05 DECEMBER 2012 :: JOINING THE 1% - FOR 0.0001% OF MY LIFE
Occasionally in life you are offered a glimpse of something totally outside of your own sphere of existence. A morsel to savour as you struggle through yet another day at the office, followed by yet another train journey home.
On Monday, a friend invited me to Christie's for a private viewing of their "Old Master Prints" and "Old Master Paintings" sale. The collections were on display at their St James' gallery. How most of the guests qualified for their invite was not discussed, although they were described as long standing customers.
After being greeted by a collection of staff we were ushered up a grand staircase and handed a glass of excellent champagne. The venue was a labyrinth of rooms, hallways and staircases adorned with breath taking paintings and prints. Discrete and friendly waiters ensured the first glass of champagne was by no means the last, mouth watering canapés ensured the alcohol didn't go to your head. Exactly how they managed to make a mouthful of rare steak wralled around chips and bernaise sauce still eludes me. I wish I knew as it was fabulous!
As much as I wanted to photograph some of the artwork for you, I couldn't help but feel it would have exposed me as an imposter. Swiftly escorted from the premises and unceremoniously dumped into the cold London evening. I have managed to capture a couple of prints from the catalogue. One Rembrandt and one Durer. There was wall after wall filled with similar works from each artist.
The people watching was arguably as entertaining as the art itself. Not a hint of new money, this was unmistakably old money. Not always held by old people, parts of the crowd were younger than me, but their wealth was clearly handed down through generations. Manners were the give away, money doesn't usually buy manners.
Tuesday night was cocktails in The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz. Now, this is not a new experience for me, it's my favourite London indulgence. The Ritz 100, a champagne cocktail with gold leaf and the slightest hint of orange. A brown sugar cube is dropped in as the drink is served. This creates a beautiful fizzing and swirling display of gold inside the drink. It's a special experience both visually and on your tongue.
The bar itself is a fascinating example of art deco style. On Tuesday a friend of mine describe it as "just the right side of over the top". It's not subtle, but it is special. Again there are no photos, for similar reasons as Monday night. It's not an experience you can photograph, it's one to savour.
If we must have a hoedown, then let it be a hooker who has fallen in the street.
Sigfried & Roy