Thursday, January 11, 2007

Entertaining in great style!

DebR posted this "getting to know you" exercise on Create a Connection yesterday. Thanks and well done Deb, this is such an interesting and thought provoking one!

Sue’s Dream Dinner Party
1. Guest one must be someone who is/was creative with words - a novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, journalist, etc. Who would you invite? JRR Tolkein, for a number of reasons. Firstly, I have devoured his writings since I was in my teens. In fact, so far, I have resisted all pressure (and there has been lots) to see the Lord of the Rings movies, because I have such strong and personal visual images in my head, and I’d hate to lose them or have them corrupted by seeing them through someone else’s eyes. Secondly, I almost feel I know him personally, after reading Carpenter’s excellent Biography. Thirdly, I am intrigued by the kind of creative mind that can come up with an entire new language, script, and geography to support a story, and of course fourthly, he was born in South Africa, although he returned with his mother to England at the age of 3, when his father died in 1895.


2. Guest two must be someone who is/was creative with images - a painter, photographer, sculptor, fabric artist, collage artist, etc. Who would you invite? Where to begin??? I think I have to opt for the Spanish painter, Francisco Goya. When I was at the impressionable age of 14, we went to Madrid, and I was completely overawed by his paintings in El Prado. I could have stood there all day, and eventually just about had to be dragged away! No picture in a book can prepare you for the impact of his huge paintings in real life, especially the ones he did when his sanity was a bit shaky. He was a bit of a rebel, and an eccentric, so I think I would have really got on well with him!

3. Guest three must be someone who is/was a performer - an actor, singer, musician, comedian, acrobat, etc. Who would you invite? That would have to be Mark Knopfler (ex singer, songwriter, lead guitarist of Dire Straits), the man is such a genius on the guitar, and yet so modest and seemingly shy, and his piercing social observations in his songs are wonderful. If he was suddenly unable to attend, it would not break my heart if Bono from U2 filled the gap, sexy, talented, caring, intelligent, the perfect guest!

4. Guest four must be someone who is charting/charted new territory - either in the physical sense, like an explorer, adventurer, or astronaut, or someone like a groundbreaking scientist or inventor. Who would you invite? Clare Francis is an English yachtswoman, who has done some fascinating journeys, and I love her books. It takes a lot of guts to sail single handed around the world, and to compete in a sport which is traditionally a men’s preserve. I’d love to hear about her adventures first hand.


5. Guest five must be someone who is/was a leader of other people - perhaps in the area of politics, like the literal leader of a country, or perhaps a leader in the area of religion, military, business, or even a great philosopher or teacher, or an inspiring athlete. Who would you invite? In all the other categories I had to agonize over which of the many possibilities to choose, but this is a no-brainer for me, it has to be Nelson Mandela. The man is a superhero in my eyes. I usually take an EXTREMELY dim and cynical view of politicians, but he is one of the handful who have proved that it is possible to be a political leader, and yet retain your integrity and have the courage of your convictions. (BTW, please don’t be offended, but I have to say that for me, the current American President totally falls into the category of “There you go, you SEE why I can’t respect a politician”.) Nelson Mandela had our fate totally in his hands in 1994. I can only describe the tension in this country at that time as being similar to how the world was during the Cuban missile crisis in the ‘60s. We were on the brink of a bloodbath and all out war. Armed hotheads on all sides of the political spectrum were spouting off in all directions, and many people were even stockpiling supplies, fearing anarchy and chaos in the streets, and believing they may be unable to leave their homes. Into this scenario stepped a man who had every right to be angry and bitter, to relish his new power, and exact revenge. Instead he called for forgiveness, understanding and tolerance, and he lead this Nation into a free and peaceful democracy. He is considered a role model worldwide, yet he has retained his humility to this day. He also has a delightful sense of humour, and a real heart for children. If you ever get a chance, read his Autobiography "Long Walk To Freedom", it is fascinating.
6. Guest six must be someone from any field who you believe is/was underrated and under-appreciated by most people, but whom you admire. Who would you invite? I think that would have to be my mother. She had the best general knowledge of anyone I know. She was keen on painting, and given enough opportunities and encouragement, she could have been a good artist. She was a good, caring, insightful mother, but I think I only realized that quite recently, (hence the under-rated). She loved to entertain, and was sharp and witty, a vivacious and sparkling hostess, who had the ability to mix with a fascinating cross section of people. She would have adored being part of this mixed bunch, and would have been a real asset if conversation flagged.
7. Guest seven is a wild card - your choice! Is there someone you'd like to invite who didn't seem to quite fit into any category, or was there a category where you'd have really liked to invite two different people? Then this is your chance to add the person you missed to the table. Who would you invite? Antoni Gaudi, the great Spanish Architect. The man was so ahead of his time, a visionary and genius. His weird designs and technical solutions were groundbreaking, and have stood the test of time. I have been crazy about his buildings since I was a teenager.

