Stories: Best Party Ever

  • Russell Brown,

    A small but satisfying soiree with friends? Or a ripsnorting barn-burner packed with people you never saw again? A forthright fortieth, tasty 21st or the night it all went horribly wrong? In the latest episode of our occasional Stories series, we want to hear about the most legendary parties you've held or attended.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

47 Responses

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  • reece palmer,

    We had a house on ST Georges bay road in pwn-hell, it was a two story 8 bedroom monster of a place and was being sold by it's owners (the site is now home to some butt ugly apartments) but we had a party there that had about 200+ people, 3 live bands and a DJ as well as 3 kegs and a pallet of tui. we charged admission to people we didn't know and made money as well.
    As for the most legendary attendance, I managed to sidle up to Neil and Sharon Finns 25th anniversary some years back, it was a Split Enz/crowded house/dudes/dd smash reunion gig in Mr Finns back yard, I was able to watch and listen to most of my favourite NZ muso's go for it all night that was one wicked party. They put flyers in everyones letter boxes to warn about the loud live music that would be happening and rocked the hood til the wee smalls.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I'm going to out myself and admit that I haven't been to many parties (especially in recent years), let alone one that was awesome and memorable.

    I'm not sure why this has come about, but life isn't all that bad on the Z-list.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Ok, here are three memorable parties, perhaps not for the right reasons...

    1977..27 Birdwood Crescent, Parnell. a very early punk party in Ak. Massed fashion victims trying as hard as hell to pretend they were working class unemployed yobs. There were only two records...a copy of God Save The Queen and the only copy of the first Clash album in NZ (imported by the host) which we played over and over again. When some bright spark decided to set fire a mattress under the house. Smoke poured out and the brigade was called. Eventually they managed to fight through the 100 rather mashed dancers, turn the Clash off and ask us to evacuate as they contained the now smoldering bedding.

    As we did so the whole party erupted on the street into an unscripted take on The Clash's London's Burning with London being replaced by Parnell. The brigade, the just arrived police and the neighbours were utterly bemused..

    Two years later I was now living at the same address with various Suburban Reptiles and the like, when Chris Knox, at the end of an absolutely packed Toy Love night at the Windsor Castle, announced the whole pub was invited to our house for a party. He thought it was funny, yeah sure....so what to do?...have a party I guess.....Team Policing arrived about half an hour into the mayhem but, for some reason cracked a few jokes, pronounced it well behaved (it was hardly that) and left happy despite the wandering trolleyed punks and the odd skinhead. It actually passed without serious incident (someone stole the laundry off the line) but Chris decided it was amusing to do it several more times, which we countered by staying out.

    1987 (I think)...Parnell again, this time in our place in Awatea Road on the cliff on Anniversary Day. The Regatta parties, with our view of the harbour had become quite an institution, full of all sorts of interesting people. We usually stripped the house out, put an Oceania PA in and turned the back room into a bar. This was, for some odd reason entitled Sex Without Guilt..Come Alone..and a bottle of Cointreau, Benedictine or Cognac (the ingredients of a Submission) were required to enter. All sorts turned up including Max Cryer with English softcore kiddie photographer David Hamilton in tow. As the Submissions kicked in Shayne Carter (at least I think it was Shayne) decided to have a go at Mr Hamilton, and was joined by a queue of fuelled up Aucklanders who decided to pass their views on Hamilton's "art" and he beat a hasty retreat. Then a girl got stuck in the second floor toilet and no-one was bale to get her out for an hour...and I woke up on the pipeline at 7am.

    I don't do that sort of thing anymore.

    I'd also like to say that I once talked to Jona Lewie in the kitchen at a party...

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3284 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    All sorts turned up including Max Cryer with English softcore kiddie photographer David Hamilton in tow. As the Submissions kicked in Shayne Carter (at least I think it was Shayne) decided to have a go at Mr Hamilton, and was joined by a queue of fuelled up Aucklanders who decided to pass their views on Hamilton's "art" and he beat a hasty retreat.

