Launch Of The Week: My name is Charles Saatchi and I am a party pooper

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The Independent Culture

The reclusive art collector Charles Saatchi famously never turns up to his own parties. And the launch of his new book was no exception. There were, though, plenty of signed copies of My Name is Charles Saatchi and I am An Artoholic scattered around the Saatchi Gallery in London's Chelsea for guests to peruse. These invitees included Richard E Grant, Zadie Smith, Alan Yentob, Trevor Eve, Kathy Lette, Graham Norton and Harry Enfield who mingled in the first-floor galleries among the canvasses.

Saatchi's wife, Nigella Lawson, the celebrity chef hosted, channelling burlesque star Dita Von Teese in vampish red lipstick and a dress that resembled a black silk dressing gown, gossiping politely with Linda Barker and Vanessa Feltz and posing for hilarious snaps with Enfield. "I am here as Charles' representative on earth," she said in her welcome speech. "Charles and I have often argued as to which is the superior art form – writing or painting. Now that he has written a book, he has to concede defeat!"

Up until the last moment, guests wondered if Saatchi would walk in – but he preferred to let his book do the talking. "I'm just a cocktail party dud," he writes. "I am afraid, and am lost in admiration for friends who are at ease walking in to a room full of people, and chatting happily as they work the room."