'Faeries' Arte TV feature
The Goblin King's Masquerade Ball was filmed by ARTE TV as part of a special programme on 'Faeries' - Watch the show in full!
Featuring a few cameos from performers and our guests
First broadcast on Saturday 30th Jun 2012, 22:55 on Arte TV
Visit Official Site : The Goblin King's Masquerade Ball
English Translation by Patricia Villar
[Red denotes text from the programme transcript not included on website]
London’s underground scenes like to find new things to get excited about. Right now fairies and trolls are in vogue.
They all come together at the Goblin Masquerade Ball in London’s underground. Otherwise you just have to look twice to recognise fairies in everyday life.
Modern fairies wear glitter and pink varnish, troll masks or just their sunny disposition. James Elphick brings them all together by organising the Goblin Masquerade Ball. He himself prefers the dark side of the fairy world.
James Elphick : “Goblins are usually quite mischievous and tricky. They’re like the archetypal prankster. Fairies on the other hand are pleasant, good-natured creatures; but no one wants to see that, everyone wants to get quite trickstery. And we have the perfect location here. Under Waterloo Bridge and the train station; this is where the trolls dwell - it’s tradition”
The artist and curator spends a lot of time in his studio working on the details for the ball. It takes place once a year, always underground.
Artists, young actors, and even the occasional accountant come along. All guests have one thing in common: since childhood they never quite let go of the fairytale book…
James Elphick: “I was always in the garden looking for pixies and fairies and monsters. I was also scared that something might be lurking under the bed. I remember one evening I saw a dark shadow and was like paralysed. I was around 4 or 5 at the time. And then I slowly pulled the covers over my head and stayed awake for hours, until I was brave enough to look and there was nothing there. But I always thought that maybe there was something there.”
Especially illustrators and designers like to come along and be inspired. And those who didn’t find the time can also get themselves kitted out at the venue. Jules Newman has a stand at the ball. The designer dreams up new creatures from the underworld on a daily basis.
Jules Newman : “I think the fairy scene is mainly something visual, because there are so many illustrations and stories. I grew up with illustrated books that reflected those ideas and that world. But the music isn’t necessarily what you’d associate with that. When I work I don’t listen to ethereal fairy music – I listen to heavy metal, or blues, or punk.”
Today Jules is creating a costume for the young actress Mia, which any goblin should be blown away by. In the Celtic tradition, the word “Fae” doesn’t mean fairy; it means many different creatures. The modern fairy world builds on that – just a little more morbid, more grown up and sexier than Disney’s Tinkerbell.
Jules Newman : “Those from the fairy scene who commission something from me; they are as much of an inspiration to me as I am to them. Some just don’t have the time or creative energy to make their own costume, but they might have an abstract idea of what they want.”
Thanks to Jules, Mia has been transformed into a fairy queen – dressed to kill.
“There’s definitely an attractiveness about dressing up dramatically in the goblin sense, but equally being light and fluffy – in the fairy scene that’s also attractive. Although, you do get the cross-overs between them.”
It’s pretty obvious that there’s no ugly gnome living here. The artist Georgina Rose has gone for the glitter option. She and her friend Amy Day are also fairies in everyday life.
Georgina Rose: “Amy made me these trousers four or five years ago and I’ve not stopped wearing them since. They’re full of holes. I just put them on and thought: this is me, this feels like me. I enjoy walking around like this and feel good as a mystical creature. Wings not so much, just because they’re irritating; on the tube in London you don’t want wings. But not all fairies will have wings – there are goblins and pixies and elves – all of that.”
Since moving from the countryside to London, both of them feel at home in the fairy scene. In her daily life Amy designs latex clothing for every occasion, from provocative to cute. But as glamorous and colourful as the outfits are, they are not the most important aspect of being a fairy.
Georgina Rose, Amy Day
Georgina: “To be a modern-day fairy I don’t think it’s so literal. We love to style ourselves, but you don’t have to go around the city with wings. It is enough to wear a bit of glitter in your makeup or wearing bright colours, being happy, being polite and nice to everyone. But I don’t think there are any rules.”
Amy: “It’s also about being comfortable in yourself and not worrying about what other people think. Then when someone does stop to talk to you – talk to them and say thank you, and just embrace what happens as you go along being a modern fairy.”
In rural England, for many years there has been a very spiritual fairy community, but Amy and Georgina have nothing to do with that. When they go out, it’s not to medieval markets, but to the Goblin Ball. They didn’t come here by taxi, they came by bus. After all, they aren’t the reserved type.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had anybody say anything negative, or feel any negative reaction towards the way that I walk around. I like it when people approach me and say that I’ve brightened their day up.”
The greyer and harder everyday life is outside, the more people escape to certain scenes, especially in London. After Steampunks and neo-Victorians, it can get even wackier now… But for the ball organiser James, this is all more than just a trend.
James Elphick: “Magic is missing in the modern world. Especially at the moment with the financial crisis, art was the first thing that was cut. Bringing back this old, enchanted history is really important at the moment. It helps put a bit of childishness back into being an adult. I think that’s really important. Everyone here gets a bit down with all the troubles that are going on in the world. The best thing is to dress up as enchanted creatures and dance into midnight.”
We knew it! In the end, what does it matter if you believe in fairies in the garden, when you can be one yourself?