The season of summer parties is upon us. Garden parties and parties in museums, bookshops and jewellers; parties fuelled by tequila, mojitos and champagne (at the bare minimum, darling). Then there are the awards ceremonies: the Crime Writers' Association dinner, the Samuel Johnson prize bash. The London Literature Festival kicked off with a barbecue overlooking the the Thames. And there are still some books to launch. It's hard to fit it all in: "Are you going to Victoria Hislop's? I hear there'll be flamenco dancing." "I thought I might, on my way to the V&A..." "Did you pop in at Asprey's for Sebag's launch?" "What a scrum... you know, Santa Montefiore hugging Claus Von Bülow, and the paps going bonkers when Tara P-T arrived..."
The big hit, surprisingly, was the HarperCollins summer bash in the quad in the middle of the V&A. It was packed – the space was curtailed by huge installations thoughtlessly left lying around – and the music was terrible. It's traditional for sales managers to punch the air and whirl their jackets round their heads to the strains of "Eye of the Tiger" after the annual Nibbie awards, but in general music at books parties is superfluous. (I recall Bloomsbury's fatal misjudgement of having the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain at their birthday do last year; ironic, twanging versions of "Smells like Teen Spirit" do not a party atmosphere make.) The literati at play don't want somebody "on the decks" – we want to gossip.
Every woman there wanted to grab HarperCollins author Gok Wan. Gorgeous Gok, working the 1980S look with his sleeves rolled up, was happy to chat to any drunken dame who accosted him. He tenderly removed a stray bit of fluff from a friend's bosom, told us how thrilled his mum was at his high ranking in the IoS Pink List and discussed the concept of "pulling pants", before showing us his (black and silky).
I don't think I'll bother to wear my pulling pants this Tuesday evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (www.southbankcentre.co.uk). At the behest of my friends at The House of Homosexual Culture I'm chairing The Lavender Library, a celebration of queer literature. I'll be asking luminaries such as Julian Clary, Andy Bell and Diana Souhami about the books that inspired them. I've been swotting up on James Baldwin, Mapp & Lucia and Gertrude Stein for weeks. In between all the parties, that is.Reuse content