28 Jan The Royal Wave
Well, after the New Year’s Eve fiasco involving lost keys and flat tyres, I had all good intentions of staying home for a while – till, for example, July.
But the very next week we had an invitation to our friend Sarah’s birthday party. Now Sarah is a highly respected neuroscientist, so I prepared with a happy heart and knew this ‘party’ would undoubtedly be a quiet evening of intellectual conversation. But then we got an email asking guests to wear a mask.
‘Don’t worry,’ said Marina, another friend who was attending.’I’ve got lots of masks, I’ll bring them for all of us.’
So our band of 5 women arrived and met outside the venue. I don’t know about you, but a masked party suggests to me Venetian velvet eyewear. We waited in anticipation as Marina rummaged in her bag.
‘Who wants to be the Queen?’ she asked, gaily pulling out the face of our esteemed monarch, complete with white elastic and slitty eye holes.
‘Is that the only option?’ I asked grimly.
‘No, of course not,’ returned Marina and I breathed a sigh of relief. ‘I have Prince Phillip, Charles, Camilla, William and Kate.’
Reader, it was a hard choice. I ended up as Prince Charles, and in we all went as the Royal family. If I tell you that entrance was the most subdued thing about the party, you’ll have a good idea that neuroscientists can have a flying time with the best of them.
So when our next invitation came, to Lisa Tchenguiz’s birthday party, I was more prepared. If you’re a recent friend of this page, let me explain that Lisa is one of our Executive Producers on The World Unseen and I Can’t Think Straight. She is also no stranger to the joys of animal print home decor, large diamonds and dancing on tables in St Tropez. She is to parties what I am to the music of Karen Carpenter. A global ambassador.
‘Where’s the party?’ I asked Hanan.
‘Annabels,’ she replied. One of the most exclusive nightclubs in London.
‘What time?’ I ventured. We were leaving at 5am for Munich and the DLD Conference the following morning.
‘Starts at 10pm.’
‘Can I wear my Prince Charles mask?’
‘I really think it’s best not to.’
‘Then I’m not going.’
I could see Hanan’s eyebrows knitting above her Macbook screen. ‘Lisa’s like family to us. We have to go.’
I really could not see the correlation between the first sentence and the second. Luckily, Lisa herself knows me better than my wife does, and understood that, unlike everyone else in her life, I would rather be in bed with a book at 11pm than sitting down for dinner, even with my dodgy mask on.
We took her out for lunch instead – and I write this having been to Munich and returned already, from the DLD Conference.
Run by the indomitable Steffi Czerny, we were able to spend time with our friend and chairwoman Maria Furtwangler, who interviewed me at DLDWomen last June, and also heard talks from a host of tech geniuses, as well as Arianna Huffington and Yoko Ono, and you’ll be glad to know that we attended even more parties. Clearly, that’s another blog. For now, I have to go and exchange my party face mask for a nice cup of cocoa…