City Wife is a dab hand with a clutch of credit cards but can be easily distracted
Ineed to stop masticating. No, really. And not because my crab balls aren’t salivatingly satisfying (they are) but the spectacle of a young man swinging on a trapeze overhead, his minimalist outfit exposing a commendable commitment to fitness, is too much of a distraction. Not only for me.
City Wife, I see, is also licking her lips. Odds on, the shellfish starter isn’t responsible. Still, it takes enthusiastic clapping from hundreds of audience members to resurrect an air of reality.
Circus acts have moved on a bit my friend sighs while summoning more champagne. She’s right. Never mind childhood recollections of clowns brandishing oversized, colourful extremities, this is the National Centre for Circus Arts and the sophisticated talent they nurture these days is more lipstick than slapstick. Our breathing finally back to normal, we finish off the Gala Dinner’s first course.
Such manoeuvrability is, we agree, a far cry from the peak of our acrobatic skills: cartwheels, perfected in the school playground during an era when tucking your dress into your knicker legs was neither unusual nor provocative.
It’s only after some jugglers have finished, and we’re loading roast potatoes onto our plates to accompany individual racks of lamb, that CW suddenly recognises who’s sitting nearby.
Look, a couple of A* celebs, 2 o’clock, she gushes. If you mean the award winning actors on the next table, yeah, the married couple are regular supporters of this event. But, no, it wouldn’t be appropriate to introduce them to one of your numerous business ventures. Listen, suggesting Kumquat Therapy (targets inner thigh circulatory issues, apparently) is a touch insensitive.
However, with the possibility of new best friends from the theatrical world about whom she can boast to her Fifty Grades of Clay modelling group, CW will not be deterred. And that’s when a live auction plays into her hands. The top prize is a pair of West End theatre tickets followed by dinner with the thespian duo. Auctioneers are canny people. They don’t bother tempting people to hand over cash at the beginning of the evening when everyone still has an aura of common sense about them. No, they wait until the event is well under way. Because that’s when wine consumption and common sense are poles apart. So although the starting figure for this particular auction prize is at a modest three figures, the price soon escalates faster than Donald Trump’s Twitter ramblings. But this doesn’t discourage CW. She forages in her designer clutch for a batch of premium member credit cards. If only that text from her Style Counsellor wasn’t such a distraction. While responding that, actually, her hemline this evening demanded nude rather than black strappy stilettos despite professional advice to the contrary and she’ll cancel her contract if any further criticism comes her way, a black tie clad gent on the other side of the room bags the winning bid.
It takes a double portion of chocolate dipped lychees to pacify my friend, by which time the golden couple are long gone. Later, as we leave, we spot some adult workshop leaflets. Hmm, are you up for this? Should be fun, my friend agrees, while hailing a cab. But then we remember those skimpy outfits. And over zealous stretching. Not to mention our sense of balance which, let’s face it, is in menopausal decline, and decide that, all things considered, circus antics are best left to the professionals.
‘The price soon escalates faster than Donald Trump’s Twitter ramblings’
ABOVE:All we can say is ‘Don’t try this at home’