Bonus: Uh Oh! The dinner party is just about to end, and all your guests are about to disappear, and you realize that you've forgotten to ask one important question of one of your guests. You just barely have time to squeeze in that last question, so quick! - What was the question and who did you ask? Gaudi…. I would adore hearing how he set about getting the authorities to give planning permission for buildings which evolved organically during building.

While I was chatting to Max about this, we tried guessing each other’s choices, and I must share an abridged version of his list because it is hilarious and really shows how anti-social he can be!
Max’s Dream Dinner Party
1. Guest one must be someone who is/was creative with words - a novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, journalist, etc. Who would you invite? "Ernest Hemingway, because he was amiserable old character and he would probably sit in a corner and sulk, so I wouldn’t have to talk to him. "
2. Guest two must be someone who is/was creative with images - a painter, photographer, sculptor, fabric artist, collage artist, etc. Who would you invite? "Beethoven, because he was deaf and wouldn't participate in the conversation too much, he would probably join Hemmingway in the corner! "
3. Guest three must be someone who is/was a performer - an actor, singer, musician, comedian, acrobat, etc. Who would you invite? "The Duke, John Wayne. " Max grew up on Westerns and John Wayne was his childhood hero, the epitome of a macho man's man!
4. Guest four must be someone who is charting/charted new territory - either in the physical sense, like an explorer, adventurer, or astronaut, or someone like a groundbreaking scientist or inventor. Who would you invite? "Uri Gargarin, because he would only speak Russian, so…" you guessed it… Max would not have to speak to him!
5. Guest five must be someone who is/was a leader of other people - perhaps in the area of politics, like the literal leader of a country, or perhaps a leader in the area of religion, military, business, or even a great philosopher or teacher, or an inspiring athlete. Who would you invite?
And I quote..."George W Bush. Might not be a bad idea to take him out of circulation for a while, he can sit in the corner with Ernest."
6. Guest six must be someone from any field who you believe is/was underrated and under-appreciated by most people, but whom you admire. Who would you invite? He said me, because I am chatty and would help talk to the guests, so he could spend the evening talking about “Boy’s stuff” with John Wayne, but I wouldn't have to sit in the corner, I could sit with him and the Duke, because he enjoys my company!!!


So there you have it... see what a girl has to put up with....sigh...
That’s as far as we got with that discussion, but I get the message, if I want to entertain, I’m on my own!!!

For today's photos, I didn't even get as far as leaving my bedroom! Here are a couple of reflections, and Max's neglected guitar! (I only noticed the dust when I was cropping the photos, yuk! out with the duster...oh how I detest housework!!!)

7 comments:

Deb R said...

Ok, first of all I have to say how uber-cool I think it is that your husband played too! His choices were hilarious and would actually make a very interesting dinner party in a quiet sort of way. :-D

And I LOVE your choices, Sue! If I hadn't decided to go with a Girls Night theme, Nelson Mandela might have made my list (although there are a couple of other men who would've been in the running for me in that category too). This is the first I'd heard of Clare Francis, but she sounds fascinating. She'd fit right into my girls' party, wouldn't she! :-) I really enjoyed all your choices and reasons for them very much.

Libbys Blog said...

What a clever photo with the mirror! I really like that and might have a go!!! Have to clean the mirror first though!!!!!

Tammy said...

I LOVED this post! The pictures, intersting people and Max's answers. Very well done...men. LOL

Tammy said...

What a great response! And a great party!! I love that your husband answered too! :)

I thought about Nelson Mandela (first - I just love saying his name - so musical!) but I went with a girl party theme too!

And - have you heard Mark Knopfler's new album?! It's fantastic - a combined effort with Emmy Lou Harris!

Janet said...

You picked some really interesting people for your dinner party. And I loved Max's choices.... especially if he could take Geo W Bush out of circulation even for one night!!

Suzi-k said...

Hi, I was surfing yesterday, and also enjoyed all your answers, but didn't get a chance to leave comments. It was a fun one wasn't it! Thanks again Deb. I forgot to add that Max's wild card was going to be Howard Hughes, because he would hide away from everyone's germs all night and .... yes, leave Max free to talk to the duke!

Leah said...

this was such a great response! i loved it! max's answers cracked me up too!

those mirror shots are very cool. i like the one where you can see a kitty head. :-)