Friday, October 05, 2012

The Arts Club is too good for Sophie Parkin's new Colony book!

Sophie Parkin
Shortly, author Sophie Parkin will be talking to Madame about her delicious new book, The Colony Room Club 1948-2008: A History of Bohemian Soho. Just about everyone who was anyone in British cultural life in this riotous period, and drank, appears between its covers, from Francis Bacon and Will Self to Princess Margaret and Kate Moss. 

It's the biggest, butchest, bitch book of the year, darlings.

Quite naturally, Sophie is currently raising awareness - to lapse into charity-ese - of her tome with personal appearances and talks: Sophie is, like her vivacious mother Molly, an ambulatory entertainment and orator. So, it was entirely to be expected that she would approach the legendary Arts Club in Dover Street, London, with an offer to give a talk on the Colony and her book. After all, the Arts Club "is very much a place where creative people come together to meet, exchange ideas, eat, drink, entertain and relax," to quote a line from its own website. It boasts: "The Arts Club has reclaimed its place at the heart of the contemporary cultural life in London and on the world stage."

Alas! A letter from the Club to Sophie has fallen into my hands which suggests it imagines itself well above the grizzled alpha hoi polloi who once guzzled and gossiped at the Colony. I won't reproduce the entire document or identify the Hyacinth Bucket who wrote it, but the key de haut en bas passage reads:

"Thank you for your email and the information about your Book [capitalised b as written] – this is certainly a great review of these exciting years and people..

"Unfortunately, I don’t feel it is suitable to us at The Arts Club (not the Scottish one!). Our Club has changed slightly and so have our members.

"I am sure you understand my view."

What a peculiar response from an institution which claims to "maintain a special focus on London-based artists." The Colony was all about London-based artists. Has the Arts Club turned into the kind of salon de thé one might patronise on the outskirts of Worthing?

Perhaps the real problem here is the Arts Club's "complete renovation" in 2011. "It has been completely transformed into a truly world class establishment," it reports, with pinkie out-stretched, in its History. Even better: "The interior has been designed by David D’Almada who has tastefully created a timeless ambiance juxtaposing vintage furniture with new."

Sounds gorgeous. Very P&O cruise liner.

To order a copy of Sophie Parkin's The Colony Room Club 1948-2008, click here. The title is released in December.

18 comments:

Ex-Colonist said...

Very wittily done Madame. The Arts Club I'm afraid now has airs.

MS said...

Is she a member of the club? You don't mention that. If she isn't a member, one can understand them turning her down.

Madame Arcati said...

I have no idea. But in any case, the Arts Club gives its reason in the quoted letter. No mention of membership.

Anonymous said...

I don't care.

Anonymous said...

The Arts club look wonderful. Who wants to be surrounded by drunks in some grotty ale house that was the Colony. I'm joining the Arts.

Anonymous said...

To write about one Parkin is quite enough

Anonymous said...

Hear hear above. The Arts is a fabulous place. We don't want some ghastly self-publicist screaming on about a bunch of tossers.

Anonymous said...

Arts Club sounds like a silly, boring and pretentious yuppie establishment... these types never understand truly creative people or what motivates artists.

Anonymous said...

Suspect there's more to this tale. Surely the membership couldn't have changed over night.

Anonymous said...

Very Queen Mary

Clair said...

Huh. No wonder Mr Horsley said to me 'Now the Colony has gone, there's nowhere for people like you and I'.

Mr Groucho said...

I went to the Arts Club recently. Dreadful people. Not an artist or creative person in sight.

SG said...

It's too Russian billionaire-y to be remotely interesting these days.

Mr Groucho said...

The place is full of hedge fund people.

Ian Freeman said...

The Arts Club is just a posh disco for kiddies now. Not a creative in sight.

Green Goddess said...

Sounds as much fun as having an HPV vaccination. After the fact. The Arts Club, not the book. She could offer Fraser Nelson and Brillo an exclusive Spectator readers only reading, sandwiches from the Savoy, monogramed paper serviettes. You know, a hommage to the ghost of Jeffrey Bernard who was so full o' spirits when he died, his soul never managed upward ascent through evaporation and who's afterlife lurks like Horseley in the dark cobbled streets of St James and Soho.

Anonymous said...

Too right. Madame Acarti is obviously very impartial on this one.... Especially when Molly Parkin herself has described him as her 'permanent fiancé'... Might be why we are hearing so much of these two...

Madame Arcati said...

I am always responsible in the demonstration of my partialities.