    That's so weird. I recall we sort-of crashed a daytime party in Parnell (David Blyth's place?) in 1985 and Shayne got into a big argument with one of Hamilton's friends about the dubious merits of his work. I recall half-heartedly trying to stop Shayne but being quite amused by it. The other thing I recall is being invited back to a lady's place afterwards and it all going quite merrily until her boyfriend came home, and I had to very quietly let myself out. I guess the classic would have been climbing out the window, but it was nine floors up at Brooklyn.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I tried to think of something for this but they all involved me drinking too much, and while that was no doubt fun its not really memorable.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    My 21st back in the heady days of '00 was a school camp in the Kaimais.

    It started slow due to, of all things, a delayed America's Cup race. But then it was still going the next morning, though much slower and with more bacon and eggs.

    We were miles from anywhere and so could be as loud as we wanted. My Dad hired GIGANTIC speakers and my DJ friends decided that they should be used properly. It ended up being like The Gathering but with all of your best friends (and heaps of booze).

    Seems like this should be longer somehow...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Guess I'd better do my turn …

    Back in 1990, some friends and I had a couple of parties at a large squatted house in Brixton. The first one was pretty good, the second one was legendary.

    The team, including the present owners of Wellington's Café Astoria (one of whom lived in the house, with the other living next door in a legitimate tenancy), divided up tasks in advance. I hired a PA, turntables and mixer from some dodgy company, borrowed a van and picked them up on the Saturday afternoon. We set them up in the large front room and established a DJ roster.

    As people started to arrive, there were some I recognised - Richard Driver, Karyn Hay, former Mockers drummer and NME sub-editor Brendon Fitzgerald, future Loaded founder James Brown - and a hell of a lot of people I'd never seen in my life, including a group of crusties who had a dance and then headed for the back yard to make a fire (because making fire is what crusties do). The house continued to fill up.

    At a certain point, I walked MD, who was mildly pregnant with our firstborn, around to the minicab place. On the walk back I briefly thought I was going to be relieved of my Nike Air Jordans by some local youths.

    I arrived back shortly before the first significant disturbance took place, on the upstairs landing. I got up there just in time to cop a splatter of blood as an Irishman had his nose punched sideways across his face. Using the natural talent for mediation that has made New Zealand such a force for good in the world we prevented any further fisticuffs and negotiated a truce between the two warring groups. Just to bed in the pact, I knocked up a spliff, with our best African grass oil smeared in the papers for good measure, for consumption by all concerned. That shut them up.

    We found ourselves patiently remonstrating with various other revellers in what was by now a raging party. The LSD, paradoxically, seemed to be helping us retain an even temper as hosts. Kathy calmly disarmed one of the would-be combatants from the earlier incident as he tried to bend a kitchen fork around his fist in the kitchen. I only got snippy once, with an out-of-it crusty who was trying to drag a foam rubber mattress onto the bonfire in the back yard. He dropped the mattress but seemed to struggle with my point about burning a foam rubber mattress being a completely fucking stupid thing to do.

    I was standing by the door when a man made to leave with a heavy, expensive-looking wrought-iron chair in each hand. I made to block his exit and demanded to know what he thought he was doing. He responded in a tone of hurt and indignation:

    "Do your friends have chairs like these?" he demanded.

    Well, no, they didn't.

    "I've bought these this afternoon and now I'm taking them home."

    I couldn't prove that wasn't the case, so I apologised, stepped aside and let the man leave with his chairs.

    Eventually, people started to trail out the door. A chatty little black geezer, who'd been regaling me with commentary for much of the evening, bid us farewell, congratulated me on a great party and promised he'd be back next weekend. No, I explained, he wouldn't. Because there wouldn't be a party next weekend.

