Magazine article The Spectator

Why Can't I Go to Parties like Naomi Wolf's Book Launch?

Magazine article The Spectator

Why Can't I Go to Parties like Naomi Wolf's Book Launch?

Article excerpt

I got an invitation the other day to attend the launch of some incendiary tract about Europe published by a think-tank. I get quite a few of these, especially stuff from what was once the Tory far right (and by 'far' I mean 'far' as in sort of Alpha Centauri, i. e.

more easily measurable in light years than inches). I have nothing which constitutes a 'life', as such, so I go to one or two of these bashes every year - largely out of gratitude that anyone would ever invite me to anything. They're always the same - suffocating room, unrefreshed by unchilled Pinot Grigio and some conference league canapes, usually involving spinach; over there in the corner a chap who is very very old and who I vaguely remember being dismissed from a Thatcher C abinet for letting slip to a reporter something which would not altogether accord with the views of Martin Luther King;

dishevelled rodentine author with revolving eyes and bad breath, and a large northern man who manufactures meat pies, and who stumped up the money for the booklet, dumbly gladhanding everybody.

No chicks, no glitz, no glamour. The sort of party which never makes the papers, although it might get a belated write-up in the Salisbury Review. The sort of party where they would never, ever, under any circumstances, not if hell froze over, serve pasta in the shape of a vulva. And nor should they do such a thing, you might be thinking to yourself - and you are probably right in this repulsive instinct. Yet those are the sorts of parties I would like to be invited to, if I'm honest, but the invitations never land on my front doormat. The ones where there's vaginal pasta. They go to other people, people I wish I was more like.

For example, the feminist author Naomi Wolf's book launch featured pasta shaped like a vulva - indeed, the guests were encouraged to mingle in the kitchen and create their own pasta growlers out of dough (without question a dough made by hand from Tuscan 00 pasta flour and organic rapefree eggs). Which is what they did, the guests.

When Naomi got to the party there were Why can't I go to pa r t ie s l ike Naom i Wol f 's book launch?

loads of happy and consensual metro liberal people in the kitchen dipping and delving and moulding and rounding - and already lined up on the worktop were scores of little vulvas, all smirking up at the author, pouting their caringly fashioned little lips, beseeching her: look at us, look at us, look at us all.

We are empowered pasta vaginas. Take us in your hands, and then put us in a pot of boiling water for seven minutes.

At first, reading this, I thought it was the brilliant imagination of Malcolm Bradbury at work, until I remembered that the poor chap has been dead for quite a few years. …

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