Magazine article The Spectator

The Party's Over

Magazine article The Spectator

The Party's Over

Article excerpt

Rougemont

For the third year in a row my Palace hotel dinner-dance for 100-odd friends did not come off. Two years ago, at the Eagle club, it was the disc-jockey's fault. Last year, at the Olden, it was mine. I chose the wrong wines, and perhaps the wrong room. This year my friend John Sutin got me a wonderful jazz band, the wine was very good, but everyone got up and left after dinner. Come to think of it, party-giving is a talent I obviously do not possess.

Even my ball to celebrate the collapse of communism 11 years ago did not take off. We were 350 back then, the mix was just right, one third pretty girls, one third socialites, and one third literati, yet by one in the morning people were starting to go home. I remember I had my eye on a girl I hardly knew, and had placed her at my table, next to Ludovic Kennedy. Just as I began to put the moves on her, the mother of my children came over and warned her off. Final score, Nina one, Taki zero.

Alas, bad parties aside, I'm also lagging badly where sweet young things are concerned. The word is out that I'm not the marrying kind, a disaster for someone who has used the bait for years, in fact almost as disastrous as having Norman Foster build a bridge across the Thames. My dad kept many a mistress, as did his father, but neither gentleman had to deal with Princess Alexandra Schoenburg-Hartenstein. The last orders I got from the Field Marshal were to shape up or else. No more falling in love, no more dirty weekends in far away places, no more nothing. It's enough to make a man feel like a Japanese wife, but I have no one to blame but myself. I'm the one who promoted her to Field Marshal, and she in turn has demoted me to a gigolo-like level.

Anyway, at a recent Gstaad dinner party given by English friends of mine, I was sat next to a deeply unpleasant Englishman. I failed to hear something my host said about a painter, and when I asked whom he was referring to, the man made a rude remark about how ignorant I was. …

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