Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Black tie on the tube

Went to the Walpole Luxury Awards last night - well, to the drinks beforehand. Award ceremonies are only fun if they are stuffed with famous faces, or you're up for one yourself. Being neither, the BF and I snuck out after two glasses of champagne and a mini hamburger (exceptionally good). It was held in the noisy antechamber of the Banqueting Hall - you could hardly hear a word anyone was saying. But that's OK because at the moment there's only one conversation doing the rounds: "How's it going for you then?" "Oh, OK - it's tough you know - waiting to see what happens next year...". No one talks of anything else. Anyway - it reminded me of the time I saw on the tube just a few weeks ago two middle-aged men in black tie travelling from Holland Park to Liverpool St. At one point a ticket inspector came round and they asked him what time the last tube was. Would there be one at around 2am? Of course they didn't know - they've always been able to take taxis from their houses to the City for their bank's shindigs and now they have to get public transport. Rather like the judge who, presiding over a case for which the setting was on the bus, decided to take one home himself to see what it was like. When asked by the conductor where he was going, he replied: "Number 42 Eaton Square, please."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Past Imperfect

My uncle Julian's novel, Past Imperfect, was launched on Tuesday night. As the book is set in 1968 and 2008, we were invited to dress accordingly. In the end, his wife Emma had the best outfit of the night (as I knew she would), with a bright pink bobbed wig and a pink and black chequered PVC mini-dress. I wore a black and white pop-art dress, had my hair done up a la Amy Winehouse and stuck on huge false eyelashes that make one feel as if curtains are half-drawn across the eyes. There was a big turnout - Christopher Cazenove and his lovely girlfriend Isobel, Hermione Norris, Harriet Walter, Princess Michael of Kent, Freddie Windsor, Cristina Odone, Lady Apsley (who I had interviewed the day before for the Telegraph, oddly enough) and lots of old friends whom I hadn't seen for ages, which was a delight. Blue Strawberry did the yummy ca-naps, and we drank every drop of champagne. Afterwards, a few of us went to supper at the Sloane Square Hotel and I sat opposite J's publisher, apparently a legend of Wiedenfeld & Nicholson, and now semi-retired. He's just finishing a biog on Alan Clarke and I have a feeling he told me some really good stories but I can't remember them. I don't know what it is about me - whether my conscience is just too good for keeping secrets but the next day all I can ever remember is someone saying: "You mustn't repeat this to anyone but...." and then my mind goes blank. Damn.

Last night was upstairs in the "petting room" of new members' club at Quo Vadis. Huge sofas and tv, brown shrimps on toast and endless glasses of crisp white wine. We watched the election special and I wanted to throw my shoe at Jeremy Paxman and his patronising interview with Dizzee Rascal ("hip hop won the election"). JP said, "well, why don't you run for office then?" and SMIRKED. Git. But aside from that - total, absolute happiness at Obama's election. It's a JFK moment for our generation.

Owner Eddie Hart came up and had some fish pie with us and later, when we snuck out for a cig break, Eddie introduced me to my distant cousin Robert, Lord Fellowes. Isn't life marvellous?