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Hussey and his Cat's Pyjamas

Some weeks ago Run Riot was invited to a glorious 'do' out of town organised by Johnny Vercoutre (aka Johnny Chrome and Silver) from Time for Tea and the Zeppelin Club - he with the delicious soul that reeks of earthy decadence from a bygone era. He'd teamed up with Dhillon Hotels to host 'The White Blackbird' at Stoke Place just thirty minutes into the countryside. We were promised a pyjama party with games, performances, and a pillow fighting ring. Run Riot had no choice but to send its hard nosed journalist Patrick Hussey and our vintage undergarment agent Ms N. Thompson to investigate and chronicle the riotous shenanigans. Hussey reports.

The Party Begins

On Friday night I found my self on the back seat of a bus with La Thompson and three other, cackly women dressed in suspenders. Never a bad thing. We had just been herded (in our time warp finery) onto exactly the same kind of coach you get carted to sports day in. What a sight! Somewhere between Vile Bodies and Grange Hill. I looked around me. Champagne was popping, people were singing and there was an saucy crackle in the air.The gents wore raffish gowns and the ladies wore nothing much. This was going to be fun.

About 20 minutes in there was some general horror as we entered a terrible place. Either side of the bus Ford saloons and mock-Tudor houses were clearly visible.

'Good god,' said Naomi, 'is this the suburbs?'

'Look away Thompson.' I told her 'Just look away.' Soon we were out of danger and into something equally shocking, the countryside of Buckinghamshire.

'Green things!' said a fez wearing gent three rows up.

How strange we all thought but there was no time to dwell, soon we rolled into the elegant gravel drive. Stoke Place. As we piled off the bus I gazed up at the hotel, a converted manor house in handsome red brick. Through the windows I could see the extensive rear grounds. There was a pond, a sizeable wood and two or three hammocks perfect for low grav for gallantry.

I looked at Thompson, resplendent in her vintage silk kimono and curlers. She had even managed to dress me well, lending me a fine padded smoking jacket that made me feel like Lex Luther. Surely nothing could go wrong. And it didn't, for at least an hour.

Inside we were met with cocktails and let loose in the splendid setting. Glorious old rooms, lovely plaster friezes on the ceilings, a huge and higgledy piggledy interior to explore. There was a twister room, a cinema and even a roped off pillow fighting ring in the main room with plenty of pillows waiting to be used.

Photo's: Jim Hanner (Pic of Ms. N. Thompson)

The Moustachioed Man

Yes the night looked promising! Glamourous types everywhere, a fab band playing and all was dandy until I walked past the bar where a handsome, moustachioed man was lurking. He caught my eye and ruined my night.

'Can I offer you a shot?' he said, darkly. I looked at the emerald buckets glittering on the bar. Ah, I thought, some kind of apple nonsense. This will be easy. The stranger put one paisley arm across my shoulder and it was down the hatch. Crikey, I thought, as the full Ronseal flavour tore off my lips.


Now this readers needs some explanation. There are only two drinks that turn me into a slant-faced wreck. I can drink, Irish genes and a private education saw to that, but give me gin or absinthe and the legs go. Gin is fairly bad, it makes me cry and talk about my parents' divorce. I avoid it unless I dislike my host. Absinthe is a total disaster. It shuts down each part of my brain, leaving only the nut-sized, crocodile bit smack in the middle.

Conversation, motor function and morality all go by the way side. I was left wandering round with the vintage party of the year party like an incoherent (if unusually well dressed) refugee from the Special Olympics. I despise that drink, it's Rohypnol meets Listerine and it's bad, bad news.

Curse you dark stranger! May your moustache get nits!

At this point I would like to offer sincere apologies to anyone I talked to after ten thirty. After that fateful hour I'm afraid everything is a gorgeous blur.

Pillows and Performers

The Burlesque had begun. Me and twenty pyjama pals crammed into one of the hotel suites upstairs to witness a pale, young lady standing in a bath of milk. She had Blitz hair and Michaelangelo thighs. After swimming about in her bath she poured in a huge tin of cocoa powder and squirted cream on her torso, creating a sort of human hot chocolate.

Spotting I was in need of refreshment she dipped a cup in the mixture and offered me some. The crowd watched to see if I would drink it. I did. It tasted of sin...well actually it tasted of bath...but there was definitely a hint of sin.

There were other acts, the glorious Fancy Chance was performing somewhere. I first saw the recently crowned Alternative Miss World in the BGWMC. She was singing a sentimental ditty entitled 'Everybody's F*****g But Me.' She was dynamite and I've been a fan ever since. But did I see her perform that night? Answers on a vintage postcard. At this point there is a huge blank.

I came round, some time later, in the pillow fighting room. It had all gone a bit 'Girls on Film'. The floor was awash with white feathers, the air thick with them too and in the ring there was Naomi doing Run-Riot proud. Like the sportswoman she is she had stripped to her corsetry for greater flexibility and it was paying off. The other girl in the ring (a red head in a teddy) was getting a face full of pillow. Soon the elegant ring of spectators could stand it no more and burst into action.

It is quite a sight, a Regency drawing room filled with slumber wear mayhem. Pillows in one hand, cocktails in the other they were knocking nightcaps off by the dozen. The air was so thick with feathers I could barely see two feet in front of me. It proved unfortunate. Out of the haze came the fat end of a pillow. Smack. It was after that I took a walk round the pond, felt a little distressed behind a tree and decided it was time for bed.

Naturally I stopped at the midnight buffet first, filling my jacket pockets with cucumber sandwiches and chocolates. What a comfort they were on the way home!

I began drifting through the refined halls. Farewell grand party. I was on my way to the Run-Riot press suite which I later discovered we failed to book.

Ah well. The kindly staff had me by the elbows by then, leading the sky eyed, wordless hulk I had become to a free room. Out of the windows I could see the other guest as they crawled, danced and skipped onto the coaches home.

Farewell Pyjama Pals! Farewell Gatsby-ish night. I will see you all in the morning. Crushed sandwiches on me.

To view rather a few more filthy pictures from this very naughty 'do' click here and join their Facebook group. In fact, that's a good place to stay posted for the next one that'll be coming up in June at the Olde Bell Inn in Hurley. Off course we'll keep you in the loop! We'll tell you now - it'll be a futurist 'aerobanquet'.

And here are the official websites:
The White Blackbird: ...
Dhillon Hotels: ...
The location for the next extravaganza: ...

Chocks away!

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