Sunday, March 11, 2012

Balls of the Rich & Famous

Not the Balls you Think!!
Twice or thrice a year I experience an extravagant taste of the kind of glamorous celebrity parties that will sweep any mortal soul off its feet. More when I travel abroad. I would be treacherous to my generous host if I tell you where I went or what I did but I can at least say that this party, almost an institution in swanky Singapore, underwent a transformation this year, after one of the regular big-time sponsors pulled out under rather acrimonious circumstances and a new online startup (flush with VC money) took its place.

Regarded as snobby by many of town’s rich and famous, who were put off by the increase of wannabe third-pagers who seemed to frequent the ball in years gone by, elbowing out all but the very persistent, this year's guest list reflected the kind of a refined cosmopolitan Singaporean diversity, though it was still, by its very nature, expat-centric. A guest near me quipped that the women looked far better than this time, as the previous sponsor seemed to favour outfits made from the curtains and bedsheets!!

My host was in some sort of velvety ball gown with back corset lacing and a rather shoddy tiara. She seemed to be in a fetid mood, perhaps due to the hassle of organizing the party, but more likely due to the fact that the ex-sponsor was present, at the invitation of some other VIP guest.

The MC at this affair – an Englishman obviously seemed disinterested. He should have been a star in his heydays but now he appeared like a shadow of his former self, in a new rainbow colored coat, which made him look a little bit like a circus clown. He was on a hectic schedule or so I was told – apparently he had just got back from some Film Festival in Europe, where he had supposedly chatted to Angelina Jolie or so he told.

I was sitting next to one hot brunette, who was so gorgeous one couldn't stop staring at those big star-like eyes and perfect playboy like features, balanced by a trademark wine-red dress which was an exercise in fashion excessiveness. Her husband (a spouty, balding Banker or Diplomat) started getting a little edgy when the whole table which consisted of (myself and my friend, his brunette wife, a Swedish expat and his pretty Eurasian partner, a friend of my host and a couple who had entered an online draw and won two tickets to the party) went on a champagne, vodka, rum, whisky (and other assorted concoctions) ordering spree.

We had nearly abandoned all hope of ever getting any drinks at all, let alone glasses, sitting at our lushly decorated table with its flowered centrepiece and mauve lampshade emblazoned with Mozart's countenance. We felt like some saints, surrounded by plenty but never managing to wet our parched lips. But once it did arrive, there was no stopping its flow. Pity the ever-smiling Bangladeshi waiter!

At the immediate neighboring table sat this pompous designer with his beautiful wife who must be a perfect model for his clothes. She was in a sheer lacy blouse with turned back cuffs and a full back and white 50s skirt.

I caught up with an old friend at the tantalizingly setup snack bar, which was just getting into party mood, after rejecting the grand waltzes of the main ballroom, where the Anglo-Indian songstress and her band were wooing the younger set with their tunes, even enticing them into a romantic dance, which worked out to be a cross between Zorba the Greek and a dance from hell.

I was chatting with him, thinking that the glitzy evening was going rather just fine, when the impossible began to happen. People started to leave - going home. "What's happening", my friend cried, as the rooms became more and more deserted and the prospect of leaving before 6 AM became ever more real.

It was around 3 AM, and we had a real disaster on our hands. The dreaded munchies had struck, and the dinner of 8 PM was fast becoming a memory (a few satays and chicken tikkas and a little caviar just don't count under these circumstances). It was time for radical measures.

We decided to hit the clinically clean streets of Singapore in search of a meal - not a very difficult task but we wanted a proper one. Fortunately there is one place the driver recommended in Clarke Quay, so up we cruised in the Toyota Fortuner to find a enormous queue.

Now there is nothing in the world that is cooler than hitting a great joint at 4 AM in formal suits & full ballgowns. It literally stops the traffic. "Wow, cool dress," said one of the bug-eyed revellers, waiting for their delivery, probably trying to take away the taste of too many Fosters.

We ordered their best pizza and when it came, it was delicious - satisfyingly big and generously topped with the best cheese I had ever had in recent times besides the price was a steal! A total antidote for a 5 star meal! You do learn something every day.


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