Friday, 20 May 2016

The perfect evening

Jane discovers that good food, great company and a sing-song round the piano with a childhood hero make for the perfect evening

Written by Jane Green
Emma Freud is my new best friend. It is official. She may not actually know she is my new best friend, but we had such a fantastic time at her bonkers supper club where the guests (me included) responded to her tweet inviting interesting strangers, that I have decided, and once I have decided, it’s a certainty.

The supper club truly was entirely bonkers. We arrived at an amazing brownstone in the Village in Manhattan. Emma Freud’s other half, Richard Curtis, opened the door and we had a very nice small-talky chat about being English in New York, when Emma, extraordinarily tiny and clad in an apron, swooped over and enveloped us both in giant hugs.

I have to say, she had me at the hug. She was so warm and natural and fun, my usual reserve at walking into a room filled with strangers disappeared completely. It helped that the brownstone they are renting belongs to a restaurateur and had what might be the greatest kitchen I have ever seen.

I spent the first 40 minutes salivating over the stove and the fridge. I was transfixed by the tiles. I gazed covetously at the string of fairy lights hanging just outside the window. It was, unsurprisingly, given that Richard Curtis is the man behind Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love Actually, like something straight out of a wonderful film.

We started to make conversation with the other guests. There was a nice Indian couple we happened to have met at a book party a couple of months ago, a grey-haired museumgoer, a writer and former sex worker (which was utterly thrilling), and a musician and his wife.

‘Dean Friedman,’ said the musician, shaking my hand warmly, as my eyes widened in shocked delight.

Readers, I am embarrassed to admit I did exactly what all those women did to poor Rupert Holmes at the book festival from hell that I wrote about recently (1 April issue). I stared at Dean Friedman in excited disbelief as a bunch of disparate lyrics started flying around my brain, finally coming together as I broke into song.

‘Did you see Lisa? Yes I saw Lisa. Is that why you’re angry? I wasn’t angry. Maybe a little? Not even maybe. Must be the weather? Now don’t be a baby…’

I stopped after one verse, but I could have gone on all night. Dean Friedman’s Lucky Stars was one of the highlights of my 1978. In fact, it may have been the only highlight of my 1978.

And after sausage rolls, shepherd’s pie, beef Wellington, Eton mess, tiramisu and trifle had been consumed, Dean Friedman sat at the piano and sang Lydia. And this may very well be the highlight of my 2016.

Next week: sleeping through a visit to the theatre

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