|The Great Gatsby, Warner Bros (Picture: metro.co.uk)|
That's why The Party often sets the scene for pivotal moments in history, literature, movies and of course every single episode of Gossip Girl, not to mention real life. Just imagine how many friendships and relationships have begun or ended at an office Christmas party or a wedding...
What makes (or breaks) a party?
The truly legendary parties are more than a sum of their parts; the guests, music, free drinks and frisson will only get you so far. The only thing really necessary for a good party is a good mood - check your inhibitions at the door together with your coat, otherwise a party will almost certainly fall flat.
|Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow at the Black and White Ball, Plaza Hotel, New York, 1966|
Likewise, Gatsby's flashy New York parties of the roaring twenties may have been beautiful, but would they have been any fun? I'm not saying I'd have turned down a coveted invitation from the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, but behind his decadent garden parties, where "men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars”, there was... nothing much. Women who didn't know each other's names chattered away falsely over cocktails, husbands flirted around while their wives hissed in their ears, and all the while, Gatsby kept himself isolated from the action, barely recognised by his own guests.
The Mad Hatters Tea Party
|Alice in Wonderland (2010),Walt Disney/Tim Burton|
The Great Cheese Party of 1837
|The Hangover (2009), Warner Bros|
When an evening begins with the ominous toast: "To a night we'll never forget," you're just asking for trouble. But luckily for Bradley Cooper et al, it turns out that pulling out your own tooth and stealing a tiger from Mike Tyson can actually have a life affirming effect on your friendships and relationships.
Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens
|Image from vauxhallgardens.com|
Every weekend, 18th century socialites, peasants and celebrity courtesans alike were able to pay the small entry fee into Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, a grown-up playground of delights which hosted masquerades, circus performers, fireworks and even hot air balloon launches.
The main promenades were lit by thousands of oil lamps, but it was most notorious for the dark and plentiful nooks and crannies in the shrubbery, where all manner of naughtiness ensued.
Netherfield Ball, Pride and Prejudice
'Parents are out of town' teen parties
|10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Touchstone Pictures|