Friday, 15 April 2011
What to wear at the Book Event
What to wear for the inaugural Moffat Book Event tomorrow? Dress: the vexed question of our troubled age. When I made my first visit to Los Angeles in the 1980's, I took the whole caboodle - my best dresses and jewels as for an official visit to (say) Russia. My first setback was that the hotel I had booked into, the Westwood Marquis (on the advice of Penelope Lively whose husband Jack used to go to Hollywood on film script business) in Westwood Village, the only place in LA you can go for a walk without being stopped by the LAPD as engaging in some kind of suspicious un-American activity, had never heard of my reservation. But they took pity on me, dressed as I clearly was for some kind of Ruritanian fantasy, and offered me the penthouse suite which Mick Jagger had just vacated. Too excited to sleep, I set off for my first round of business meetings in Century City (the business hub of skyscrapers built on the old Century movie lot), dressed up to the aforesaid nines. Over the next twentyfour hours it dawned on me that the stars do 'grunge' when not on duty. The most expensive restaurants are full of tiny thin people in torn black t shirts, including the music crowd such as Berry Gordy who I sat next to at breakfast on another visit at another hotel (the one with open wood fires in your bedroom - LA can be cold at night) in his trademark black beret (did he sleep in it?). From observation, these days you cannot go far wrong by dressing down. We - the organising committee, volunteers and friends - are meeting over a glass of white wine for a final briefing session for our Book Event Love and Marriage at the Moffat House hotel this evening before we go over the top tomorrow. If you are coming, I am the one in a pair of torn old jeans and a dirty jumper. Oh - and a nice long email from the Swede this morning, as it turns out at much the same stage (2 grown up kids, one grandchild) - prompted to contact me because of going through a lot of old papers while getting ready to downsize after a full, globetrotting life (so far). How very satisfactory.