Thursday, October 1, 2009

Saloniversary OR Is Shoreditch the new posh?

Last night, to Shoreditch. A blissfully unposh part of town. But maybe Shoreditch House itself is the epitome of 'new posh' - if you take posh (see discussions passim) to mean 'the ruling class', or at least 'arbiter of current high society etiquette' (not so catchy). Anyway - it's all deeply trendy, with bad mannered bar staff, people crammed into one room, padded shoulders knocking – one woman's studded t-shirt nearly took my eye out at the bar. Everyone looks furious, but whether this is the face of Hoxton-cool or just the side-effect of the recession, which is putting everyone in a bad mood, I don't know.

Thankfully, we were gathering for the most unpretentious of reasons - though at first it may not sound like it. Damian Barr's 'Salon' - which started exactly a year ago with an audience of just 30 and the chick-lit author Jenny Colgan doing a reading. Last night there were nearer to 300 in the room - Jenny read again, as did returning authors David Nicholls ('Starter for 10') and Geoff Dyer ('The Colour of Memory', 'Geoff in Venice') - who were so funny they caused many a woman, and likely some men, to fall instantly in love, despite their ramshackle appearance and the confession of one that he was so unhip at school he had the nickname "Biff, as in 'Spina Bifida". Bringing people together in a room to discuss books sounds hideous but Damian says it's all about the love of reading, which is something quite different. Hence highbrow and lowbrow are all in the same (Hendrick's) gin-fuelled, pizza-fed mix.

If this is the new posh, then I'd like to be Queen.

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