Yes, the holidaze party circuit was giddy this year despite sobering prospects for advertising in 2003. Adages crashed a few gigs, including the Blue Rock Editing blowout at cavernous Cipriani on 42nd St., where bountiful grub and belly dancers pleasured Jim Ferguson of Young & Rubicam, David Perry of Saatchi & Saatchi, Carolyn Hill of New York Office and Michelle Curran of Amber Music, among others. Meanwhile, the ritual CBS press snogfest at the "Black Rock" offices in Midtown was the usual glittering spectacle of bigwigs like Viacom's Sumner Redstone, who came and went early. Adages squeezed next to "60 Minutes' " tightly zipped Lesley Stahl, who despite the free flow of wine kept her Al Gore-will-not-run story to herself. (She broke it that weekend.) Speaking of politics, Helen Clark, prime minister of New Zealand, trumped CBS later that eve with a pre-opening screening of "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers." A pair of Hobbits, Elijah Wood, aka Frodo, and Sir Ian Holm, Bilbo Baggins, showed up.
Was that an ogle or a Bogle?
Adages' holiday throwdown of the year trophy goes to BBH. The ever-resourceful shop was forced to change party venues at the last minute. Originally skedded for posh eatery Cielo, which was cited by the city for alleged health-code violations, BBH moved to a shabby townhouse in the meat-packing district where, rumor has it, Madonna once shagged-up with Jean Michel Basquiat. The place is called Cey (not C'est) La Vie. Is it a restaurant? A bar? No one seemed to know. The stairs were rickety, the floors uneven, candles flickered everywhere, the toilet was in a tent out back. The place was packed tight with warm bodies rubbing up against each other, and many stray hands. Partners John Hegarty and Nigel Bogle arrived from London. Emma Cookson, BBH's planning guru, mesmerized her disciples on the first floor. On the second, Jessica Rotter, account exec, got jiggy in a shoulder-baring ensemble. On the third, U.S. prez Cindy Gallop cavorted playfully on a bed in the middle of the room with a certain journalist. Copywriter Matt Ian's coat burst into flames, thanks to the many candles; so did someone's hair. No one was seriously injured. Also on hand: Alison Burns,prez of Fallon; Brian Martin of DiNoto Lee; Neil Powell of Powell; William Charnock of Ogilvy, Spencer Osborne with J. Walter Thompson; spot director Guy Shelmerdine; and New York Times scribe Stuart Elliot, who later wrote Adages: "It was too crowded. And those stairs were spooky!"
More gossip mongering
At the BBH bash, Adages happily ran into Felicity Shagwell, our U.K. deep throat, who passed on a smuggled copy of Matt Beaumont's latest novel: "The Book, the Film, the T-Shirt." Beaumont is the former London adman who penned the 2000 roman a clef "e," which allegedly was based on true-life sexual high jinks and general naughtiness at McCann-Erickson's London office. (In hindsight, "e" was a red flag: the shop is now mired in a financial mess.) Beaumont's latest is about a reckless ad shop shooting an auto-tire commercial starring a pair of overpaid, temperamental American actors. The story is told through a series of character monologues, not unlike the e-mails that made up "e." Despite a negative review in Campaign by a former BMP DDB creative director (who was vexed that the author has been making a good living writing books lampooning the ad business) Beaumont's latest is a brilliant black comedy that proves Mad Ave. parodies have sturdy legs. Indeed, Adages has learned of yet another roman a clef in development. Stay tuned.
Rlinnett@crain.com was here, while you all were away