Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Happy Hallowe'en! And to our friends marking the turn of the year, a very Happy Samhain. 
Yesterday the news broke that Disney have bought Lucasfilm, including the rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, for $4bn. That's a LOT of ewok by anyone's standards. They also announced plans for a seventh Star Wars film to be released in 2015. That will be followed by episodes eight and nine and then one new movie every two or three years. 

Twitter has been abuzz with the news, with reactions ranging from "We might get a good new Star Wars movie at last!" to "Disney are going to ruin Star Wars!" via "Does this mean Leia is a Disney Princess now?" 

That last did make me smile when I spotted it. However, as any woman of my generation will tell you, Leia has a ray gun and so would whup the rear of every Disney Princess going- including Mulan. Carrie Fisher cannot be messed with. I love her to distraction. 

Leia was possibly the first flesh-and-blood female character I remember being wowed by as a kid. (The animated one was Disney's Maleficent. I blogged about that elsewhere. And what do you know? I quoted Carrie Fisher there too. Full circle.)

This got me remembering a long-ago late night chat with some friends around 5 brilliant women we'd invite to a Fantasy Dinner Party. The rule was that they could be living or dead, but you had to have what the group considered "a damned good reason" to include them. 

As friends mulled over the merits of Virginia Woolf vs Mary Shelley (I believe Shelley won after two falls and a submission) I went straight to my list without hesitation:

Carrie Fisher, Kathy Burke, Dorothy Parker, Nancy Mitford and Emmeline Pankhurst.

The group hesitated. Nobody challenged me. I was all ready to explain my choices. I wasn't asked to. I've always felt cheated, if vindicated. I obviously know how to throw a good party...

Let's have a little Hallowe'en fun: let's imagine you're throwing a party tonight. Male or female, living or dead, who would YOU invite- and why? 

UPDATE: Lovely Natasha (@stirthesource) has sent over her selection. It's quite brilliant. As I knew it would be.

She's gone for Jesus, Vivienne Westwood, James Corden, Paulo Coehlo, Michael J Carty, Persephone, Michael Jackson, Simon Pegg, and Morgaine Le Fey.

"Make of that what you will," she says. I see a trillion reasons for inviting them. I also suspect Persephone and Vivienne would get on famously, while I can imagine @MJCarty and Jesus ganging up on Paulo for nicking the last breadstick.

@Scarletstand aka Emma Burnell sends us this motley crew: Joss Whedon, Caitlin Moran, Steve Biko, Mary Magdelene, Jane Austen and David Bowie. I raised an eyebrow at the thought of Austen and Whedon squaring up over whether women should be more Bennett than Buffy over the antpasti, but knowing Emma's ability to bring people together, I can see it working.

More guests arriving courtesy of Meg Peppin (@OD_Optimist) who's gone for a quite inspired line up of AngelaCarter, Mo Mowlam, Scheherazade, Mary Poppins, John Hegley, Grayson Perry,Richard Hawley. Her reasons? She fancies "Wit, wisdom, stories anda little magic." As a big fan of both Carter and Mowlam, I'd dearly love to be at that table, and with such storytellers present, it wouldn't be an early night...

Further entries from the wondrous @hr_cass here: and the genius @kingfishercoach here: Both perfection! I love the way real life connections are joining the famous names.

Who's on your list? 


  1. Great post, though I reckon Mulan would have Leia every time, #justsaying

    Halloween dinner guests eh...

    I'd be curious to see what Abe Lincoln's got to say for himself these days, could be fun. Stephen Fry - I think it would be a memorable experience to spend time in his company. And I'd like to invite the late great Joe Strummer to help with the post dinner sing song.

  2. Great choices all- I imagine Joe to have been a fascinating character. Thanks Doug!

  3. I have to confess that I'm having trouble with this... I like parties and entertaining. I don't have "favourites". I love Star Wars. I don't have a dream team list. There are many, many people who would be great to include...

    So instead I'd like to have dinner with the Queen, my wife and our two sons! I'm not particularly royalist or republican but I reckon she's got some great stories to tell. To share that experience with my family seems like the best Fantasy Dinner Party!

  4. David, a fantastic answer. How else do we make wonderful memories and the most of these moments to treasure if we don't have those we love by our sides to share them?