O come all ye hungover. Last night I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Kiwis in London Christmas party at the Clapham Grand. Now I know this may shock you, but after being here for four years this was my first ever Kiwis in London event. I know more shocking than Shortland Street’s recent Red Wedding. I’m not quite sure why its taken me this long, possibly because I am allergic to Clapham Junction but also because these big events can be a tad intimidating for a lonesome Kiwi.
So for those of you who are little curious about what goes on at these cult events, or if you had so much to drink last night that you can’t remember what happened; here is my top 7 things that happened at the Kiwis in London Christmas Party.
1. The guys found it hard to pull in Santa hats
When you walked through the doors you were given the choice of reindeer antlers or a Santa hat to wear (as well as a present from Santa of the new Dave Dobbyn CD!). Much like the Matrix red/blue pill your choice at the door dictated the success of the rest of your night. For the lucky few with the antlers they had the easy conversation starter of ‘accidentally’ getting their headpiece tangled up with someone else. For the rest however this was the night where 400 Kiwi guys figured out that when you pull a Santa hat down too tight you look like a human condom…not exactly a turn on. I even saw girls pulling off the hats and throwing them across the dance floor in desperation of getting across the hat barrier.
2. The easiest way to make friends is to offer boys your chips
Because everyone in the room is a kiwi your brain puts them in the ‘safe’ category. Therefore it seems totally normal to offer total strangers a rifle in your bag of chips (salt and vinegar to be specific). You see people striding across the room with their London blinkers on, but offer them some Bluebird chips and of of a sudden the sun comes out, and through that first bite you get a mumble ‘chur bro’.
3. Drunk kiwis are fun
Sometimes in London you can feel a little threatened by drunken dudes, but kiwis? Kiwis are fun. Two highlights for me were:
- white shirt guy who I am 90% sure was actually an English secret agent sent to investigate the colonies (he didn’t know the words to ‘How Bizarre’). He wanted to get the party started but everyone else was still enjoying the chips, so he decided to do a strip tease in the middle of the empty dancefloor…almost the definition of peaking too soon given that it was only 4:40pm.
- Second highlight was the guy who won a prize (it was a random draw) and was so excited that he tried to give an acceptance speech, and was then still so excited that he stole the announcer and wandered off stage. The announcer…not the microphone. He actually picked up Clint (chief dude at KIL) and walked off stage.
Oh and poi on the dance floor – fuck yeah.
4. You think you know everyone
Normally when you hear a kiwi accent in London it’s because it’s a friend, so you smile and go in for the hug. This becomes massively awkward when you are with 800 New Zealand runaways and you start hugging strangers at the bar. But then let’s be honest, because we were all kiwis a surprise tackle hug was always welcomed.
5. You actually know everyone
Well maybe not everyone, but you know you are amongst your tribe when someone spots their old babysitter on the D-floor and the girl you meet on the tube knows your sisters ex-boyfriend. Oh kiwi land, you couldn’t get any smaller.
6. Pies make you cry
Now I am not a big night clubber or gig person, but if I knew that venues had kiwi pie warmers I might just find myself a new hobby. At 4 in the afternoon I found myself running across a disco light up dance floor to be first in line for a steak and cheese pie. Covered in tomato sauce it was mana from heaven.
7. It is an amazing way to feel a little bit at home in London
For old cynical me there was a moment, a moment when my Grinch heart grew three sizes. To see a dance floor packed full of Kiwi orphans singing their hearts out to ‘All I want for Christmas is you’. No you might not know anyone there, but something about knowing that they are your tribe just fills you full of goodness.
Merry Christmas y’all