I gatecrashed a party for young people – and have never been less welcome | Zoe Williams


So the scene was a set of railway arches, and there was a different party in each one. In retrospect, it was really easy to tell them apart: it went Weird People, Old People (40+), Young People (-30). But when you first arrive at a venue, it’s a bit discombobulating: too much sensory stimulation, very little signposting. It’s a reasonable human imperative, I think, to move towards the visible bar, rather than stop to notice that every arch has a bar.

This is how I and a group of friends and family ended up fleetingly in the Young People party on our way to the Old People one. My brother-in-law has form; only last week he was refused entry at a rave because he had no ID, and was last seen taking his bike helmet off, yelling: “My bald head is my ID!” I only know that because I was there, inside the rave, and we can deal with what the hell I was doing at a rave another time.

The young people were in fancy dress because that’s what they’re into (old people are eccentric enough in our personal style). And the theme, I think, was something a bit rubbish like “fabulous”, because they were all in hot pink. Needless to say, none of us met this head on, but I’m not sure that’s what alerted the host to our unbelonging, rather than, say, our obvious not-30-ness, or perhaps that we weren’t her friends. She was on us as fast as a security guard trying to get a chaotic drunk out of a McDonald’s, but verbally, her approach was indulgent – eerily so. “Do you think you’re in the right place?” she said. “Because there’s another party next door, and their music is so much better than ours. It’s bound to be much more your sort of thing.” She leaned in conspiratorially: “Between you and me, I wish I was at their party. But this is my party.” My sister and I exchanged looks, which in the dense, economical interplay of siblings’ facial expressions, conveyed: “This young lady appears to think we’ve escaped from an old people’s home”, “Yes, but shall we berate her, or accept that Old People’s Party is halfway to old people’s home?” and: “The second, definitely the second.”

The annoying thing is, if I’d been gatecrashing deliberately, I would have started with the Weird People.

#gatecrashed #party #young #people #Zoe #Williams

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