A Somewhat Eventful Party At Woodfield Avenue, 6 to 7 October 1979

Somewhat eventful to say the least.

Another holiday without me for my parents…another opportunity for me to hold a house party.

I particularly like the way I describe this party, with all due modesty, in my diary entry for 6 October:

Party v good/described as best ever by some…despite disasters.

I’m not sure that my parents’ house has ever recovered from the “despite disasters” aspect of it.

The disasters were probably due to intense overcrowding. Not only had I been pretty open-ended with my invitations – BBYO club folk descended from the length and breadth of the country – but the party was also quite heavily gatecrashed.

This photo from Easter Weekend 1979 – several of the above were at the October party…none of these were the gatecrashers.

I shall seek counsel from others on some of the details. Also on the extent to which, for some aspects of the evening, names and details should ever find their way to as public a place as Ogblog.

But for the time being here are some fragmentary memories of mine.

It looks from the diary as though Fran helped me to set the party up but didn’t stick around for the party, which was jolly decent of her and/but she must have had something much, much better to do on the Saturday night. I have a feeling that she might have just started/been starting University around then. Fran might remember and chime in with a memory. Anyway, many thanks for the help that day, Fran.

Then the party itself.

For some reason (overcrowding alone shouldn’t have caused this) we had a power failure for a while. No lights, no music…just…whatever a party might be in the absence of those things.

Someone who knew what they were doing (at least to the extent needed to restore light and music to the party) sorted out the problem, but I do recall at one point several people going round with candles, not least Simon Jacobs rattling off quips at a rate of about 16 qpm.

Simon could rap at 20 quips per minute if he wanted to…he just didn’t want to.

One of the gatecrashers broke the frame of my father’s family mosaic piece – depicting us as clowns standing on each other’s shoulders. Mercifully it wasn’t beyond repair. I seem to recall that incident triggering some of the more protective (or perhaps I should say bellicose) guests to take matters into their hands and remove several gatecrashers.

Someone will no doubt be able to explain why the following picture of Jay, one of the welcome guests (like the Simon photo above, taken a few months earlier) popped into my head as I recalled the gatecrashers’ comeuppance.

“…be off with you, fiends!…”

I think there were times during the party when I needed some consoling. I realised what a mess the place was in. But this was not a good party for host romance, although I’m sure it worked well for many guests; not least during the blackout.

One consolation in the damage aspect was the fact that the house had been burgled the day after my parents went away, so it was going to be difficult for them to distinguish burglar damage from party damage.

7 October 1979

…well of course several of the events mentioned/alluded to above might well have been the early hours of 7th…

many stayed, helped clear up. I finished the job…

I’m not sure who Paul S was that Sunday evening (apologies, Paul, if/when your identity comes to light), but the Jeff S who stayed at the house after the meeting was the late lamented Jeff Spector. No doubt he was able to advise me well on dealing with the aftermath of crowded house parties – they had quite a few of those at the Spector house over the years. But those are other memories for other pieces.

Jeff Spector, Spring 1979