29 JULY 1972, Page 20

Will Waspe

The quality of night-life in London has changed subtly but decisively in the last two decades. One by one the elegant ' cafe society' restaurants, where suave and sophisticated performers took the floor in a midnight cabaret, have disappeared. It is all girl shows and ' hostesses ', or electrified groups and discotheques nowanights.

This is sad. Waspe does not exactly remember Romano's, but has bright if distant memories of the Cafe de Paris (now a dance hall) and the old Bagatelle, among others. I am moved to these regrets by my news that this weekend another — I think the last — of their distinguished number, Quaglino's, disappears. At least as we have known it. Next week, Quag's moves into its annexe, the old Allegro, while extensive alterations take place in the main room. When it reopens at the end of September I shall be surprised if any of its old habitues will recognise it.

Helping hands

Redolent of the era of Romano's (see above), the old-time 'Stage Door Johnflies' are not to be seen around today's theatres, but you would be wrong to imagine that there are no longer wellheeled playboys willing to invest lavishly in West End shows on condition that their girl-friends are prominently featured in them. There is at least one London comedy, poorly reviewed, which would have closed weeks ago but for the money transfusions from a sporting gentleman of wealth and title whose current doxy is its leading lady.

No news is bad news

Andre Previn — living proof that glamour still attaches to conductors of big bands — is no man to waste time talking to the ladies and gentlemen of the press without a guarantee that they will have some newspapers in which to record the words that fall from his lips. On Tuesday morning he was due to discuss his lifetime contract and future plans for the London Symphony Orchestra with them over drinks and canapes. But with Fleet Street immobilised, the meeting was called off.

Waiting for Lauren

Bernard Delfont has a summer problem with Prince of Wales Theatre. The problem: to put in a show popular enough to attract the summer tourists, but not popular enough to remain beyond October when he wants the theatre available for the American musical, Applause, Applause (based on the film, AU About Eve), starring Lauren Bacall. His first shot was the swiftly collapsing Smilin' Through. His second is Trelawny, transferred from Sadler's Wells. Will he need a third?