Prince Prospero, As Your Royal Event Coordinator I’d Like To Pitch You A Few Guaranteed No-Fail Straight-Up Genius Party Ideas

masque

“The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the ‘Red Death.'” — “The Masque of the Red Death”, Edgar Allan Poe

So here’s just a few of my certifiably brilliant ideas for a totally baller party. I’m thinking, since we need to get away anyway due to the widespread virulent plague, we should definitely hold it waaaay up in the mountains. Say, at an abbey — remote, secluded, such a great setup. We won’t have any trouble getting hundreds of people up those narrow mountain roads or anything. None at all. Also, everyone’ll totally be able to find it without GPS. It’s not like they can get lost. When did a party ever get lost in the mountains? It’ll be perfect.

Now, here’s what I’m thinking for the decor. We’ve got all different colors, we’ve got blue, purple, green, orange, etc. We go with just one color scheme in each room. Very trendy. Very po-mo. It’ll really bring out the whole environment. In the last room we go with all black, but just to change it up a bit, add some red light filters to really make it pop. So early-Madonna. People will go nuts. Also, they’ll definitely be able to mingle in there without knocking over the canapes or tripping on stoners or banging a knee on the end table. Not even remotely an issue.

For a centerpiece, I’m thinking we should go with one of those old-style grandfather clocks. Maybe stick it in the black room. Let’s see if we can get a mike in it, too, so when it chimes everyone can hear it. Maybe turn it up so loud that the live band has to stop whenever it sounds the hours. People will love it. It’ll be such a great conversation piece, trust me. Totally unforgettable.

Oh I almost forgot — the ‘pièce de résistance’, as they say. So, my second cousin’s roommate has this costume. It’s practically a museum piece. It’s fantastic. I’m thinking we have him appear suddenly in the crowd. Right at the stroke of twelve. Center of the room, so everyone’s watching. It’ll be a hit. Seriously, this costume is amazing. He’s won awards for it at ComicCon. It’s unbelievable. People will be talking about it for weeks. He’s just really gonna knock ‘em dead.”

Image Source / Tom, CC

Mrs. Grose, the Housekeeper of Bly, Leaves an Awkward Voicemail at Ghostbusters Headquarters

the-turn-of-the-screw-colliers-3

So I was wondering if you lot could come out here, as it seems there’s a couple of ghosts about the house. At least I think there is. Or maybe not. To be honest it’s all a bit vague, really. Maybe you and your proton packs could sort it out; I’m rather inclined to chuck the whole affair and grab the first train back to London.

I mean I haven’t seen anything, the kids haven’t seen anything, only the governess has seen them. But she says they’re everywhere: outside the windows, on top of the house, in the stairwells. Once even in her room.

Thank the Lord, at least the loo seems safe.

She sees them all the time, too. Won’t shut up about them. A regular fixation with her, it is. Kids are starting to get freaked out about her, too.

So, right. The ghosts. I suppose if they’re there, then we ought to get rid of them, but for the life of me I couldn’t say why. They don’t exactly do anything. There’s no moaning or shaking of chains and such. They don’t even speak.

I think they slammed a door once. But maybe that was the wind?

They do seem quite taken up with staring. According to her, they’re always goggling about at us like paparazzi at the BAFTAs. Right, so maybe they’re a little ill-bred, but I’m not certain that’s a crime, exactly. And it’s not like the rest of us can see them doing it anyway.

Maybe you could get them to wear a hat or something? The governess seems quite upset about that bit.

Look, all I’m saying is, bring your gizmos and whatnot, bring your ghost traps, but maybe bring an extra straightjacket, too. Some of us here might need it. Because there might be ghosts here. There might not. We might have to get rid of them but I’m not even sure why. Who the hell knows, really.

I’m putting in my two weeks’ notice tomorrow. Let me know how it all turns out. I’m done.

Image Source / Public Domain

Can I interest you in this charming little property called the House of Usher?

“He was enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had never ventured forth….an influence which some peculiarities in the mere form and substance of his family mansion had, by dint of long sufferance, he said, obtained over his spirit—an effect which the physique of the gray walls and turrets, and of the dim tarn into which they all looked down, had, at length, brought about upon the morale of his existence.” — Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher

mansion-1149774_1280

Image Source / CC0 Public Domain

Let’s just take a quick jaunt up this paved causeway, where at the end you’ll see a sprawling country manor that seems to open its arms wide in greeting. Almost as if it wants to wrap them around you. Cozy, right? Shall we get a little closer?

Take in those fantastic casement windows — all original, I might add. And on either side of the doorway, over the windows, that pair of spectacular Gothic arches. Exquisite stonework there. What’s that? No, I don’t think they’re judging you.

The current owner is the last of several generations of his family to live here. I think you’ll find this house is, in fact, an excellent place for ending an ancestral line. Were you thinking of having kids someday? Not anymore.

Note the fine web of fungi encasing the outer stonework. Rather like hair, you know, especially over there where it frames the casement windows. Incidentally, the owner also has a fine web of fungi instead of hair, and a flying buttress protruding from his left eyebrow. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. It doesn’t itch or anything. You’ll see.

Step inside and let’s take a look at this elegant music room. Please note, however, that this is intended only for string instruments. The owner tried to bring in an accordion, once. Next morning he found the bag impaled by a detached cornice and the keys splayed out like teeth after a bar fight. So, just strings then. Just a suggestion.

I think you’re really going to admire the spacious library and its stunning hand-carved marble fireplace. It’s perfect for a winter evening spent curled up by the fire with the latest Stephen King. Or perhaps some Shirley Jackson. I think those are accepted. Moving on!

In the basement you’ll find a vault that could be converted to underground parking. Or you could just use it for storage. It’s lined with copper just in case you need to store, you know, volatile compounds. Or hey, something organic. Good for that, too.

This property comes with all its original architecture, furnishings and landscaping. Incidentally, there’s no need to water the landscape at present — it may appear dead, but if you look closely you’ll see the plants are actually thriving. The last gardener gave them the wrong mulch, but they seem to have recovered. Also, he hasn’t been seen for some time. Ignore the camellias tenderly gripping that little rise behind the hedge there.

You’ll also notice this house is quite solidly built. That hairline fracture in the outer wall can just be spackled over, no worries. Also there’s the matter of the tarn (but that’s definitely potable water in there, I assure you. Know any good pool cleaners?).

Other than that, though, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Just look at that antique statuary!

Of course you should know the owner is looking for a quick sale, but if you’d like some time to think it over there’s no rush. I’m sure the house will still be here. Waiting.

So shall I follow up with you on Monday, then?