There is a big clich’ that I have been brought to question recently, and that is the one about the fact that behind every great man there is a great woman. I mean, if you look around it tends to be more that behind every little man there is a big woman.
There is a big cliché that I have been brought to question recently, and that is the one about the fact that behind every great man there is a great woman. Now I am not trying to deny the substance but rather the characterisation of the expression. I mean, if you look around it tends to be more that behind every little man there is a big woman. Or even better, behind small powerful men are rather tall women. I am thinking Bernie and Slavica, Napoleon and Josephine, Sol and Heather, but also Antonio and Vlasta.
And I think the latter two are a more current example than any of the former, whether it is because they are no longer together, no longer alive or no longer powerful. But Antonio and Vlasta are still very much alive, together and powerful.
You see, they are in charge of what must be one of the power centres of London, the Caramel Room at the Berkeley Hotel. Not the silly pick-up joint, favoured by the slightly chavvy hoi-polloi that made up much of the City until recent clear-outs, called the Blue Bar on the left when you come in, but the conspicuously discreet and elegant room on the right.
There is where all the deals are made or dreamt up, private trysts explored or exposed, ambassadorial appointments celebrated or deflated, secrets shared and shorn; where the great meet the powerful, the mean meet the lean, the keen go unseen and the dodgy meet the edgy. Altogether a melting pot to make a potion cauldron look feeble, all majestically simmered and stirred by the evanescent but ever-present Antonio and Vlasta, inconspicuous recipients of London’s future lore. If only they would share it now, how different the world might seem…