London has spread out so far from the banks of the Thames that its inhabitants have lost the knack of using the river as a thoroughfare. Of course there are water taxi routes but taking them is the exception rather than the rule, now that most journeys don’t begin and end on the riverbanks. So it’s a proper treat when you get to board a boat and take a trip.
Shopbop.com invited me and a small group of editors from Vogue, Elle & Grazia, along with Harley Viera Newton, Anouck Lepere & Amber Le Bon, to join them for the Brit Awards, the UK’s versions of the Grammys. In order to both beat the hideous road traffic, and simultaneously get us all fed, the evening started on the Edwardian, a sleek river boat, which would take us all the way to the O2 Arena on the Greenwich peninsula, whilst we ate delicious canapés (crispy polenta topped with goat’s cheese and caramelized onion and pistachio biscuit topped with mozzarella, toasted walnut and sundried tomato), followed by steak & dumplings, and pea risotto, with a salted caramel chocolate tart chaser.
The O2 isn’t that far away, but the meandering river means that the journey takes longer than you might expect. The view is wonderful all the way: we started from the pier by the old warehouses, now smart shops & restaurants, on Shad Thames, in the shadow of Tower Bridge, and followed the curve of the river of past Canary Wharf, and around the peninsula of the Isle of Dogs.
The boat was fitted out, rather as the penthouse in which we hosted the Shopbop party during London Fashion Week back in September was, as a Shopbop apartment – it’s certainly the chic-est boat upon which I have ever travelled, and not a nautical themed pashmina afghan in sight.
I’ve been to gigs as the O2 before – I saw both Muse and Katy Perry there last year (yes, I have diverse musical tastes), but this was the first time I had been seated by the arena floor, and the sheer scale of the venue is really apparent from down there. You certainly don’t get any idea of the scale when you watch the show on the TV. Basically: it’s ginormous.
On the arena floor are the record labels, celebs, sponsors and nominees who have dinner, then the next tier are show and party guests, (where we were), and up and beyond that are the public tickets.
I was thrilled to see that my blogging bf Emily was one of the guests, and we sat bouncing in our seats watching the acts, both admitting our secret love for Taylor Swift, as she writhed around in her poufy white crinoline, before stripping down to a black lace playsuit.
I was a little upset to hear one of my all time favourite songs – The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks being massacred by One Direction, but as it is currently no 1 in 68 countries raking in the cash for Comic Relief (a childrens charity), I will forgive them the aural horror.
Some of the biggest screams of the night were for Robbie Williams – I can only assume that that means that the median age of the audience is around the 35+ mark, and predominantly female.
James Corden really does get props for seamless hosting: when you see the venue in the flesh, you realise it is no mean feat to host such a juggernaut of an evening, in the round, and live too. And with music star guests, who hardly the most reliable, on message group of people.
I’m afraid that LFW had got the better of me, and instead of hitting the after parties, I sloped off home afterwards. Still, I had a wonderful evening so a huge thank you to my friends at Shopbop for inviting me