Less than Zero was my favourite book in the 80’s and having previously met Bret Easton Ellis at a party I threw for Tatler in 1992 in New York, I was delighted when my husband and I were invited by Richard Caring’s Birley Group to attend the GQ party to celebrate the publication of his new book.
Imperial Bedrooms is the re-visit of all time. BE Ellis returns to the same characters – to Clay and the band of infamous teenagers whose lives weave sporadically through his – but now they face and even greater period of disaffection: their own middle age.
The party was held at Marks’s – the smartest of the Mark Birley clubs and the one with a smoking terrace – a totally necessary invention for Bret and for a least half of the invited guests. Champagne flowed and the canapés – lobster and pineapple, pate de foie gras on toast and mini Peking duck pancakes were gratefully received – especially now that being thin is so ageing (only W11 yummy mummies aspire to size zero).
Picador the publishers had generously donated the books so absolutely everyone was clutching copies and praying for a gap in Bret’s circle so that he could sign theirs for posterity or for added-value presents.
A guy from the publishing company gave a nice speech and then a laconic Bret took the floor reminiscing about the launch tour for Less than Zero when he was squirted in the face by Jools Holland and later offered the works by a very considerate Paula Yates. Perfect.
Who was there – well Florence as of and the Machine. She and her sister Grace just happened to have been at prep school with my two children. The Welch children had a manny, (male nanny) and our two had an Australian girl nanny who became great friends. At the time we had a beach house on the south coast and I remember the manny and the nanny taking their charges down to stay during the Christmas holidays and being snowed on. About the only snow in the last 50 years and a complete joy for our Antipodean.
I introduced myself to Florence – as “I’m Tabitha’s mother” – and she looked suitably bored – I followed up with – “you stayed at our beach house in the snow” – and the animation was amazing. God the gorgeous, super-talented redhead has a memory and a good one at that.
Peter York, fresh from the Mitford Book launch at Heywood Hill. Simon Mills, basking in the praise for his Evening Standard article about the Bugatti Veyron owners et al parading, parking and posturing around the Lauduree cafe at Harrods which had appeared the evening before and of course, Dylan Jones, the Editor of GQ who assured me that the Evening Standard going free has produced a reverse snobbery. “If you read it, it means that you take public transport……..”
We met a terrific girl who is the managing editor of The Independent who was bemoaning all things on-line. “How” she said “could intelligent people have invented a system where they created a business model where everyone worked extremely hard and then gave away their products for free”.
I don’t really like champagne. One glass I can stomach, but after that it has to be still wine. Mark’s had not been instructed to cater for people like me. Thank God for the divine Nicki Eaton, Communications Director for Condé Nast (the owners of GQ) who secured the services of a wine and ice provider toute de suite.
Dinner called and at 8pm we left clutching both a book signed and dedicated to me and one to our son Rollo.
Photographs courtesy of Dominic O’Neill.