Magazine article The Spectator

My Night to Remember

Magazine article The Spectator

My Night to Remember

Article excerpt

Rougemont

Talk about lowering standards to fit their moral levels. It's incomprehensible to me how anyone (with the exception of Dominic Lawson and John McEwen, and, of course, the Queen and her hubby) could choose to celebrate the beginning of the new century in the company of 12,000 schmucks in the banal hellhole that is the Dome. As far as I'm concerned, one marble slab of the Parthenon, one brick of Chartres Cathedral, is worth one hundred Domes, but then, thank God, I know the difference between eternal beauty and shameless gimmickry.

Tony Blair's success lies in his ability to use language not to communicate but to manipulate. He's got the people believing it was a night to remember. Some night; some people. He now has graduated to exploiting the Queen and turning the monarchy into a PR tool of his vision of England. If last Friday night's performance wasn't vulgar exhibitionism, I'm Ginger Spice. Michael Heseltine, a man who has lost the bloom of his buffoonery, set the tone when he said: 'We set out to create the biggest statement of confidence in Britain and we have done that tonight. We have created something magnificent.' Huh? I wonder how Tarzan would describe something of real value and beauty. It takes a politician to overhype the already overhyped and inane. Leave it to Hezza, Mandelson and New Labour to blair us until we squeak. But enough of the farce. Let's talk about some real beauty and grandeur.

As in the greatest palace of them all, Versailles. Long before clowns like Richard Rogers began to besmirch our living space, men like Le Vau and Mansart build the most magnificent of palaces through conscious symbolism to glorify and strengthen the monarchical ideal. Unlike a dump near the East End, concern for quality was a prerequisite while building Versailles, the search for perfection unending. My friends Dino and Atalanta Goulandris had this in mind when they planned the millennium dinner and dance at the Grand Trianon, where 160 of us sat down to a feast of: Potage Imperatrice, as served au diner des Trois Empereurs a la Tour d'Argent, le 7 Juin 1867. Homard de Bretagne en Fricassee aux Morilles Noires, followed by Meilleur de Perdreau en Voliere, as served au Roi Louis XVI a Trianon, le 24 Juillet 1788, finally, Come d'Abondance et Fruits Rotis Entremets Glace, servi a l'Ambassadeur de Perse A Versailles, en Fevrier 1715. …

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