Party On

There's nothing like a good war film to depress you for the rest of the evening. The organisers of Saving Private Ryan were obviously smart enough not to have a post-carnage party last week. Unfortunately, the backers of "essential cult film" festival Primal Screen kicked off proceedings with Stanley Kubrick's downbeat flick Paths of Glory and then took their chances on a post-party at the Groucho Club. It was either an embarrassing mistake or a gift from the gods, depending on how you look at it. As one of the, shall we say, select people at the party, it was marvellous. Enough twiglets to fill a forest, your own waiter and a guaranteed seat to boot. Ah, the spoils of war.

It's a difficult confession for me to make, being a style leader and all that, but I'm having a serious problem with the Eighties revival. I know it's all fabulously post-modern and ironic, and I dare say I'm still just bitter about not copping off with Simon Le Bon in my teens, but dancing to "Don't You Want Me" on a Monday night just isn't twiddling my knobs second time around.

Which is a shame, because I seem to be going to more and more parties where the Eighties are de rigeur. This week, for example, I went to the super-duper-hipsky launch party for Sheryl Garratt's excellent book Adventures in Wonderland: A Decade of Club Culture. I'm afraid, under the circumstances, the book would have been better named A Decade in Culture Club. But there you go, too late now.

Still, Sheryl Garratt was really lovely, although not quite what you would expect of an ex-The Face editor. Big, bouncy and friendly, her silver shirt battened down like armour from the neck to the sleeves, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Garratt's never been near a club in her life.

But she's a woman truly in the know (she was writing for NME while still at school, the swot), and she's evidently a popular lass, since there was an all star cast (in a Face sort of way) in attendance, including Asian Underground's Talvin Singh, seminal photographer Corinne Day, The Beloved and the ever suave DJ Norman Jay.

"We didn't have any music for the first 40 minutes," fretted the nervous Sheryl, who was on the water and obviously having some trouble with her DJ line-up. "Has anyone seen Norman?" Knocking back the drink she should have had (look, someone's got to celebrate), I told her yes, actually, I'd just been talking to him on the other side of the room; he'd been joking about how late he was for his set. Mischief-making over, Sheryl marched off to hunt him down and I ducked to the dance floor.

And hence the problem. It's one thing listening to Fade to Grey in your bedroom, but it's quite another to dancing to it in public. You bloody try. My fluffy bra podium moves, circa 1990, just don't cut the mustard any more and, knowing when I'm beat, I gave up and propped myself up at the bar instead. This, of course, is more a sad reflection of me than the party, which was, by this stage, raging forth. Then again, it does mean, as a conscientious Eighties objector, I'm a decade in front of everyone else. Pretty impressive, really.

I love the Saatchi Gallery. Not only do the patrons deliver on the party front, but they always throw in some pictures for you to look at while you're there. The launch party this week for Young Americans, part 2 was the expected sexy number, with literally hundreds of young, cool artists, journos (no, really!), agents and buyers along for the ride.

The champagne - no lack of - was being served flamboyantly by waiters who were on some kind of perverse power kick. One poor sod who gestured with his hand for a refill was regaled with a theatrical; "Speak. To. Me. What. Do. You. Want?" Given the waiter was holding a champagne bottle, I would have thought it was fairly obvious. Apparently not, since he pirouetted on his heel and flounced off, leaving the innocent punter gasping for his drink.

A couple of glasses down the line, and the party was starting to hot up. Puffers took up their position outside the building while Elton John's boyfriend John Furnish, dressed rather sombrely in a blue suit but with a little diamond earstud which gave away his "Elton" credentials, was busy fending off photographers.

Meanwhile, curious punters were beginning to take a rather too close interest in the artworks. One girl who attempted to discover whether Brian Tolle's Broadhearth (which looked remarkably like a proper brick hearth) was indeed the real thing, was duly catapulted across the room by the security guard. Another guest who yielded to the temptation of prodding the fine veneer of sand on Michael Ashkin's "long distance highway" work was virtually knee-capped by the aghast Saatchi staff.

I, meanwhile, was transfixed by Tom Friedman's barmy stuff - a bar of soap inticingly inlaid with pubic hair; a meteorite made out of toothpicks; a huge ball of bubblegum five inches wide, chewed by the artist. Which, hand on heart, I had absolutely no desire to touch.

See, at least I have manners.

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