Book-launch party envy
[an excerpt from an article by Holly Finn in the Times (London), 28 August, 2003, p. 6]
Forget Beckham, it's the real literati who know how to party
Beckham's launch was going to be in Manchester but had to be moved at the last minute to Madrid. Madonna's is planned for the afternoon of Sunday, September 14 "at a Central London location". And Martin Amis's is scheduled for the Pounds 28,000-a-night Roof Gardens in Kensington. Book launches are competitive and the season is just starting. But those one and a half perfectly pruned acres, 100ft above sea level, won't protect Amis.
Stars who host sedate tea parties (Madonna, for her children's book, The English Roses) or formal press calls (Beckham, for his autobiography David Beckham: My Side) show literary naivety. The book world is not the long soak in a warm bath they imagine.
Amis has invited 500 of the well-worded to his novel's launch on September 16. The celebration for Yellow Dog will run from 9pm "until late", giving prized guests just enough time to taxi over from the British Library. There, from 6.30 to 8.30, they will have been toasting the announcement of this year's Man Booker Prize shortlist -at least Amis made the long list. It could be a party in two parts for the Booker-snubbed author, or cause for catastrophic cocktails.
A week before all that is an even hotter bash. "Infinitely cooler," says one insider of the invitation to Tibor Fischer's launch of his novel, Voyage to the End of the Room. Fischer slammed Amis recently and his Hungarian Embassy party, on September 9, may slam him again. The gathering, for a select 200 people, will be at Eaton Place -and cost next to nothing. "In recognition," grins the author, "of my services to Hungarian culture."
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