A Curious Invitation: The NYE Masquerade Ball

Happy New Year!

I want to thank everyone who is still reading this blog, as I know blogs are a thing of the past, but I must say that mine seems to be growing each month and that is all thanks to you. It seems I have finally found my niche and it is nice to hear all the positive and constructive feedback. To you – I raise my cup of tea (imagine it is bubbly) – thank you.

If I recollect the last 10 NYE’s, I can truly say that I’ve only had maybe one or two good ones. What usually used to happen was that I would go to some over-hyped, over-priced party and leave disappointed and bored beyond words. I would then stuff my face with a kebab and wonder why I bothered at all. I think a lot of us share this feeling with me – I have done the whole staying at home and chill as well, but I will be honest in saying that that’s not me either. I just want a nice night out where I can laugh a bit, dance a bit and generally have a good time.

Luckily this year I finally got what I was after. I’ll be honest, when my OH told me he got us tickets for a Venice inspired masquerade ball in the middle of the West End, I wanted to hide under the bed.’Here we go again‘ was my first thought… another bad NYE coming up. Mind you, we bought these tickets back in October at £25 each so I wasn’t expecting much. I knew Curious Invitation by name, as they also run taxidermy workshops (which I am very excited to try) but I never actually attended one of the parties. So I went into it blinded.

The event was held at The Century Club by Shaftesbury Avenue, which is an amazing space- I cannot believe I have never been to it before. The venue consisted of three floors: the first floor was the ‘chill-out’ zone, it had a bar, a stand where two lovely ladies were hosting the ‘House of Flattery’ (they were so good and cheering and simply amazing), behind them there was a girl showing us how to pin and display butterflies (luckily we did this as soon as we arrived, as there is no way you can do this with a few drinks on you). On the other side of the floor, you had a sitting area with a chocolate fondue, a man with a mini zoo (snakes, giant snails, turtles, tarantulas and a lizard, all of which you could hold) and beside him was a life drawing section. Phew! This was all in one floor. Upstairs there was a dance floor, with a live band on one, and a small set of stairs that took you to the small dungeon, complete with a bench and a St Paul’s cross. Upstairs was another dance floor, with a stage and stairs that led to the roof terrace (which was much smaller than I thought) I saw an amazing fire show by Femme Ferale which was by far the most sensual and captivating fire show I have seen in a while. Apart from that, there were contortionists, nude servers covered in nothing by gold paint feeding us grapes, acrobatics on poles, a few clowns and some nice bands. I did miss a few shows as well which I am gutted about, but there was just SO.MUCH.TO.DO.AND.SO.LITTLE.TIME (also, they kept playing 2010’s hip hop and that is my jam so had to dance my a** off for quite some time)

So what made the night so special? Well, it was a few things. First, the people. This was a night with a hint of fetish and naughtiness but it wasn’t a kinky night, so there were a real mixture of people, but overall everyone was just really nice and friendly. I rarely talk to strangers on nights out (I am a bit of an introvert) but I had really nice conversations with a few people. Many made real efforts with their costumes and it was nice seeing everyone having fun. I didn’t see anyone being overly drunk or anyone being a d*ck so it was just a nice vibe with people generally enjoying all the entertainment and having a laugh.

Then there is the effort that the people behind Curious Invitation have done. It is not enough to just put lots of shows and activities to make a night ‘click’. The events and the entertainment need to add to the theme, they need to make sense and fit it. Curious Invitation got it right, every was carefully curated so that every minor details added to the tone of the night. It is extremely rare to find nights that hold such a strong persona so well. The only other night that was similar was the Fox & Badge Spring Ball which had a similar tone but was on a much smaller scale (and still my favourite event of the year)

The only downside was the limited selections of cocktails and the service charge on them which made them quite pricey. Music wise, the second floor was 80s and the top floor was your usual charts (Rihanna, Beyonce, Prince…) which worked for me but I know some would have prefered a more house/techno vibe. Also, the night finished at 3am which was a real shame as most people were still in the mood to party.

Would I go again? Of course I would! The night was one of my top nights in 2018 and I want to check some of their other events to see how they compare to this one.

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