London knew how to throw a party and tonight would be no exception. It was New Year’s Eve, Millennium Night. At the stroke of midnight everyone would sing Auld Lang Syne and say farewell to the nineties and hello to the noughties.
Lizzie had managed to wrangle a ticket to party at a private members club in North London. Whilst most of her friends would celebrate the Millennium by dancing with thousands of clubbers at the Millennium Dome, or dining on a £500 meal at a restaurant in Central London, Lizzie would spend her evening dancing and drinking French Champagne with a select and fashionable few.
The owner of the club and host of tonight’s party was Johnny Tate, a young actor enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame as the star of the popular television soap “Prognosis”, a one-hour show depicting the highs and lows of a group of attractive twenty-something medical students. It was the sort of show Lizzie and the rest of London would watch on a Sunday afternoon whilst nursing a hangover from the night before.
Everybody liked Johnny Tate, he was good-looking, confident and had a cheeky sense of humour. There were rumours Johnny’s family had ties with East End Gangsters, making most of their money from illegal gambling clubs in the eighties, however none of this seemed to matter, it just added to Johnny’s allure.
As Lizzie entered the party with her friends she was surprised to see the cast of Prognosis was there, some working behind the bar, others walking the room with silver trays, handing out glasses of Champagne and canapés to bemused party guests. There were no decorations adorning the ceiling or the walls, just a very large ice sculpture of a mermaid sitting on top of the bar. The music was loud, too loud for the size of the room but no-one seemed to mind that much.
Johnny Tate’s character on Prognosis “Anthony Rice” was secretly in love with his best friend and fellow medical student “Angela Steed”, played by actress and current London It Girl Devon Standford-Jones. Devon’s character was engaged to Anthony Rice’s arch nemesis on the show, however in real-life Lizzie noticed that Devon was Johnny’s girl. In fact as Lizzie looked around the room at the body language and public shows of affection, most of the cast of Prognosis seemed to be paired off with the person they were least likely to be partnered with on the show.
Once the champagne and spoils of the party had kicked in Lizzie and one of her friends Jasmine, made their way upstairs to find the ladies room. As they reached the top of the stairs they thought they heard music coming from one of the rooms. Being the curious girls that they were Lizzie and Jasmine decided to go in and take a look and were met with a strange and surreal scene. In the middle of the room was a small wooden stage with a large disco ball above it, shining sparkles of multi-coloured lights everywhere. A large bald man dressed in a white tuxedo was standing on top of the stage with a karaoke machine behind him, singing the words to Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” into a large silver microphone. He reminded Lizzie and Jasmine of Daddy Warbucks in the musical Annie. In front of him were three women in their sixties, wearing matching sequined outfits, swaying and waving their arms in unison and gazing at him like they were his most adoring fans.
“My Dad he just loves to sing” said a voice behind them. As Lizzie and Jasmine turned around they realised it was Johnny Tate. He was looking up at his Dad with an eerie grin on his face. “I don’t think we are supposed to be here” said Jasmine as she grabbed Lizzie by the arm, swiftly leading her out of the room, down the stairs and back to the safety of the party.
Image: Gucci Spring / Summer 2019. Photographed by Sara Merz, and stylist Mégal Grouchka for Grazia France.