7.30pm Somerset House, WC2 It’s 4 July and we’ve been invited by
the American-owned Reader’s Digest to celebrate one of England’s
greatest defeats - the American War of Independence.
We’re promised drinks and hot dogs on the river terrace, but the English
weather exacts revenge by raining on the Yankee parade.
8pm Entertainment is provided by a Dixie jazz band. The Dixie theme is
carried through to the mint julep punch, which most people cautiously
avoid. Sales director Victoria Scott is even more prudent - she’s gone
on holiday to Barcelona instead.
8.30pm Flora MacMillan warns that she doesn’t want to see any pictures
of her in a state of inebriated dishevelment accompanying this piece. Ha
9.30pm The winner of the draw for the luxury weekend in New York hasn’t
shown up, so Stephen Burgess is coerced by the assembled mob into a
redraw. Feather Brooksbank’s Carla Doughty is the lucky winner.
10pm High on mint julep, an insatiable mystery blonde entices Simeon
Linstead onto the deserted terrace - her third bloke of the night.
Inside, a frisky Kevin Murphy of MediaCom is captivated by the charms of
the Digest’s Laura Binney.
10.30pm We gather outside in the rain for the firework display, which is
truly impressive. Back inside, all decorum is lost as the julep-addled
crowd attempts to boogie Dixie style. Sam Scattergood leads with a
curious mix of flamenco and salsa.
12am Meanwhile, in a dimly lit corner of the room, an amorous pair from
Carat’s Manchester office, oblivious to the bizarre dancing, are locked
in an impersonation of the infamous two-backed beast.