Editor-at-large Alexi Duggins is at your mercy. You have the power to decide what London experience you’d like him to have. This week: dating at Slagbox…
Christ knows there’s no shortage of dating nights in this city. Roughly a gazillion speed dating events cater to Londoners who get funny feelings in their underwear at the thought of four minute conversations. And given the number of lock-and-key parties, London’s clearly an erotic playground for anyone harbouring torrid fantasies of meeting a very sexy locksmith.
But the new thing is dating parties that focus on making the event fun. There’s Monty’s ‘parties for the unattached’, full of magicians, fairground attractions and cabaret, and Bowl Me Over, a night of rock ’n’ roll and bowling from the Club de Fromage team. But by far the most nuts is Slagbox. Punters bring a single friend of the opposite sex, get given a numbered sticker and dance to genuinely cool DJs including New Young Pony Club singer Tahita Bulmer (who co-runs the night). Oh, and there’s a ‘Slagbox’ into which attendees are encouraged to insert a cheeky message addressed to the sticker number of anyone they fancy. The best ones win booze.
On stage, a woman in a pony mask prances around with a sequinned Satan. A drag version of Judith Chalmers offers punters the chance to ‘win a holiday to Sellafield with Dean Gaffney’. At one point, a Pet Shop Boys-esque synth rap duo performs. Their idea of choreography? Pretending to slurp each other’s todgers mid-song. When it’s Slagbox time, Tahita Bulmer paces the room carrying a giant boxing-style ‘Round One’ card. Then drag Judith Chalmers and Bulmer’s Tina Turner-haired co-host Jacqueline read out the messages. ‘Aww…’ announces Jacqueline, ‘this one’s really sweet: “Number 91, every snowflake is unique but not everyone is perfect, from number six.” Whoever wrote that, get yourself a free margarita.’ A suited man whoops and runs across the room to a wonky cardboard shack serving as an impromptu margarita bar. ‘Actually, you know what?’ continues Jacqueline. ‘The next ten people get free margaritas!’ In the ensuing pandemonium, someone loses a shoe.
By the end of the night, the notes start getting weird. ‘Number 117 would like to take the DJ out for some cock and arse,’ reads out a worried looking Jacqueline, followed by ‘116 would like to shag 115’s mum.’ Judith Chalmers tilts her head back to swig from a bottle of Estrella and nearly goes arse over floral playsuit. But despite the carnage, romance blossoms, as in the midst of it all, one of the couples are apparently using their tongues to perform a tonsilectomy on each other. Then Jacqueline steps up to the mic for a final time and delivers the closing love note of the night: ‘Number 74, I want to finger you. With my penis.’ Ah, romance.