These days, I like to do the following things when I have a party –
1. Not invite anyone
2. Not have a party
However, before I became a social recluse, I used to quite like inviting my friends round for food, games and sick. This desire was especially strong whenever I found myself getting another year closer to my own inevitable death.
Parties are an ancient human tradition, dating all the way back to 1962. Before that, people were too busy darning and being burned as witches to think about having a party. Then, one Thursday when everyone was bored and no one had the plague, someone decided that everyone should go sit in someone’s living room, even the people who hated each other. The people in the room would eat crab sticks and sandwiches, and drink something warm and stale the host found in a cupboard. Then they would sit there for 4.25 hours, until it was time to leave.
This gradually became an accepted social pastime. In 1979, parliament passed a bill stating that anyone who didn’t enjoy a ‘party’, as the activity had come to be known, would officially become known as a ‘billy no mates’, a ‘spanner’, and a ‘der brain’ and would be shunned by all of society.
Kids born after the invention of parties were raised to want to have parties of their own, for some reason. These became known as ‘kids’ parties’, only differing from adult parties in that the booze was watered down a bit. It is these parties that I shall be focusing on throughout this essay.
Before I start crying, let me take you through my guide to having a party.
Unless you’re weird and home-schooled, you will know some other kids, because you will have other kids in your class. Whether you hate them or not is irrelevant – about two weeks before your birthday, your mum will force you to hand write 30 invitation cards and give them out at school, even to that girl who stabbed you with a compass last year. This is because parents love having a house full of screaming, shit covered kids. More likely, it is because no parent can stand the thought that their child might be anything less than the most popular child in the world.
Upon receiving their invitation, the potential guests will be forced by their mums to reply that yes, they would love to come to your party. This is a hollow sham, and you both know it.
Now one of two things will happen. If the guest’s parents are rich, they will provide a not too bad present for the guest to take along to your party. If they are poor, however, you might end up with a ‘present’ the child has been forced to make at home, because it’s the thought that counts.
The following are examples from the ‘Ladybird book of make your own shit presents’ –
All your guests will arrive wearing jeans or something equally normal. However, because it is your birthday, you will be required to wear a silver foil thing with a nautical theme, more suitable for Flash Gordon than for a small child. You will also be required to wear your Clarks ‘Magic Steps’, even if you are a boy. I wasn’t a boy though.
All the guests will also be issued with a party hat, which they will try to eat. The party hat will be a cardboard cone fastened to the head with an inadequate length of elastic, cutting off the wearer’s circulation. The cardboard cone will be brightly coloured and may bear the words ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’, in an attempt to inject some cheer into the terrifying proceedings.
For six weeks prior to the party, your mum will have been putting together a ‘buffet’. Every day during those six weeks, a new plate of food will appear on the big dining room table, so by the time your birthday arrives, the first lot of food has gone off and has been buried by subsequent arrivals of food. This doesn’t matter, you will still be encouraged to eat all the food.
Party food can include, but is not limited to, the following –
Cheese and pineapple on sticks
The cheese and pineapple combos are not to be eaten off anything other than a stick. This is due to an amendment to the 1979 party law. For added points, the sticks can be stuck into half an orange, as if the whole thing didn’t stink enough already. If you want the guests to think you are a house full of psychos, try doing the hedgehog thing in the picture.
Cut into triangles and sans crusts, but still inedible. This is due to the insane fillings decided upon by your mother, who has forgotten that kids will only eat Dairylea. Therefore, you will be presented with a strange array of sandwiches, including egg, ‘meat’, ‘meat paste’, cress, salad, and chicken vindaloo. The one plain cheese sandwich will have been eaten hours ago by your mother, because ‘there’s plenty left for the kids’.
Not actual crisps, but ‘puffed snacks’. These include things like ‘Wheelz’ and ‘Kwik Save cheese snack assortment’. It doesn’t matter – they’re all the same once they’re in those shit paper bowls. Again, it’s probably better to starve than to risk the communal crisps. Things you are likely to find in the communal crisps include teeth, hair, and rudimentary nuclear weapons.
This party classic literally translates from the French meaning ‘mangy blank’. It comes in a variety of colours, including pink, and is vaguely disgusting, like all party food. Sometimes your mother will make an effort with the blancmange so it comes out looking like a boob. Other more slovenly mothers will just slop the stuff into the bowl. Finally, mothers who still have some semblance of sanity will make chocolate Angel Delight instead, because that’s much nicer.
These are A) cheap, and B) difficult to spill all over the new carpet, which your parents only just got from Allied Carpets, Mike’s Carpets or similar. Advantages include the fact that they are quite nice, and full of sugar. Disadvantages include those pointy straws that you will almost certainly get stabbed in the eye with.
Jelly and ice cream
Yet more slop for kids to throw around. Apparently, jelly and ice cream is so complicated that you need to follow a recipe to make it. I’m just going to stop being in the world now.
These were, and still are, delicious. How they’re made is quite interesting too. You get a bag of sugar, wait until the sugar’s gone all hard, then remove the block of sugar from the bag, cut circles out of it with a cookie cutter, the spray paint the circles using industrial car paint. I saw that on How It’s Made. I AM NOT A LIAR.
Now these children are in your house, eating your food, it is your responsibility to entertain them, even though you hate them all and never wanted to invite them in the first place. Whatever, it’s done now, and you might as well stop them being so bored they shit on the floor just for something to do.
You have a range of entertainment options –
– Dancing to your big sister’s Five Star tape
– Running round and round and round and round and round and round and round the living room until you all die
– Watching as your ‘Uncle Steve’ has a crack at making balloon animals while wearing a funny wig, and realising he can only do a worm or a snake
– Party games
Of all the available options, I’d go with party games.
Some popular party games include –
Pass the parcel – you sit in a circle and try to avoid giving your parcel to anyone else for as long as possible, until you all start crying.
Pin the tail on the donkey – You accidentally on purpose aim for anything other than the donkey. You win when one of your classmates gets the pin stuck in their head, or when you all start crying.
Musical chairs – You all fight for chairs in between listening to bits of the top 40 that your mum taped off the radio. The winner is the last one to start crying.
Thank fuck, now it’s time for your guests to go home. However, before they agree to leave your house, you must bribe them with a ‘party bag’. This is usually a miniature carrier bag containing a slice of cake and a present.
NB – EVEN THOUGH YOUR GUESTS ARE ALLOWED TO GIVE YOU A CRAP HOMEMADE PRESENT BECAUSE IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS, IT DOES NOT WORK THE OTHER WAY ROUND. GUESTS EXPECT A PROPER GOING HOME PRESENT, AND NOT JUST A BAG THAT YOU’VE DONE A SHIT IN.