Party On

When you roll up at the Ballroom of the Dorchester Hotel to find the cloakroom stuffed with rows of hopelessly glossy freebie OK! magazines and attendants tut-tutting unless you leave a tip, you know this is going to be no ordinary literary soiree. As it turned out, Wednesday's black tie bash, to celebrate a hundred years of Duckworth publishing and launch their new "Entertainment" division, was bizarre in the extreme: part debutante ball, part Sixties time-warp, part publishing piss up.

The guest list was a scatter-gun affair: the Khans and Iris Murdoch, Malcolm McLaren and Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Lewis and Twiggy, Terry Gilliam and arch Tory Eurosceptic, Bill Cash. There was the annoying sound of duck quacks over the tannoy (gun-fire tastefully announced dinner), as models - complete with feathers and beaks - swanned around.

In fact, as Cash's family were organising the event, most of his family was in attendance, including all his children's bestest new friends, huddling at the kiddies' end of the party. The other end of the room was all blue- rinse and ear-trumpets (Oxford's Public Orator read the grace in Greek).

There were some pouting celebs from parties past, still trying to look raffish: Anthony Andrews mooched about looking hurt, Bruce Robinson blanked everyone bar Twiggy. Alan Price, The Animal's organist in "House of the Rising Sun", provided the music. Not exactly cutting edge, then. The evening was saved only by the carpaccio of salmon and monkfish, the duck (of course), and pistachio ice-cream. Comfort eating will never feel this good again.

It's like me: it's open," purred Love is the Devil director John Maybury on the first night of "Pandaemonium", the bi-annual London Electronic Arts festival. This being only the second festival, and it also being the fabulous Visual Arts, the launch at the Lux Cinema attracted quite a stir around Hoxton Square, with Turner prize winner Gillian Wearing rubbing shoulders with the rather sexy Maybury and hot new artist on the block Dryden Goodwin.

"Let's get to the bar before the rush," Maybury winked after shamelessly posing for photos, cig pursed dandily in mouth. So there I was in Margherita, Maybury and soft porn heaven (thanks to the screening of Clio Barnard's explicit Hardcut) when we had the call to go outside to watch fellow fag- toting artist Tracey Emin do a spot of performance art as a teaser for her short film Sundown.

After keeping the freezing crowds waiting for 45 minutes (anyone would think it was the Milan catwalk) Tracey's naked shadow appeared behind screens, performing what can only be described as an erotic dance for constipated cowboys. Wearing only a Stetson and shooting pretend people with her pretend guns (by way of explanation: the film which follows features horseriding), Emin was really going for it.

Unfortunately, whatever message she was trying to put across to Hoxton's residents and barflies wasn't reaching them. "Cellulite!" shouted someone to chortling from the crowd. "Crap!" bellowed another. Personally, I thought it was all right. Bet John Maybury could have done it better though.

I can only assume that Max Clifford has a stake in new men's mag ZM, since the PR supremo stripped himself of all modesty (and most of his clothes) by running around in a pair of swimming trunks at the ZM launch party in nightclub Aquarium. Indeed, the little boy in Clifford came out as he played what can only be described as a very aggressive game of waterpolo for the Esquire team against Zest and ZM, obviously trying to prove the ZM mantra that he is indeed "the man fit for everything". The editor Paul Colbert seemed delighted with the launch and was excitedly explaining how ZM was the perfect magazine for the more mature "post-lad". No doubt that's why the cover stories include "Yes, There! Six secret places she wants you to touch", "5 mates every man needs" and "Always turn her on"...

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