Russian Summer Ball
What is it?
The Russian Summer Ball was quite possibly established in 1996 by His Supreme Excellency, Count Yehudi Nikabolokov III - a White Russian emigré and exiled noble of the Imperial Russian Royal House – to raise money for charidee: liddle children, fwuffy kittens and mongs.
It is a focal point in London’s busy social calendar and anyone with any kind of tenuous link to defunct European nobility is to be found waltzing the night away to the strains of Strauss and Tchaikovsky amid the splendid surrounds of some of the capital’s finest venues, such as The Naval & Military Club, The Cavalry & Guards Club and the Banqueting House in Whitehall.
The image of Europe’s old elite swirling around the dance floor in an orchestrated musical maelstrom is sullied somewhat by the uncomfortable reality that - pretty much like any charity ball - for a mere £150 literally anyone can pitch up at this event. So, not quite that exclusive then?
Without a doubt, the annual ball is a cake & arse party in the truest sense. It is also a magnet for charlatans, parvenus, con artists, dreamers, fantasists and walts who parade through the chandelier lit splendour of the city’s finest architecture dressed in their bejewelled finery with almost gay abandon.
To be fair, most party-goers are normal, balanced individuals, who attend for the right charitable reasons and are there to have a good time and raise a few bob in the process - rather than because they think it gives them any social cachet. But for some reason, it does attract a good few of the bogus nobility and associated big-timers.
So, wanna take a crawl?
Firstly, it needs to be emphasised that a £14.99 frock from Tesco's or a cheap, polyester off the peg suit from Sainsbury's simply will not do. If you intend socialising with the finest bloodlines of Europe then you’d better get a grip and get ‘in character’.
For the ladies, looking like a footballers wife – whilst not exactly encouraged - is acceptable. The more flesh on display the better. A perma-tan is not vital, but will certainly make you stand out from the pasty-faced proles who cannot afford regular trips to Ibiza or the local salon. In a nutshell, anything goes.
Not so for the chaps. The ball is a sartorial goat fuck and this is their opportunity to really push the boat out, but for the more experienced operator (like you) subtlety is the order of the day. Some cretins choose to sport outlandish evening wear, encrusted with defunct orders, decorations & medals from the most ancient and noble of Europe’s fake royal houses and eBay. This is not necessary.
A simple ‘black tie’ dinner suit should suffice, or Mess Dress if you’ve got it and are feeling brave. Cummerbund optional but recommended. White tie & tails is probably a tad de trop. Coloured attire is to be avoided, as this will make you look like a cunt, though a bow tie of regimental pattern may serve as a recognition aid to fellow infiltrators. Think James Bond and you can’t go wrong. Now all you have to do is get there.
The secret to making an entrance is subtlety... with lots of implication. Arriving in a bejewelled coach pulled by swans is best left to the likes of Elton John and other associated homosexuals. Likewise, extended limousines are now the preserve of overweight harridans on hen nights and are thus best avoided. Again, think Bond.
Dropping in on the gravel forecourt from 2,500 ft is bound to attract the right sort of attention from the ladies there present, and one can almost hear the gasps of incredulity as you unclip your harness and adjust your tie & cuffs. Good effort. Unfortunately, exiting a light aircraft over Whitehall is bound to attract unwelcome attention from the Metropolitan Police, and getting cuffed and thrown in the back of a police van is most definitely off the cards. You might therefore wish to adopt the simple conveyance of the humble black cab.
Should you still wish to arrive in style then there are ways to enhance one’s credibility without encumbering oneself with the not insignificant expense of hiring helicopters and aircraft.
Simply get a mate to drop you off in his Mondeo. A handbrake turn, done with aplomb, is as effective a way as getting you noticed as is arrival by more costly means – the flying gravel showering the assembled throng to ensure their attention. You might wish to pepper the vehicle with bullet holes for dramatic effect. Your local farmer will turn your car in to a colander for a few guineas. The ladies will swoon as you emerge from your peppered conveyance with self-assured cool, whilst adjusting tie and cuffs - and a cursory wave to 'Dinger' (your driver) before he wheelspins off in to the darkness with a ‘Cheerio Boss!’.
At this point, it's necessary to get through security which is thoughtfully provided by the International Bodyguard Association and their Director General. Oddly enough, one former member of the IBA has suggested that although the security people themselves do the event for free as a 'training' activity under the watchful eye of their DG, he pockets a brown envelope full of cash for his troubles (which he doubtless reports directly to the Tax Man).
The Grand Ball
Assuming you’ve done your recce and paid for your ticket, gaining admittance should present no real problems. Your timing will have been perfect, so most of the party goers will be off their tits on vodka by the time you make your entrance.
You’re in! Like a lion amongst the lambs, and they haven’t a clue what’s in store. You will look nails – but approachable and you will have your cover story off pat. You are now mixing with the largest assembly of social misfits in the Kingdom. Like Dali after a glass of absinthe and a blank canvas anything is possible, but if you cannot get laid in this environment then something is seriously wrong. From here on its Walting With Confidence time.
Roll on the ARRSE Crawl 2009!