19 APRIL 1986, Page 41

High life

Into action


Most of them have been in places like Palm Beach and Beverly Hills doing social work among the rich, and putting the final touches to their tans. Others have been at fat farms, slimming down and getting in shape for the climbing season that will last until the middle of June. All of them have been on the telephone, giving their sche- dules to their press agents, who in turn inform the gossip columnists that rule this town the exact plans of the climbers.

In fact, I suspect that the briefings between press agents and gossip columnists match the seriousness and exactitude of those between the planners and pilots of a nightmare air raid over hostile territory. In return, some gossips tend to gush over the climbers, and present them to an unaware public in a manner first perfected by Hollywood long ago when introducing a future star of the silver screen.

And now to the wedding of the year, as the Stassinopoulos nuptials last week have been called. I shall not say a word about my fellow Greek's good luck in marrying Mr Huffington of Texas. The only thing I will comment on is the sight of Lord Weidenfeld in a Lord Fauntleroy suit carrying the rings, his varicose veins stick- ing out of his silk stockings, while he wept tears of joy, all of which were recorded by the video camera that was hidden inside a Greek Orthodox priest's headgear.

Given the fact that from now on there will be more parties in New York than there are muggers, I tried to pace myself during the first hectic week. To no avail. One of the most amusing bashes I attended was for the birthday of a lady by the name of Mercedes Kellogg, whose husband is an ex-American ambassador, and as it so happens, a gentleman. The seating was arranged by drawing lots from a hat — a silk hat — and the names one drew were all historical ones. I drew Frederic Chopin, and was seated next to George Sand, who by some mistake turned out to be Jerry Zipkin. After some furious complaints on his part, a lady was put between us, and the dinner continued uninterrupted from then on. It ended when my wife, for some strange reason I shall never understand, got up and did the dirtiest (sexiest) South American dance I have ever witnessed in a public place. Fortunately there were few guests left, but the story got out, and for once I am not the one to have embarrassed the Taki children.

In fact, I've done better than usual. The next night my friend Chuck Pfeiffer gave a party for his 45th birthday, and I gave a speech that for once was in good taste and even funny. I had asked for my wife to be seated between Norman Mailer and a good friend of mine, Eddie Ullmann, an air, rail and arms tycoon whom we refer to as Sir Basil Ullmann. But after her performance the night before she was banished from the main table, and the designer Carolina Herrera was put in her place. I was aware that Chuck had friends from many walks of life, but that night I found out exactly how varied his friends really are. There was Hollywood, the arts, television, writers and even a poet, and most important of all, men who had served their country bravely and had been decorated for it. Although I may be gushing, I had such a good time I thought it could not possibly get any better. But it did get better early in the morning European time when I heard that Amer- ican jets were finally bombing the Beast of Benghazi.