I must start by admitting that I have never liked dinner parties, and count as one of the major consolations of age the licence to answer an invitation to one with a flat "I'm sorry, I've given up going to dinner parties." (More shortly, "I don't do dinners," like a caterer.) Having a few friends around for drinks and something to eat is different, though two guests is the ideal number, four is less good but all right and six the exceptional, absolute maximum....Or you can go to the pub - or rather, you could then; difficult now at best. Anyway, the few-friends arrangement and the pub allow what the dinner party forbids: fairly late arrival, early departure without causing a stir, fairly manifest drunkenness, cancellation on sub-cosmic excuse. Worse, the characteristic d.p. demands that the victim should spend a good two hours trying to talk and listen to people he has never seen before, one of whom will be Sydney Smith and be heard saying, "Madam, I have been looking for a person who disliked gravy all my life; let us swear eternal friendship."

Kingsley Amis,
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/quotable-i-must-start-by-admitting_08.html|||1/08/2005 01:11:00 pm|||||||||