Parties? They're still happening, but opposed to the good old days (last year), where it was three or four fashion events/private views/store openings/dinners/etc per week. This year, it's just one(ish) - and its always a bun-fight*. At a recent soiree, there was a strict one tipple** per guest rule. Call it the the English Revolution - Let Them Drink Water, and tap water at that. Sadder still, VIP guests were passed secret cards and shuffled to back rooms, where the hosts meted out drinks at one per hour. Oy. A fed up guest, now inured to the "New Deal," had a mickey of vodka in his breast pocket with a straw ingeniously threaded through his lapel, just to be able to maintain a buzz. In London, one of the cities hardest hit by the global financial crisis, financial pundits tell us the dire conditions are going to last another eighteen months. Better stock up on straws. --CHARLEY B *Bun-fight: British-English for "a very crowded party where people jostle around". **Tipple: British-English for "a drink".