Mass Merrymaking in Britain

The floor is littered with beer bottles, and half-drunk-half-asleep guys are strewn eveywhere. The living room smells of cigarettes. And the kitchen, well, just forget about the kitchen.

Seen that before? That's how a house looks after it has been trashed by dozens of party crashers.

On Aug. 18, this might happen, not to one house but to hundreds.

Calvin Harris, a British songwriter, called on youth to throw parties at their parents' homes, in an effort to promote his latest song "Merrymaking at My Place."

"Would you like me to come round your house?" read a post on Harris' MySpace page. "I will be at your disposal until you chuck me out."

"This morning we had 500 applications," said Paul Bursche at Sony BMG, Harris' production company.

On MySpace, fans from around the world sent messages to Harris.

"Come to my house!" said Rachel on a post. "I won't be chucking you out! You can stay as long as you like!"

MarcusAntonio invited Harris to crash his party across the Atlantic.

"Calvin buddy, you need to come to the states anyway," said MarcusAntonio, "so why not start in Atlanta my house sucks, let's trash it."

Lauren was so keen on having the singer come to her place that she offered him an open-ended invitation.

"You can come to my house aaaaaaany day," read her post.

According to Bursche, the winner will receive a $3,000 prize and the singer will give a live, acoustic performance for the party's happy few.

But in England, house party does not prompt only good memories.

The British press have reported several cases of houses being wrecked by raucous party crashers.

One of the most famous and recent cases took place in Durham.

A 17-year-old girl reportedly advertised a house party on MySpace. Crashers got her details from the Web site and reportedly ruined the place.

Two hundred guests, £20,000 pounds worth of damage. Clothes were wrecked and urine stained the carpets.

The last thing Sony BMG wants, the company said, is to be responsible for a countrywide disaster.

"It is your house party and therefore your responsibility to make sure that your big night goes without a hitch," read a disclaimer on Harris' Web site. "Remember that both you and your guests must be over 18 years old if you are planning to serve them alcohol."

Thesite.org, a U.K.-based youth-oriented Web site, gives a few tips on how to manage a house party.

First, "suck up to the neighbors. Disarm potential grief by popping round in advance with a bottle of wine or a box of chocs."

Second, "consider hiring some muscle for the night. We're not talking about a professional bouncer but free beer for the beefiest guy you know should secure a sufficiently intimidating presence."

And once the party has kicked off, "do sweep for a litter, every hour or so, just enough to stop the party turning into a pig sty."

Bursche said that they would encourage "parties with small groups of friends in which the parents are involved."

Among their favorite offers so far: a tea and scones party with friends and parents -- and a mini music festival in a garden with five tents playing five different styles of music.

As for now, no one can tell whether Harris' fans will follow the guidelines of good behavior. Most important, Sony BMG will have to trust the winner not to tell anyone but their friends that they have been picked, and that those friends, in turn, do not breathe a word to a soul.

Otherwise, a polite tea party may turn into a tempest.

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