Lovingly refurbished and newly revitalised, the 1920s Bloomsbury Ballroom is London landmark which has a heritage intertwined with decadence and style.
Its grand exterior has cloaked some of the capital’s most exclusive parties and the sprung floors resonate with decades of jives, jitterbugs and waltzes. The Bloomsbury Set of the Roaring 20’s have dulybeen replaced by an equally elite array of modern day hedonists as the ballroom has hosted private events for the likes of Hermes, Kylie and The British Fashion Council- as well as being used as a film set for many a blockbuster.
In July 2014 the venue announced the appointment of Lord Jason Allan Scott as Sales and Marketing Director and welcomed him with a lavish reception. Something of a legend on the London party scene (at his helm, The Penthouseclub’s champagne suite was a firm favourite with international rappers) he was recently named for the second year one of the top Events Professionals Under 40 in the Events 100.
I caught up with Lord Scott for a chat and a tour of the venue. He is softly spoken and elegantly tailored, yet clearly ardent about his new role.
“The relaunch was a huge success,” he tells me”with over three hundred press in attendance, the event was to thank them for the exposure and also to reintroduce the fantastic in-house team that works at The Bloomsbury Ballroom. At the end it was just a blur of people dancing and laughing …”
Chivalrously, he offers to mix me a cocktail. “Unfortunately I always find that I’m the one making the drinks for my clients and taking over from our skilled mixologist. But, you know, that’s just because I’m savvy at it, I’m used to it. I know how to make cocktails. I was once told, by the lovely Burlesque performer Dita Von Teese, I am one of the few men who can get away with ordering a pink drink at 2am...”
“Do you ever feel a little bit Gatsby-ish?” I enquire, recalling the famous Fitzgerald quote “I like large parties. They’re so intimate.”
He smiles “Have we met..? I too grew up without all the trimmings and just like Gatsby I have big dreams. Aren’t we all Jay Gatsby? I think everyone has some sort of connection to Gatsby as a character. He’s a character who has created himself according to his own imagination and dreams, and this is how I choose to live my life. The Gatsby I remember reading at fifteen was far different from the Gatsby I read as an adult. I remember this hopeless romantic who was in love with this woman and created this wealth just to hold her hand. Whereas reading it as an adult it was even more fascinating. The novel is nuanced. At the centre for me now is this man who is incredibly hollow and searching for some sort of meaning in his life. I believe in events and it has completely changed my life, events are my Daisy...” He winks and sips his Cointreaupolitan. “Was that too deep”
The venue’s brand literature describes it as “a forward thinking venue with a classic past”. I ask Lord Scott if these are traits he himself also identifies with. He laughs “I think perhaps I am only forward thinking because if I look at my past I may become more grey then I already am...”
He continues “I am in love with the venue, from the entrance lobby faced in Subiaco marble, decorated Greek style, dressed up to the nines with brass detailing and capped by coffered ceilings.The three halls with their sprung floors for dancing and the panelled walls. I love the history of the venue, it is not hard to imagine the fabulous age, a palace of roarers and flappers. I adore the irony of the thirty-two-metre Long Bar that is designed to look like a 1950’s diner right next to the Crush Bar; a room as filled with lush offerings such as any bar from the decade of its inception.”
I ask if he has a favourite spot.”To choose one room or detail would be like choosing one part of my future wife …So to quote Aristotle, “ The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and – in the case of The Ballroom not my fiancée- I love all of this great old dame’s parts...”
He seems equally eloquent about his team: “I have a very strong team in place. Adam (Quigley) and Paul (Billington) have as much passion as I do for creating memories...”
I ask about upcoming celebrity events and he teases “I am currently in talks with both the people who carry a license to kill for Bond23 and the mocking bird who feeds those hungry for games, but I can’t tell you much more then that I am afraid…”
And finally – I ask cheekily, as the venue is licensed for weddings - will he be tying the knot there? But it seems he has something closer to nature in mind and describes his plans to create the most romantic campsite on earth for his bride. “With just six luxurious tents on a tiny tropical coral cay within the Great Barrier Reef, a perfectly natural solution for my a-list guests who feel they have seen and done it all. The emphasis is on simple indulgence – lounging in hammocks, snorkelling and gourmet picnics on the beach. Nature provides a honeymoon cabaret in the endangered green and loggerhead turtles …”
And with that wistful thought - and a whispered aside from one of his team - he is whisked off into another meeting.
For more information about The Bloomsbury Ballroom go to www.thebloomsburyballroom.com