More epicurean shenanigans. It’s barely midday in London – but it’s almost midnight in Shanghai. Cakewalk-o’clock. Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder, so we’re off to join fellow sophisticates for a G+T at the O+C. And maybe prawn starter, swordfish main and cold pudding from the trolley. Pall Mall is the new Vauxhall when it comes to clubbing, dress code not Bar Code (yesteryear’s utopia a distant dystopia), house white instead of house music, the dance floor now a marble floor. Eagle eyed viewers will have noticed Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack’s son The Travellers Club, a few mahogany doors down from the O+C, was the star of The Riot Club. Non sequitur alert perhaps, but George Orwell is forever spot on: “A duke is a duke, even in exile.” Another epiphanic afternoon imbued with meaning, as passionate as Conor Harrington’s Dance With the Devil, as poignant as Douglas Gordon’s BBW, as enigmatic as Miaz Brothers’ Master #6, as serene as Vespers at Brompton Oratory, as choreographed as The Bling Ring.
The day ain’t over yet. Like social moths fluttering below a dusty light, we’re off to Belgrave Square as guests of the Italian Embassy. To quote Lady Colefax, “We’ve of course slipped back into the ballet, opera, dining whirl which is very pleasant.” Seven-o-clock shadow. The Italians aren’t the only overseas residents to occupy Cubitt’s hallowed 1820s quadrilateral, a paean to pillared neoclassicism. International neighbours include Alderney bankers (Barclay bros), oligarchs (Oleg Deripaska), Qatari royals (Sheikh Jassim) and Dubai head honchos (Sheikh Mohammed). Having the coffers to cough up £60 million over a coffee (cold milk, coloured sugar crystals thanks) on a coffered terraced house is their one thing in common. Quick! Time to absquatulate. Dring dring, dring dring. What would Jacqueline Duncan think? Mrs Duncan to you. “I’m interested in taste,” says the founder of Inchbald. “My school is about philosophy.” At day’s end, before we close the wooden shutters on our stream of consciousness, we reflect on the ostensible realism and symbolist deployment of our structural patchwork. Thank goodness there’s only one shade of Grey Gardens. We twirl.