A Londoner's Diary; Bella Freud on Throwing Parties and Watching a Menacing Bobby Gillespie Wield His Pushchair at the RA

Article excerpt


Where I grew up in East Sussex, people never seemed to have parties.

Perhaps it was just the community around the Steiner school I attended: they sure weren't flinging off their shoes and dancing. But now invitations for the most bizarre and unlikely things flood through my door, and the great luxury of living in London is that there are so many things going on that you don't actually have to go to any of them.

The other day I decided that I wanted to hold a party of my own. The event which needed celebrating was the launch of the DVD of a concert given by Primal Scream, Spiritualized and Nick Cave for the Hoping Foundation, the charity of which I am a trustee.

My two best friends and I set up Hoping in 2002 in order to support the children of Palestinian refugees living in the camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and occupied Palestine.

Like anyone involved in a charity my dream was to have a fundraising concert, but when I talked to my friend Jools Holland about the idea he warned me off, saying that, however great it seemed, it would be a nightmare to organise.

One day, however, I got a call from the guys in Primal Scream saying, 'Get out your diary, we want to do a gig for Hoping.' On top of the bands we had 3D from Massive Attack and Andy Wetherall DJ-ing. It was a wonderful evening - everyone generating so much goodwill and enthusiasm; just about everybody working for nothing.

All this mayhem and celebration was filmed by Spiritualized lead singer Jason Pierce's girlfriend, Juliette, and turned into a DVD.

I had a huge workload on at that moment but my friends made it all happen.

Fran Cutler, who runs the events PR company 2 Active, is the party queen and chipped in for me. She called from the Eurostar en route to host McQueen's after-show event: 'Laurent-Perrier are giving us 200 bottles.' Click. All the feelgood from the concert was revived at the party. Shane McGowan bought a DVD. Kate Moss showed up, applying her knack of making wherever she goes seem like the centre of the universe.

Itried out a different kind of party a couple of weeks ago: I threw a lunch for someone I had never met. While I was guest-editing the document section of the avant-garde fashion tome Another Magazine, I struck up an email friendship with JT Leroy, the young American author of The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things and Sarah. …


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