You recall I told you about the remarkable Rosy Runciman who is Sir Cameron’s archivist? Well, Rosy invited me to the press night of Noel Coward’s Hayfever at the Kingston Theatre last week starring Celia Imrie as Judith Bliss. Bliss was the word or maybe blissikins as Nancy Mitford would have it. Rarely have I seen a play so wonderfully cast. The play bristled and crackled with wit and three acts finished in what felt like the blink of an eye. I couldn’t have liked it more.
This evening sees the 25th anniversary production of Sir Cam’s Les Miserables at the O2 Arena. It is to be shown in cinemas nationwide live. I do wish we could have gone together. Anyway, Rosy has been putting together a big, glam glossy brochure for Les Mis at the O2 and she gave me a sneak prevarda. Having just put to bed nine little booklets for the Sig Suites at the Savoy, I understand what a momentous job this is. I also got a look at the model for the O2 Les Mis set. It makes Cecil B. De Mille’s King of Kings look like a nativity play in a provincial methodist chapel.
Rosy has negotiated the loan of a silver cigarette case belonging to Coward that has been sent over from his home in Switzerland. The cigarette box – complete with Noel’s cigarettes (white and gold tipped B&H since you ask) – is inscribed from the actress Elaine Stritch who starred in Coward’s Sail Away at the Savoy theatre. This Rosy gave to me the day before the O2 concert at Sir Cam’s London HQ in Bedford Square. Rosy was cool as a cucumber. She also loaned me the original poster for Sail Away and made a pristine copy of a 1934 illustration of Fred and Adele Astaire in Stop Flirting. Fred and Adele stayed at the Savoy whenever they performed on the London stage.
So we now have three pieces owned by the Master in the Savoy museum and a bronze of Coward in transit that will be placed in his Signature Suite. I am putting the finishing touches to the Savoy museum tomorrow by which time I hope we will have the additional showcase the GM has promised me. Happy days Rowley. I will breathe the biggest sigh of relief on the evening of 10.10.10 when the Savoy finally opens its doors. I’ve enclosed a photograph that will amuse you. It is of Chiefy the leopard chained-up outside the hotel in Savoy Court. Chiefy belonged to one of the Savoy’s guests. As you do.
Are you loving the interiors of the Savoy Tearoom? It is one of the most successful rooms in the hotel and a bravura display of the Savoy art consultant Peter Millard’s talents. I would imagine the interior designer Monsieur Rochon is absolutely delighted with the artworks commissioned for the Savoy. I am rather taken by the card tables in the Grand Salon. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to play a rubber or two of bridge underneath the stained glass dome with a Dubonnet and Gin at one’s elbow?
I always know I am under a little pressure when I look at my nails and see the sides slightly nibbled. Note to self. Make an appointment with Sidik and Liz at Trumper for a haircut and manicure before 10.10.10. Liz and Sidik are such a pill. I always walk out into Curzon Street after an appointment with a smile on my face and a shine on my nails. Last time I went to Trumper, both were on hols so I had my hair trimmed by a fabulously entertaining Cypriot lady who looked not dissimilar to Ivana Trump. Miss Whiplash regaled me with naughty stories; continually resting both paws on my shoulder while she leant into my ear to whisper and giggle. When Miss W got carried away, she’d catch me a terrific biff in the shoulder blade or slap on the back. I was black and blue by the time she’d finished.
I had a call from Tom Baker yesterday to say my black sequin dinner jacket was ready for a final fitting. I am terribly excited and have already decided to wear it for the first party in the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy. I think it will strike the perfect note against all the black and gold leaf. Lord knows what to wear for the Savoy Savile Row book launch. I am very tempted to wear my green velvet Edward Sexton smoking. It last had an outing at the London Cut exhibition at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Paris. ‘Get you!’ as my Royal Ascot partner in crime Suzi Perry would say.
I have a terrific yen to buy a Turkish carpet today. Bloomsbury Towers is carpeted with beige and is looking decidedly tatty after two and a half years of my flailing around in concert with Liza Minnelli red wine in one hand and a St Moritz in the other. Hardly dignified but huge fun at the time. Pity the poor neighbours. Give me a note and I’ll flatten it. I think a luscious Turkish carpet will look just the ticket in my office. It was quite minimal when I first moved in. Now it is becoming increasingly like Lord Goring’s dressing room in The Importance of Being Ernest.
Didn’t you adore Strictly Come Dancing last night? Shrieked with laughter watching Anne Widdicombe being shunted across the dance floor by Anton du Beke as if he were trying to land the Dover to Calais ferry in the Manchester ship canal. She’s game though. Made me hoot when Craig gave it to her hot and she replied ‘Lord knows what you’ll say about next week’s salsa’. Quite. I can barely wait. Until then…