    It got to a lazy dawn, when there was one final twist. The Irishman had come back, armed with, of all things, a rubber mallet, just as some of his former foes were leaving. It looked like being a serious bore, but Kathy's girlfriend marched outside, dispossessed the man of his mallet and told them all to piss off home.

    We settled down to lying on the floor of the front room listening to the sweetest music in the world (__Put on Your Best Dress__, a compilation of the work of the great rocksteady producer Sonia Pottinger) over the PA system. It was, eventually, time for everyone to to go home or to bed. There were still several unconscious crusties littering the back yard, but the girls decided to simply lock the back door and let them fend for themselves.

    Later on, the neighbours over the back fence came around to report that their expensive wrought-iron chairs were missing and to ask if anyone knew anything. The girls explained that clearly, they had been taken by gatecrashers, but they'd see what they could do, which appeared to be bugger-all. But happily, a couple of days later, some people turned up at the door with all the chairs. They'd been left with them and thought it best to bring them back. Stuart, a gentle and gullible man, was nominated to return them under cover of darkness. The neighbours were bountifully grateful and doubtless thought well of New Zealanders from that day on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I had a period (in the trammelled mid 80s) where I dabbled with home made fruit wine.

    And I denounce myself as the worst wine maker in history. I was lucky not to poison my friends.

    Best/worst party, depending on your POV, involved 20 litres of home made sake. As someone noted, the first 3 glasses were nauseating, after that it started to taste OK (I think all taste buds were numbed by then.) It had much the same effect as quaffing tequila. (which is another party story for another time).

    I'd rather racistly made the party theme "Asian student" which, since this was the mid 80s, I parenthetically qualified this as "Wide flares & knit shirts". One guy turned up in full samurai regalia & was so embarrassed he left early. He was the fortunate one.

    We knocked the 20 litres off, but I missed the end, having effectively lost consciousness (some time before I lost mobility) and passed out under my flatmate's bed.

    Others took their intoxication into town, a large mob weaved drunkenly down the middle of Willis Street, until a police car tooted them to get off the road, and all but one obeyed, collapsing in front of the police car & narrowly escaping being done for d & d.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    1993 - Lions Tour, Molly Malones. Post Maori match analysis with the entire Lions establishment (they'd overcome a 20 point HT deficit to win the game). Included a long drunken soliloquy aimed at the Hastings brothers' and an interesting urinal conversation with Stuart Barnes. I am sure they all remember it well as they followed my advice and won the Wellington test.

    Only worth recording because I think that was the last time a rugby touring team actually went out on the town with supporters.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    let alone one that was awesome and memorable

    Damn you Robyn, that's the last time I invite you to my house for a game of Trinominoes, the "game of the year" in Germany in 1987!

    My bestest party ever was when I was ten, when we dressed as pirates and took the Eastbourne ferry over for a treasure hunt on the beach. Of course, my father had made the treasure maps, and while they looked very authentic, his 6'3" paces were rather different from ours and it took a bloody long time to find the loot.

    Dressing up as pirates last year for drunken Pirate Mini Golf as part of Caribbean Country Club was almost as much fun, but much more buxom. The keg stands at the Frat Party for America were also fun. And for random drug experiences, chasing someone who had a candle around an orchard somewhere out in West Auckland through waist deep grass and blackberry was pretty damn rad.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Llewellyn,

    RB

    For some reason the party in Brixton sounds familiar. Late 1990 I attended a double-decker bus party, which involved a magical mystery tour around London with around fifty 24 hour party-people to the tunes of Screamadelica et al, ending up at a huge party at a Brixton squat at around 5.00am .......

    You don't recall a bus-full of revellers arriving late in the piece?

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    You don't recall a bus-full of revellers arriving late in the piece?

