Hero Brown

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Indy Lifestyle Online
You may or may not be keen on pickled animals as art, but there's no denying that, as a host at least, Damien Hirst is one of London's more accomplished players. His Notting Hill restaurant, Pharmacy (now affectionately known as Archy Ramp), was the venue for "Absolut Originals", a shindig to launch the first in a long line of Absolut Vodka art commissions.

This was some celebration. It was like Star Wars in there: Boy George was swapping hair tips (well, sort of) with Howard Marks, James Lavelle was admiring uber-DJ Jeremy Healey on the decks, Mr Hirst himself was reclining with Damon Albarn, while Mariella Frostrup had to stand in queue with the mortals to get upstairs into the chilled out, VIP-ish bit.

Even a certain David Bowie turned up for the evening, resplendent in US tourist outfit, with bright orange shirt and camera round his neck (showing once and for all that he really is beyond fashion now). Skipping past the security boys, he promptly took a picture of me on his swanky digital camera, which was very sweet and all that. However, David, I do expect royalties.

Meanwhile, the Great Coctail Challenge was underway, an unspoken code which entailed drinking the entire cocktail list. One bloke nodded off on the bench, while a plastered dancer kept slipping on the floor and falling on his face.

Howard Marks, laid back as always, was coping better than most. Plonking himself down at our table in the wee hours in his rather charming scruffy way, he pronounced himself delighted with the night. "I had no expectations of the evening," he confided, gesturing grandly, "but I'm very happy." I think that goes for everyone, Howard.

Trying to hold your own with a gaggle of 6ftmodels might not be everyone's idea of fun. I'm not even sure it's mine. But it's par for the course when you're at a David Bailey party. Mr Bailey, he of perpetual stubble and generous girth, was celebrating (if that be the word; actually he looked rather grumpy) the launch of his TV documentaries Models Close Up at the Alphabet Bar.

As expected, there was enough air-kissing to windpower a turbine as London's most beautiful worked the room. Damon Albarn (again), resplendent in Seventies orange-tinted glasses, model Sophie Anderton and Chris Evans worked the room while Bailey sat in a corner with his drink, fobbing off reporters and holding court.

This was a sexy crowd, but the Most Stylish prize bypassed the models and went to a bloke called Frankie who was resplendent in black Stetson and full cowboy gear. "I'm sorry, but I can't see straight," he mumbled as I took his picture before shouting, "Come here, Babydoll!" to his girlfriend, grabbing her for another snap. She wasn't listening. "Hey, Babydoll, this way!" I said, helpfully.

Oops, Babydoll wasn't too impressed with me using her pet name, and shot me the famous "Soho Death Look". Honestly, she should be grateful for small mercies. At least she doesn't get sung Holding Out for a Hero every time she introduces herself, like some people I know.

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