Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Have clearly cracked this city finally, because last Sunday we found ourselves invited to not one, but two Oscars parties.
On Friday it occurred to me that I hadn't yet seen any of the movies that had been nominated. And I mean any. So I spent the next 48 hours in cinemas, clocking up six movies. By Saturday night I had haemorrhoids and was apparently talking about makeup artists in my sleep.
On Sunday I showered and ate to film soundtracks and spent the remainder of the day revising documentary and animated shorts.
The Tactile Helpdesk pointed out dryly that if I were even half as competitive in my career as I am when it comes to TV programmes, then I'd probably be very rich by now. As I see it, most of my earnings so far this year have come from betting on the outcome of TV programmes, so it practically IS my career..... and anyway, there was to be a 5 dollar winner-takes-all ballot at the party......

T's friends, B and I, are totally adorable people - welcoming, friendly, relaxed, witty. And as for their beautiful Upper West Side apartment. Let's just say a pianist was playing Oscar-winning film soundtracks on a (grand) piano in (one) of the living rooms. There were (real) Dali's on the wall. (Plural).
Gorgeous food, lovely guests.

A whole room was set aside for the ballot and I spent at least as much time on the ballot paper as I did on my German O' level back in 1979. So long in fact, that when I finally emerged, I was asked for a second 5 dollars because another ice-age had begun outside and everyone had forgotten that, back in 2007 when I entered the room, I'd paid already. (Next time they need an invigilator.) Then obviously I had to copy down my ballot form answers into my little black book, because I needed to remember who I'd voted for so as I could cheer. Unfortunately the host read this as me not trusting her to mark the papers correctly, which hadn't even occurred to me.
At least until she mentioned it.......

As I was defending my little black book actions, the TH shot me the first of many 'stop taking this so seriously' looks. I glared back with a 'you're on your third drink already and everyone else is drinking water' look. That's the lovely thing about being married - after a year or two most necessary communication can be achieved with an alarmingly small number of all too familiar facial expressions.

T and I blagged some precious TV room sofa seats and got stuck into serious red carpet dress-bitching with all the guys who had been hooked on the TV since entering the party and seemed to know all the costume designers personally .....

By the time Ellen started to do her thing (and how cool was SHE!), the TV room was filling up and I was starting to get that anxious sitting-on-the-subway-should-give-up-seat-to-someone-more-needy feeling. I kept glancing behind to see if there were any signs to that effect, but no.... just beautiful sculptures.
Finally my morality (read 'guilt') got the upper hand and I had to let the 8-month pregnant woman and one-legged 95 yr old man take my seat. (Okay not quite that needy, but I had been sitting for at least an hour.)

The TH had decided that the kitchen was where it was at. It was where the alcohol was at too. Weird that. I stopped by for a drink and a chat then probably appeared very rude to the host by running out mid-sentence to check my score. Several things became apparent as the evening progressed - nobody at this party was drinking even remotely as much as the Brits - ie. T, myself and the TH. In fact the majority appeared to be not drinking at all. Hmmmm.....?
Nobody at the party was taking their score quite as seriously as I was, as evidenced by my panic when some near-end scores came in and I knew I had 12, which would have put me in second place, but was told I had 11. The TH gave me a third or fourth 'warning look' at that point, although by then his looks were getting a little less focused, so he might equally have been looking at the rather amazing Victorian brass hand collection.

I knew I'd not won when the best movie came in. I'd wanted 'Little Miss Sunshine' to win (which, incidentally, you absolutely MUST see,) but I figured it wouldn't win, so I'd gone for 'Babel' instead, on account of it being big and profound and traumatic. Wrong....

I'd added up my score as 14. The winner had 15. She went home with the money. Then someone else got a second prize for 14. Errrrr......?
The TH was practically trying to drag me out by this point, but I was adamant. 'Re-count!' I demanded. Nobody was paying any attention, which was just as well. It was late and everyone had to be up at 6 or something, so the place emptied quickly, leaving only the TH (incapable of counting anything), myself (demanding a re-count) and a not exactly sober T (doing the re-counting.) Here you see the basis of the vast cultural difference between Americans and Brits. If this had been a party in Herne Hill on a Sunday evening, there would already have been at least one divorce, a fire, and someone sleeping in or at least on the washing machine. Nobody would have gone home yet, and most people wouldn't have been able to remember where home was. Sometimes it's kind of embarrassing being British in New York.

Anyway, following T's re-count, it transpired that I had definitely come joint second, so she insisted that I also got a second prize, which was a packet of customized M&M's with the hosts names printed on them. I really didn't mind whether I got a prize or not by this point - it was merely a matter of pride, but this prize worried me slightly (despite the fact that I am a total M&M's addict). It seems sort of weird to eat M&M's with people's names on, like a bad omen thing. I decided we could only use them as 'emergency' chocolate. And because I'd had drinks, many drinks, something made my outside voice go through all the possible emergencies which could result in me eating these M&M's - divorce, death,......

We got out. Even the TH had sobered enough to push me out of the door mid this-particular-monologue. All in all a rather wonderful evening at the home of some truly gorgeous people. And I do hope our behaviour wasn't too shameful.......but I'm not betting on it.