Frankly, there is nowhere in the world I would rather be than London for the Season in June. You are quite welcome to the World Cup when invited to dress in one’s best for the Cartier Polo, Royal Ascot, the Royal Henley Regatta and Wimbledon. Though I batted my lashes at Ralph Lauren’s book launch for Jack Carlson’s excellent new Thames & Hudson tome Rowing Blazers, the invitation to sit in the Members’ enclosure at Wimbledon was not forthcoming and Royal Ascot is still something of a moot point. However Mrs T and I are off to the Cartier Polo for the Queen’s Cup on Sunday and Jack kindly invited us to the Members’ Enclosure at Henley.
I rather like a dress code. The polo is straightforward: a French blue blazer, shirt tie, white jeans and tan brogues or chukka boots. Much as I was inspired by Jack’s handsome book about rowing blazers I think it unacceptable to wear an approximation of one. It’s rather like wearing a stripe tie hoping people will mistake it for club colours to which you have no right. I think I might pop out my Anderson & Sheppard yellow linen ‘Hi-de-Hi’ summer suit for Henley and invest in a Lock & Co Panama. I lost my last one off the coast of Spain.
Wish Richard Branson would stop doing a Hitchcock writing a cameo role for himself in all of his Virgin advertisements. Sorry to digress but I simply had to get that off my chest. While we’re on the subject, would you fancy being one of the first passengers on Virgin Galactic’s flight into outer space? Not f****** much I wouldn’t. I think of outer space rather in the way I think of Diana Ross. I like to admire from afar but fear a close encounter would end in tears.
Oh Santa Maria Novella! It seems we have the dubious pleasure of Adrian Childs as the host of ITV’s World Cup coverage. The man is as lugubrious as Churchill: the nodding dog in the advert not the greatest Prime Minister of the 20th century. Why choose a man who pronounces Brazil’s capital city ‘Reeeeaooow di Janeeeiraaw’? I’m only watching the opening ceremony and let me tell you if they don’t rock out to Copacabana I’ll be switching over to Murder She Wrote before you can say Barry Manilow.
The cat is now out of the baggage about my new Thames & Hudson title. It is James Sherwood’s Discriminating Guide to London and is an homage to a book of the same name written by James ‘Orient Express’ Sherwood who I think I told you I met last week. Mr Sherwood’s guide was written in the 70s and it was slightly spooky that my namesake was covering the same turf as I subsequently did for the Louis Vuitton Guides to London.
Mr Sherwood’s guide was exactly what I wanted to know about dining and shopping in London. Restaurants were divided into useful subsections such as ‘when you’ve come into an inheritance’, ‘when you’re contemplating an affair’ and ‘where to take your godchildren’. There was also a section called ‘not for us’ in which Mr Sherwood listed The Ivy and Simpsons-in-the-Strand. I will doubtless lose friends and alienate people when deciding which hotels and restaurants to deem ‘not for us’ though the list is long. My pet hates in restaurants include those with acoustics that make one feel as deaf as Queen Alexandra, bright lighting after dark and oleaginous service from the Uriah Heep school of catering.
What else is new on the Rialto? Well, you know I’ve missed the world of fine jewellery and am looking forward to full immersion next week when I give a luxury lecture at Chaumet’s conference at the Hotel Meurice in Paris. Magnificent jewels make me melt and it’s been a long time since I used to report for the Financial Times on the subject. Apropos of this, I was lucky enough to be invited to Solange Azagury-Partiridge’s fabulous Carlos Place townhouse to preview her debut men’s jewellery collection Alpha today. The jaunt is worthy of another letter so you’ll have to wait for the sneak privada. Suffice to say Solange’s blackened yellow gold collection rocks.
OMFG! The Brazil World Cup opening ceremony has just begun with an homage to The Lord of the Rings: walking trees, forest maidens dressed in hideous fronds of fern (one wearing what appears to be NHS/Nana Mouskouri specs) and the inevitable dancing troop in leotards that leave nothing to the imagination about their religion. Just think what better a job Busby Berkeley would have done with an Amazonian rainforest theme…
There’s a rather large disco ball in the middle of the World Cup stadium. I would imagine the trouser rubbing football fan fraternity will be terribly disappointed if it doesn’t open at some point to reveal Jennifer Lopez or Shakira shaking a tit or two. There are now some rather camp boys in yellow satin bloomers dancing the samba…perhaps a tribute to Carmen Miranda who used to stash cocaine in a secret compartment in her gold lamé Ferragamo stack heels.
I bet the men on stilts will play havoc with the football pitch turf: rather like asking Nigella to dance a tarantella on your back in high heeled Louboutins. There’s a nice areal shot of the stadium showing the symmetry of the dancing formations: Trooping the Colour it isn’t. Oh well Rowley, I think Murder She Wrote is beckoning. There’s only so much folk dancing one boy in Bloomsbury can take.