Dark Circus. Never again.
When I went to the first Dark Circus party it was a collaboartion between vintage maestros Bourne and Hollingsworth and kink captains Torture Garden and replaced the excellent Belle Epoch events. It took place in the beautiful Bloomsbury Ballrooms, two rooms of performance - on stage and all around. The music was a little cheesier than I'd like but the crowd had an edge to it.
How the star has fallen. Now relegated to the one-room Evolutionary Arts Centre in Hackney, Torture Garden's involvement seems to have ended and it now feels like just a mainstream party riding on the coattails of something darker.
The music was pure cheese, gone the Roustabouts who at least blended a mash-up or two into the mix or some electroswing sounds. Instead we had a DJ playing 'crowd-pleasing bangers' and even when he did play something I liked, the fact he couldn't mix for toffee still spoiled enjoyment. Performances did seem to happen regularly throughout the night but only on stage, in a venue with no slant to it, so good luck seeing anything if you're small and at the back.
To top it all off, I couldn't even get drunk enough to ignore the dreadful music as the only drinks on offer that I liked were cocktails at around £9 a pop, or prosecco at £8. Beer was available for £4 but no cider, no wine, do spirits and mixers. When I ordered a wine, the bartender tried to cheer me into getting prosecco instead, urging me to consider it 'treating' myself. Well no, I do not consider buying a 125ml drink at £8 with less abv than wine, rather than a glass of wine which would no doubt have been cheaper and got me more drunk a 'treat'.
For the first time in an age I left early and it only finishes at 3 anyway!
For over £35 a ticket, once booking fees were taken into account, it was a more than disappointing night.
On the plus side, all these years I have been wanting to return to Dark Circus but instead prioritised other things. Now I feel vindicated as it turns out I haven't missed anything after all. And next year's Halloween decisions just got a lot easier.