DJ Taylor: Millie is three years into the post of club meeter-and-greeter


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The Independent Online

In her mid-twenties, petite, raven-haired, unflustered, always dressed in clothes of unimaginable sophistication, Millie can be found five nights a week between the hours of 7pm and midnight behind the reception desk of the Grimaldi Club, recently named "Soho's most fashionable media watering-hole".

Three years into the post of club meeter-and-greeter, the professionalism she brings to her duties would satisfy the most exacting judge. No member goes unidentified, no guest lacks reassurance and there is no minor crisis that cannot be solved by her pacifying tones. "Stephen, I think you'll find Muriel in the Freud Room… I'm so sorry, Hanif, but Will said he couldn't make it… If you gentlemen wouldn't mind waiting, I'm sure Miss Faith will come out and talk to you."

Given this pitch of poise and suavity, it is scarcely surprising that Millie's fame has spread far beyond the confines of this somewhat dingy suite of rooms in London W1. She has, for example, had her photograph taken for an article about "Soho's trendiest style mavens" in a Sunday supplement, been interviewed for a Radio Four documentary about contemporary Bohemianism and turned up in the credits of the last Florence and the Machine album.

Tokens of appreciation descend on her corkscrew-curled head like so much confetti, and no evening in the Grimaldi is complete without a motorcycle messenger bringing her a pair of tickets to Latitude, or an invitation to join "Damon and a few friends" at a Jools Holland after-party.

Many a girl in Millie's position would have had her head turned by these attentions. Curiously, the chatelaine of Wardour Street is made of sterner stuff. The Latitude tickets are invariably returned on the grounds that, "If I want to sit in a field listening to music I'd rather go to Glyndebourne," and the Jools Holland after-parties declined as liable to distract her from her work: for the first two years of her employment at the Grimaldi, Millie was finishing her PhD thesis on the later poetry of Ezra Pound. Just lately, she has written a novel. This, described by its publishers as "a swingeing satire of London's off-duty media elite", will appear in the autumn. Naturally, there is nothing in it to offend the libel lawyers. But whatever destiny lies in store for its vastly talented author, it is highly unlikely that she will ever be invited back to the Grimaldi Club.