Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Party

Well, after six hours on a train this dedicated party-goer arrived at the wind-swept capital - large branches strewn across the pavement and everyone fighting to keep their feet. In the British Library an announcement advised people to check their transport home and when I emerged again at about four-thirty the shops in Euston Road were in darkness and it occurred to me that the party might be cancelled. But it wasn't.

I was staying at the Penn club - the place where John Wyndham spent most of his working life in a single room with communal bathroom. I managed not to snag my last pair of tights (out of three), and soon was walking down Russell Street, Charing Cross Road, Shaftesbury Avenue, Picadilly and then St James Street to arrive at the club.

The club had a grand piano in the front window and from the outside the party guests looked like animated mannequins with young publishing assistants in glamorous dresses checking people in at the door. I took off my hat and tried to comb my hair flat with my fingers.
'No, author. Clare Dudman.' (I still feel slightly embarrassed about describing myself like this). But a swift check down the relevant list (and maybe my dishevelled appearance) indicated I was telling the truth. 'Yes, OK. Go ahead.'

Now the 'going in' bit to going to a party is always a challenge, I find. Sometimes I have to walk around the block a few times persuading myself not to walk away, and once or twice I have hovered at the entrance and almost given up before being dragged in with a small mob. But perhaps worse than the 'going in' is 'the entrance' where there are masses of people (when I always feel like the unsophisticated provincial) and then the undressing and the acquiring of a cloakroom ticket. I fumble fastenings, I drop things - and worst of all I giggle at nothing. I feel awkward and out of place and the only cure is alcohol administered as quickly as possible.

Then things get better. And I am happy to report that on Thursday I eventually managed to enjoy myself very well. In fact it was a great party - lots of dancing and lots of talking and some very interesting guests. At about one a.m. I realised that the place was almost empty and started my walk back to the club. However I was so hyped up by it all I couldn't sleep and lay in bed listening to the wind still screeching down the mostly covered fireplace and behind that the sounds of central London - ambulance sirens and soon some insomniacal birds.

I am still exhausted and hoping to return to normal life tomorrow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I hope the little man is happy, too...

Sat Jan 20, 07:02:00 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sun Jan 21, 10:35:00 am  
Blogger Anne S said...

Sorry about the deleted comment. I made a spelling mistake and decided to start again.
Six hours on the train to go to a party! That's dedicated party going I must admit. Though, come to recall, I travelled all the way to New York to attend a book launch party for the new Whittemore editions a couple of years ago - 14 hours+ in a plane.

Glad you enjoyed the party. I can relate to be so psyched up afterwards that you can't to sleep. I'm like that after a good music concert.

Sun Jan 21, 10:38:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marly: yes, little man very happy!

Anne S: I should have explained - it was only 6 hours because the train was more than three hours late due to storms and trees falling on the lines. At one stage we had to retrace our erm tracks...but it was worth it. I am sure that Whittemore launch was worth 14+ hours too. After all you could easily take that long to get to a holiday destination and I think I'd enjoy something like a book launch just as much.

Sun Jan 21, 03:54:00 pm  
Blogger Tammy Brierly said...

I'm so glad you had fun and it was worth the hassle :)

Sun Jan 21, 06:42:00 pm  

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