state of non-play
entertainment, of a sort

party piece

So. I attended a 60th birthday party on Saturday night, in Leopardstown (the deep Southside) and stayed up till 3 am. Yesterday I was still recovering. This is the final proof, if any were needed, (which it wasn't), that I am Utterly Pathetic.

The invite to the party contained the words designed to strike terror into the heart of an introvert: Bring your party piece. It was, sure enough, a bit - you know - character-building. The place was full of cool, international couples (including a real French woman who spoke English with a Yorkshire accent) who knew how to entertain - actually hold the floor - sing, play the cello, or piano, as in parties of old. Not like us, who sandwiched between the X-factor generation and the self-sufficient, party piece one, are basically useless. We need to be entertained. We do not do the entertaining. No, no.

Thoughts arising from the afore-mentioned Experience/Party:

  • It is possibly time I learnt how to sing a song. (Like on my own, not with the entire choir, which luckily was present to lurk within thereby escaping the Taking of my Turn).  Singing solo may not cause instant fatality, I am led to believe?
  • Or, maybe I could polish my caricature skillz, instead. Not everyone can Take It, though. It would be generally preferable to avoid making people wail because their hair/waistline is not like that. (Aside: I read once that Gerald Scarfe, tired of hearing the protests of his subjects, drew himself and reported that yes, he was offended. He hurt his own feelings.)
  • Hanging with The People in their Sixties was lovely and brilliant. They have tons of life experience, but are still healthy and strong enough to squeeze the life out of every moment - like, staying up till 2am in the morning, apparently effortlessly? Like. Adopt as Role Models. Emulate.
  • Alcohol gives some people Performance Fever, a syndrome where they keep saying: Ooh! I know! And burst into song. This can go on for a long, long time.
  • Some other people go really quiet.
  • Related arising need: a good listening expression to arrange my features into: genial, responsive, not facetious, neither a rictus of despair, envy, embarrassment or boredom. As it was, I cycled manically through these:


Now, my dear, let's all turn and look at you, expectantly. What is your piece going to be?






I would be extremely unlikely to perform, and if pressed, I would recite that soliloquy from Macbeth that I memorized in sophomore year of high school. I would enjoy (mostly) watching other people be extroverts, though.


Wow, a. I am impressed. Soliloquy! Macbeth!

Valery Valentina

well, is drawing a caricature not a party piece? some performance art? you could do that, and everybody would watch the paper and the victim instead of you.
Are you sure that singing doesn't do any harm to the singer?
If I really need to do something I hide behind my flute and play something happy sounding.

Them Sixties People sound very young to me. Would the needing-less-sleep start by that age already?


The flute! Very good. Re: the people in their sixties - I Am Hopeful. Very Hopeful.


I'd think drawing would count, even if it may be a more quiet form of entertaining than singing. No idea what I would bring... will work on it as a character-building exercise.


I could recite my own poetry? Yes? Why are you all rushing into the garden? You don't ALL smoke.


Ha, brill! No, I'd love to hear your poems, May.
*Settles in with expectant expression*.


Oh, Twangy! The world is such a fabulous place with a new post from you in it! I thought I was the only one in the _world_ who worried about my listening expression!


I think my party piece is to be the quiet one in the corner.

Agree heartily with HFF. More posts, please.


Ooh, ta, you two. I love encouragement! And I have lots of this nonsense to talk about.

Valery Valentina

oh err ummm, HFF can we please have another post from you too? I'd ask on your blog if you hadn't closed the comments...
and yes Twangy, nonsense is what makes the world go round!


OH DEAR. I am not sure I could attend such an event. Knowing I'd have to do such a thing...well, I'd have a hard time having fun. Unless I'd had a lot to drink. I think your self-caricature approach is pretty winning! This is be being anxious about this party! This is me being horrified!

Dr Spouse

Hooray! You still exist! And there are other posts too! I could save them but today is a rainy day, in fact.


Not a party person, owing to almost pathological awkwardness among humans (despite, you know, actually being one). I do know what you mean about this sixty set, the very savvy and cultured one. When exposed to them I always hope, rather wistfully, that I'll walk in their shoes (while at the same time fearing that I'll actually become "that dog lady" who never goes out:)

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