Going Home November 2010

Dear Rowley,

I had an evening of passion yesterday. Strike that, I had an evening at Stephen Sondheim’s Passion at the Donmar Warehouse with my better half courtesy of Ascot’s Gary England. Now you know me Rowley. Usually I need an aisle seat at the theatre to make an escape should I have to. Not last night. The seats were front row dead centre and there was no escape and no interval.

Where to begin? Elena Rogers, she who rocked it out as Evita a couple of years ago, played Fosca: she was sad, she was tired, she was old. She was sad and tired of feeling old but she fell in love with a tempestuous red headed soldier who was having an affair with a perky married blonde. The story leads us to a climax where Fosca is dying. The soldier comes to realize that love is not really about attraction or surface charms. It is a mirror – a mirror – in which you see how much you are adored by someone else and hopefully it is a two way mirror.

In Fosca’s case, it was. At the climax of the play, the soldier sleeps with her in full knowledge that it will kill her. I was on the verge of tears probably for an hour and fifty minutes of the two hour performance. Isn’t it funny that you always think people on the stage are looking at you? When Elena took a bow, I think she did eyeball me. What else to do but nod in admiration at a feat of acting with voice that I will probably never see the like again?

So what did yesterday hold? A fantabulous massage by Dino that confirmed my opinion that this is the way to keep calm, strong and happy. Following the massage, I hot-footed it to the Savoy to consort with the American Bar’s idol Erik who is being treated to an ivory dinner jacket courtesy of Henry Poole in time for the Savile Row book launch at the Savoy on the 22nd. He is formulating a Savile Row cocktail especially for the party.

What may a Row cocktail be? It is Tanqueray 10 based. Erik suggested gin cut with champagne or possibly absinthe. Fine if we all want a block booking in casualty. I think we do a classic pink gin or G&T and give it a kick with a dressing such as a slice of lime rind, a sprig of mint or possibly a cherry soused in vermouth. My most fun at the Savoy today was seeing Kiaran grinning from ear to ear that the visit of HRH the Prince of Wales last night was a raging success. In his speech, the PoW said he wished his ‘darling grandmother’ was alive to see a place she so adored back in business. My second most fun was laughing like a drain in Brett’s press office with all the ITV mafia about how much frolicking seems to have already occurred at the Savoy…and not just by the guests.

The Savoy is already a much-loved legend in London and this after about two-weeks of trading. Everyone loves the Beaufort Bar and Nicky Haslam is hosting his Cole Porter tribute there two days after the Savile Row party. But I love, love, love the American Bar. How can you not adore it when the institution that is Salim (head barman for decades and now host) greets you at the entrance and always finds you a table. I usually drink Dubonnet and Gin but have a terribly sore throat at present so ordered a gin fizz involving egg whites, cream and gin shaken vigorously if not frantically into a froth. A hard cocktail to perfect and the American Bar did it beautifully. Quite liked Charlie’s pink gin. Then again, quite like Charlie full stop but a tad young for my taste.

Despite the sore throat, I am having an indecently good time at present. I am sleeping better but more to the point the other half is feeling happier. He left work early – early! – yesterday and met me in the champagne bar at Kettner’s before going to the Donmar. Afterwards we didn’t dine. He came back to Bloomsbury Towers and shared a bottle of birthday champagne. I think we are beginning to understand each other. Only took a decade.

The best thing about stress, over-tiredness and illness is what it does for your waistline. I got into a 30 waist recently for some spray-on needlecord trousers in navy and Lincoln green. Now all I need to do is kick box to keep it all toned. My pictures today are of my stomping ground: the statue of Fox that dominates Bloomsbury Square, the gate of Bedford Square to which I have a key and a monument just beyond the Savoy to Edward VII that also reveals a carved head of Prince Eddy that you would not spot unless you took the moments out of your life to really stop and look and learn.

Speaking of which, while I was swooping round the private dining room corridor at the Savoy today I came across a chap dressed as a Pierrot and didn’t even bat an eyelid. It is the Savoy. Why not? Turns out it was a big dinner and performance by RADA. Aren’t drama students a bind? I remember a Drama Soc ball in Newcastle where a girl with Kate Bush hair and an ankle length skirt (who probably played the cello) did all the actions to You Saw the Whole of the Moon. Turned one’s stomach over. Now if it was Vogue we’d be in business. Hold that thought. I go home tomorrow after lunch at Wilton’s with Mrs T.