Friday, 20 May 2011


“What is there more kindly than the feeling between host and guest?” Aeschylus, c 500 BC.

Correct. Absolutely. And what joy and gentle pride can be gained from engaging with a multitude of strangers, of sharing smiles and knowing their night is good from your engagement. In the world of hospitality “We aim to please” stands tall. Simple effort brings pleasure and warmth abounding.

And the flip-side?

“I’m a Centurion/Platinum/Diamond-Encrusted-Ermine-Bordered-Emerald-Enshrined Card Holder.”

“I’m a friend of Owner/Manager/A Celebrity.”

“You’re stupid/I’ll have you fired/Or a varied selection of Insult & Profanity abounding.”

And the most simple classic of all… “Don’t you know who I am?!”

Er… No. So?

Or… Yes. And?

It will never fail to, baffle, or better, simply to amuse how some folk think to attempt a rapid round of volatile diatribe to demean, criticise and attack will help them gain entry to somewhere after refusal. It won't. I've seen the 'Big I Am' a thousand times before. To be gracious and charming could be the only ploy to win, and could actually help one do so with relative ease. Insult my colleagues, you are not going anywhere but away.

Hospitality is the relationship between guest and host. It is, therefore, like all good relationships, inherently a two-way street. If the etymology comes from the Latin hostis, which originally meant ‘to have power’, then some people really need to wake up to where that power lies; certainly not in the hands of the intoxicated arrogant pomposity of the one who does not hold the key.

Of course, good manners often means you simply put up with other people's bad manners; if you spoke your true mind how little would they cope.

Manners are also a good balanced awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners; if you don’t, you don’t. Simple.

As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe put it: “A man's manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.”

And who puts a portrait in their house they don’t like?


  1. Wonderfully wise words, as always. You know exactly how to put into words hoe I feel.
    Thank you

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Upon writing this, the following evening...

    I’m called downstairs to deal with two who have been refused admission for being too intoxicated and abrasive. They are not on the guest list, but want to come in.

    “I work with loads of people in film and the industry. I was sent here by Marco the director. So who are you?! I know David LaChapelle, You know what, she (points at my colleague) is foreign, and I’m from London, so fuck off. I know David LaChapelle!”

    Lovely. Goodnight.

    Five minutes later, five lads arrive, politely enquiring. And up they go, happy to know their manners were the right way to go.