The Upward Spiral

17th October 2014

The Upward Spiral

Arriving grumpy because you don’t want to be there, because there’s not going to be anyone you know or anyone you might even want to know, because you had a barney in the car on the way over, because you didn’t say the right thing at the right time or simply because you just want to be somewhere else, makes it difficult to be gushingly enthusiastic, engaging or entertaining about anything.

Furthermore it is pretty well guaranteed that should you push down a couple of gin and tonics without so much as miniature blinchiki, the effect will be to darken your mood to the extent that you consider all the other guests to be intellectual pygmies and the host a pompous arse who needs taking down a peg or two.

However as you enter you are delighted to be offered a tray with several flutes of something golden and bubbling. Is it? Can it be? If it is, what will it be? Half way down the hall with your hostess expectantly smiling, raising her eye brows and getting ready to embrace, clasp and kiss you, is not the time to be sticking your nose in the glass, trying to sort out what it is. Rats. It will just have to wait till you have been processed through the ritual and everted into the garden.

The garden is really very attractive but not a sanctuary. Your partner has caught sight of a friend, abandoned you and marched over to them without so much as even getting her lips wet. A moment’s solace must not be wasted before someone wants your time and interest. Check the mousse. Fine and constant despite however long it has been poured. Check the colour. ‘A pale golden robe’, the notes would say. Give it a little swirl and get the nose in there. Oh! It is. That flowery citrusy high note with undertones of something that has spent several years simply ameliorating itself.

A suit is approaching with a lopsided grin which says, ‘This precision munition is tracking towards you’. Who wears a suit these days apart from cheapo lawyers and accountants? Got to get a mouthful of this before I am obliged to be civilised with a moron. Mmmm. It’s delicate and flowery with a hint of minerality. Definitely no Pinot or Meunier in there. The pleasure of the finish is emasculated by the requirement to exchange identities and occupations with the man on the Clapham omnibus.

The trick is to ensure, if necessary by lying, that you have absolutely nothing in common. Not even the Common. Cocking your head and glass in the direction of an absolute stranger, smiling graciously and firmly advising that there is someone else you must talk to, is the accepted way out. The few sips taken whilst conducting a fighting retreat were pleasant but did not provide an opportunity to savour or enjoy.

Now you realise that a few sips have actually amounted to the remainder of the glass and you need to find a refill. Lingering on the palate is that sensation of intrigue that says, ‘One is not enough. There are more delights to be revealed.’ Fortunately posted by the patio door is a charming girl with a tray of the necessary. Her blonde hair, the silver tray, the amber hue – it’s as if the curtain of gloom has lifted and this is not such a dull do after all.

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