Archive for masks

The Great May Masked Ball: A Review in Prose

Posted in The Last Tuesday Society, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2010 by alisonadventures

Entering the cavernous arches of the SeOne venue underneath London Bridge, the people swarm like uncaged peacocks at the zoo. Some are beautifully plumed–sequins and great feathered masks adorning lace and silk-clad bodies–lithe and toned creatures of the warm summer night. But these birds are a rarity among the lesser pedigreed animals who had caught wind of the event and had arrived to gatecrash the party. Cheap dresses and stripes, bright feathered masks not concealing the abundance of poseurs who sadly crowded the queues.

Spirited dandies skipped down the messy lines, passing out sweet candied apples, small misshapen toys. Greedy fists with sharp painted nails plunge into open wicker carriers, and I emerge clutching tightly a small brown four-eyed hippo that peers sadly at me from the bottom of the  basket.

Entering the venue at long last, I am flushed with the heat of bodies pressing into mine, squeezed into my steel corset and hooped skirt, scanning the mesh of eager faces crowded in a tight knot around the bar, partygoers with notes in hand, desperate to imbibe in their intoxication of desire. Faint, I drift towards the back wall, slipping out of my silken gloves to press my hands against the wall, finding comfort in the cool stone.

A friend arrives with my drink in hand, and I drain the cool liquid juice as we make our way into the next room of The Feast, where the chocolate fountain of gluttony beckons. Warm rivers of chocolate pour forth onto waiting skewered fruit and sweets, melting syrupy sweet in my mouth. A reclining nude youth beckons from Suzette Field’s famous cheeseboard spread, where the pigeons gorge on scattered brie, honeyed crackers, coconut marshmallows, Italian olives and gingerbread men, along with yesterday’s cakes and other assorted delicacies.   

Is this a dream or is this reality? I watch others riding the squatting mechanical doll, and take my turn, kicking off my underskirt as I grip on tightly, whirling past the laughing and clapping of the crowd, the excited impatient faces. I come to a stop, gravity returning but the spell continuing as I slip on my burgundy satin dancing shoes, and move to the music spilling out of the adjoining area, twirling to the beat of the Trans-Siberian Marching Band, Louis Eliot and The Embers, and The London Gay Symphony Orchestra. As the live music comes to a stop but the DJ’s play on, I snack on salted popcorn handed to me by a cheerful man in a striped suit and lie amongst the chattering strangers on small circular beds, staring at the large silver screen playing The Red Shoes, beautiful 40s ballerinas dancing in silence, their expressive eyes and delicate lips drowned out by the loud music, the roar of the people.

As the night wears on, the original decadents chased away by the large clutter of the populace, my comrades and I remain, watching as the first fight breaks out, cheese and fruit flying amongst shouts and laughter. The smell of cheese fills the room as I slip on the sticky floors, waltz amongst the spilled popcorn and dissolving sweetness of pink candy floss. Somehow, the night is even more magical now, the careful layout of the cheeseboard ruined, candied apples and grapes mixed with the remaining cakes and brie, the naked living statue having fled as the crowds thin and the staff closes off the now-trashed banquet hall.

Feeling like the last guest at Miss Havisham’s unwedding, I sweep the rooms for discarded treasures. Teddy bears both large and small, a sticky lamb and discarded jewelled mask dangle from my arm as my coach awaits. Climbing out of the taxi into the night air, the evening at a close but my memories and objects remain, the tangible proof of a fantasy made real, if only for one night…



Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by alisonadventures

London is a dance. It is a city of dreams, desires, decadence. The beautifuls swirling by in their cocktail dresses and high heels and floating laughter as the glasses clink and champagne falls. Accented voices speak of faraway lands, love, opportunities, promises. The music plays as the couples whirl past, lovers for that instant, that moment on a dance floor, at a VIP table as the vodka passes through eager lips, thirsty bloodstreams. Intoxication.

What lurks beyond the strangers voices? The contact of their arms and lips brushing against your own, the flirtations lasting a moment, an hour, a night? Only fools believe the whispered words of others, only the ignorant cant see past the surface to the cold calculation that lies behind the stories spun like a spiders web, glistening and intricate and glinting in the light. Until you are caught and the monster comes for you.

I had a dream

I was chasing after you in an event, past the guests in bird masks and feathers, garish orange beaks and sharp pointed teeth. They were in purples and maroons and dark forest greens, but you, you were in your pale blue Alice dress, white tights and shiny black flats. Light brown wavy hair moving past me, always a step away as I search for you among the hardened aristocrats and blood thirsty vampires of the party scene. Until I finally catch up and you and you turn to me and say “I am not the one running”.

