WHERE'S THE PARTY?
In the middle of fucking nowhere in a town called Hitchin, which is kind of near Luton, which is supposedly close to London. The train seemed to take forever and we were accosted by some rowdy drunk man who kept asking if any of us were in Eastenders. This was my first time in the area, with no prior knowledge of it besides "Ed Westwick – who played Chuck Bass in my teen guilty pleasure Gossip Girl – is from there".
The 15-minute walk from the train station to the party destination was fairly… quaint. It seemed like the kind of place where people go to peacefully live the last days of their lives – there were a handful of thatched cottages and a huge church with a moat – and not the sort of place you'd throw a rager where someone pukes into a bush. Big "Neighbourhood Watch" vibes.
Was in a graveyard next the aforementioned church. You'd think, by extension, that it would be full of goths, but no: each room was its own standalone flat, and about three of them were free to party in, but the proper DJs were playing from under the stairs in the room that hosted the main dance area.
Some rooms were chill, others were not. For the first time in the history of house parties, there were fortunately no dickheads (somehow???), so you didn't have to do that annoying thing where you're forced to move to another room just after you've found somewhere to sit that doesn't immediately give you pins and needles, purely to escape that creepy dude there on a pity invite.
Each room had its entirely own vibe, with a couple of people taking charge of Spotify, and most of the guests seemed to choose a spot and stick there for the evening. For some reason there were various weapons – including a shotgun and a samurai sword – which at first seemed like a laugh, but started to properly worry me the further we got into the night. If there's one thing I've learned from the concept of "America", it's that guns are not usually a good thing, and if there's one thing I know about almost people my age, it's that they're often very stupid, triply so when pissed. Worrying that someone might sustain a shotgun injury can really – if not completely – harsh an MDMA buzz.
Roughly 50, give or take. Just enough for there to be an atmosphere, not so many that a floor caves in. Just Right™.
Despite there being multiple rooms and presumably more toilets, somewhere, our choice pisser had a consistent queue and subsequently ran out of loo roll pretty early on. Having noticed the scarcity of toilet paper upon arrival, I stashed a hefty wad for potential drug poo emergencies, but luckily it was mostly rationed out to unfortunate girls on their periods.
Still, it was genuinely surprising that we collectively survived the night without a single blockage or bad smell, although some poor guy did have to fish an empty can of beer out of there.
Fancy dress, annoyingly. The brief was pretty broad – "literally anyone from any decade" – but the people who actually bothered to make an effort fully pulled it off. Most, as is tradition with fancy dress parties, absolutely half-arsed it, with generic 1970s or 90s nods – a wig here, a pair of sunglasses there – but props go to the girl dressed as a literal Rock Lobster; the Bob Ross guy (who was basically unrecognisable every time he took off his wig); and a perfect Silent Bob, who didn’t speak for seven hours yet still managed to communicate. He later told me that it was pretty liberating and put a quick stop to any small-talk, a tactic I'm now definitely going to use at work.
The usual: a ton of coke and a smattering of MDMA. Nothing weird. One of the party hosts immediately lost a fresh delivery of cocaine, which seems to always happen at these things. What is it about the unique atmosphere of house parties that always makes lads in black denim shirts lose a gram of cocaine? Why won't science look into this? Anyway, it was mellow: half the party were chatting shit while the rest were planning on meeting for a breakfast that obviously never happened.
Undeniably, the banter started off tepid and gained momentum as people got a little more mashed. Starting off with a guy's average impression of Limmy as a prerequisite to ask around for a lighter, somehow this escalated to the point where one of the hosts not only smashed his nose trying to open a beer bottle with the samurai sword (whoever would have predicted a samurai sword at a party leading to injury?), but also jumped out of a second floor window for absolutely no reason. Don't worry – he turned up a few minutes later completely unscathed. Drunk people are too floppy to sustain any real damage.
There were stacks of Old Blue Last beer in the kitchen – full disclosure: supplied by VICE's Old Blue Last beer team – but most people seemed to have stockpiled their own tinnies already, with blue bags hidden in every nook and cranny. Some sweet beautiful angel bought along an IKEA bag full of blue WKD, which gave the party an effective nostalgia kick, and a few of us had a couple of swigs from both a curious skull-shaped bottle and some fancy coffee liqueur from the kitchen. The party never reached that desperate "what if I mix Amaretto with Ribena?" stage you sometimes get when 5AM rolls round, which I can only attribute to good planning.
Across the rooms, genres ranged from cheesy 90s pop to heavy drum and bass. There was a jarring moment way too early in the night when everyone was singing along to Christmas songs and I stupidly missed all the actual DJs, except Dead Boys Disco, before flinging myself upstairs, where the ladies all collectively sang along to "Fergalicious". At 6AM someone put on "Bump And Grind" by R Kelly, but thankfully that got shut down faster than you could say piss cult.
Trying to remember the chat from a party where you were absolutely fucked is one of the cruellest things you can do to yourself. No one I've asked can remember either, yet somehow everyone remembers talking to Bob Ross, though they can't recall what about. One girl recalled the horror of Bob casually removing his wig and her instantly not knowing where to look, while two others I asked solemnly nodded in agreement: "He just seemed like a different person and I didn't know what to do."
In hindsight, the garden could have been lit better, as more than two of us now have mid-thigh-height bruises from bashing into the benches in the dark – but it was one of the highlights of the night. The area was consistently busy, and most of the outdoor guests were kind enough to share their cigarettes with those of us who had no idea where the closest shop was.
Downstairs seemed to end around 5AM as some of the residents had work the next day, but the rest of the party-goers slowly started to taxi off from about 6AM onwards. The vibe inevitably changed shortly after the 6AM R Kelly fiasco, followed by some shouty football references, and I had never been more grateful that people had entirely forgotten about that stupid gun. Everyone seemingly made their way out without fuss as the hosts began turfing people out, except the guy who I’d comfortably fallen asleep on, who tried to wake me up in an attempt to convince me to go back with him. As a directionally-challenged woman in the middle of fucking nowhere and a phone on 10 percent, this was obviously never going to happen. Sorry.