With hindsight, I think it was my nasty vitriol against PR's last week that made this possible - like most journalists, I'm far more eloquent hissing than purring. However, since I'm resolutely not interested in relating to 50 year old men (sorry dad), this week I'm going to be really really super duper nice about everything. It's gonna be like reading Russian.
In truth, no "nice" contrivance needed, since I've actually had a lovely week. Things started off on a somewhat intellectual bent, when I sauntered along for the first time to Notting Hill nosher Pharmacy. And indeed, the interior does bare a remarkable likeness to a hard-up village pharmacy, so full marks to Damien Hirst for his grasp of Realism. The reason I was there, however, was not oggle the decor but celebrate Jay McInerney's new book, Model Behaviour (Bloomsbury). McInerney's sixth novel, it's a delightful romp around glitzy California, home to a world of fashion victims, unlikely romances and vacuous celebrities, and it's going to be huge.
He's a bit of a star himself, McInerney, having previously conjured up bestsellers including Bright Lights, Big City and The Last of the Savages; and the London literati were out in force for their American cousin. Will Self was scowling (well, actually, his girlfriend was) at the poor, pretty Elle girl who was skirting round the edges of the room trying to nobble a decent quote; a portly Stephen Fry knocked back the Moscow Mules and posed patiently for photos; Martin Amis (at least, I think it as him, I'm judging from cartoon caricatures here) was hanging out, as was New Zealand author Emily Perkins, all surrounded by piles of heavily networking (ie pissed) journos. McInerney, in the thick of this media madness, had turned a shiny pink by the time I found him, having a great time and getting sozzled. Yes, the booze was flowing thick and fast (provided you wanted white wine or vodka cocktails - whatever happened to champers on the house?) and the food was, of course, exquisite. So thanks Bloomsbury, I'm available for more of the same.
No pretence of intellectualism, of course, at the premiere of Armageddon where brains were on no account permitted to enter the building. The evening started off pretty badly for me. I was running late as usual, my taxi wouldn't go near Leicester Square and I eventually had to push my way through a packed crowd, who obviously thought I was trying to pull a fast one to get a better celeb-watching position. Elbows, spiky heels and the odd headbutt eventually got me to the front of the revamped Odeon (very cool, by the way; pounds 3.5million on imitation leopardskin seats, glass balconies, etc), where I had to clamber over the packed photographer's stand to get inside. I thank God that I was wearing respectable knickers; with a live video link inside the cinema, it appears half of London got an eyeful.
Anyway, Armageddon: loud, ridiculous, brilliant. Bruce Willis is the world's smuggest (baldest?) superhero, and this time, he's the best deep- core driller on the planet - it's glorious! Still, he's just so perfect for these cheesy roles, you can't fault him. The script is, of course, superfluous to requirements but Steve Buscemi bags a stream of hilarious oneliners. Ben Affleck, on the other hand, is required to look butch, forthright and, quite frankly, rampantly dim on all occasions and Liv Tyler spends the entire film looking like she's going to burst into tears. It's wonderful stuff.
A loud "boo and hiss", however, to Hollywood for not fielding a single star at this premiere, despite the enormous efforts and hype surrounding the film over here. In which case, all hail then, to our homegrown stars who came to the rescue, with the elegant Emma Noble and consort James Major eating the cameras both at the premiere and the after-party.
Ah yes, the afterparty... I was given word that the little do afterwards cost over pounds 250,000 to put on. Certainly money no expense spared on the "extras", from the stilt-walkers outside the venue (a carpark near Victoria Station) and the astronauts strolling around, to the podium dancers and the "outer-space" themed interior. Things were looking a bit thin in the VIP room (ah, but here's Emma & James again!) with Chris Eubank, Peter Andre, and the Lord Mayor (hello, Dave!) among the best the night had on offer. Oh, apart from Oswald Boetang, who was hypercool and a real sweetheart. I could be nitpicky (for a change), and say the party would have benefited from more intimate dance floor, less cheesy house, and some taxis waiting outside (walking the streets at 2am is not my idea of a good time) but hey, it was enough fun that my hangover ordered me home rather than the Eve's Bayou premiere party with Samuel L. Jackson the next day, and that's saying something.
My social schedule has also meant that I missed the opening night of Pulse at the LEA, a two week show of film and video as selected by visual artist Gillian Wearing (7-23 August). It's a bit of a celeb fest here too, since Wearing, famous in her own right for works including I'd Like to Teach the World To Sing and Dancing in Peckham has chosen the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe's 12 minute short, Patti Smith - Still Moving and Glen Belverio's Glenda And Camille Do Downtown (that's Ms Paglia plus drag queen) to sit in the show alongside the more offbeat choices of 1994's Hovis ad and Tony Hill's A Short History of the Wheel (60 seconds actually). Pulse is no Armageddon, that's for sure; plus it has the added advantage of being something my father will be bloody clueless about. What a relief.Reuse content