We celebrities are known for our friendly dispositions, broad smiles and endless appetites for freebie wining and dining. I'm not one usually to have a damning word to say about any posh establishment, just on the off-chance that I may want to slip in there for a late-night tippler or nibble at some time here or there. However, recent events have caused me to renege on my usual policy of politeness, etiquette and all that swanky business and I've decided enough is enough – I've a social column dilemma to get off my chest!
Swanky new West End venue 'The Penthouse' at 1 Leicester Square was thrust onto the front pages recently when the disaster-prone movie du jour – Alexander the Gross – held its premier there. The sheepish celebs all sculked off early and, having had a few experiences there myself of late, I can quite understand why.
First of all, I took showbiz mega-movie/panto-superstar Sally Farmiloe and her supermodel friend there for dinner - fresh from an appearance that very morning on ITV's 'This Morning', thinking it was likely to impress. But I left with a bitter taste in my mouth – and I'm not just talking dodgy foie gras. I was supposed to be doing a food review, all pre-arranged for you, my lovely readers, so that I could tell you all about the lovely fayre on offer. But to my horreur they curtly informed us that we had to pay! We're talking cash – ackers – you can quite imagine my distress! Who do they think I am? Being a right royal queen I NEVER carry crude, common cash and have accounts with Fortnums and Harvey Nicks for this very reason (my darling bank manager from Coutts even sent me a condolences letter on reading my ordeal in the newspapers).
My mouth was so moist I had to go busking on Leicester Square for 20 mins with a hastily-concocted tin can and pencil in order to scrape up enough funds from the poor, unsuspecting tourists to get a sweet and sour fish supper at Mr Wonky's (or is it Wong Kei's?). Where, I might add, I received wonderful service and a slap-up nosh. All for under a tenner. However, Sal and the supermodel were none too impressed, especially after I asked them to 'improvise' in my band, and were last seen skulking off back for hastily-arranged cosmos in Kensington.
For the following two months the Penthouse bombarded me with emails, calls and letters in an avid attempt to lure me back with an invite to their first party. Not usually one to bear a grudge for beyond 3 months, I decided to give them the chance to earn a Royal pardon and ventured back, this time bringing an entourage of twelve specially trained accompanists. Dear reader, you can scarcely imagine my horror when, after all this, they refused to let us purchase the drinks of our choice (a nice bottle of Don Perignon, I'll have you know. Annabel's – here we come!) in preference to the freebie-cheebie cocktails on offer.
I felt like storming off in a huff, but bit my tongue and sucked at my Mai Tai through gritted teeth as I force-fed myself on deep-fried carrot, masquerading as vegetable tempura. I bet the rats outside 1, Leicester Square are amongst the best-fed in the West End. Next, in a desperate, futile attempt to make amends, they gave my entire entourage a 'free lunch/dinner' voucher. Smiles all round. However, they then proceeded to prove the truth in the expression 'there's no such thing as a free lunch' when my beefy butler handed the phone to me the next day. It was the Penthouse on the phone informing me that the entire invitation turned out to be a fraud – a ten line typing error – and I was so fuming that I felt like alerting the authorities but was restrained by my valet (called Trisha the Trannie and who, incidentally, is dating a top diplomat).
Why are these people at the Penthouse so desperate to lure me, then dump me? This gastronomic and social torture is driving me so potty I'm beginning to feel like one. It's simply inexplicable and the only way I feel I can vent my fury is by applying a damning finger to the keyboard. All my fans will be lured to Annabel's and the Collection and such establishments after hearing of my trials, no doubt. And who can blame them? I will tell all of my friends in the showbiz world never to set foot in the Penthouse / Dungeon again, because I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I knew my friends had to suffer the same horrors as myself. And as regular readers will know, I have never ever devoted an entire column to venting my fury at a single social endeavour. Ever-ever-ever! And I hope very much that I am not forced to do it again.
Having said that, the fabulous Havana Hunnies have been planning a marvellous year of exclusive parties. So keep your eyes peeled for the following paparazzi – on the 17th of February we will see all glitz and glamour in the oldest tobacconist in Liverpool as showbusiness in its entirety congregates for the most expensive canapés ever made in Liverpool and the finest champagne in the world as Mitchell A Orchant says, "no expense will be spared for my lovely ladies". The Penthouse could certainly take a leaf from their book. And if you like a bit of a ciggie yourself, why not divert a bit of attention to www.cgarsltd.co.uk?
In my next column I promise to deliver the scoop of the century as my little pot is simmering up to something big, and anyone who has even come within a mile's radius should hereforth bear witness to this. I'll have the News of the World in total shock. But until then, my lips are sealed. Have a great February 2005 (with the exception of the Penthouse, naturally) and until next month, au revoir my little chewy bits.