You Made Us Feel So Free
Tipping into the Beyond
Well life can’t just be one big party. Actually, yes it can. Snapping Sir David Davies and Leonie Frieda at the Irish Embassy. Giggling with The Baroness “call me Emma” Pidding at the House of Lords. Wherever there’s Perrier-Jouët, there’s Lavender’s Blue. Thank goodness then, for another year, Perrier-Jouët is the Champers Partner of Masterpiece. Punchy! The Perrier-Jouët Terrace, a vivid realm in the pneumatic womb of the blow up Royal Hospital Chelsea, is where it’s at. Its new Blanc de Blancs Non Vintage is “a single varietal Chardonnay, a true and unadulterated expression of the emblematic grape at the heart of the Perrier-Jouët style,” pitches Champagne Ambassador Jonathan Simms. The Queen’s Rolls Royce, yes the one Meghan Markle borrowed for her wedding, is on display. Summer’s here, so is everyone; the Season’s begun.
The tradition that began last year of unveiling a major new artwork continues with huge aplomb. “Performance is an immaterial form of art,” explains the Serbian painter turned performance artist Marina Abramović. She’s 72. “At this point of my life, facing mortality, I decided to capture my performance in a more permanent material than just film and photography. I chose alabaster based on its history and properties – luminosity, transparency… They have a hauntingly physical presence but, as you move around the pieces, they decompose into intricately carved ‘landscapes of alabaster’.” Presented by Factum Arte in collaboration with Lisson Gallery, Marina’s Five Stages of Maya Dance fuse performance, light and sculpture through a mist of condensation. The party continues into the night on Sloane Square. Such unleashed chutzpah!
Off to The Most Noble Order of the Garter at Windsor. This year, the Sovereign’s two appointment includes Viscount Brookeborough, Lord Lieutenant of Fermanagh. So the Northern Irish contingent is growing. Alan Brooke, 3rd Viscount Brookeborough, owns the beautiful Colebrooke Estate near Fivemiletown. Ashbrooke House, the estate’s elegant dower house, is available to let. The Viscount has been The Queen’s Personal Lord-in-Waiting since 1997, commuting several days a week across the Irish Sea. He served with Her Majesty’s Armed Forces from 1971 to 1994. Also present from the west of the Province is James Hamilton, 5th Duke of Abercorn. The Chancellor of the Order, he owns Baronscourt Estate in County Tyrone, all 15,000 acres of it. Today, he’s donned his great grandfather’s robes. The London based Earl of Ulster arrives. His 11 year old son Xan is the Queen’s Page of Honour. And then of course there are certain guests from Northern Ireland.
There’s just about as much pomp and glory as England can stomp up. Which is a lot. Such unfurled magnificence! Beefeaters and Military Knights of Windsor stand to attention. The Irish Guards’ mascot – an Irish wolfhound of course – steals the processional show. The Royals are a veritable bloom of ostrich plumes, black velvet robes and insignia glistening in the shafts of sunlight. Trumpets sound: a Zadokic zenith: The Queen arrives last at 3pm on the dot looking resplendent with her perfectly powdered face and clustered diamond earrings. Prince William looks solemn. Prince Charles and Camilla are all smiles. So is a very regal Princess Alexandra. She looks just like her namesake grandmother. Her Royal Highness is Patron of Masterpiece. Atop a spinning world, embracing this crazy pulsing era, it’s Perrier-Jouët-o’clock once again.
The Marchioness arrives.
So does Mary Martin.
We’re not gonna split town just yet.
The Bloomsbury Group
London architecture practice Buckley Yeoman Grey are no strangers to breathing new life into old buildings. Derwent London’s Buckley Building in Clerkenwell, 1930s printing works turned offices, is a case in point. L+R commissioned the architects to transform the 1940s Ministry of Defence HQ into offices. Bloomsbury’s very own flat iron building, sprinkled with Buckley Yeoman Grey’s fairy dust, is now home to the UK’s longest established independent PR consultancy. Glamorous and sophisticated, the offices look good too. They overlook London’s most curious steeple: lions and unicorns coiling round the stepped pyramid atop St George’s Bloomsbury. Hawksmoor gone cuckoo.
The Communication Group was founded by Maureen Sutherland Smith, who is now the Chairman. A renowned professional in the world of PR, Maureen was made a Freeman of the City of London in 2011. She’s also well known for her charity work. The following year, she was appointed Vice President of Coram, the UK’s oldest children’s charity, and has since been made a Life Governor. In recent times, Maureen chaired the Grosvenor House Arts and Antiques Fair which raised over £400,000 and organised the City Rocks concert. Attracting the likes of Brian May, Lily Allen and Sophie Ellis-Bextor gathered £200,000 for The Lord Mayor’s Appeal.
Clients of The Communication Group range from places to live in (Ballymore) to places to stay in (Jumeirah) to places to work in (Howick Place) to places to save in (Coutts) to places to spend in (Masterpiece) to places to get well in (Nightingale Hospital) to places to get even better in (Necker Island) to places to bring an umbrella (Edinburgh) to places to forget an umbrella (Dubai) and umbrellas (Fulton). Wherever Ms Sutherland Smith’s black Morgan is parked outside, there’s a good party going on indoors. Tonight is no exception. It’s The Communication Group’s 30th birthday celebrations. Hurrah! The lights are on in 10 Bloomsbury Way and everyone’s home. It’s time to chat to Lady Lucy French of St James’s Theatre.
Assassin-black uniformed waiters come and go from The Bloomsbury Kitchen serving caviar, smoked salmon and cream cheese followed by watermelon and mint. Janisson + Fils champagne flows. A tower of coloured meringues lures guests. Maureen steps forward to speak, “Thank you so much for the flowers and cake! I find it difficult to believe its 30 years since The Communication Group began. It’s been a privilege over the years to have such exciting, outstanding and amazing clients! It’s been wonderful to build friendships and relationships. Other companies have been bought out but The Communication Group is proud to have retained its independence. So I would like to give you a big thank you for the part you have played in our past, present and I hope in our future!” The saxophonist plays happy birthday. Later, a female lead will sing Valerie while the band gets louder and the lights dimmer. “The singer was an intern for me,” says Sally Hawkins, Chairman of the Management Board and Creative Director of The Communication Group. “She performs at the Blue Marlin.”