It’s an age-old question that has been asked for years in dinner parties around the world. There are those that scoff at this as a conversational crutch. But is it really that inane a question? I find it fascinating to find out who people would invite into their homes. I believe it gives great insight to a person’s interests, beliefs and values, especially when your friend tells you why they wanted to invite Deeta von Teese (whom you never knew they had a thing for) and they might surprise you when they give reasons for inviting Richard Nixon or Lenin. You achieve greater insight about friends, family and acquaintances if you allow historical and long dead figures to be included on the invite list.
So with that in mind, and assuming all partygoers would somehow be able to speak in a common language – lets say English – who would I invite to a dinner party and why?
Well, it’s a long list! Bearing in mind that you never get 100% attendance, I would invite a few more than I could comfortably accommodate.
1. Stephen Fry – for obvious reasons: intelligent, funny, full of interesting anecdotes, and I think a man who feels things deeply. No shortage of good conversations there!
2. Bill Bryson – again, intelligent, a great traveller with keen interest in the history of humanity and our planet, and a chronicler of people and anecdotes. I can’t imagine the conversation ever getting boring or drying up!
3. Professor Brian Cox – incredibly intelligent, a modern man, inspirational, passionate about some of my greatest loves- astronomy, physics, travelling, something sweet about him, funny and easy on the eye. My modern day hero. A must have dinner companion.
4. Charles Darwin – an amazing man, made a huge difference to our lives and our understanding of our planet, and yet in his later days a hermit and recluse. Curiosity drives this invitation, as well as a deep admiration. Conversations discussing how he came about his theories and his voyages would be fascinating.
5. Sir Isaac Newton – another world changing man whom I would love to bombard with questions and bathe in his brilliance!
6. Sir David Attenborough- another intelligent, fascinating man with a wealth of experience and knowledge, and a great story teller.
7. Meryl Streep- someone whom I think would be charming, intelligent, pasionate about her interests and a good conversationalist. An actress I admire, not least because she was a brilliant actress in two of my favourite movies (I have a few!) : Out of Africa and Bridges of Madison County
8. On the subject of Madison County, Clint Eatswood would also be on my guest list. What an interesting life he has led. I would like to ask him more about his days as Carmel’s Mayor, and more about his early days in film as well as his most recent. A fascinating person and most likely have some fabulous anecdotes and quips.
9. Alex O’Laughlin – currently in the TV re-make of Hawaii Five O, and before that in the vampire tv series “Moonlight”. This is where I begin to add a bit more variety to the guest mix. One of the younger guests, we share similar ages and homeland, grew up in the same city, and that’s where my knowledge ends. I know little about him except that he would definitely add a spark , and dare I say it, some levity and eye candy! I would defintely ask him whom he would invite to a dinner party, to get to know more about him!
10. Cate Blanchett- an enigmatic actress, hailing from my homeland, and I greatly respect her for the roles she plays. I think there would definitely be good conversational value there.
11. George W. Bush – yes, you read correctly! I mean the son! Purely for comic value…
12. Oh dear, yes I admit it, I would invite Tony Blair, ex-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. irrespective of anybody’s politics, he has been in some interesting situations and has often been a major player in pivotal points of our recent history. I would want to delve into many of those situations to find out what really happened, (in a polite and convivial manner, after all it is a dinner party). He would undoubtedly be adept at the art of conversation and would not exclude anyone from his conversation, being a diplomat and politician!
13. Queen Noor of Jordan – I read her biography once while I was waiting for a plane at an airport. It gave me a new view on women’s roles in the Middle East , my view on what women were like there had been so stereotyped before then, as I had little else to go on. I admire her strength and character. With Queen Noor amongst the mix, more interesting conversations between our guests would no doubt ensue.
14. Socrates- the ancient Greek philosopher- for great deep and meaningful conversations- no doubt would cause a bit of friction and controversy between opposing points of view amongst partygoers- wonderful!
15. Akhenaten – the heretic pharoah of 18th Dynasty New Kingdom Ancient Egypt. he would answer some fundamental questions I have had since I studied Egypt at University: What did he REALLY look like, what was Nefertiti’s role, and what happened to them? Why did he really follow the controversial route he chose?
19. His ancestor Pharaoh Khafra from the 4th Dynasty would also receive an invite, and to him I would pose the questions – “How did you really build your pyramid?” and “Did you really carve the sphinx? How old is the sphinx really?”
21. Botticelli- my favourite painter – so much to ask him about the times he lived in, and the model that was his inspiration.
22. Leonardo da Vinci- all those inventions that he came up with- what fascinating topics of conversation.
23. Becoming more a soiree than a dinner party now, I could not go by without inviting Bono Vox of U2. Someone I have admired for years. I would ask him to do a spot for us, where he would sing with the amazing, powerful voice that was his trademark in the 80s and 90s. I am sure he would do it with good grace…!
I have many more on my “reserve list”, those who I wouldn’t want to spend too much time with but for whom I have a lot of questions…I think I shall leave those for another time!
So, would you come to my dinner party, and who would you invite to yours?