A Christmas Evening

img_4503I laid the loaf of sourdough bread down on the floor, alongside my faux fur and handbag.  “Jeez, it’s hot in here”  I said to my Goldie Hawn Lookalike (GHL) of a neighbour.  A glass of Walter’s Royal Riesling Sekt Brut in hand I spied the canapés on offer.  Geraldine – the generous owner of Raoul’s and solely responsible for starting off this annual Christmas event in the ‘hood noted it.  “It’s okay, every year our glasses get mixed up with The Winery’s next door, but eventually they find their way to the right home.”

I was glad about that, because even as I sampled the Riesling from David’s wine gaff, I had one eye on Raouls’ Prosecco – both pink and white on offer.

The chat started to flow, a local beautician joined us as we talked botox, Trump and blind dates in no particular order.  Niblets of chorizo and beds of bruschetta laiden with mozzarella, pesto and dried tomatoes stimulated the taste buds, and before I knew where I was I found myself one glass of rosé bubbly down.

“Let’s go next door!” GHL cried.  It seemed a good idea, as we were down to our last sophisticated sausage roll and the hostess of the evening had bade us ‘goodnight’.
“I’ve got a piece to publish tonight and Christmas cards to write, I can’t stay out much longer..!”
“Just one!” she replied.

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Rectuma

IMG_0652 2“Ah, the crystal of Belarus; unsurpassed” said a man leaning against one of the many bars at this elegant townhouse club in Soho, holding his whiskey glass up to examine it.
“What?  More crystal than Waterford?!” I exclaimed.
“Oh yes” he said.  “I remember being in Soho House in L.A. once, picking up the water jug and the handle just fell off in my hand. It happened straight after I noticed that the bottoms of the glasses were all different depths.”

Special indeed.  P and I forged on ahead.  “We need to find James, P” I said. “I want to find out more about this crystal.” Someone heard me:  “I know him!” called out a passing waiter.
“Brilliant – can you page him?” I enquired.
“Jeez S, What decade are you in?!” came P’s retort.

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Blessings to be counted, one, two, three

P1070161You know you’ve got a good New Year’s Eve on your hands when you sweep through two sets of grand curtains to be met by a kilt wearing Scot brandishing a saxophone. I say sweep, because that’s all you can do in a Tiffany-style charity find of a designer LBD, accompanied by one of your most favourite people in the world (Blessings to be counted, one).

‘Rach, I don’t think I’ll wear that Alberta Ferretti tonight, I’ve had two more mince pies and several large peaks of Toblerone. I’m just going to go for the trusty lurex’ whooped my text to her one hour earlier. ‘Just wear what you feel comfortable in’ came her consistently gentle, but firm advice.

Two minutes to leaving for The Vault @ Putney Pies I checked the result of my final decision in the mirror. ‘It is New Year’s Eve after all’ I texted.  ‘I feel lucky to be alive and vibrant’ (Blessings to be counted, two).  ‘I’m seizing the moment cuz!’

A ‘hello’ to Matt, our host in SW15 was swiftly followed by his stellar bar manager David, and fellow Glaswegian, serving us up some champagne.  None of your glass three quarters full here: Generously filled to the brim it knocked any sophisticate notions on the head and tripled my enthusiasm for this – traditionally least favourite – night of the year.

We raised our glasses, chatting easily with David, relaxing into what felt like home.

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Home is a Disco Ball

P1060996Serena Morton’s disco party is deserving of capitals.

I arrived at her gallery in deepest and on this occasion, coolest West London, late – to find most guests had just vanished to the after party.  (I couldn’t help it. I’d been to the Irish Embassy for something – anything – and one does not like to leave the Ambassador early).  One of the security guards offered me a quick look around before locking up.

P1060948I knew it would be right up Conversation with Strangers’ street.  Disco.  Just that word is evocative of fun, decadence, good times and the inevitable classic tunes.  I looked at the photos on display taken by Bill Bernstein to celebrate his book launch. I was there. I could feel the energy, the eccentricity and that feeling of being with like minded souls.

A gold lurex clad dame approached me.  “Hi, I’m Serena.  Would you like a lift to the party?”  I hopped into a blacked-out-windowed vehicle and met others of her entourage:  Long haired polite pretty girls who welcomed me enthusiastically.

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Nuts! Whole hazel nuts!

