Saturday, 31 May 2008

I always cry at weddings

I am going to a wedding tomorrow, its a strange thing really, marriage like all other institutions is to me a place people end up in when life has spun out of control like a 28 day detox or a short spell in jail. It seems to be about giving up, settling for less, throwing in your chips. I got married once in Las Vegas – I booked the ceremony online one night drunk (I don’t drink anymore funnily enough) it cost about $132 to get married at the Little Church of the West. I choose the church because Angelina Jolie had recently divorced Billy Bob Thornton sighting ‘a change in priorities’ and they had been married there the year before. Noel Gallagher got married there as well and he had just gotten a divorce – I think when he sobered up and realised she was a bloke. So I chose a chapel with a high incident of divorce near the Mandalay Bay Hotel because I wanted to see the shark reef right after. My husband to be was someone I had been trying to leave for the previous three and half years, we stayed with my son who was the best man by miles in the Hilton hotel because he was a ‘Hilton Honours Member’ and it was free. When we queued up for the licence I started to cry – I was watching the idiot in front of me shadow boxing, while his pregnant bride to be and her truck stop hooker mother stared into middle distance beside him. ‘These are my people now’ I thought as the tears rolled down my face. A couple of nights later again sobbing – gulping down Vodka and Redbull I got dressed and we took a cab to the chapel at 8pm. The women who ran the chapel tried to give me a loan of a bunch of carnations which I declined, never too upset to have bad taste. No guests, no wedding dress it was pure Bruce Springsteen. The priest ( or whatever he was) had drunk as much as me but he could speak and I couldn’t – I remember seeing his lips move but I had no idea he was talking to me or that I was suppose to be saying ‘ I do’ instead of ‘whaaaat?’ It was a holy mess but the best thing was the tan lines lasted longer than the marriage. Six months later I was free of it all I got away and stayed away. In feeling so trapped I learnt that freedom is my most precious gift.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

A dogs life

Every dog I meet in New York is a neutered male. The American Kennel Club is a notoriously brutal organisation, constantly hacking and snipping at puppy flesh as though they were born incomplete and sent to America for ‘finishing’. I haven’t seen a set of furry balls since I got here – there must be a ‘ball mountain’ some where upstate, I expect they appear unannounced in fast food joints all over town or perhaps they are processed and fed back to the dogs in the form of puppy chow ‘with extra vitality’ . Its very strange, in Manhattan I see no female dogs and no last season dogs. Last year pretty much every one had a Pug – this year no Pugs only French Bull Dogs – what happened to the Pugs? Are their pictures peering pitifully out of the sides of milk cartons in the mid west? Dogs live around 10 years they can’t have all died of natural causes, are they being bumped off in favour of seasonal changes – thrown aside like last years sneakers?

Variety is not the spice of life

I find myself miles from home in New York doing all the things that I like to do every time I come here. I look up at large buildings and wonder if I should take the tour, I flick through Time Out and imagine that I should do all kinds of torturous things to justify my carbon footprint. My friend and I were going to go to Fire Island today but when we discussed the logistics we put off the trip possibly till tomorrow maybe indefinitely. I know we would sit on a train talking about celebrity plastic surgery for 2 hours – get off , march to the beach like lemmings – stare hopelessly out across the ocean for 10 minutes, walk back to the train – ride into town and go to the same restaurant we were in every night this week , order the same food and feel only relief .

A northerly wind and bringer of cold air

To be beloved is all I need
and whom I love, I love indeed

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Image: Boreas by John William Waterhouse

Friday, 23 May 2008

Fight or flight

I had a good seat but unfortunately I still had to sit a little too close to comfort to other people. I wish there was a clause on the ‘manage my booking ‘ section that let me choose not to sit next to men , unless I get upgrade an can sit with Keanu obviously, or people who, eat meat, drink alcohol or smell. The thing is if travel wasn’t cheap I wouldn’t be travelling but the down side is lots of scuz balls get to travel too. My friend says the Orlando flight is the worst in the world since it’s full of dreadful common families taking their over fed kids to the theme parks. She said her return journey hit turbulence and half the passengers were throwing up there Mc dinners everywhere. I spent my whole trip transfixed by my neighbours dirty Converse shoe thinking that better not touch me or my stuff . I found it all quite frightening really – I had a good view of the wing which was less than comforting it looked as though parts of it might drop off about 30 minutes into the journey. I normally don’t feel afraid on planes; I travel with friends and family who are normally so irritating death would be a merciful release. Today, alone, in my guise as international traveller and pleasure seeker I felt a little jittery. Firstly, take off would the plane get into the air and then when I realised how high we were would it stay there. If BA engineering is the same standard as their cleaning I had definite cause for concern.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

It’s definitely not the journey, it’s the destination

Travelling is really a drag unless you are member of the super rich elite with servants and stuff. Saying that I worked for a rich guy once and sent him to the airport with the wrong passport – so you would need to be super rich with team of servants that didn’t include me ! Packing is distressing – how I am supposed to get excited by my trip while being confronted with the fact that I have nothing to wear? Toiletries are worse because they are heavy and they are likely to leak all over the place – I want to leave them all behind but I don’t want to look like a troll. Hairdryers are heavier and even if you take one to America it will work only with the equivalent blowing power of an aphid. Airports are boring – 2 hours hanging about dabbing on skin cream in duty free trying to figure out who the hell buys packs of expensive smoked salmon to take on holiday.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Bedtime stories

