Magazine article The Spectator

Restaurants

Magazine article The Spectator

Restaurants

Article excerpt

I AM writing this with the most appalling, head-thumping, dry-mouthed, revolting, serves-me-right hangover. Or `hanging over', as my young son always has it. `No. Sorry. Mummy can't come to the phone. She is in bed with a hanging over.'

`Darling, couldn't you just say mummy isn't available, and will call back later?' `OK.'

`Good.'

`Sorry. Mummy isn't available. She's in bed with a hanging over. I had to get my own breakfast and everything. I had crisps.'

Anyway, where is all this taking us? Well, some way into the piece, as it happens, which is good because, with my head going thumpthump-bang as it is, I need to get this over with quite quickly today, and certainly by 2 p.m., so that I can lie on the sofa in a wan, hung-over, self-pitying kind of way and watch Open House with Gloria Hunniford. I particularly adore Gloria's biting line of questioning with her celebrity guests: `So, Les Dennis, what makes you so talented, do you think? Were you born with it?' It's just so immensely cheering and brain-coddling, especially when you have been to the Dorchester Club the night before and are suffering.

Now, why did I go to the Dorchester Club? Do you know, I've no idea. I can't remember. I'll just phone Gina, who came with me, and ask her.

`Gina? Why did we go to the Dorchester Club?'

`Because we wanted to pull rich men.'

`Did we? Why?'

`Because we went to that seminar!'

Oh yes. The seminar. This was given in London last week by Ginie Sayles, the mad Texan woman who wrote the bestseller How to Marry Rich and goes about preaching: `The rich have to marry someone. Why not YOU?' We went, I hasten to add, not because we are sad, shallow gold-diggers but because . . . um . . . oh, all right, we are. It was a good seminar, full of useful, practical advice. `Wear sophisticated clothes,' she said. `Change your name if it's dowdy,' she said. `Get a job in an alcohol- or drug-dependency unit that caters for wealthy people,' she said.

`Right,' we said afterwards. `Let's go! Let's get to where the rich blokes are!' And where are the rich blokes? The Dorchester Club, we are informed. Actually, you have to be a member to get into the Dorchester Club - the swanky nightclub/restaurant underneath the Dorchester Hotel - but Gina knows someone who knows someone who knows someone called Jack who manages to blag us in. I think Jack once shared a packet of smoky bacon crisps with Anthea Turner or something.

The evening starts incredibly badly, I must say. It is raining torrentially when I get out at Marble Arch tube, and I'm early. Now, I could go straight to the Dorchester Hotel itself and hang about in reception, but I'm rather reluctant to do this because I know I will draw suspicious glances. I just don't look right in smart hotels. `The rich have to marry someone. Why not you?' Because I look rubbish, Ginie. Because I just can't cut it. Doormen stare at me. Concierges stare at me. I'm sure they think I'm some pitiful bag-lady who has stepped inside for the warmth. I just can't do smart. I think you possibly have to have a hormone for it. Certainly, though, I would like to be smart. Indeed, in my fantasy life I'm a stockbroker in a red suit with shoulder pads and a little Prada handbag with matching L894 key fob.

Now, where were we? Oh yes, it's raining and I'm early, so I go into the big KFC at Marble Arch. (Ginie, I'm sure, would die if she knew. …

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