New York Confidential: Sorry, but Britannia is not so cool in New York

ON SEPTEMBER 8, Tony Blair is to attend a party in New York to celebrate the "British Invasion Part II". According to the invitation, "The party will celebrate Cool Britannia and the major influence London is having on the worlds of fashion, art and music." Among other highlights, the party will include "a re-creation of the famous Met Bar".

Has Blair completely lost his mind? His attempts to associate himself with Cool Britannia have already made him look like an eager young vicar getting down to the local disco. The prospect of his dancing the night away in an imitation of the Met Bar in New York will surely have William Hague rubbing his hands with glee.

More important, doesn't Blair realise that the whole Cool Britannia phenomenon is now completely passe? I helped Vanity Fair put together a special issue on Cool Britannia in November 1996. By the time that issue came out in March 1997, people were already tiring of the subject. These days it brings most people out in hives. What's Blair going to be celebrating next - rave culture?

The party is being organised by Liz Tilberis, the editor of Harper's Bazaar, and Trudie Styler, whose claim to fame, apart from being Sting's wife, is that she often makes the "worst dressed" list. The guest list includes the usual suspects - Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Philip Treacy and a bunch of liggers wearing Union Jack T-shirts.

u

ONE WAY in which American couples celebrate their wedding anniversaries is to hold ceremonies at which they renew their marriage vows. A New York couple has come up with an interesting variation on this theme. To celebrate their 15th anniversary, Alfred Shuman, the managing director of Bear Stearns & Company, and his wife Stephanie, organised a ceremonial burning of their pre-nuptial agreement. According to The New York Observer, they invited 140 friends to gather round a fire in the garden of their East Hampton country house and then threw the legal document into the flames.

Typically, several of the lawyers present pointed out that a pre-nuptial agreement is still binding, even if it has been lost or destroyed. The Shumans' gesture may have been touching but, in the event of their marriage hitting the rocks, it will turn out to have been meaningless.

u

I'VE BEEN spending the past week crashing and burning with a succession of beautiful girls in New York's hottest singles bars. For the purposes of researching an article for a new American men's magazine called Gear, I've been trying out various chat-up lines from a book called How To Pick Up Girls, by Eric Weber. The book was written in 1970 and was out of date even then.

For instance, one of the recommended lines is, "You're the second prettiest girl in the world." "Naturally," writes Weber, "she'll want to know who the prettiest is." I tried this out on a girl in a bar called Clementine on Fifth Avenue and she said, "Thank you," and almost ran to the other side of the room. So far, I've struck out on every single occasion.

The point of my article is to try to discover whether having hair makes any difference to a man's ability to pick up women. As you can see from my photo, I'm a William Hague lookalike.

Over the next few days I'm going back to the same bars, where I'll be using the same lines on some more girls, only this time I'll be wearing a wig. It's a huge great mop of blond hair, making me look like Shaggy from Scooby Doo. But I don't suppose I'll have any moreluck, because the lines I'm using are so awful.

u

EVEN THOUGH it's August, a number of magazines are holding parties at various New York clubs. The other day, Manhattan File magazine held a relaunch party at a bar called Lot 61, and I was lucky enough to be invited. One of the big shots there was James Truman, a former Face journalist, now the editorial director of Conde Nast. In the New York media, how this seemingly nice man has survived in the company known as Condescending and Nasty is a topic of perennial interest.

At one point I approached a fellow hack at the bar and struck up a conversation about Truman. Instead of responding, he glanced nervously over my shoulder. Apparently, the hack had had his fingers burnt once before when gossiping about the late socialite Jerry Zipkin. About five years ago he was in a booth at a fashionable restaurant talking about the famous homosexual walker, who was seated nearby, when his companion warned him that Zipkin was a notorious lip-reader.

My colleague was worried that Truman, too, might have mastered this black art.

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

music
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

film
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

film
Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

film
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat