Who remembers ASmallWorld? I remember joining the social networking site sometime after Friendster, which I was an early adapter to, and before Facebook, which I’ve only been on for about a year. Most of my posh, toffy English friends were on it, and I wanted to fit in. The website sort of fell through the cracks in recent years with the onslaught of so many other social networking sites and apps (can someone please explain to me what the hell Snapchat is, and what the point is of sending a picture you can’t keep is?), but it’s making a comeback. The site has a new chairman, Patrick Liotard-Vogt, who is teaming up with its CEO Sabine Heller to remind people that ASmallWorld is a fun world. And they’re not messing around: This weekend, they brought a slew of fun, fabulous folks to Marrekech to celebrate the site’s relaunch. Why Marrakech? Because, I was told, it’s the chicest travel destination and still authentic. Sure, I’ll take it.
I missed the first night because of a few obligations in New York, which was a shame because that’s when the snake charmers came out. But I more than made up for it in the following days, which had me riding camels (they stink and they spit, but aren’t they adorable?), drinking mint tea that was so sugary I think I have diabetes and at least a few cavaties, and stalking the local souks for some tangines that I will bring home but never cook out of. It was a good casting too. Olivia Wilde was beautiful, charming and non-annoyingly passionate about sex trafficking activism; Dianna Agron is sweet and a wonderful swing dancing companion; and there were even a few unexpected rocker chick moments, courtesy of Alison MOsshart and the legendary Marianne Faithful. (You could hear the latter’s raspy growl all through the pool of the Taj Palace Hotel, not that anyone was complaining.) Another important moment: The return of DJ Duo Harley Viera Netwon and Cassie Coane. Cassie came out of her two year retirement for this gig. It had been a long time since I harassed them about playing my requests (who doesn’t have Ricky Martin on their playlist!?) from the floors of such sophisticated hunts in New York as Lit and Avenue. So it seemed the paradise of Northern Africa was a good place for a nostalgic reunion.
Captions, from top: The view from my room at the Taj Palace; Olivia Wilde and Kick Kennedy kicking it at dinner; Alison and Dianna at cocktail hour; the girls at the pool, from left: Natalie, Laura, Laure, Josephine, Valentine and Harley; Natasha Lyonne and I getting our humps on; Catherine Baba and the great Marianne Faithful; Waris and Meredith; Alison at a restaurant that taught her how to work a candelabra hat; Atlanta in repose; The Baba in her poolside look; Andrew and Natasha; The lovely Love’s, Nathalie and Laura; Sabine and friend; mint tea for the ladies Mary Charteris and reunited DJ duo Harley and Cassie; Valentine and Josephine on the dancefloor; Waris and another friend; Henry Holland at sunset; Henry, David, Poppy, James and I in the hotel’s top secret (and empty) disco; Laure and Lily; Ben and Chelsea; a disgruntled nut seller in the market; Cassie’s party trick is poorly balancing a drink on her head; Ashley Avignone’s flower toss on the dance floor; me and the most beautiful Dianna