Saturday, November 15, 2008

The secrets of the secret party revealed!

As regular readers will know, last Wednesday I was invited to the "launch of a new social networking device." Intrigue abounded as to what it could actually be, with various ideas such as a Facebook rival, a new mobile phone, and a, um, wi-fi-enabled 'lady-toy' being bounced around with friends.

The only clues I had were the innovative invite, and a somewhat cryptic website. And by 'somewhat' I mean 'very.'

Everything was revealed on Thursday evening, however. Having promised Sparky Ma that I'd flee the venue in the event that someone tried to touch me in my bathing suite region, I met-up with my plus-one for the evening, fellow blogger Willowc, and we jumped on a tube bound for Shoreditch in East Londinium. Although technically I didn't really 'jump' so much as 'step gingerly,' seeing as I was wearing devil shoes (formerly known as posh shoes) for the first time since they ripped my feet to bloody shreds.

En route we continued speculating what the event could be for, and Willowc, using a pinch of lateral thinking and a smattering of intelligence that obviously escapes me, suggested that the website name 'driedonpaper' would seem to indicate ink because it … well, it dries on paper, dunnit? Backing up her theory was the whole rubber-stamp invite thingy.

Curiouser and curiouser…

We jumped stepped carefully off the tube at Liverpool Street station, at which point we looked around liked bewildered tourists while trying to get our bearings in relation to the map I'd printed out. Despite holding the map in front of us and trying to visualize ourselves within it, I eventually decided that a better way of working out where to go was to hit-up the Google Maps feature on my iPhone. If I haven't said it enough times before: God, I love you, iPhone. We were soon on our way in the right direction, me holding my iPhone out in front of me like a tricorder, while Willowc complained that the rain would make her furry coat look like a damp dog.

After walking for a while, by which time Willowc was wondering if I was leading us totally astray, we came across a sign. Not from God, but a sign that we were on the right track.

Not so secret anymore, eh?

And the sign had the 3 logo on. 3, as the Brits among you may know, but the Johnny Foreigners may not, is a mobile phone network - meaning I was pretty damn close with my aforementioned guess of a mobile phone, and, thankfully, way-off with my fear of uninvited and inappropriate touching.

From there we could see another sign, and another sign, and another sign - I think you get the idea. Anyway, they all had arrows on so we followed them. Like the sheep we are. Eventually we found ourselves approaching a small passageway guarded by two ladies holding umbrellas, who pointed us to a doorway a little bit further along where we met another two ladies, one of whom had a clipboard.

"Are you a blogger or a journalist?" she asked.

"A blogger," I replied. She then looked for my name, ticked us off, and issued us with red wristbands.
Red band = blogger

Then we hit-up the par-taaaaaaaay.

The venue was pretty darn nice. It was kind of like an old arches workshop under a railway bridge, but transformed for a splendid shindig. The first room was full of big tellies, artwork, retro phones, globes, and small replicas of the Eiffel Tower. From they you passed under an archway, grabbed a free bevvy off one of two ladies, and then moved on into what I'm going to call the disco room, where some DJs were playing out some bangin' tunes. There were a few sofas scattered around here (one of which was made of cardboard, which I totally wanted because I figured it would be handy if loads of people came round, but could be flattened when it wasn't needed) so you could chill out or bust some moves with out having to stand up.

The DJs in the disco room pump out some bangin' tunes.

Another view of the disco room.

After hanging about in the d-i-s-c-o room for a while we headed back to the first room to admire the art and the retro phones, and, quite frankly, to find out exactly what the hell the whole thing was about. There were a few people in jumpers with INQ (INQ - ink, dried on paper, geddit?) written on them walking around holding pretty slick little mobiles. It turns out that 3 are launching a new phone called the INQ which, without going into too much detail because we all know I get confused pretty easily, is permanently linked to Facebook, includes Skype VOIP, and instant messenger. And to top it all off, both the handset and the monthly fee are both pretty-damn reasonably priced. OK, it ain't going to tear me away from my iPhone (which, I don't know if I've told you this, I love), but for some people, especially the teenage market I'd guess, the INQ could be a very enticing prospect.

Having worked all that out we turned our attention to seven interesting posters on the wall, which had apparently been specially created as something to do with the INQ launch. I couldn't quite work out what, exactly, but on the whole they were very nice. I particularly liked the ones by Sara Varon and Wayne Snooze.

This is the poster I liked (by Wayne Snooze)

…And this is the one Willowc liked (and the one we got free in our gift-tubes)

It was after admiring the art that I may have made something of a faux pas. Having knocked back a glass of coke I began looking for somewhere to plonk down the empty glass. Everyone else seemed to be putting them wherever the hell they felt like it, so I put mine on a bookcase. Within seconds some official looking woman swooped in, scooped it up, gave me a dirty look, and stepped back, which left me wondering if what I'd put it down on was actually another piece of art…

So, what else was there? Well, despite Willowc's protests that she didn't want to appear in any mobile phone propaganda, a photographer dude persuaded us to let him take a couple of pictures of us. We also got chatting to one of the guys who helped set up the driedonpaper website, who was a top chap and told us that they invited blogger folk because they wanted to involve their "type of people" rather than just the press who turn up to these sort of things bored off their tits and looking to get utterly wasted on free booze. Good times.