A sharp pain twists my leg and I am awake, you are gone and it has found me. The monster. Dark black well, pit of worthlessness, small frightened child finding comfort in the misery. Why fake it anymore? I do not want to live a lie.

Use me abuse me whip me, objectify me if you must, spit on me hurt me tear me to pieces but please don’t love me and then reject me. Whatever you do, please please don’t pretend that you care.

I would rather be torn apart than be betrayed. Don’t you see? Love is like a drug, a beautiful high that comes before the fall. Loving you was the worst crash I ever experienced.

I want to be a living doll, painted pink porcelain rosebud lips and blue glass eyes, cloth where there was once a chest, cold ceramic instead of lungs, fabric replacing what was once a broken heart.

I am a Venetian carnival mask, painted-on swirls and glitter and colours gay, synthetic lips twisted into an eternal smile. Only behind the disguise I am screaming inside. And nobody knows.

Self-destructive. Socialite. Hermit. Beautiful. Ugly. Sick.

I want the fame and glory. I want to die. I want to shoot up high like a star, like a firework, like a young starlet who makes it big and then OD’s on the bathroom floor. I am a supernova, bright and great and exploding. Destined one day to crash and burn.
I want I want I want.


Will I make an imprint on this solar system? Or will I simply fade away, a dying spark in an overcrowded universe?

And the city waltzes on.

Model Mayhem! Or my new non 9-5…

Posted in Modeling with tags , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2010 by alisonadventures

Once again, my employment has shifted.
Fed up with the late hours, the drunken bankers, and the small matter of being fired from my favorite bar after being accused of drugs … (The real story? A tequila rival was shagging a manager and wanted my place. Not the first time these things happen, but still.) I don’t miss the forced smiles or bruised hipbones (YOU try wearing that belt for hours), but after the first couple of weeks of unemployed bliss (Free weekends! Proper nights out! Dramatic decline of illness!) had passed, I realized there was one thing I really, really missed about my old job: The money.
    Well, it’s why everyone works right? It’s not like any of us actually ENJOY being in an office, or in my case, a bar. But still. I was flying high till week 3. I had a bag of cash saved up, a lover visiting me for crazy weekend events ranging from Alice in Wonderland to Japanese  rope bondage ceremonies (don’t ask…), and a steadily increasing supply of corsets. (Due to the magic of eBay. Who knew you could score a steel underbust for £30?) And then the money ran out.
    It’s not that I’m high maintenance. It’s just that I appreciate the finer things in life…espresso martinis over cider, balls and themed events over seedy nightclubs. I just want to lounge about in pretty things and read classic novels and write meaningful articles and have days of tea and cupcakes and nights of cocktails, dancing, and enlightening conversation. Does this make me a cliche? Or am I just a dreamer clinging to the lost days of decadence?
    At least I’m not alone–London has various stores, events and institutions for fellow sensualists like me. The Last Tuesday Society, formed in 1870 and still going strong today, is devoted to “furthering the esoteric, literary and artistic aspects of life in London and beyond.” They play host to a variety of masqued dances and flings, workshops and lectures for the pleasure minded, and always have a host of fabulous people, dressed to impress. Not to mention the vampire and gothic meetups, where the darkly seductive patrons gather to chat over red wine and prohibition tea, or dance to the alternative rock playing in the background. There are Lolita tea parties, gallery openings, burlesque performances. Creatives come from all over the world to cluster in this city where everyone travels underneath the ground to ascend to life or work, or, possibly, the next adventure. Everyone has a history, a story, an opinion. There are protests on the streets, beggars, promises of desire and fame at every turn. How easy it is to get swept up in it all.
    I needed money, but couldn’t go back to minimum wage after being spoiled by boozy previous earnings, and even though I still did club promotion (read: leafleting around London), it wasn’t paying much. And then I discovered modeling.
Well, who wouldn’t love a job where you were paid for lounging around mansions and studios in gorgeous lingerie, having photographers capturing every feeling and expression you fed to the camera while complimenting your pose, your style? Of course, it sometimes meant awakening at ridiculous hours and traveling via train, and waiting hours before being fed (if we were fed at all). It can be hard work, but hey, it’s better than a bar job. And who doesn’t love receiving gorgeously edited images of themselves?
   The problem is finding paid work…but once you build up a good portfolio, the jobs do come in. Just today I was offered £80 for a couple of hours up in Wimbledon. I have a £60 for two-three hours locally in May, and £100 for a four- hour shoot later that month. No, it’s not supermodel salary, but considering the hours and me just starting out in the industry and unsigned as of yet, it’s a good start.
   And I have had my eye on a black ballroom skirt for the May Masqued Ball…
Yours in love and madness, Alison xx