The Nicholls & Clarke building in Shoreditch is an amazing Victorian monstrosity. It’s a five-story warehouse but instead of vast empty gloom, it’s a warren of brick-walled rooms, stairways to vast unseen studios, and exposed ducts and beams. Back when it was built, it was located in the Liberty of Norton Folgate, a tiny bit of territory that lay outside both the City and the borough of Shoreditch. It’s a cool space.
To gain entrance to the ABSOLUT Limited Edition party, you must go go down a narrow passage way to find the door, unmarked, but guarded by the first of many boiler-suited actors. A quick pap shot by the photographer and you’re inside a regular schmooze. But that’s where the disorientation begins.
A chap in tails selects people at random, removing them from their conversation bouquets and hustling them through a dark door at the far end. To the people left behind (if only temporarily), that dark door is an object of dread and anticipation.
To the people who go through the door (and, don’t worry, everyone did), their night became much more surreal. Alice just went through the looking glass.
Breaking up the social groups was a genius idea – not only does it heighten your senses, it creates new alliances with people you’ve just met.
It would be tempting to give away why that’s important, but ABSOLUT is treating people in other cities to Limited Edition parties, and we’ve heard that they get the Internet as well, so we’ll keep quiet on the details.
But we will say that the event has some wonderful payoffs. You react to a crazy situation — and 15 minutes later, you see the result of your decision in a completely different context. Quite brilliant. Another piece of advice, you will not be unrewarded by treating the hosts you meet along the way in character.
It’s over for London, but ABSOLUT is having Limited Edition parties in these cities:
12 November 2010: A disused office block, Northern Quarter, Manchester
18 November 2010: psl, Whitehall Waterfront, Leeds
20 November 2010: South Pavilion, The Quartermile, Edinburgh
Also, of course, enjoy ABSOLUT responsibly!
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Darren is the editor and publisher of Snipe.