The Steeple Times asks artist and gallery manager Zuleika Parkin: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
Joy, art and love.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
“Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends”: Francis Bacon.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?
Social vampires: These are “people” who use you for what they can get, and then leave you drained when you need them most.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
I miss the life with my father (Michael Parkin) at his full health. Since 2009, he has been very ill but still very important person in my life. He was one of the founding members of Radio Caroline and an inspiring art dealer for the last 40 years, dealing in modern British pictures. As a daddy’s girl, I share the same love and interest for 20th century and 21st century art. I currently work as gallery manager for Adam Gallery in Cork Street and deal in both international 20th century art and contemporary. Although I know how proud he is of me, I just wish he could see how far I’ve come. I will always fondly remember him taking me for a knickerbocker glory at Fortnum & Mason and I wish we were able to do that still nowadays.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
Prosperity in all senses of the word.
Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?
Oh God! I have my own banking crisis to worry about.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
“ROFL” or “LOL”. I don’t even know what the first one means and “LOL” just confuses me; are you meaning “Laughing Out Loud” or “Lots Of Love”. Like David Cameron reading Rebekah Brooks’ texts, it has been responsible for many awkward moments in my life.
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
This is very true. I recently ran a half marathon in a fairy outfit for Starlight’s Children Foundation who aims to grant wishes for seriously ill children. Another charity is charity 826LA. I recently lost one of my nieces, Jessie, at a far too young age of 24. She had volunteered and taught at 826LA, a literacy charity, whilst studying and working in Los Angeles. After Jessie’s death donations collected in her name have enabled 826LA to build and dedicate a library and reading space in the new Mar Vista centre in “memory of her loving spirit”.
The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
What? Mobiles? Can’t live without mine! However there is a time and place, I always switch mine off before going to the Royal Opera House or the cinema. I do agree though, we have become a generation obsessed with wanting everything now. Even sitting in the tube with no signal, people are clicking away on their phones. Have people forgotten how to daydream?
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
My sister, Sophie Parkin, would be perfect as she has just written a book on the Colony Room Club in Soho and is full of eccentric stories for our journey. My close friends, Molly Parkin, Cecil Beaton, Eddie Chapman (Agent Zig-Zag), Claude Flight, Earl of Rochester (my ancestor), Boris Johnson, my godfather Micky Wolfson Jr. (used to have his own train), and of course a bodyguard. I do not fancy being murdered, thank you! The Orient Express is a romantic one for me: it’s where my father, Michael Parkin, proposed to my mother, Diana. She replied, “If I say no, do I have to get off?” The rest is history.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
I would host a “Death Row” dinner party in my cell. I am already thinking of the guest list and seating plan. I imagine the setting would be similar to Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” but with lots of champagne and chocolate. The menu would be lobster or Cromer crab for starters followed by duck a l’orange and about twenty different puddings (all containing chocolate).
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
I never say no to a glass of champagne at breakfast! It is always 6pm somewhere!
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
Champagne in a teacup.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
I love parties, especially fancy dress ones. The highlight of 2013 has been Oliver Gerrish and Sophie Edmonds’ Georgian Townhouse party. Henry Conway always takes us out after for more fun. You get to dress up in Georgian wear and meet such incredible and exciting people. I also gain a huge amount of pleasure hosting my own from little girlie catch up dinners to big themed dinner parties.
Who is the most positive person you know?
The art dealer Ivor Braka. He has a way of always putting a positive spin on things.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Trying to beat Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
A zebra in a tiara.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
Jaguar E-Type Spider in pink. We don’t always get from A to B, but we try and do it in style.
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
I am still outrageously single. But being serious, at the age of three, I was diagnosed with Meningitis C. Doctors told me I was never going to walk, hear or lead what is considered a normal life. However, I attended a non-specialist school and went to Wimbledon Art School and Oxford Brookes University and got a degree. In fact, most people scarcely notice my disability. I believe that my sheer determination to conquer the doctors’ predictions has given me the ability to stop my deafness getting in the way of my success and enjoyment of life.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
There are some family portraits, the score of Michael Nyman’s One for Zuleika (which he wrote for my christening), a pink velvet Moroccan casket (a present from my father that reminds me of happy times in our place in Chefchaouen, Morocco), some party invitations and a pair of earrings left from the last party.
Zuleika Parkin is an artist the manager of the Adam Gallery, 24 Cork Street, London, W1S 3NJ. Website: http://www.adamgallery.com
View her official website at: http://www.zuleikaparkin.com
Follow her on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/zuleikaparkin
Zuleika Parkin’s sister, Sophie Parkin, has recently published a book on the infamous Colony Club Room. For more details, go to: http://www.thecolonyroom.com