Posts Tagged ‘Soho House’

I saw Good Friend in PR for dinner, just the two of us. It wasn’t really a question of “catching up” – we’d been through each others’ news a number of times, and so this was more about spending some time together and – to use a proprietary phrase – “gadding”.

Conversation ranged from his plans to look at some new apartments (one, in particular, confirming his billing as “Fancy Gay”), the sentimentality of the Obama nomination (and the likelihood of McCain gliding into office on the back of it), Shakespeare’s Problem Plays, and alternative employment options for us both (none, it turned out).

We went to The Landmark – a great restaurant that he’d taken me to before – where we both devoured epic steaks, and some fabulous Rioja. There was another brief interlude at Soho House (where he was staying that night, in a room that was a cross between a Princess’ bedroom in a fairy tale and a Shoreditch bar), up on the roof terrace, where we switched to a pretty perfect Gigondas, and then our separate ways: he, down two floors, me, forty blocks up town.

It was a great evening – easy-going, far from frenetic and even accommodating a few silences – one of the ones that you have with great friends, where you could be anywhere, just catching up and (to use a horrible, but apt word) bonding. He’s coming to London for a Christening whereat he’s a Godfather in a week’s time – so we’ll see him then, and I am really looking forward to it.

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We went to a TOWN OF SHOPS. A whole TOWN. Of SHOPS.

This is Wife’s idea of town planning, and my idea of hell. I don’t mean that typical male cliche of “I can’t stand shopping, me” – but let me put the facts before you. We arrived (on a coach, which was something of a first for me since the days of school Rugby tours) at 9.45, before the shops opened, and we left at 6.45pm. We had twenty minutes for lunch – so for almost nine solid hours, we went round shops and bought things.

In its defence, I will confess that this place did a pretty good line in shops: Gucci, Prada (where WIfe relieved them of three dresses), TSE, Calvin Klein, Missoni – the whoel Bond Street thing, basically, mocked up to look like the location for Hitchcock’s “The Birds” (including a steepled building, presumably a Church of Shopping, which shows that they have understood their target audience pretty perfectly).

In the evening, we went over to Good Friend in PR’s flat (the Tribeca location of which marks him out as, in Acclaimed Photographer Friend’s view as “a fancy gay”), and then onto a great fish restaurant, where one of APF’s other great friends is the manager. She gave us the best table, the best service, and free Champagne: she had been primed by APF to expect us and she saw that we were treated like kings, exemplifying, as we agreed the difference between British service (“Let’s just get through this and pretend that each other is invisible”) and American service (“Let’s pretend that I am genuinely pleased to be serving you, and that nothing is too much trouble, because I am your FRIEND”). And then we went on to Soho House – and that’s when it all went wrong in terms of sheer amount of alcohol consumer in a companionable and funny night that saw us getting to bed at 2am – but given that (thanks to the children) this sort of hedonism is very much the exception, rather than the rule, I don’t see anything wrong with that (other than the headache that was left as a little aide-memoire for us when we awoke…)

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Wife and I saw a lot of Good Friend in PR this trip. New York is currently is home (although I am doing what I can to change that, considering teaming up with Events Company Chairwoman to form a powerful lobby that will force his repatriation to W4) and now that he works for himself we were able to see more of him that would have been the case in the bad old days of wage-slavery.

One night saw him (with typical flair) take us to two of the best rooftop bars in New York: the first, at his club, the very ritzy Soho House, the second, the tiny but beautiful bar at the top of the 60 Thompson hotel. We had a great time with him (he’s having a rather trying time, but dealing with everything with his customary generosity, good humour and grace), which explains why, although we both had separate dinner arrangements, he left Wife and I in Soho House when he went back to his flat, before joining us later.

As we sat on the roof terrace, being served by a waitress who (in Wife’s immortal phrase was “distracted by her own breasts” – understandably, as it happens, but anyway…), we talked about the difference in our characters, agreeing that one of my dominant character traits is to over-think, over-analyse (and thus) over-worry about pretty much everything. I suggested that it might be, in part, my job that makes me behave like this (analysis being something of a leitmotif in Planning), but she feels that the behaviour is more fundamental than that).

She also feels that I let my very English embarrassment gene kick in too easily. Citing a series of photographs that she took for her exhibition (in which she dressed as a giant, eerie rabbit – think Donnie Darko – and cavorted across a series of twilit landscapes to the amusement of the amassed onlookers), she said to me: “The thing is, darling: sometimes, you’ve got to wear the rabbit suit. You may feel a tit, but that’s the only way to get it done.” She’s right – sometimes, you have got to wear the rabbit suit – which will be a nice surprise for my colleagues at work.

After a great dinner at Matsuri, with Acclaimed Photographer Friend, we headed back over to Good Friend in PR’s current outpost – 60 Thomson. It’s a super chic hotel, and he was chic to match: cool haircut and a very svelte frame meant that he fits right into this sort of place (whereas I still manage to look like I really ought to be limited to bookshops) and we went up to the rooftop bar – the second of the night. What a view: absolutely breath-taking, and although we couldn’t stay long (Wife was not so fresh from her Go-Go Dancer baptism), we had a wonderful time.

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Sunday, 28th October 2007

We cunted off to a surprise birthday party last night at exclusive Soho’s exclusive private members’ club, exclusive Soho House.

We had hoped that it was going to be the branch up the road, thus aiding easy shit-faced toddling back home, but it turned out to be the original branch off Old Compton Street. So, dressed up (Wife looking – as was commented on REPEATEDLY, to the point that it got fucking irritating – absolutely stunning), we hit W1 – and from the moment we got there, we realised we were at (pretty much) the party of the year.

It was a surprise 40th birthday party for Head of Communications for Government Minister Woman With Dirty Laugh, thrown by her husband. The centrepiece – clocked by Wife the second we entered the room – was a life-size, anatomically correct Chloe handbag birthday cake. Absolutely splendid and (as Wife established as soon as HoCfGMWWDL arrived and had finished shrieking with very touching, and obviously genuine, delight) a cake-derived replica of what the main birthday present had been.

So, the Champagne (excellent/ flowed all evening, and the food was first rate – and (even better), my parents had taken ALL of the children for the night: so there was no danger of our hangover-dulled brains been prodded into action at some ungodly hour with a child’s piercing need to update you on the status of the garage they had been building for Darth Vader, or their triumphant urine-free night: lovely as that is…

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