27 June 2011

PARTY BEAT: A Fond Farewell to Central Saint Martins

Believe it or not, not everyone was at Glastonbury this weekend. Well not on Friday night anyway. For as the heaven's opened over central London Town, 800 ex (and some current) Central Saint Martins students and tutors descended on a historical building on Charing Cross Road to say goodbye. After 72 years of thousands of the world's best creative types walking through the imposing wooden doors, the building is closing and everyone is moving to a brand spanking new mother ship in Kings Cross.  

Whether or not you think it's a bit dramatic to have a party to bid farewell to bricks and mortar, then you've obviously never been there. 107 - 109 Charing X was the venue for the first Sex Pistols gig, and became the natural home for many misfits who didn't fit in where they grew up - a place where anyone could be themselves. And judging by the crowd on Friday night - no-one had forgotten it.

Katie Grand organised 1000 bottles of Absolut vodka - more than one each for every guest (our kind of party), and buckets full of Haribo. Giles, Christopher Kane, Nicholas Kirkwood, Marios Schwab and loads and loads of reminiscing alumni gathered for a massive reunion. There were tears (I know, a bit extreme we thought), a bit of fear (well, St Martins was always a bit scary), and lots of laughter (aided by all that vodka). And everyone regressed to their student selves. In fact some (sorry) became even younger when Pulp took to the stage. I would like to apologise for pushing, screaming and bouncing on people's feet like a 16 year old as Jarvis (an ex student himself) wiggled his way through Disco 2000, Sorted for Es and Whizz, Misfits and Common People (natch). They have never sounded better. This party was as legendary as the college. Beyond any fashion party, as no-one was putting on airs and graces, everyone was relaxed and felt bloody lucky to be there.

St Martins is bigger than a building. Give it a year or two and the spanking new building in Kings Cross will be as rough around the edges as CXR, and another 72 years of creative genius will be shaped there. And there will be 800 new alumni enjoying Absolut cocktails, and drawing obscenities on the wall - really, all that talent and penis's are still the illustration of choice!

- Kay Barron


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