Dylan Jones: At one of the nightclubs you can still reserve a VIP table for the rather worrying sum of £8,000

Talk of the Town

Related Topics

The Kremlin is hidden by an enormous row of BMW billboards, although they seem to be the only ones in Moscow full of advertisements. Even though the VIP tables in Soho Rooms, one of the city's most ostentatious nightclubs, can still be reserved for the rather worrying sum of £8,000 (and on which you can still place a £1,200 bottle of Dom Perignon), and even though the luxury shops are reporting a brisker trade than at Christmas, times here are still tough.

Weirdly, the city feels like something of a brand graveyard, as every flat surface that was once covered in an image of Lenin (when I last visited, in 1986, pre-Glasnost, they were literally everywhere) has now been replaced by a neon luxury logo. The city I once knew is unrecognisable, and where the wide streets were once peppered with figures with the smallest shopping bags, now they're full of Audis and Mercedes packed up with designer holdalls.

Moscow is still the great melting pot of northern Europe, though. I was in town for the AngloMockba Festival, another of Pablo Ganguli's extraordinary cultural festivals, this one attended by the likes of Michael Nyman, Gavin Turk, Martha Fiennes, Michael Craig-Martin and Stephen Frears. After my talk we all decamped to the John Dunne, a pretty fair approximation of a traditional British pub, so traditional that Stephen Frears ordered chicken tikka masala, and Michael Nyman wolfed down a steak and kidney pie.

The night before, in the basement of The Most (a brilliant restaurant/nightclub combo), William Orbit turned the room into a blur of pre-apocalyptic noise, the dance floor awash with long-limbed beauties and their burly, shorn-haired men (Frears had long-since departed for a moonlit walk around Red Square: "Whenever I hear the word 'DJ' I tend to walk in the other direction"). The locals wore sunglasses and drank cocktails, the visitors drank industrial-strength vodka. In Moscow, like most other places in the world, you can always dance away a recession.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

i Editor's Letter: A huge step forward in medical science, but we're not all the way there yet

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron has painted a scary picture of what life would be like under a Labour government  

You want constitutional change? Fixed-term parliaments have already done the job

Steve Richards
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album