Painting my brother’s girlfriend green – another from the archives


Long ago, best beloved, I had the world’s most fun job, organizing top-end catering events. A random tweet on Twitter brought back one of the FUN ones and I’m capturing it before my erratic memory loses it for another fifteen or so years. To be honest, I don’t remember what the event was for (picture me blushing) but I do vividly remember our side of it.


The organizers wanted an additional five waitresses to work the  inner VIP tent in special makeup, pretty girls please, excellent figures, prepared to wear body makeup. As persuasive as I was, the event crept ever closer and I had only found four regulars who qualified and were willing to give up their Saturday plans, even for double rates. Pretty girls with excellent figures just don’t sign up as event waitresses as often as you’d think. Three days to go, and I was having a therapeutic rant to my brother.


Actually, he said, it sounds fun. Do you want us to help out?  Did I! His girlfriend of the time was something of a pocket-sized miniature, but no denying she was pretty, in a Billie Piper sort of way, so of course I jumped at the chance.


top star treesThe organizers had rented the Top Star drive in, which is built on top of one of Johannesburg’s older mine dumps and is therefore part of the city, and features – of course – a giant film screen, an area large enough for around a thousand cars, and an amazing view of Johannesburg at night. The theme was UFOs, and episodes from the X Files played on a permanent loop over our heads. Gigantic Scully and Mulder kept poking around eerily lit places. No sound track survived the party music, although they kept hearing things and exchanging meaningful startled glances.  Meanwhile we scurried below like ants. There were four giant marquees for guests, and a kitchen tent tucked away behind the screen for us. We also had twenty lambs turning lazily on twenty spits, and the flickering glow made our quadrant look more like an inner circle of hell than an alien spaceport; five serving points; and twenty aliens as waiters. (No real change there, then.)  The waiters were in silver waistcoats and fright wigs, and hard at work serving canapés and cocktails to around a thousand guests as the event warmed up.


The organizers were thrilled, luckily, with their five ‘specials’, who were painted green, put into silver sarongs and silver wigs which brushed to the ground (in the girlfriend’s case, trailed on the ground behind her) , driven down to a waiting helicopter decked out to look remarkably like a UFO, and flown in. Flashing lights, deafening musical cues, all very Close Encounters, it was an absolute riot.


Now I edit manuscripts some of the time, and work for a bank trying to help people disentangle their disastrous finances some of the time, and try to write best-selling books in between.   I want to be abducted by aliens.