I recently turned thirty and last night celebrated this milestone with a good pal of mine, the lovely Jennie Chapman, who’d just turned 25.

Cos fancy dress not only is fun but breeds fun, we decided to make it a Gangsters and Molls themed knees up. The theme could be liberally interpreted, and I was expecting Ali G’s, Scarfaces & rappers but I love everything from that 20’s Gangster era.  I love art deco, fedoras and film noirs, where hard-boiled private eyes talk to themselves like:

“She was a pushy dame, but I needed the case.  She had the body of a goddess but I had to keep my mind straight. I was working for greenbacks & expenses & as ol’ Marlow said, never sleep with a client. I needed a stiff drink and to start chasing down leads.  I knew a place I could do both, so I hit a bar across town.”

So I designed our invites with a film noir theme, based on the poster for Chinatown (Roman Polanski’s excellent neo-Noir feat. Jack Nicholson).

Jenny & Barnaby's party poster

Clare & I watched Steve Martin’s ‘Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid‘ too, which is an great spoof, using scenes from famous old Film Noirs:

Dead Men Dont Wear Plaid

Another wicked rip on the Film Noir theme is Bill Waterson’s ‘Calvin & Hobbes’ imaginary character: Tracer Bullet.  Check out two full Tracer Bullet stories here and here [They’re so worth a read, with 6 year old Calvin’s alter-ego trying to cover up things he’s done – click the images once they’re loaded for a full size].

In the lead up to the party I rejigged a few Tracer Bullet scenes as facebook teasers like thus:

Tracer Bullet themed facebook updates

Anyhoos – we hosted our party at the Adelphi Pub in Leeds, which has an ace upstairs full of kitsch sofas, tables and ace retro lamps. I’d been rounding up some ace ol’ Jazz and Charleston classics to iPod around the room to set the 20’s Gangster atmosphere. Then we had a seriously brilliant Rockabilly band called Rebel Yell to get the party rockin and a rolling and everyone (including me) had a reet good dance.

I decided to set up a the new photobooth that I’ve been offering to wedding clients as a fun evening extra to document the fun.  It’s essentially a red curtain and my new mobile Quadra studio lights bouncing into an umbrella.  I brought a few fancy dress props and once set up it pretty much ran itself.  Check out a few fun highlights in the gallery below… (including several of the finest Northern wedding photographers!)

[svgallery name=”30thPhotobooth”]


Finally – I wanna give a special shoutout to Gavan at London Boots who sorted me out my brown and cream spatz! I ordered their last set on Tuesday, and on Thursday was rung to be informed they could only find one shoe.  So the owner of the company sold & shipped me his very own personal pair that he’d worn once!  What a legend.  I loves em.

Amazing shoe!

It was a seriously special bday bash, the room was full and a great time was had by all.  Thanks all who came and put in the fancy dress effort!

Today was a bit of a write-off and was spent in my dressing gown supping Iron Brew (the ultimate hangover cure) – watching yet more movies, including The Maltese Falcon, a Humphrey Bogart film noir classic about broads and moida!

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