Monday, May 2, 2011

All in the best possible taste

Hot on the heels of the Royal wedding came the second most eagerly anticipated celebration of 2011, Nick P’s 50th, and despite my instincts screaming out that it’s not a good idea to throw a party the day before a party, we couldn’t let the Royal wedding pass without inviting a few Brits to goss with about the outfits, the service and why Victoria Beckham seems incapable of smiling EVER.

An afternoon of champers, sushi, chocolate cake and Eton mess was the perfect way to see it through and I was feeling rather smug as I packed and tucked myself up in bed at 11pm ready for a big weekend. I enjoyed a rather lovely mojito in the sunshine by the river at Richmond before heading off to Parker Towers in Twickenham.

It started looking dangerous when we heard the order of the night was aperitifs, supper, pre-party drinks, party and post party back at the house. Nick indulged his twin passions for Elvis and karaoke, hiring a dwarf called Brian to dress up and perform as Elvis. We were all wondering how Dwelvis actually earned a living given that he had hearing issues, didn’t really know any Elvis stuff and seemed to be struggling to read the lyrics on the screen, until it became clear that Nick had simply googled ‘dwarves for hire’ and briefed Brian in great detail for his first ever public performance as Elvis.

No expense was spared as dressed in a suit from Argos, he arrived on stage to the strains of the Superman theme tune and cheers from the crowd. My personal favourite was Suspicious Minds and there was no shortage of support from Nick, Jeremy and Shekhar as you can see in the picture above.

If there were prizes to be dished out, the award for Best Elvis Voice would have to go to Mr P, but given that Dwelvis had trouble seeing the screen and was tone deaf, the competition was a little lacking. Best Elvis costume – well, that would be Jeremy Armstrong, in a white rhinestone suit, Elvis wig, and glasses so convincing that many people failed to recognise him, the only giveaway being his red Converse peeping out from beneath the nylon bell bottoms.

Most chivalrous party guest goes to the hack who shall remain nameless but whose family are big in the lemonade industry. On being introduced to me, he said ‘Over 40...but looking good’ and without missing a beat, then turned to the hostess and said ‘So, you’re his wife....I was convinced you were going to be a big, fat, ugly munter.....but you’re rather lovely!’

Sight of the night – the hostess landing in a black bin full of ice cubes and beers (she insists she thought it was a stool when she sat down) and being manoeuvred out by four Elvis impersonators. She has now been christened Clare Bin Parker.

There was also an incident with a corset and a trouser suit in the ladies’ but the perpetrator will never speak to me again if I say anymore so nuff said. Another great moment at 5am, when someone of Geordie origin who shall also remain nameless ‘rescued’ a half eaten kebab from the bottom of the bin and tucked in with gusto as everyone else looked on horrified, especially when she tried to offer it around.

It was a little after 6am before Fleet Street’s finest reluctantly left, many in varying states of Elvis-like dishevelment, leaving bandanas, rhinestone belts and wigs in their wake but on the upside, the police left us alone this time, making it only the second house party in Parker Towers history where they haven’t put in an appearance.

Sunday was planned as a post party chill out so quite how it was that we ended up at the White Swan on the river in Twickenham until closing time is anyone’s guess. Suffice it to say that in 14 years, I have never once sat on Clare and Nick’s sofa or watched TV at their house despite our best laid plans for building in recovery time after particularly long and eventful celebrations.

As we left this morning, bleary eyed and baggy faced to catch the flight home, we caught the headlines that Osama Bin Laden had been shot dead by US troops. The phone rang, and Nick’s bank holiday was hastily relocated to Pakistan. But there’s a silver lining – it’s dry there so a perfect place to detox and a there’s a nice long flight to sleep on.