BY any normal standard of behaviour, event organiser extraordinaire Ted Marr should have been feeling the pressure yesterday. With 24 hours to go before he jets off to St Petersburg in Russia for the third and most spectacular China Coast Ball, things were pretty frantic at the Mid-Levels office of Bela Vista Ball Ltd. Proofs of the week-long programme were being checked for the printer, the fax machine had gone into overload and both phones were ringing off the hook. Mostly, they were related to THE BALL but some concerned another matter: Mr Marr's parting of company with his employers, solicitors Clyde & Co, on Tuesday. A topic brimful of potential colour that had been grist for the social circuit all week. ''Look,'' said an unflappable Mr Marr, down the line yesterday when he was asked if his sudden elimination from the nine-to-five circuit was related to his hectic extra-curricular schedule. ''I don't want to go into recriminations about my former employers. I have been very deliberate in separating my outside interests from my work. I set up an office at home to do other projects and I am certainly not bitching about the situation. ''Clyde & Co is a very good legal firm. We had an irreparable breakdown that could only be cured by the parting of ways. I suppose you could compare it to a marriage breakdown. We came to realise that we had irreconcilable differences. I don't want to open any wounds. Just because you split with someone does not mean you have to hate them.'' But did he expect it to happen this week, of all weeks, when he had a million other things to think about? ''Well no, I did not know there would be a parting of ways this week, but I knew it might be soon because of those irreconcilable differences. ''But I like being a lawyer, and I want to continue to work as a lawyer, perhaps in a different structure. I don't want to be too grand about myself, I am just a normal person, but in my field I think I am quite good at what I do. ''My big priority now, however, is making this next project work. I will be away for three weeks and I don't want to think of anything in the future until I return. There are quite a number of interesting options around.'' In meantime, Mr Marr, as chairman of Bela Vista Ball Ltd, has plenty to occupy his thoughts. Since he and his good buddy restaurateur Michelle Garnaut dreamed up the idea of a ball in St Petersburg a year ago, life beyond his law office has resulted in aschedule that would test the organisational skills of a general. Mr Marr estimates he has spent 15 hours a week on the logistics, negotiations and planning for the ball during the last 12 months, including two trips to St Petersburg to inspect and confirm the venues and arrange the series of entertainments and dinners. When it all began in the gardens of L'Hermitage in Russia last July, the chairman and Ms Garnaut envisaged the ball as 36 hours of partying with two core events, a garden party and a ball. Since then it has burgeoned into a social fest that includes concert performances, a garden party, the palace ball on July 3 and a gala dinner in Moscow on July 6. It will cost guests between HK$10,000 and $20,000 per person for the full six-day programme. ''The ball and the garden party have cost about one million (US$200,000) and we have paid for most of that already,'' he said. ''Tickets for these two events are US$550 (HK$4,300) per person and we have sold about 380. About 150 people are going from Hongkong, another 100 or so from Australia and rest will be made up from the UK and Europe.'' All the other events outside the ball and the garden party are optional and are being run at cost. Some guests will go to all of them. Others will just pick a few. The final bill will depend on individuals. If you travel economy and stay in a budget hotel, it will be about HK$20,000 per couple. Obviously, if you do it first class, it will cost more. ''None of those costs would run through my books,'' Mr Marr added. ''Everything is paid for now,'' he said. ''It will probably cost about US$500,000 for everything. I am taking some cash with me to settle up the final accounts when I get to St Petersburg.'' It all seems so matter of fact. And it is. A true reflection, Mr Marr's friends say, of an aspect of his personality which often has been overlooked in the saturation coverage he receives from his energetic social life. A ''boy from the bush'' in southwestern New South Wales in Australia, Mr Marr was educated at Sydney University where he graduated as a lawyer in the early 80s. He came to Hongkong to attend a conference in 1986 and talked himself into a job with a localfirm of solicitors. He specialised in copyright law and has broadened his expertise to include all aspect of intellectual property, media and entertainment law. Before he and his employers mutually dissolved their association this week, he had spent three years at Clyde & Co as a specialist in the field. In a gossip item on New Year resolutions this year, he said that he would give up lunch in 1993. ''I don't even like lunch,'' he said. His major claim to fame in Hongkong, however, has been his presence as a prominent social personality in a town where personal charm and a capacity to survive nightly punishments on the nightclub circuit are valued commodities. ''A lot of people wonder how I managed to survive with so little sleep. But I rest at weekends. I might stay at home on Sundays, turn on some music or read a book. Or I might go out walking on Lamma for the day.'' He also devotes substantial amounts of time to his emerging event management business that was spawned by his staging of the first Bela Vista Ball three years ago. ''I don't want to be too grand about this but don't let's beat around the bush. People tell me I am good at this kind of thing and I am looking at expanding these activities,'' he said yesterday. ''An offer came out of the blue this week that looks quite interesting. It would involve staging events in Hongkong and the region but I told them I did not want to think about it until I came back. ''I also have the opportunity of one legal consultancy that would allow me to continue working as a lawyer but give me more flexibility to pursue other projects.'' So far, the enterprise has not wielded any significant profit and Mr Marr said yesterday that he did not expect to make any money from the St Petersburg extravaganza. Then why did he do it? He paused for a longer moment than is usual, even for the languid Mr Marr. ''It's awfully good fun really. When you are creative you want to do bigger and better things to use your imagination. It's probably not a very sensible answer but it is the best I can offer.''