Monday, September 26, 2005

Event Mismanagement

It's Monday morning and the first rushes of caffeine and nicotine are begining to take effect. The weekend is now panning out in its true perspective. It has had some highlights and many many lowlights I'd prefer to forget. Among the latter is an "event" I was coerced into attending. What is it about fashion shows and the South Asian psyche? In all my years living away from Pakistan I was never ever (not even once!) invited to a fashion show. To my mind, these were specialist events where clothes horses, serious buyers, students, journalists and fashionistas mingled. On my return to Pakistan I gravitated towards a crowd of designers because they were "interesting" and, I must confess, because they were gay. We had a strange camaraderie given that my work is light years removed from the heady, tempestuous and often superficial world of fashion. I suspect that most of my friendships within that celestial galaxy have survived because I don't belong to that world. I have survived years of intergalactic battle by simply remaining silent and ducking the odd laser missile. My friends (and their shows) continue to thrive because the fashion-show-as-entertainment-syndrome is too deeply embedded to be discarded.
Anyways, back to the "event." I keep calling it an event, as what I witnessed defies more precise description or definition. A few days before I was invited by the chief designer and I tried to shrug him off by demanding an exclusive table. "I don't want to sit at the arse end of the room with a pillar or flower arrangement or a begum bouffant obstructing my view." My hopes were dashed. "But ofcourse, darling. You shall have the most exclusive table there. Just make sure that you bring the Transylvanian Ambassador and his wife." Damn. The Devil does wear Prada. And in exchange for a good table I had to bring an irrepressibly dull diplomat and his wife. I roped in Lady M for good measure and for good moral support. "This is going to be disastrous. It's not even C grade. I'd give it a D minus" she hissed in the car. This did not augur well.
We walked in through the usual slipshod security arrangments and were guided to a table right next to the catwalk. I could have reached out and tripped a model had I so desired. Well this was exclusive. Actually it was so exclusive that there was no one else on the table. We were in Social Siberia. At an adjacent table sat a group of men with high pitched voices and eyebrows to match. "Who are they?" I enquired. "Fashion journalists" I was informed. The show started. The clothes, in all fairness, were yummy. So were some of the models. The fashion journalists shot out their Nokias and began taking pictures. Damn. I thought they would have used old fashioned ring bound notebooks and pencils. I am so passe, I thought. The odd shriek from their table signified assent of the highest order while a collective frown of pencilled eyebrows meant the opposite. Hmmm. This wasn't quite so bad. Even Lady M was on the verge of upgrading this from a D minus to a C plus. Then it all went horribly wrong.
An MC (or "compere" as they're known in these parts) took to the stage. "I want CRAPPING" he implored. "There is not enough CRAPPING here." The Transylvanian Ambassador shifted uneasily on his chair. The MC then leapt off the catwalk to begin interviewing bewildered members of the audience for instant reactions to the show. Wisely, he kept away from the Valkyrian journos and tackled a few benign begums instead. "We lurved it" they gushed effusively. Having done the rounds, he then hopped back onto the catwalk and announced the arrival of a special guest from "across the border." Wow. I thought of all my favourite beauteous Bollywood types. Saif? Hrithik? Even Shahrukh would do at a pinch. No such luck. An unknown entity dressed not unlike a Lahori hooker took to the stage. Hang on. She wasn't dressed like one. She was one. For the next thirty minutes we were rivetted by her hip jerking/boob thrusting/crotch lurching/lip pouting/eyebrow raising "performance." Lady Transylvania leaned over and whispered "What kind of dance is this? Classical?" "Well, yes" I replied. "It is classical in a sense. It's a classic prostitute number." Errr. "Prostitute?" she asked as though she had misheard. "Yes. Prostitute. Hooker" I added by way of clarification. Silence.
The table conferred (well, all four of us really) and decided that a diplomatic exit was called for. My host caught us on the way out. Disappointment was writ large across his face. "Was it really bad?" he asked. "Nope" I said with a half smile, "It wasn't merely bad. It was horrendous." I couldn't lie. On the way home Lady M asked what I disliked most about the "event.". I thought about the plethora of defects I could chose from. "The hooker, I think." She asked why. "Dunno. I found it distasteful that a bunch of young people would resort to hiring a prostitute, tarting(!) her up and passing her off as an across-the-border import. I found it deeply offensive. These are the same people who rabbit on endlessly abourt womens' rights. And there they were crapping through it all." She looked at the receeding lights in my rear view mirror. "Let's give it an E minus then."


Anonymous Sin said...

Oh dear. That bad?

3:33 pm  
Blogger rocky said...

that's hilarious - a hooker doing a dance number at a 'fashion show'?!

poor, poor you.

4:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said... it necessary for a successful and an obviously rich man to attend social events that hes not particularly interested in? Can one be forced into attending an event? Can one matured by age not predict the out come of an event by merely judging the host? Is not an event made memorable by the company one shared while attending it? Arent even the bad memories worth living for (amazingly they turn into good ones after a few years)? Surely you must have enjoyed the humor in the whole series of events that night? Probably you will never forget this had fun!!

9:48 pm  
Anonymous closetalk said...

hehehe.. for all u know, she may just have been an indian hooker! lol. have a nice day!

11:22 pm  
Blogger Phantoms and Voices said...

Well! Thank G!d for your coffee and enjoy it :) Have a good week!

6:25 am  
Blogger say what? said...

Dance might have been pleasing to the journalists. :D
Afterall, all they know is to gaze at women from a distance, enjoy the moment and criticize afterwards that it was wrong.

12:12 pm  
Blogger Sister Spikey Mace of Desirable Mindfulness said...

An E minus!!! Brilliant. :)

10:45 am  

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