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Pre-Christmas at Wilton’s

31 December 2016

My last booking of 2016 was for a creative agency’s pre-Christmas celebrations. Their party organiser booked Art Macabre for an afternoon of life drawing, and I in turn was booked on 28 November. A second model – Rosy – was added on 15 December, four days before the gig itself. Our venue was Wilton’s Music Hall in London’s east end.

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We were to pose as characters from old time music hall. Art Macabre’s Nikki provided our historical context and nervously played Cockney sing-along tracks that walked the tightrope of political incorrectness. I posed in top hat and face paint as Flash Harry for 2 and 3-minutes, then as Champagne Charlie as we stood for 10 and 15-minutes.

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Next, a creative exercise was created for our creative agency. Nikki asked her models to sit adjacent on a couch, then challenged the nine artists to dream up designs for a ventriloquism act poster. Needless to say, I was the dummy. Imaginations ran wild for 15-minutes, both in their elaboration of our tableau and the invention of slogans.

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Rosy posed for 5-minutes whilst I underwent the traditional music hall gender swap of putting on a corset and floppy floral hat. Once transformed, it was my turn to hold the fort – for 10-minutes – as further gender changing took place backstage. For our final 15-minutes, I lay largely ignored on the couch, whilst Rosy was drawn on a stool.

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All this had taken place in a modest-sized upstairs room with a bar rather than in the main music hall space. It would have been nice to experience the big auditorium, yet even here the venue’s classic character was undeniable. There is comfort in knowing places like this have found a way to survive in the modern era. Life goes on.

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