the pontoon + the dock, + as I was loath to let go of the line + undo all my work, that was where I was stuck too, with one foot on each shore, so to speak.  Fortunately, there wasn’t a heavy swell, or I’d have been split up the middle, but it made for an uncomfortable few minutes before Dick came to my rescue by letting out a little extra line.  Fun and games.

Had a very pleasant evening meal, then a drink or two – I had beer instead of the usual rum – tarted ourselves up a bit, then off to the Ball.  We all met at the Hibiscus, as arranged, then strolled down to the Banana Court.  The place, at least externally, had been tarted up considerably for the occasion, + there were plenty of people milling around.  It wasn’t nearly as exclusive as we’d been led to understand, + there were loads of extras there.  The big difference is that they were all clutching green invitations, + from the look of the bouncers on the door, there wasn’t much point in trying to get in without.  Unless you were a girl of course.  First Heather attached herself to some pliant male with an invitation, + walked in, no sweat, then Val + Berit, seeing how easy it was, strolled in too.  I was a little upset, I’ll admit, I don’t think I’d have gone in without her.  On the other hand, as Val later pointed out, I would have taken the job as extra even if she couldn’t have.  And also, from what Heather told me later, Val did her best to get us in.  She asked half the males present for their used invitations, (no-go – everyone had to hand them in) + then cased the joint + came out + reported to us.  On her recommendation, Leif, Hans + I went round to the back of the place, where there was an open-air bar.  At the moment, it was deserted – the only problem there was a six-foot fence around it.  Hans was our leader – he chose the spot to climb over, + was first to try.  He got half-way over when someone came out into the garden, + he had to drop back.  I thought that would have been it, but Hans had nerves of steel, waited for the guy to go away, then scrambled over.  My turn.  If I’d been alone I’d never have made it, but a degree of pride came into play, I suppose.  St any rate, I scrambled over – it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I’d thought it would be.  So, once over, I checked to see Leif was alright (not that I had any doubts – he was a PE teacher) + then, with as much nonchalance as I could muster, strolled in to the party.  To the congratulations of those in the know.  I let them feel my heart – pounding away like a pneumatic drill, it was.  The Great Escape, even in reverse, is not my scene.  And then I discovered I’d torn the knee of my trousers, my best ones too!  Ah well.  The booze was free, if one could be bothered to fight thro’ to the bar.  And there was a buffet… only we’d already eaten.  If I sound disappointed, it’s probably because it seemed such an anti-climax after the Commando bit.  Also because David failed to come up with the goods – totally understandable really, since he’d have a lot to lose by giving an impromptu, freebie, public performance in such a place.  All he did do was act as ultra-smooth MC to a short cabaret given by the make-up + costume girls.  It was pretty entertaining, even tho’ it did last only 20 mins or so.  Apart from that it was just an ordinary bop at the Banana Court, more or less, except it wasn’t as good as usual.  Val did go + ask DB for a dance – fairly naturally, he said no, or later, or he was tired, or something.  Anyway, basically it was fuck off.  At the time, I thought Val was right to ask him.  As she said, why not?  Except now, I’m not so sure – would she have asked him if he was Mr Nobody?  The price of fame, I suppose, being pestered by strangers when you’re chatting with your mates.  We left soon after – the free booze had all gone. + the party was dying on its feet.

So that was our encounter with rock stardom. Nothing of real note, the more interesting part of the evening was having to break in to the party by scaling the fence… in a POW movie. And the hole in my trousers, even my best ones, was a small price to pay.

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