I shall not live long enough to extol all the virtues of Harriet who came back and forth from her office off Savile Row with neon bar signs, strings of fairy lights, bags of limes and gingham plastic sheeting which she then hammered onto the roof of the wendy house (not the limes, just the sheeting). It has to be said, no, I'm sorry, but it does, that the Bulgarian contingency were lax in acquitting their allotted duties and by Monday the loo was still in no fit state to greet the Mayor or my mother. So on our way to the Albert Hall to see Bedlam's old pal Andrew Roachford perform in his day job as current lead singer of Mike and the Mechanics, we screeched into the security hut at the Victoria & Albert Museum to collect the old exhibition posters that Ms. Carr at the museum had sequestered for us as emergency wallpaper. André then set about pasting these with panache and the final effect - WC walls of "Golden Age of Couture" and the corridor approach plastered with amusing and a propos, not a pro-pooh, decoupage, was most effective in diverting the eye from comedy (yeah, funny til it kills you) wiring and unsightly damp patches.
We held our party on the odd day of Tuesday (such as I decree is the new Thursday) because it was Andrew's only day off during the Mechanics tour. Conveniently amongst some marvellous things Bedlam recently inherited from the late and illustrious Judge Ann Goddard - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/8510411/Her-Honour-Ann-Goddard.html - was an upright piano. On Tuesday morning Roy the Tuner arrived to do what he could with its inconvenient discordance, and rendered it playable for the evening. Playable, that is, when you are as talented as Andrew and his brother Stephen who supplied the PA for speech making and serenading and ably accompanied him on guitar. I'm making you wait a long time for the full on party action here so look, to reward your patience, get a jump start of joy from this, the musical entr'acte to which Andrew treated us and that astounded our guests in the most delightful way:
My mother augmented the M&S party food, peeling quails eggs 'til her fingers were raw, blobbing dill sauce on open smoked salmon sandwiches and honey-basting chipolatas. Yum. Tim, needless to say, was tidying like a man possessed all around (a week later we are still yet to find the base of the kettle or the special stash of swatches) and helping Mark dress the new mannequins such as arrived that day to display the newly made pieces. Ian (the man who put the "in" in innuendo) was lolling around at work while all this was going on. It has, however, been noted he can quickly enough organise a day off when a photo shoot involving Bedlam poster boys McKinley, Ollie (from the Oval Lounge Restaurant next door, who, thank you thank you, gave ice and removed debris) and Anders is mooted. Wait! Did someone say "new pieces"?!
|The Poacher's Jacket and waistcoat (with pockets big enough for a bunny)|
|The Seville Marmalade waistcoat|
|The Liquorice Dab jacket as modelled by Oval Area Manager Tim|
With fifteen minutes to go before the published kick-off, I was on the blocks to dash round the corner, home, to scrub up. Then who should arrive early but the boys from Crescent Trading - no doubt to get me back for all the times I turn up late to get our fabric from them! And so it was that I greeted the first round of guests bare of face and in clothes so utilitarian I would (almost) rather have been bare.
|Mr Martin White and Mr Philip Pittack of Crescent Trading|
|Prompt party goers, local design-o-tocracy, Mr and Mrs Stephen Bayley and, in the middle, Mr Nick Curtis, menswear correspondent of the Evening Standard|
|The lady who more or less invented the concept of modern company branding, Jean Carr|
|Mr Lyall Watson, rock god and my tutor when I did go to the RADA with a pretty lady that he brought along|