The Millenium Circus


I never thought I'd get this old. When I was a kid, and dates just big sums you counted on your fingers - I worked out how old I'd be in the year 2000 and thought the answer preposterous.


And yet it has come to pass: Disco is dead but I'm still here, though not, sadly, married to the astronaut I had hoped for. Then - if isn't bad enough to be skirting middle aged like an Essex girl dancing round her handbag - the whole damn world is throwing a party to celebrate, and I'm not even invited.


What are you doing for the Millenium? Do you already have a line of engraved stiffies on the mantelpiece clamouring for your company or will you be waiting for the four horsemen of the acopalypse in bed with a good book, hoping you're asleep when they arrive? Or maybe you have more money than friends and planning to drop five grand for a couple of nights at the Dorchester's gastronomic and sensory extravaganza - the "Millenium Circus'.


Sorry, did I say disco was dead? Apparently it's merely been dozing for a couple of decades. Plans are underway to transform the Promenade, currently the Dorchester's central lobby, into a time tunnel of sound and light where, according to the press release. circus performers 'appear through the haze and smoke to mingle or stand rigid and immobile.


Much like the guests, I suspect.


Food will be suitably extravagant. We had a little preview of the Lobster terrine with Beluga caviar, the goats cheese piccata and the Sauteed escalope of goose liver at the press launch. They were scaled down to canape size and as these things go the Lobster in a delicate aspic was pretty damn fine and the pate too much of a cliche to even yawn about - rich but unimaginative - again, much like the guests. The cheesy thing - ho hum - is there anyone left alive this century who hasn't had goats cheese? If so - then this is your chance.


Of course these were just samples - kitchen manoeuvres. Presumably, on the apocalyptic night of nights, with garrisons of silverware on parade across the tablecloth, the dishes for the full blown military tattoo will be more impressive. Or you can always just shoot yourself.


We were then led into a room where the chairs were all wearing black lycra tights, and served the main course - a pan fried fillet of Angus beef wrapped in truffled sweet potatoes with, what I think was spinach mornay. By mow, fully immersed in the son et lumiere presentation of the planned entertainment, I couldn't really see what I was eating. Though the fillet of beef did come with an ice cream wafer stuck on the top bearing the legend 2000 - just in case you've forgotten the date and suddenly think you're a Muslim and only on 1420.


The event was hosted by a charming young man who obviously doesn't remember the seventies first time round, and still thinks they're a jolly good idea. He told us that The Dorchester's dining room will be transformed into a Sci-Fi flight deck, complete with strobes, colour washes and 'gobo trackspots' whatever the hell they are - they sound like something the cat coughed up.


Galactica, Empress of the Universe will count down the minutes to the new year, until you want to feel like screaming no doubt, and diners will be entertained by contortionists and the like.


Judging by our floor show - two Gary-Newman style silver-clad cyborgs, they might just as well have brought in Sarah Brightman to sing "I fell in love with a star-ship trooper' or kept us at home for a Star Trek Marathon on the Sci Fi Channel.


It was all worryingly over-themed. Like a grand Arab wedding, except that here you have to pay instead of just pitching up with a gift-wrapped print of the Holy Land and a lot of paste jewellery.


Pudding came as something of a relief. On the menu it was billed as a Millenium Surprise which probably means they just didn't know what else to call it. The plate looked like a space age city from the Jetsons - with more projections than a David Schilling (spelling) hat, with enough different desserts to make your head spin on an axis. The profiterole had a sharp toffee point - shaped like Kaiser Willem's helmet which threatened to spoil my palate in more senses than one.


But I'm sure it will all be quite all right on the night. As one of the race who brought you Andy Stewart Karaoke nights - I believe celebrations are like religion and poison. To each his own? If there is no price you wouldn't pay for a baby bottle of shampoo and a mini bar, then dust down your glitter wig and boogie on down to the Starship Enterprise and be dazzled.


Meanwhile I'll be at home sifting through the ashes of my lost youth - Yes, I know that it's life, Jim. But not as we knew it.