    I don't recall the bus, but the timing sounds about right ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • t. edison,

    I remember attending one of the epic parties at the big house beside the river, near the Bush Inn in Christchurch... parties there always got shut down by the Police at some point & at this one party I was out in the garden when i saw the police arrive & start throwing everyone out on to the street, so I climbed up a tree & watched proceedings from there.. once everyone had been cleared out of the house I climbed down from the tree only to come face to face with a policeman with a large police dog - I distinctly still remember the dog clamping its jaws on my knee as I climbed down.... fun times!

    The other epic christchurch party was in a big house opposite the Arts Centre, it was a moving out party as the house had been sold to developers.... except some skin heads set fire to a large paper mache sculpture in the kitchen & the party ended with this huge house burning to the ground... which would have been ok, no one was hurt, but one of the flatmates who hadnt moved out lost their entire record collection & their goldfish.... its a vivid memory, this massive burning house being watched almost in a trance by party goers & all the surrounding residents.....

    wellingtron • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Damn you Robyn, that's the last time I invite you to my house for a game of Trinominoes, the "game of the year" in Germany in 1987!

    That actually was a fairly choice party, but I sucked at Triominoes and felt alienated when everyone else was doing so much better at it.

    Oh, but I fondly remember the wedges, Whale Man, and how everyone wrote about it on their LJs upon returning.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, but I fondly remember the wedges, Whale Man, and how everyone wrote about it on their LJs upon returning.

    Did you cry about it in your LiveJournal? ;-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Carmel B,

    Quite a few good ones in recent years (they say life begins at 40), mainly theme parties if I remember...one being my ex's 50th when we decided to have a 1970's airline party. The entire Kingsland Villa and garden was sort of turned into our best rendition of a plane, complete with Koru lounge (couches and fairy lights in the garden) with business class and economy classes in appropriate rooms etc. Most guests took the trouble to approximate their interpretation of a 70's style airline attendants or guests, with hilarious and colourful results. Someone discovered that you could hire out the old Air NZ crew outfits and we had a great turnout in full kitsch regalia. The invitations had been sent out in the form of boarding passes while we greeted all 'passengers' at the door with the 'pilot' in full uniform, myself as hostess wearing a lurid pink mini dress outfit with white plastic boots and hat something similar to that seen in a magazine of the era. The food was designed to resemble very bad airline food (cardboard white bread sandwiches and packets of peanuts all shrink wrapped, labeled, and handed out from a trolley) but the piece de resistance was the staged mock hijack which was the 'surprise' entertainment factor of the evening. Only we forgot to tell the guests it wasn't real. Had to admit that the sight of the very intimidating 'actors' we had hired to dress in black balaclavas carrying fake machine guns sprinting over the neighbours wall at a pre-determined point in the evening screaming for everyone to 'get down on the f*%&^g ground' was enough to strike fear into the heart of anyone - least of all our poor unsuspecting guests relaxing over a G&T in the backyard. Drinks were spilt in shock. People froze with fear. Confusion and panic reigned. The 'hijackers' after demanding that the pilot take them to Cuba while waving guns at him, proceeded to yell at and abuse the guests into forming a long line with their hands on the hips of the person in front of them. Some thought they were living their last moments. It was only when the DJ (on a pre-arranged cue) started playing the strains of a Conga that the penny dropped. You had to be there....

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It was only when the DJ (on a pre-arranged cue) started playing the strains of a Conga that the penny dropped. You had to be there....

    Much as I am allergic to theme parties, that's bloody brilliant.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Carmel B,

    Thanks Russell. Now if only someone would hire me to think up crazy shit like that....

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    That's so weird. I recall we sort-of crashed a daytime party in Parnell (David Blyth's place?) in 1985 and Shayne got into a big argument with one of Hamilton's friends about the dubious merits of his work. I recall half-heartedly trying to stop Shayne but being quite amused by it. The other thing I recall is being invited back to a lady's place afterwards and it all going quite merrily until her boyfriend came home, and I had to very quietly let myself out. I guess the classic would have been climbing out the window, but it was nine floors up at Brooklyn.

