New Year’s Eve Eve and New Year’s Eve in London – Last Tuesday Society Masked Ball, Longplayer at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Pipilotti Rist at The Hayward, and party party with Mark & co + fireworks and sore feet

It turned into a bit of an epic, but what a good one.

Jules and I went to The Last Tuesday Society New Year’s Eve Eve Masked Ball in Brixton, which was good – I never thought Viennese Waltz would work quite so well as party music, but it did. The Crypt was especially nice, but St Matthews Church worked very well as a party venue, with lots of different rooms. Flowers, peacock feathers and red balloons everywhere, swing dancing, waltz, great costumes (and in some cases, lack of any kind of costume but for body glitter), food and chocolate fountain extravaganza, badgers badgers everywhere, and absolutely packed with people.

We stayed over in Stoke Newington, and at least got some sleep. The next day (well, Rob and Zoe, actually) brought us to Longplayer in the lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf – a sound installation based on the sound of singing bells by Jem Finer that is set to loop over 1000 years, the current loop finishing the final moments of 2999. Beautiful and peaceful space. Being served champagne, Brick Lane bagels and bottomless cups of PG tips seemed entirely right for the setting, somehow.

After that, we went to The Hayward (where knicker lanterns on long wires announced the juxtaposition of the monumental, the quirky and the intimate that was to be found inside) to see Eyeball Massage by Pipilotto Rist, which I absolutely loved. So beautiful, sensual and moving that it takes your breath away at times. Her videos are displayed inside sea shells, handbags, in the lap of the person sitting on the chair, inside maquettes of houses and rooms, in miniature stage sets, inside strange objects in cots, huge on triple screens, in tiny openings in the floor, inside a massive triangular protrusion, on suspended gauzes in a big space…

Eyeball Massage, as the show is called, massages all of you – playful, thoughtful, delightful and many other -fuls, very confident and deeply sensual. And her handling of scale is extremely convincing. Please go and see it! It is a voluptuous antidote to many of the stupidities in the world now and always.

After that we had some well deserved dim sums at Ping Pong, and the prettiest tea I have ever had.

We subsequently went to the Clerkenwell, to Mark’s studio for what was labelled “a small party”. There were 8 of us to start with, and Mark is a splendid host. Champagne and conversation flowed, and we were very happy there. It took a little convincing to go out, but their friend Sarah was celebrating her birthday in a cocktail bar by London Bridge (poor girl, what a date to have your birthday – almost as bad as Christmas), and we thought it could be combined with watching the fireworks.

Off we loped, and a good, pacy walk it was. On arrival we were ushered to our little corner area and handed free drinks tokens, so it seemed natural to join in. Midnight was hot on our heels, so we did a collective mad dash to London Bridge first. There were thousands of people there, and you could see the fireworks OK-ish. I always liked the overexcited jumping about that happens when crowds watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

Once assembled, we went back to the bar for a bit for some drinks, dancing and people watching. We left while it was still not painful, and piled back to Mark’s for charades. At this point, Jules and I had long given up on the notion of taking the 1am train back. After some valiant attempts to trip each other up with really tricky things to act out and guess, it was clear that we could stand our ground in the charade national championships (were they to be) – especially Mark and Andrew, who must be psychic. Nothing took much more than 30 seconds to work out. So maybe there is a new career there.

We decided to head back on the 4am train, and made it by the skin of our teeth after a painful run from the underground to the train. I never have any trouble running, but by now my legs were concrete, and I nearly coughed my poor lungs up after desperately trying to supply my failing muscles with enough oxygen to function during the run. The train was packed, and there were not a seat in sight. I was a tired and mono-syllabilic traveller toward the end.

It has been a splendid couple of days. Some pics and videos below.

Pipilotti Rist’s glorious three-screen installation:

Some photos:

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