Whizzing Through November

Tuesday 19th December 2017

Even in November one was barely able to breathe. Will there ever be a month of rest? I still haven’t found the right shoes to have with the new short trousers. They have to be huge and clumping, as worn in The First Monday of May, by the director of the costume department of the Met, partner of Thom Browne, hence in Thom Browne bizarre, squew-whiff frockage and footwear. But it’s new, it’s important, it’s must-have.

If only I could wear one house – and wear it forever. It would all be so much simpler. But, as I’ve said before, fashion is the fight against Death.

I managed to shrink my cream cable-knit by APC and lost my Waitrose trolley-release disc. But they gave me another; then I found the one lost. So now I have two.

Harry Rollo was beamed into cinemas from New York or rather his performance was and he was seen briefly ‘chatting’ between the acts. New York was knocked out by Harry. I should have been there. Those wielding the cameras for the beaming hadn’t got quite the right idea: the performance is a whole, not a series of parts. Never mind: one had enough of a sense of its infinite mystery, rarity, social charm and degradation as well as possible salvation . Re: the bush fires in California, where Harry and Mercury Mr Kitten reside part-time, Harry said the Getty Museum has got a special force field around it which repels fire. Another homes, such as those in Bel Air, are ‘not allowed’ to catch fire.

I dined very privately with a prominent architectural historian who had lived in a house in Glasgow where Val’s doctor friend now lives. It was in this house that Val and the Doctor friend used a scalpel to achieve the exact 3mm distance between one score and another to achieve the perfect crackling for a roast pork.

But it was best not to mention this coincidental connection because apparently the arch hist had been consigned to the basement of this Glasgow house owing to wife trouble of some kind.

Then a rare performance was given of Quaint Honour at the Finborough Theatre. This play is really by John Holmestrom, one of the bank of late great Radio 3 announcers with weird private lives. There was Cormac Rigby who lived entirely for Radio 3, the Royal Ballet and the Roman Catholic Church, Patricia Hughes of Graciousness and Perfect Locution and Miles Kent, of course, known to me, Adrian Edge, personally. Another whose name escapes often announced on arrival at the office that he couldn’t sit down having been whacked by some hired boys. I know all this because Anthony Mottram, before he became the Saviour of the Block, worked in the Radio 3 office from 1980 to 82 approx. John Holmestrom  .. well, he wrote this play under a pseudonym. Set in a public it’s about ‘romances’ between older boys and their ‘fags’. Such instructive liaisons the author seems to approve of  but then he doesn’t. The whole thing’s a bit of a muddle.In some ways it’s a crusading Gay Rights piece and remarkable for being so early – about 1958. It was performed then. But I did rather long for it to end in the end. Speechifying.

I was almost late for the perf owing to rather intense estate work. In brief, I needed someone to witness my signature on some docs by virtue of which, once signed, I could acquire agricultural acres. So imagine the good forture: Marmion Beaufleasance was present at the perf with the editor of Debretts – perfect. He witnessed my signature in the interval, even though he’d got his arm in a sling.

The next important engagement was Hove,where Anthony Mottram and I stayed in the world’s most expensive Bnb – £150 per night each. We attended Hamish McCrae’s Disco Party for his 50th birthday on the beach there in a disco building. Such was the volume of disco you had to sit in a kind of trance while all kinds of crazies in costumes such as New York policemen, little buzzy frocky women, all delirious with joy, whirled past. We saw Wayne Sleep’s sort of partner – in any case presented on ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here’ as such – in fact a kind of 1940s Golf Club figure in a blazer, usually incredibly plastered. Well, he was there, now very badly crik-ed, poor old thing. Bruce McBain – whose own connection with Wayne Sleep is legendary – was convinced the Wayne Sleep partner hissed at him which would have been remarkable because he appeared capable of virtually nothing. Apart from that, AM, Bruce and myself sat on a banquette in a very agreeable state of suspension, kind of held upright by the force of disco sound. It was very soothing and time passed pleasantly with the occasional gourmet Scotch egg, home-made, or a sandwich for diversion.

The next day Hamish and Marcus Cargill, England’s leading clock mender, gave a luncheon drinks at which I met the fashion designers from Rottingdean. They’ve done well. They’ve been in H Nicks and Barney’s possibly. As well as Japan and Korea. But they said it was a bore having to make the clothes and they’ve now moving more into moulded shapes.  So it sounds as if I’ve missed that boat. We’ll see.

After that Aunt Lavinia bade me to a private breakfast at the Royal Academy for the Jasper Johns Exhib. Fascinating. After 40 or 50 years he revealed a tiny amount of himself – such as his interest in the 1977 Jubilee Vase. I would have liked to have returned for further study but no chance. Like the Rottingdean fashion designers, Jasper Johns is a very elusive artist, requiring careful attention.

There’s much worry that these private breakfasts are going to dry up and we really will have to give, give, give to the Royal Academy to get preferential treatment. There’s to be a Charles 1 exhib opening in January and I really do despair of the PV.

Finally for November there was a double party night on Thursday 30th: at the National Aids Foundation (Conrad Matheson important there) I thought: ‘That’s funny… Brian May’s on his mobile while tributes were being paid to those who have gone on before from the AIDS… maybe he didn’t care that much about poor Freddie Mercury.’ But it wasn’t Brian May, it was Sean Matthias. Brian May I found from Googling is a twin of  Charles 11: at some point they would have looked identical but one became a king and the other went grey and turned into an ageing rock star.  The other great guests were Clive Anderson, Reggie Cresswell and Sir Ian McKellen, of course, whom I sure his coat was tied with string. I had to dash on to the Bad Sex Party of the Literary Review. Arriving late, I found an air of chandeliers having crashed to the ground (although they hadn’t of course).  The great blast of the party was over and rather peculiar people who looked quite a lot like the one in the Rolling Stones who isn’t Sir Mickland Jagger were wandering around in a ‘spaced-out’ state.  Even so they appeared to have little connection with either bad sex or literature. People said the place was the former residence of Lady Astor. Well, Granny knew Lady Astor and once called on her at her London home. I talked at some length to a biographer whom I thought Joshua Baring and Robert Nevil adored but it turned out I’d got the wrong one and they loathe this person. JB blew up in the cloakroom over the Grow Your Own Cucumber leaving present. All the attendant’s eyes were out on stalks. We went round to a new restaurant in the ICA or in that range of buildings where Joshua gained special access. I couldn’t believe that I was dining with them. Usually they signal Three’s a Crowd and I’m sent home alone. Beans were bought and Joshua said at the neighbouring table was the new Head of the Tate. Later he decided it wasn’t.


Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2017 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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