And do you know what else was good? There was a massive stack of cardboard tubes positioned by the door, and on the way out you got to take one. Within was a t-shirt (in a size and colour of your choice, which makes a nice change to the "no, it only comes in large puce" that you usually get with a free t-shirt), a USB memory stick, and a poster of one of the artworks which, luckily for Willowc, was exactly the same one that she pointed out as her favourite.

All in all, then, an evening very well spent. That being the case, if anyone else would like to invite me to any secret free events, please don't hesitate to drop me an email.

My gift-tube!

My free t-shirt and USB stick!

Oh, and devil shoes? Didn't hurt me one bit - good times!


CyberPete said...

sounds like fun. Loved the red artwork, it would totally rock my living room.

Why don't I ever get invited to those kinds of things? If I'm not a VIP I really don't know who is. Oh, don't mind me, I'm just jealous

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Were all the ladies guarding doors etc conjoined twins? Is that why they were always in twos?

Tim said...

Cyberpete - Yeah, it would've rocked mine too!

Inexplicable Device - I think they were a lady-based equivalent of a push-me-pull-you!

missy&chrissy. said...

i'm glad the secret party turned out to be a fun one and not a creepy one -- you can't beat a party where you have a good time AND get cool free stuff as well!

WillowC said...

That damp dog picture is startlingly accurate, isn't it?

I'm a bit pissed off with my tshirt though, it's not black at all but navy blue! Still, mustn't look in the mouth of the gift horse, eh?

I think we made model party guests (those mini treacle tarts were a bloody marvel) and ought to be invited to everything ever.

Oh and: thank you for taking me!

CyberPete said...

They should sell it on their website

Tim said...

Missy&Chrissy - Me too! And free stuff is always good - although in this case it was very good free stuff!

Willowc - Damn the t-shirt! I still say you should dye it, or at the very least colour it in with crayons…

Cyberpete - I just tried to see if you could buy it somewhere online but no luck so far…

CyberPete said...

That's too bad. I have a very large empty white wall in my living room that needs something and that poster was just the right colour and kool image.

Dinah said...

That's awesome - secret blogging goodness. I loooove free stuff - it's so good, and free.

Happy much belated birthday, I'm starting to wind my way back to the blogging world and that was one glaring omission that I have to rectify.

Also, it sounds like Sparky Ma was concerned this was all an IDV-related facade for some face time.

Tim said...

Cyberpete - You should run a competition to find something to fill that void!

Dinah - Many thanks, and nice to have you back!!

CyberPete said...

Like your t-shirt?

Because that worked out so well for you? Tee-hee!

Tim said...

The t-shirt vote has taken an interesting turn…

Don't laugh just yet!

CyberPete said...

That does sound interesting indeed.

watch*paint*dry said...

Sounds like it was fun. I am glad you had your iphone with you, it would have been annoyed if you were cheating on it.

I like the scooter artwork too. It's red. Like your t-shirt. It's red too. I like red. And purple.

Tim said...

Cyberpete - Be patient!

Watch*Paint*Dry - It was! As for cheating on iPhone - lord no, I'd never hear the end of it!

It is all red isn't it? I have a real red vibe going on…

CyberPete said...

I am but I can't be forever.

Hmm I may clean my flat next weekend and take a few snaps if you like red so much.

T-Bird said...

Dang! I was hoping it was going to be an Eyes Wide Shut sort of an event.

*mental note to get IDV onto that*

Tim said...

Cyberpete - Do it! It'll keep you busy while you're waiting!

T-Bird - Ugh, no!

WillowC said...

Wish I'd gone for red, now.


watch*paint*dry said...

Do it Cyberpete! There can never be too much red. Or purple.

CyberPete said...

Oh ok if you say so WPD.

This weekend is all about the cleaning.

My kitchen is white and blue though.

Tim said...

Willowc - Too late now! Unless you … dye it!

Watch*Paint*Dry - Would that be rurple?

Cyberpete - Hurry up with the pictures then!

CyberPete said...

It'll be by the weekend at the earliest.

I hate cleaning and I'm not showing my flat like it is now.

watch*paint*dry said...

It most certainly would be, or maybe pedle or redle?

I need to do the cleaning thing too this weekend. More dust has invaded my house. Bah.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I've not seen Eyes Wide Shut. Does it have loads of useful tips?

Tim said...

Cyberpete - Stop procrastinating and do it!

Watch*Paint*Dry - Repel the dusty invaders!

Inexplicable Device - I've not seen it either. Except for the bit with the saucy party.