It’s the party of the year, with envoys and A-listers brushing elbows and delicate conversations. Everyone’s words are dressed like butterflies and even the most casual glance is a blown glass bulb containing orchids and rare insects. The entomologist sent his apologies, but an orchid is definitely an orchid and the famous smell of rotting meat only enhances the sweetness of sticky petit fours that circulate on the backs of dickie-bowed turtles. The conversation skips from Strictly, to sport, to climate change denial, and someone drops a bon mot that rolls like a false eye beneath a straining table. Gossip column inches grow in direct proportion to the length of lizard tongues that lick behind celebrity ears. All suggestions are reasonable by candlelight and numbers are exchanged for notoriety. Repercussions will be felt in private rooms and public inquiries, but now the band is tuning up and it’s time to loosen buttons and kick off our shoes.
Illustration Nick Victor