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We like a charity do in aid of encouraging people to be creative, particularly the youngest amongst us in inner London who might otherwise use their energies in less productive ways.

The launch of H Fest to support such an initiative at The Hospital Club was just such an event.  An indoor festival spread over six floors in this handsome red brick building welcomed us on a warm November night.  “It reminds me of a McCann Christmas party in the garage” Rach said as we dropped our coats off.  There was indeed a whiff of the 90’s about it.

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All that glitters

IMG_0581Denise and I hugged goodbye.  “Keep in touch” she said.  “I want an update on Tolga.”

Indeed there could not have been a more appropriate private view in the world to attend other than Lincoln Townley’s ‘W1’ last night.  I wasn’t even sure why I was there – other than a very lovely invite from my celeb cuz who I’m occasionally honoured to accompany on such jaunts. But, at the end of the evening I knew exactly why.

I googled the artist en route to the Royal Academy, only to discover he is way up there with the portrait painters of today.  Hollywood hasn’t escaped him – and recognition is worldly and unanimous. I was particularly struck by his painting of Al Pacino.

Having found the gallery within this noble institution – ‘To the right of the courtyard at the far end’ Bex’s message said – I wandered in to friends and family of the artist and various other showbiz acquaintances.

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Stiletto Biatch

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I’m not prone to swearing.  In fact it takes a lot to get me up there with the best of them.  Notice I’m even unable to say the ‘B’ word as it should be said, but rather a variation of it. However, I suspect another couple of days of this pain will result in me screaming it from the rooftops.

“You don’t like being ‘off games’ do you S?” my companion from the scene of the crime remarked over the telephone.  I reached down towards my left foot, adjusting the pink sock ice pack so delicately placed for maximum coverage.  I wondered where I could get an ice pick to make smaller pieces – heart shaped ice cubes are really not the best.
“No T, I do not” I replied.

The night had started innocently but stridently enough.  Schmancy party-heeled clad, T App’d a black cab. We hopped in as he and Dave began the banter that saw the meter still ‘off’ until half way there. T pointed it out to him,  We watched as he reached up to click the switch, still laughing: “Sorry about that guv” he said, “I just got lost in the moment!”

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The heart of the matter

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Sometimes in London one wonders where the heart is, where it’s gone, what happened to it? After a particularly hectic big smoke day I headed out to the Natural History Museum to accompany my starry cousin as her plus one at the European Diversity Awards.

Wandering inside to join dinosaurs and all things crusty, I wondered if everyone else felt as I did – ready to slump in the first available chair.  Sort of, one’s arrived, now one can rest up, take a chill pill and just hang.

Of course it’s never like that at a black tie awards event.  Usually there are meets and greets required, handshakes and schmoozing, congratulatory kisses.  It’s impossible to relax.

But, tonight was different.  Really different.  Celebrating diversity in all its forms, Sandi Toksvig reminded us that on the very ceiling we craned our necks to check out were images of plants from all over the world – a diverse selection.  She also reminded us that the dinosaur we sat beside at white rose and hydrangea decorated tables was unidentifiable as a male or female.  Why?  Because apparently the genitalia disappear over time making it impossible to tell.

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Needle on the record

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“I haven’t got any ID with me by the way” my 21 year old City trader companion for the evening remarked as we headed out for drinks.

“Well – what’s the age now? Isn’t it 18? Aren’t you legal?” I asked a little clueless on not having come up against this issue for a while.

“Yes of course, it’s just sometimes I get asked.”

Chiltern Firehouse was our destination for the evening. Ah, like an illicit lover she carelessly drew our attention – all charm and good looks, subtly seductive with the attention to detail that makes us weak at the knees and powerless to resist.

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Disco dancing Jagger style

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I can always tell when my cousin is on the school run.  Apart from the time itself – around 4.45pm – the bellowing wind enveloping her usually causes a shouting match as she marches up the hill towards her son’s place of learning.

Me:  “RACH!  LOVELY HJORDIS FROM IBIZA HAS SENT AN INVITATION TO WHAT LOOKS LIKE A PROPER OLD SKOOL DISCO NIGHT.  IT’S CALLED THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL HOSTED BY BODY AND SOUL – A CHARITY – AND JADE JAGGER.”

Rach: (even louder than me):  THAT SOUNDS NICE!  COUNT ME IN!

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