    No it would've been 86, Russell (you'll note I was vague about the date). David, I and Sheryl Morris shared the place (I lived there until 1991) and I didn't return to NZ until Sept 85...and it was Regatta day...so 26 Jan 86 I think. Somebody had David Hamilton up against the wall the the corridor telling him he was a "f**king pedophile" , and I didn't think it was actually Shayne but someone else...Max Cryer came complaining to David about the way his guests were being treated before leaving. Then, I guess Hamilton probably has a thick skin about such things...

    I don't remember vast swathes of that day, although I have a box of photographs somewhere....and I do vaguely remember your face in one.....maybe.....

    I do remember having to coax Scruff down from the roof at some stage....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3284 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    No it would've been 86, Russell (you'll note I was vague about the date). David, I and Sheryl Morris shared the place (I lived there until 1991) and I didn't return to NZ until Sept 85...and it was Regatta day...so 26 Jan 86 I think.

    Yep. That'll be it then.

    I do remember having to coax Scruff down from the roof at some stage....

    Now that would've frightened the neighbours ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Did you cry about it in your LiveJournal? ;-)

    Hey, if I want to cry about something, I do it here. To be an emo, one needs the biggest audience possible.

    But back to the subject of awesome parties. I was thinking that maybe the 1997 Ihug Christmas party falls into this category. But then again, the less said about it in a public forum, the better.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But back to the subject of awesome parties. I was thinking that maybe the 1997 Ihug Christmas party falls into this category. But then again, the less said about it in a public forum, the better.

    Aw, g'wan. We have a few Ihug alumni in the crowd, so it'd be fun! In fact, I demand you tell at least the more seemly parts of the story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    My tenth birthday party.

    I got some transformers and one of my friends cried out of jealousy.

    My twenty-first birthday party.

    I got transformed by booze and puked my guts out of my bedroom window.

    My upcoming thrity-first birthday I'll just be happy with transformers again thanks.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Aw, g'wan. We have a few Ihug alumni in the crowd, so it'd be fun! In fact, I demand you tell at least the more seemly parts of the story.

    I was trying to remember all the details, so I checked up on my 1997 diary, and was so amused by what I'd written at the time that I thought I'd share it. A few choice sentences have been left out to protect the innocent.

    Tuesday, December 23, 1997. Ihug had just moved from its little office on Newton Road to the bigger office across the road. It was on the verge of exploding into interweb massiveness. It was also the evening of the staff Christmas party, as experienced by a new employee who had enjoyed her 23rd birthday the day before...

    I went to work. Most of the office was moved. The new office is so cool. It is the bollocks. We got all the shit done then got pissed at work, then transported to the Mexican Cafe. An open tab, so everyone got pissed. It was fun. Later we migrated to the Control Room and got more pissed. W tried to pash me. I went to the Centra car park with X, spat off it. He took a cushion from the Centra lobby, then he buggered off home. Back at the Control Room, Y was being drunk and obnoxious, was asked to leave and ended up being smacked in the face by a bouncer. It was cool. Then Z, who rules, got everyone back to his place. A few guys passed out, spewed and other amusing stuff. Ihug roolz!

    And yet, nine years later, this isn't how I remember the evening at all.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    One particular party last year springs to mind.

    I was the only kiwi in a flat that had been 'the international flat' in someone's masters on flatting in Wellington - somewhat like The Spanish Apartment. It was a large and cheerful place! We had some pretty awesome parties there, but the best were simply dinner parties with 15 or so people crammed into a tiny lounge, with the best Swedish, Indian, Fijian, Thai etc. food you can imagine some fairly talented 20somethings cooking.

    There are of course notable others, where friends very nearly burnt the house down, or being naked with hippies and running into the water on the beach that's killed more fishermen than any other in NZ, and of course memorable ones where everyone's favourite bands jammed til the wee hours. But they don't really compare to having a dozen friends around over great food and wine til the early morning. Just magic.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

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