And, so, to Covent Garden and The Hospital for The 2nd Hospital Club Awards. After embracing such fine hospitality, it seems only fair to do a bit of product placement for what is an outstanding private members club. (1st grovel).
It began with a Veuve Clicquot reception, then we retired to the basement TV studio for a simple, yet fine dinner (dressed crab, shepherd’s pie and peas, summer pudding, Montagny 1er Cru, Grand Cru St Emilion. Merci). The guests were a select, high-end media crowd, plus some celebs – Thandie Newton, Sadie Frost etc. I was next to Jimmy Nesbitt on PR supremo Alan Edwards’ table (am I sounding enough like Michael Winner yet? apologies).
I’ve gotta say Nesbitt was great, which was quite a revelation considering how much I have privately loathed him thanks to those bloody Yellow Pages ads. Tracey Emin joined us later and did what she always does best – snarled at everything. A memorable moment from the night was probably meeting Liz Murdoch’s impressive cleavage. Well, not her bust as such, but the stunning, naked tear drop diamond swinging heavily above it. Clearly a fake. It has to be said that this ‘thrill’ was almost trumped by suddenly becoming unwilling witness to a contretemps between one well-known media executive and a star scribe. The said writer collared the said exec’ – in clearly a rare meeting – and complained bitterly (but playfully) about not getting any lurve from the office. No phone calls, no emails, no lunches. Bleet, bleet. Nothing to say how wonderful the said writer’s work is (except, of course, a big fat cheque for not a lot, thank you). Ahh, and to think that even the much-loved, stellar names yearn for big ego fluffs from the big boss – yet still get blanked.
The awards, which celebrate talent across the creative industries, followed dinner and were also something of a revelation. No stage, no gushing trailers, no lectern, just Mariella Frostrup trotting around the room with a mic, chuckling and ad-libbing neatly to hurry things along so she could get back to relieve the babysitter. She introduced a judge, the judge presented the award at the winner’s table. Brief, modest speeches followed, although most winners declined to talk. Applause. Fros-trot. Next. Repeat as before. All done in half an hour. Bosh. Get on with chatting and drinking. Cool.
So, The Hospital has discovered the antidote to long-winded, dull awards ceremonies. Bravo.
Mariella and her mic for the BAFTAS and Oscars, please.