Party On

I haven't been to a black tie do for years, so The Horse Whisperer after-party was a bit of a novelty. Held at Mirabelle, Marco Pierre White's Mayfair restaurant, Robert Redford and Kristen Scott Thomas were conspicuously absent, but London's horsey set turned out in force. Jilly Cooper, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Andrew Parker-Bowles, Simon McCorkindale, even William Hague and Ffion bathed in the spotlight and talked shop. It felt like the social pages of Tatler had come to life and were taking over the world. Considering Scott Thomas plays a glossy magazine editor who rejects her superficial, self-absorbed existance and gets a grip on reality, it's kind of ironic really.

As book launches go, it was hardcore. Well, it had to be to coax Stephen King - Prince of Darkness and the world's best-selling author - away from his lair in Maine and into London's Royal College of Art.

Mr King's new book, enticingly titled Bag of Bones, is his 35th (ish - pseudonyms, short stories, collaborations notwithstanding), so he must be tearing his hair out at having to go through the media mill for yet another novel. But publishers Hodder & Stoughton pulled out all the stops for this one, coaxing King with a cricket match if he was a good boy at the launch.

And so he was, although strictly on his own terms. Michael Jackson couldn't have orchestrated a bigger build-up than Stephen, who still hadn't appeared two hours into the evening. Photographers were at the ready, publicists were looking flustered, rumours were flying that he was arriving "any moment now". I half expected him to explode from under the floor or abseil from the ceiling singing I'm Bad.

When the great man eventually appeared (all 6'4" of him) it was in a simple floppy white t-shirt, loose jeans and trademark goggle glasses. He reminded me of no-one so much as that bloke from King of the Hill. Still, he was very charming and was more than prepared to do his duty, gamely looked interested while earnest looking men from WH Smith talked book sales and wirey-haired loons quizzed him about Bag of Bones.

Later he confided, rather sweetly, that "the publicity thing's not that hard, actually". It no doubt eases the way, having a bodyguard two steps behind all evening and ready to flatten the nearest fan . And fans there were. Real, gabbling, gushing fans. Loads of them. Even the publicist was going for it, at one stage collecting, opening and placing a can of coke in King's hand, and all-but kneeing undesirables out of the way.

This was fun enough. But the most surreal bit was yet to come. It doesn't take a genius to recognise that Stephen King is an "anorak". And lo, after he'd done his star turn around the room and touched all his disciples, Saint Stephen picked up his gee-tar and took to the stage with fellow author Ken Follett.

It was text book rock 'n' roll cliche. Enthusiastic whooping, facial expressions of excruciating pain whilst "riffing", "high five" slaps between songs - grown men generally behaving like Bruce Willis on a bad day, but with more hair to fling around. Frankly, you wouldn't want this lot playing at your wedding. But believe me, they do a wicked book launch.

A big fat raspberry to the American film companies out there. Here's how to throw a UK premiere and party. The British gangster gem Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels had so many celebrities in attendance, the tabloid photographers were nearly wetting themselves. Ewan McGregor, Anna Friel, Robbie Williams, Steven Mackintosh, Leslie Ash, Sting, Trudi Styler (does she count?), Richard Ashcroft - and let's not forget dear Vinnie Jones, resplendent in shirt collars the width of the Thames - were all jostling for position at luvvie central. The scramble was so intense, one bloke complained at the party that there should have been an ultra VIP room, to keep out the normal VIPs!

As part of the revelry, three floors were at our disposal (I can't remember the venue - drunken haze, I'm afraid), with exquisite food, drinkies on the house until such time as you saw fit to collapse and hundreds of beautiful, pouting people. All very stylish and classy apart from, ahem, the "dancing girls". I think it's fair to say that this was a part of the evening which only the gentlemen could truly appreciate, as a dozen or so gambolling beauties, wearing spangly bikinis circa Ibiza '88, skipped around the base of a large podium, blowing whistles, clapping wildly and inviting enthusiastic men on the dancefloor for a spot of gyration.

It was hard to pick out a favourite, but my vote goes to the lovely blonde, resplendent in beaded bikini, black stilettos and bare bottom, who looked for one frightening moment like she might end her act with something like a Lewinsky cigar trick.Which, no doubt, she would have executed with far greater aplomb than dear old Monica. Still, I think we managed to show our American friends up quite enough for one day.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

    £20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

    Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    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?