Tag Archives: Sam Harrington-Lowe

Partying the daylight hours?

A couple of weeks ago Jamie Lee Curtis, on the Oscars red carpet, explained that she had declined an Oscars nominees dinner party the night before. I can’t imagine anything worse that having to dine with a room full of competitors, all eyeing each other and pretending to be sporting. But Curtis declined for another reason. She doesn’t fancy going out in the evenings anymore. 

Oh man, I cheered when I heard that. YES queen. She was like, it’s a 7.30pm start, which means we don’t get food til 9pm, and “you know what, there’s nothing good happening with me after nine o’clock.” She’s calling for daytime concerts and all sorts, and I am here for this.

This weekend I managed to socialise. You know, leave the house and see friends. Hurrah for me. I went to a 50th. I saw a friend’s band at the pub. I went out for a roast. And I went to a posh networking lunch. I managed all this because they were in the day. This is genuinely the most socialising I’ve done in a week since lockdown. 

As someone who has more than earned her ‘party girl’ stripes, as I’ve matured I’ve discovered the joy that is daytime partying. I’ve always preferred lunching to dining, but I’ve ramped this up a notch, and actively avoid going out in the evenings. It has to be a big deal for me to leave my nest. 

I have an advantage in that my time is my own. But the absolute heaven of daytime socialising, drinking wine and eating food, seeing live music and being home in time for tea. To guzzle enough water to wake up fresh. To be in bed by 9pm and still have had a blinding time out and about. 

A few years ago I threw a Christmas party, which kicked off at 11am. I’d had in mind people coming for a few sherries and out 3pm. We literally had to kick the last bastards out at midnight. I think that’s the longest session I’ve done for years.

Long gone are the days I’d leave my house at 10pm on a Friday for a party and get home on Sunday night with a hazy brain and filthy shoes. A couple of hours of fun, home by 8pm, and I’m a very happy bunny.

Curtis’s comments went viral, and it seems she and I are not alone. People want to party in the daytime. Whether they’re older, sober, have young kids, whatever. She called for bands to play concerts in the daytime (Coldplay, looking at you). This is one of the reasons I like festivals – you get to see bands playing all through the day. I love the Sunday headline acts for the sheer pleasure of it being in the day.

Is this a post-lockdown thing? Have we all developed a desire to hunker down in the evenings and relax? I had thought I was just getting older and slowing down. That too is true – I don’t smash into my weekends now with a bottle of vodka and a pocket full of anything except poo bags these days. I’m 53 and the amount of drugs I’d need to get through a weekend bender would probably kill me these days. But the social media outpouring in support of Curtis’s remarks would suggest this is not just an age thing.

So let’s do this. Let’s have raves and lunches and parties and live music and let’s do it all in the afternoon! Who’s with me?

Sam Harrington-Lowe – December 2022

My friend Kath messages me. “I’m coming to your ‘hood later to get things for Stir Up Sunday,” she says. “Let’s meet up.”

Delighted as I am to see my friend, I wonder what the hell Stir Up Sunday is. Am I being invited to a thing? In the olden days, it sounds like the sort of hedonistic event we’d go to once the club shut at 6am, to carry

on dancing and getting wasted. But we’re both in our fifties now. This seems unlikely.

Obviously I can research this myself but it’s still the morning and Kath is happy to advise me. It’s the day when you make the Christmas pudding, or cake or whatever. Or possibly you give it one last stir before cooking it. Who the hell knows? I don’t. And I realise that I don’t know this because I don’t like cake, and I don’t really like Christmas.

I’m not entirely bah humbug about the whole thing. It’s nice to see people I suppose, and I do enjoy the long lunches that happen in December. And I always take time off work, so I like that bit too. And there is cheese. Cheese is possibly the best thing about Christmas. 

But the determined and competitive gaiety of Christmas decs, the enforced time spent with people – in groups! With alcohol added! And turkey. The driest, most boring bird on the planet to grace a table. Give me rib of beef, and a quiet day to actually chat to people without the madness. I’ve always preferred Boxing Day. By then everyone has run out of steam, like toddlers on sugar, and it’s a lot nicer. Plus cold meats and pickles.

My dislike of Christmas probably stems from two things. Firstly, from being neurodiverse. A room full of people, all full of beans, wanting conversation and loud Bing Crosby and pulling crackers and OH MY LIVING HELL – charades, is the stuff of nightmares. Also, I had an alcoholic and often argumentative mother, so childhood Christmases were like unexploded bombs. I can still feel that fear sometimes in a large family group, on alert, waiting for the inevitable car crash, the shouting, the tears. It’s hard to let that go.

I’m not alone in this anti-Christmas feeling. Everyone has their own take; my daughter seems genuinely to feel the same way. And I have tried to make it nice for her, I promise. She has always done her best to prevent me from doing anything ‘large’. It’s hard to argue when you don’t want to do it either.

It seems, however, that a bit like choosing not to have children, choosing not to have Christmas is becoming more acceptable, which is excellent. I have friends who hate it too. In the US, Jewish people (for whom Christmas is just another day, in a religious sense) gather in Chinese restaurants for parties, and banter, and the not eating of turkey – the Chinese being similarly uninterested in Christmas. In Japan, the big tradition is to have KFC.  I’ve seen mates employing some of these tactics recently and I applaud this.

Anyway, this year my daughter is hosting Christmas in the deepest countryside, at her place, which I am a bit excited about. She’s a sous chef at a wonderful pub, and working over the silly season. “Mum, you can sit up at the bar with Alice (the pug) and drink brandy and yak with the locals, and I’ll feed you,” she said. “And then when you want, you can just go back to the house and chill out.”

Does that sound like the magic of Christmas to you? Because it does to me. Time with the best kid in the whole world, and the dog. And no jobs to do? I’m looking forward to it more this year that possibly ever before. Cheers! And thank you my wonderful daughter.

Happy whatsit to you lot too, however you decide to celebrate (or not).