Sunday, 3 April 2011

Marvellous Party

Don't, what ever you do, read Redeeming Features by Nicholas Haslam in one sitting.  You may be tempted to, but don't.  You'll be exhausted.  Honestly.  It's like going to a giddy cocktail party that you can never leave.  One more enticing nibble, maybe another of those prawny things and half a glass of champagne and a quick chat to that fascinating man who's wearing a rather divine paisley shirt tinkling on a piano and you'll make your goodbyes.  Two hours later and the room is even more crowded and somehow you're drinking a Manhattan and agreeing to go on holiday in a villa share in rather a marvellous undiscovered island somewhere in the Adriatic. 
When you finally tear yourself away, you have to go and lie in a dark room and sip ice cold water for a few hours and then feel that your life up and till now has been rather dull indeed. 
It then give you time to wonder if maybe it would have been all so different if a) you had been born a pretty gay boy with a sparkling wit, a good eye for the finer things in life b) you had gone to Eton and c) had you been born into a very wealthy family....
The names alone in this book make for delirious reading. At a random name check (p135) there are Arthur Jeffress, Nicolette and Alastair Londonderry, Chips Cannon, Peggy Guggenheim, Marchesa Casati, Max Ernst and Alexander Calder.  On one page. One.  Page.  I.m still reeling.  There are some great jokes and some scurrilous stories, too (Did he ever get sued, I wonder? Or are they all too grand to care?) And irrefutable proof, according to our Nicholas, that Wallis Simpson was a hermaphrodite. (Her lady's maid was bemoaning the fact to another maid that although Wallis had beautiful silk underclothes there was 'always a little urine stain.  There.  On the front')  Gosh.
I've been to a marvellous party.
And now, if you'll excuse me I simply have to go and lie down.

No comments:

Post a Comment