Nola’s Press Launch

“How did you meet Dan Aykroyd?” has been the recurring question this week. I suppose just posting a photo of myself with the A-lister, cult figure and real life Ghostbuster was a little vague…So I’ll explain.

I met him on the rainy night that t’was last Tuesday, in the depths of East London, among the uber edgy, in Shoreditch. I was invited to the press launch of new – and New Orleans-themed – bar Nola.

Power walking as fast as my ridiculously over-sized high heels would allow (not very fast), I arrived at 66-68 Rivington St with a decidedly limp set of what were perfectly crafted curls. Following the alluring sound of a saxophone,  I made my way up two flights of corrugated iron stairs and found myself outside a party in full swing.

A small room, filled with around 120 dancing press, the atmosphere was joyously infectious. However, not a dancer, and certainly not a dancer in my absurd choice of footwear, I ventured through the jostling crowd and found my companion for the evening. He’d already secured a set of cocktails and with a clink of glasses our evening began.

nola cocktailsNot punch, but punchy, these cocktails were not for the faint-hearted. Acidic bursts of citric flavours both blended and masked the cocktail’s smooth vodka base. One sip and a tangfastic facial expression later, and I was hooked. Back to the bar…

barThe mixologists were stealthy in their creations; to the extent where they had done an art attack – and pre-prepared stocks of cocktails, which were left on the bar for anyone to take. With the number of people and the capacity of the place straining, this was definitely the right move. No-one wants to run dry at a launch.

Ummmm, Dan Aykroyd? Ah yes, Dan Aykroyd. The star of The Blues Brothers had met the owners of the bar on holiday, the trio had got on famously, and Aykroyd agreed to bless the launch with his presence. The star also owns a vodka brand called Crystal Head – which was used for all the drinks. A scratch of backs scenario.

At around 10.30 pm the band started a count down – Dan Aykroyd was in the building. The crowds that jostled before, started to mosh (as in mosh pit), and the scramble to see the star began. The heels that had plagued me now became useful, and at 6ft (yes they were massive) my vantage point was superior to the majority my contemporaries. The band played louder, the climactic entry was imminent, three, two, one…and she entered. She? Yes, Aykroyd’s PR, who told the hungry crowd that actually to see their hero, they would have to purchase a bottle of Crystal Head vodka for a cool £50, and then they could get it signed and have a photo with him.

Well my friends, I’m afraid that as the ‘flounder’ of a journalist that I am, shelling out £50 for a snap with a star, was just not going to happen. But what journalists don’t have in finances, they make up for in opportunism. So when my companion returned with his signed bottle, I decided to recycle it, and went up to the bouncer controlling the door which separated the common man with the celebrity, tilted my head to one side and said in my sultriest voice:

“Hello, I’d like to have my box signed.”

And friends, in I went. Never underestimate the power of sexual suggestion, or indeed the desperation of a skint journalist trying to make their way in the industry!


Dan A


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