And so: to 33 Portland Place for the Ladies of the Lane, the temporary and extraordinary home of the Courvoisier Architectural Punchbowl. Created by the brilliantly bonkers Bompas & Parr, the Punchbowl is a drinkable installation – the very best kind, I believe. So overwhelmed were we by the idea of 4,000 litres of Booze that we didn’t really mind the plastic aprons or hairnets…
A rare glimpse at the true identities of the Ladies of the Lane as we titted about in hairnets
The Emperor’s Shrub is indeed a fine cocktail, created by Joe McCanta of Saf, with assistance from the really very lovely Alex James, Punch Sampler, sorry ‘Taste Consultant’ Extraordinaire (how does one get a job like that? I know some Ladies who would be perfect.) Always health conscious, we were delighted to find actual fruit in our drinks, plus a delicate spice that was positively Christmassy (just 15 days to go until the biggest annual excuse to get totally titted).
And as to the experience itself? Well. If you could avoid the presence of the inevitable Slutty Slutbag who managed to position herself ever so delicately on the orange float within the bowl whilst many men took pictures (you know there’s always one), it was really rather fun. None of the Ladies were brave enough to board the orange float itself (it looked slightly precarious, and one must preserve one’s modesty at all costs), but we had a jolly nice chat with a rather handsome barman sat on the side of the bowl itself, and entertained ourselves by willing someone to fall in. I won’t dwell on the less than salubrious stuck-in-the-80’s hotel that the Ladies went on to for a double Tanqueray and tonic, but suffice it to say that it was late when we got home and the night bus was frightful.
The whole thing is also rather virtuous as proceeds go to charity AND it has real historic precedent: in 1694, a gargantuan punchbowl was created by a true innovator with booze, Admiral Edward Russell, complete with serving boy in a boat. Admiral, we salute you (and will overlook the fact that you married your own cousin. Ho hum).
We do applaud the Bompas & Parr approach to the alcoholic beverage – it’s not so much about drinking it as submersing oneself in it – becoming One With The Booze if you will. Their Alcoholic Architecture project with Hendrick's saw the first ‘walk-in’ drink – a vaporised gin and tonic no less. Now why don’t they bottle that and sell it complete with nose-bag? I’d buy one.
For all these good things, Bompas, Parr, we think that you are very clever indeed and would like to be invited to all your parties please.