But today those same catering and event companies are queuing up for social security after their businesses were effectively demolished overnight.
“It all went within 24 hours – the lot,” one of Sydney’s leading publicists, who shall remain nameless, confided to me last week. “Everything was cancelled. I had to get rid of staff and I’m currently clearing out the offices. Even though the landlord wants me to stay, there is no business for us to stay for.”
Thanks to COVID-19, we have been reduced to Zoom “parties”. I use the term “parties” loosely here, because the two dimly lit, fuzzy laptop sessions I have been to (including my own 50th birthday party) were poor substitutes for the sort of decadently wild bashes I have had the good fortune of attending over the past three decades.
Professionally speaking, parties are a great source of gossip. If it’s not what is being discussed around the champagne bar, it’s what happens once the bubbles kick in.
Booze and egos remain the best lubricant when it comes to greasing the cogs of intrigue.
So, after 10 weeks in tracksuits and isolation, I will never moan about having to throw on the glad rags to go out ever again.
Right now I’d happily go to the launch of a potato if it meant we could all get polished, gather in a room, chew the fat and watch the great social pecking order play out in all its glory.
Of course none of it means anything when people are dying and suffering, but there has been a social and cultural impact from this pandemic, and our world is all the duller for it.
I hate to think how many scandals have remained unearthed in 2020 because there was no opportunity to gossip about them.
So far we’ve been robbed of the Logies, Australian Fashion Week, the Autumn Racing Carnival, the Silver Party and countless launches of perfumes, beers, bars, boutiques, lipsticks and toasters, all of them providing rich fodder for the likes of me.
I was even contemplating heading down to the launch of the Bowral Tulip Show hoping it might unearth something, until it too fell victim to the dreaded virus.
So what can we look forward to? November’s Spring Racing Carnival is up in the air, but it looks increasingly likely the marquees which once crammed into the Birdcage enclosure won’t be happening.
David Jones’ revamp of its flagship Sydney store is complete, but there is no word on when the party to launch the sparkling new shop will be, if it happens at all.
James Packer had big plans for a huge bash to launch his vast Crown Casino at Barangaroo. And while the casino is not expected to open its doors for many months yet, who knows what sort of party the billionaire will be able to throw if social distancing continues.
Indeed, my potatoes are looking more tempting by the minute.
Andrew Hornery is a senior journalist and Private Sydney columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.