Reel Music or When I Enjoy Fancy Dress And All It Entails

I’m not a huge fan of fancy dress. Yep, I know. Isn’t it ironic that a costume design student doesn’t like fancy dress? Well, no it isn’t. I don’t make costumes for me – they’re for other people. It makes more sense, to me, for actors to love fancy dress (although I guess it’s a little like a bus man’s holiday…)

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Don’t get me wrong, I’ve attended fancy dress parties and events and taken part. But never really enjoyed it. Fancy dress birthday parties when at school involved lots of people buying costumes (hmmm) or going for really obvious/easy options. Clearly as a fancy dress snob I just felt exhausted by this. Then you go to uni and have the fun freshers week fancy dress events. (Full of sarcasm.) I don’t want three days to plan something. That’s not how I roll. My best uni fancy dress event was my final Summer Ball. Yep, my uni not only didn’t have their own summer ball but stamped on Bournemouth University’s toes for theirs, but it was fancy dress. In a field. With fairground rides. At least it was cheaper than a ballgown. My two housemates and I decided to do fairy tale characters. We were all using the same gingham material in different colours and had nearly identical dresses. We worked as a whole but also separately. Win. (Previous summer ball had various arguments and last minute changes and the less said the better.)

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What makes Reel Music different? I think it must be the event itself. Reel Music is a film soundtrack night held at the Bloomsbury Lanes in London at various nights throughout the year – with Halloween being a big night. The music played is all from films and has an accompanying video projected so you can see what film it’s from. Neat, right? The next RM is on the 3rd August. Yep. THE 3RD OF AUGUST. Got that? Plenty of time to clear your diaries. This is the eleventh RM event and I’m a little ashamed to say that I’ve only been to the previous three. (In my defence I didn’t know about the first few and then I was at uni for at least two. I’m covered.) So why do I enjoy the fancy dress at RM? I wish I knew. Maybe it’s because although not everyone dresses up when some people do they can go all out. I appreciate that kind of dedication. And it’s fun trying to spot the costumes if they’re not obvious fancy dress territory like Indiana Jones or Marty McFly. Some of the best are the unexpected ones – Coraline and Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedron in The Birds). Maybe my enjoyment stems from this group collection of appreciation of costume designers…

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The biggest complication of the night becomes costume decisions. How obvious do you go? How complicated a costume? It gets super hot there so you need to take that into consideration. You want your costume to be recognised and appreciated but you don’t want a costume so over done that people don’t pay attention. Do you have a group based costume or a solo costume? You might meet the accompanying costume there… My first RM I went as one of the USO Girls from Captain America: The First Avenger and bumped into a Captain America! I haven’t seen one since… I think that was fate. But do you leave things up to fate? Decisions, decisions.

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I may be a little biased because I know the people involved and have helped with a few things (lets not exaggerate I got film posters from work) but it really is a great night. Need more convincing? The Bloomsbury Lanes have bowling lanes and karaoke rooms that can be hired. There’s a ’50s diner (with amazing onion rings). You can win a little oscar for best costume (I named mine fondue). They have a Reel Music photographer for the night. AND free popcorn later in the evening! I’ve included a few of my fav photos from the past ten RM events but the whole facebook photo stream can be found here. I may or may not have included some friends photos…

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And meet the great minds behind RM. Find them on twitter – @kesslerboy and @djfreddiesmith.

So, who’s coming in August? Got your costume sorted? Mine’s getting there…quietly.

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Final note? Check out friend of the blog Lydia’s costume dilemma of Halloween 2011 on her blog (she’s my link to RM!).

S x

Reel Music on facebook.

Reel Music on twitter.

Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes.

Buy tickets here!

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