BIRTHDAY REVELERS: Birthday girl Jasmine with her friends
EVERY year the pressure heightens to outdo my last birthday adventures.You know I lived the YOLO brand way before Drake had teenage kids yelling about it in Magaluf!
Previous years have seen me celebrate many of my birthdays in New York, Los Angeles, on a boat, in a plane, having my notorious underwear and pyjama parties in the 90’s, to Motown themed and old skool hip-hop themed parties, I’ve also dined in the private dining rooms at the Ivy and Chiswick house in the most recent years.
My birthday is actually in January but many think it’s in February, April or May, as I always have a smaller gathering of close friends in January and then another big party later in the year. And why not? I take my cue from her majesty the queen who has a public and private birthday. It’s a great way to extend your celebration for six months of the year.
This year I couldn’t bear the thought of yet more food and dinner after so many holiday seasonal dinners at Christmas, which was just a fortnight ago - so I decided we needed to do something different. I told my nearest and dearest to come and join me for a karaoke evening at Bloomsbury bowl where we had the private jumbo-sized room to ourselves. The dress code was black and white for artistic reasons.
SINGING THE NIGHT AWAY: Preeya Kalidas and Jas
The night began at the nice and early time of 6 pm. with so many friends in the music industry - many of them DJ’s- one has to often juggle times so everyone can be included. By 6.30pm the room was already half full and both of Choice FM’s best, DJ- Manny Norte (rocking a black and white Ali t-shirt) and actress Preeya Kalidas (rolling in a glam Russian style hat) were rocking the mic to our delight!
Manny also played conductor and maestro as we did our best renditions of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in Summer Loving - at that point all the Bloomsbury bowl customers crowded to the see through glass window and watch us do our thing, because we were so loud!
Everyone got all church and gospel when Like a Prayer came on, and then a little x-rated when Biggie Small’s remix of Nasty Girl came on. These music industry folk can be just as vulgar and outrageous as the acts they represent!
There were only two microphones but that didn’t stop all of us just joining in and singing along to every song that played. My girl friends Monique and Heather were wilding out to everything! New Scotland Yard's Operation Trident Independent Advisory Group’s Claudia Webbe did a brilliant duet with Preeya on the Fugee’s remake of Killing Me Softly. Preeya’s dulcet tones were singing away whilst Claudia did the straight mic man ad libs- it was hilarious!
MOBO CEO Kanya King looked gorgeous in her movie star black frock and hair did! She was shy about taking the mic but you know me, I threw it at her and we all had a great time doing Salt and Pepa’s Push it.
GOLDEN GIRLS: Jas and Kanya and Jay
All the guys had fun with the rap songs especially when Jay-Z and Kanye came on. Photographer to the UK music world Paul H and Manny Norte did a great set of very manly hip-hop tracks; they also rode Madness’ Baggy Trousers word for word.
Former emcee now music manager JP was under pressure but did Jigga more than enough justice, someone mentioned that they ‘rode that track like Dizzee and Wiley’, at which there was much hilarity! Legendary cookie crewmember Cookie had us rocking as did PR glam chic Jessica Huie. BBC marketing maven Jay Davidson was jumping around to House of Pain’s Jump Around.
My mate Marcia looks the spitting image of a young Whitney Houston, so of course she belted out Whitney classics. Whilst her husband Fabien came in black and white chef garms so we referred to him as Raekwon the chef, all night. Amy Winehouse management team member Trenton Harrison Lewis did Amy proud with his rendition of her classic hits (even though he did have to look at the words- why weren’t they imprinted on his brain already? lol).
My oldest best mate Anita whose known me since I was a cocky, prissy 10-year-old princess did her best to keep me in non tipsy order, my old ballet school pal Clare knocked out a few old skool dance moves. My close friend, New Yorker, former def jam, V2Music, music manager Anneliese screamed her lungs out on Estelle’s American Boy - it’s the American in her.
Then Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing took the party in another direction as my homie Troy broke into a duet with Jay-wild!
There was a particularly poignant moment near the end. My surrogate big brother Richard Pascoe was in hospital but he has never missed any of my birthdays in the past two decades.
My other half dialed him up on facetime on his iPad screen, and there from his bed was Richie wearing a black and white outfit, eating chicken and red velvet cake and singing along with us. The whole room then broke into Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in his honour as we all screamed.
A great moment. A great night. A great set of people!
Jasmine Dotiwala is a TV producer, director and broadcast journalist. Email her firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on Twitter: @jasminedotiwala