London's in the doldrums. The creative classes have been replaced by the pretentious and well connected. They ride in on a sense of frivolous fun that deserves no respect. This city is fucked, and I want out.
Last night I went with a friend to the preview of Bompas & Parr’s latest attempt to better their breathable booze event. Bompas & Parr use architectural expertise to make absurdly intricate jelly moulds and jellies for the kind of parties you never get invited to. Two years ago, you could walk around a room surrounded by a gin and tonic mist. It was so comforting that I could have stayed in the room of happy vapour forever - run a business, raised kids, got married, all permanently addled. Last week, to raise their profile, their put on their latest event: The Complete History of Food.
It promised food created by a Michelin starred chef, cocktails from a winning mixologist and the inventiveness of Bompas & Parr, jellymongers to the stars. The event sponsor's name, providing the alcohol, was mentioned about fifteen times at every stage, to the point where it was repeated so often it lost all meaning. I can no longer remember who it was trying to get the publicity.
The Complete History Of Food, sponsored by Carlsberg (a guess), started off with being told we'd have our personality read to discover whether we were amorous, phlegmatic, depressed or something else I have forgotten. It was that memorable. I’m not convinced that they really had their heart in it - the test was limited to a man in tweed and a public school accent asking me: ‘Are you phlegmatic, amorous, depressed or [insert quality I have forgotten]?’
Not exactly Freud. It was decided after a six second emotion conference I was phlegmatic: I got a yellow sticker. It’s complicated, but keep up.
"The creative classes have been replaced by the pretentious and well connected. They ride in on a sense of frivolous fun that deserves no respect. This city is fucked, and I want out."
Downstairs to the Medieval Section, we walked across a four inch deep puddle which had eels in it. The eels had already made their mind up about the forced wackiness that was on offer, and came to such a standstill I think they may have topped themselves. Once past this pond, it was onto a few raised platforms surrounded by water, and onto a fairly impressive approximation of a ship’s hull. It was time for the first booze, provided by Bell’s Whiskey (I’ll remember the right company name eventually). Yellow stickered, I was given something with brandy in it, along with some spices. It was actually pretty good. However, as I’d let everyone else get their drink before me - I’m a gentleman - I was so far behind I had to down it. Needs must.
Next, a lift to The Future. The Future is apparently the rooftop of a Belgrave Square townhouse with someone in Paul Allen’s glasses serving foie gras Ferrero Rocher. It tasted like foie gras - thumbs up, but I can eat elsewhere without watching poshos chat awkwardly on a date, pretending that they wouldn’t rather be sniffing Ralph Feinnes off each other’s tits. More booze - thank Christ. A patronising spiel followed, where I was informed by the barman I was going to get to taste a deconstructed champagne cocktail. Lucky me. In the glass was the brandy booze that was sponsoring the event - let’s call it Special French Brew, the right name will come to me eventually - and three grapes. We were told that to recreate the champagne sensation, the grapes were fizzy. They weren’t. Next!
Next was a TV dinner from the 1950s. Here we got to indulge in Scratch and Sniff. I know public school boys remain children forever, but I didn’t go to public school, and irony makes me have the right radge on. The chips sniff smelt like gherkins. If you’re going to be pretentious, do it properly or not at all. No booze in this section, so Corr’s (still guessing) obviously weren’t keen on the idea either.
More disappointment. We were told that the 1950s was when the first link between diet and weight gain was made. We were invited to go into a small room transformed into an awkward bouncy castle with a stomach theme, which was so lacklustre I’m giving it the shortest description of the whole evening.
Finally - more hooch. We entered a dining room, and were served duck confit inside an Iguanadon model, and a brandy cocktail. Duck confit is one of the finest foods in existence, and I recommend that anyone who comes to this gets through the other stages as soon as possible to get here. Luckily, everyone on our table left and no staff could see us, so we nailed all the drinks that were to hand. The euphoric alcohol rush was coursing and we were on our way to dessert disappointment, consisting of a final glass of Diamond White's Gallic Spirit - finally I remembered! - and a jelly. The twist was it was bioreactive jelly. The disappointing second twist meant that if you placed your finger on a sensor, the jelly would bounce up and down, like jelly Buckaroo.
Jelly Buckaroo. That London has come to this.
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