Is Corona the new Brexit? A conversation that revolves on a loop, relying on a good dose of repetition, and an argument about control methods. Of course, If you’ve constructed a castle out of stock piled loo rolls complete with ramparts, that qualifies as quite interesting and should certainly keep you going through the dip stage of any party. Equally, If you were a fly on the wall at the last Cobra meeting then you are definitely allowed to hold the floor until everyone's got a glass and settled in, then that’s it. Move on.
Yes, we know it’s tricky. Suddenly everyone's a virologist. To help lift you out of a conversation rut, here are five dinner party gambits other than Corona.
by Clare Hastings
Have you seen Giri Haji?
This is one of those television series that due to the rather unexciting title seems to have initially slipped under the radar. Get in quick, before everyone’s onto it. Just drop it into the conversation ‘Seen Giri Haji?’, and look out for a blank stare, or best of all the ones who like to think they are up to speed on all things arty ‘Absolutely. Yes - you do know, that exhibition in the Turbine hall’. The Japanese score highly in this one as they are all unexpectedly sexy. Snakes through letter boxes, camp rent boys, mob murders and that’s just for starters. It also manages to be funny. A real treat.
Don’t you hate all those shops with artificial flowers round the doors?
Yes is the unequivocal answer to this one. They start off looking pretty in a sugary sort of way, and then after a month of sunlight and showers they really do appear like the flowers from Miss Haversham’s wedding table - withered. Do talk about the shops and cafes that really offend, and then suggest a trip along Pimlico Road to admire the work of Alexander Hoyle, on the pavement outside Colefax and Fowler. A fresh garden, planted to perfection in wicker baskets. An inspiration to anyone with a balcony, a small outdoor space….or a shop. A great way to plant vegetables.
Guess the bill in a delicatessen.
Delicatessens are the new shoe shops. Whole foods is now distinctly average. Think Bailey and Sage, Natoora, De Beauvoir Deli, Daylesford some of the many names strutting their stuff in the marketplace. Sometimes you can see two or three in a row competing for customers, as cheeses ooze, chocolates are displayed in ways previously reserved for diamonds and fruits are piled in seductive heaps, and that’s before you get started on the artisan bread pile. All this joy comes at a cost. ‘How much?!’ is the cry regularly heard before you reach the till area. Ask fellow diners to guess the cost of your last shop at any of the above. Make it trickier by giving them three standard items from your basket (make sure you include the sourdough loaf).
What glamping? Are you absolutely sure?
Now that we can’t go on planes as they’re bad for the planet, recycle germs, and the food is frankly grim what’s left? You could glamp, but really - what if it rains?
Now a lux log cabin in the U.K might be the way forward. They have of course got to be really lux. Think living roofs as standard, views to die for and wildlife that totters right past the door and, of course, the food must be delivered in while you sift through Netflix. ‘Have you checked out Eagle Brae?... ‘Really you haven’t? You can make your own chandelier out of deer antlers (no absolutely eco, they shed them naturally each year) - you’ll need about fifty. Give me your email and I’ll send you the instructions’.
1970’s fashion, what was good about it?
This is an excellent conversation for a Mother’s Day lunch. Expect to hear groans about perms, why brown, yellow and green should never be seen, and how knickerbockers, ponchos and ankle length frocks are all very well but….Whoever thought huge sleeves and platform shoes could and should make a comeback? Only the ones who weren’t there. Listen to your mother on this one, oh and wash your hands before lunch.