Brookes/BBC Rooftop Party Rocks Moscow
It’s very rare to attend an event in Moscow that completely blows you and everyone else present away, but this week that’s precisely what happened. Luke Conner, the indefatigable President of the British Business Club had been sending out invitations to the lucky few to come to the eclectic St. Regis Hotel on Nikolskaya to be introduced to the headmaster, Charley King, of the soon to be opened (September 2018) international Brookes School here in Moscow. I arrived with a couple of guests, one well known on the social circuit, the other a national acting star, and after initial greetings downstairs, we were ushered up to the 8th floor which is the rooftop bar that affords stunning views across the city and in particular, Lubyanka- minus 12 thwarted any progress outside on this occasion so we opted to stay inside.
Upon entering the main room I was taken aback to see so many people, having expected around 100 to be present, but there was more than double that, exuding a wonderful atmospheric buzz. After being poured Moet Chandon and an eminently quaffable red wine we were soon caught up in the melee of conversation and laughter before Luke, aided by a compere, introduced the proceedings and the flamboyant Charley King, the reason we were all there, took the mike. He turned out to be a superb and witty orator who regaled us with various stories, interspersed with information about Brookes school. His speech culminated with his introducing his hopeful wife to be to great applause, but I suspect she must have had prior warning of this as it’s a rather risky practice to ask for someone’s hand in marriage in public!
So what did we learn about this crème de la crème school and what it had to offer to parents and children alike? Firstly it boasts an International Baccalaureate curriculum with exchange programmes available with its parent schools in the UK, USA and Canada and more countries besides. The facilities suggest no expense has been spared to attract parents who want the very best for their children, as was evidenced by the top quality food, drinks and entertainment on offer which I’ll come to in a moment. There are swimming pools, a martial arts hall, media laboratories, rooftop football and as befits Moscow, a ballet studio. Small wonder people are going to want their children to be educated in such a fine establishment! It is open to children from 2-18 years old and as Charley said to me, he is tired of mediocrity here in Moscow, and wants to raise the academic bar by careful nurturing of children, leading to goal-orientated teenagers who plan to set the world alight with their ideas and aspirations.
The fizz flowed endlessly and mellifluously, and if one hovered by the bar, a surreptitious Glenmorangie was on offer too. The piece de resistance, however, came in the guise of a big brass band who apparently play for Spartak F.C on occasions. Their energetic playing and precise choreography left everyone gasping in mesmeric shock. Many people filmed their performance as they played with great gusto, which in itself was a tribute to their brilliance. As if that wasn’t enough, when the evening began winding down, all ladies there were presented with a bunch of flowers in recognition of International Women’s Day- a lovely gesture indeed. Massive kudos to Luke Conner and his team who put this all together, and Charley King, whose Brookes School is now sponsoring the BBC, for providing us with an evening that all those there will have etched in their minds for ever. In all my 16 years here in Moscow, this was without doubt the finest event I’ve ever been too, which is really saying something given the many I’ve attended here!