Toile de Jouy is a wonderfully intricate fabric print often consisting of pink rural themed illustrations on a base of white or creamy fabric. Originally created and used to make casual dresses for Marie Antoinette to kick about in at Le Petit Trianon a chateau in the grounds of the Palace Versailles. LPT was originally commissioned by Louis XV for his mistress Madame de Pompadour. It was in fact Madame du Barry a subsequent mistress of the amorous sun king who lived there in the end. When the King died and she was sent off to repent (for his sins!) at the local convent. Louis XVI became King of France and gave it to his wife Marie Antoinette so she would have a little holiday home to hang out in away from the formality of Versailles. Two more facts, I sleep on the toile de jouy bed linen from Liberty and Peter Saville and Julie Verhoeven created a beautiful kinky sex version of the traditional French print entitled Forget-me-not

Gateau du jour

Mille-feuille – my favourite cake of the moment definitely, the best Mille-feuille is from Patisserie Valerie and its just £2.60 to take away – absolutely delicious and really messy to eat which all the best food is. It’s important to make sure you get the fresh cream and fruit version though there are some imposter cakes filled with custard that I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy. The other inherent danger with these cakes is the difficulty in pronouncing the name, I can’t even say it right. When I go into the cake shop and say ‘A Mille fulingy please’ they say ‘a cream slice madam?’ then when I say ‘ a cream slice please ‘ they say ‘ a mille-feuille madam?’ typical cake shop comedy of manners . The best shop in Covent Garden for customer humiliation is the bakery Paul, they ship rude people over from Paris especially to keep the punters in check. Sunday mornings are fun as the local Guardian readers queue up for their baguettes and to practice their grammar school French. They ask for items in their best French accent and the staff refuse point blank to understand them until they ask in English, it’s hilarious.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light

Good news for me, I am off to the land of the free next week. The skies are bigger, the buildings are taller, the men are better looking, the portions are huge and the dollar is f*cked.

The inconvenient truth

My body is not so much a temple as a no go zone I have become healthy purely by default. I don’t drink or smoke, I exercise daily and although I feel and see the benefits of that the fact is that I would like to loose 5 kilos and the only way to do that in my experience is to diet. Therein lies the problem - I hate to abstain from my favourite foods. Yesterday for example, I had a fruit crumble from Food For Thought for lunch, a cream slice from Maison B for tea and dinner at an Italian restaurant where I ate a vegetarian starter and a tiramisu. I realise that in order to achieve what I laughingly refer to as my ‘bikini body’ I am going to have to review my snacking schedule. My favourite diet short term is one that was apparently made up by heart Drs who needed patients to loose 10lbs pronto to prepare for heart surgery! And I think I've got problems – it is the strangest combination of foods but on the up one of them is ice cream. I substitute veggie protein for the meat choices and I think it still works or it would if I could stick to it.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Peace, peace she is not dead

She doth not sleep, she hath awakened from the dream of life... Oh yes, no matter how wonderful a day I have had the best bit of any twenty four stretch will be the eight hours or so I slept through. The only man I have ever taken to court (OK a Westminster City Hall Tribunal) is the idiot who runs the chicken shop across the road from my building – his crime – keeping me awake at 4 in the morning serving filthy tortured foul carcass to people too drunk to know what they are eating. I couldn’t sleep the other night largely due to him, though he does have to close at 3 now thanks to me. I don’t know what happens to me in the middle of the night – an abyss of despair washes in around my tangled sheets – life becomes a fast moving train to hell I want to jump off – my outlook is black and blackens further with every hour – I hate it. I live on Cinderella time I have to be asleep by midnight or the next day is a right off.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Summer in the city

I have a little vanity I suppose but I am no desert refuser and I don’t worry too much about the ‘dangers of the sun ‘either. I have a friend whose been around the block a couple of times and he was talking about staying out of sun to avoid skin cancer, it was brutal but I had to ask him, ‘You have Aids, smoke 60 Camel a day, relapse on crack every three years or so what makes you think its the sun that’s going to kill you? ‘ We have such long winters and short summers I like to enjoy the heat , I do use a little protection on my face but no English sunshine is going to make a line on my face that botox can’t iron out anyway. My local sun spot the Oasis open air pool in Covent Garden is full of people who think like me only worse, those guys are fearless they lie in the rays with little more than salad dressing as protection. I have spent so many happy summers up on the sun deck. My friend Kate and I had two bottles of SPF one factor 3 ( we called that F*ck it) and one factor 5 (I’ll take my chances) we used to apply it while singing ‘ do you know where you’re going to .. do you like the things that life is showing you ‘ (theme from Mahogany) – she moved to Australia in the end she was a contender. I was naked on the roof ( I am not an exhibitionist but I hate tan lines)with no factor at all yesterday except on my face – one woman’s sun burn is another women’s base tan!

Be still my frozen heart

I don’t care too much for ice cream until it gets hot but then when the heats on I think about it all the time. It’s not the traditional flavours that I want either, there is nothing in Haagen Daz or Ben & Jerrys that floats my boat – those flavours are for children. My favourite ice cream flavours are malt by some hippy dippy company that sell to Wholefoods in New York which is divine but a little inconvenient. Although BA are doing a special deal for flights to NY at the moment so please send money so I can get over there and indulge soon. I love green tea ice cream the dark bitter kind you get in fancy Japanese restaurants, violet and rose ice cream from Laduree at Harrods and my local favourite is sesame ice cream from Scoop in Covent Garden, its incredible, me and my dog go there every day. They also do a fantastic shiney dark chocolate flavour as well as all the usual trashy tastes for tourists and so on.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Perfume to die for

In 1775 Jean- Francois Houbigant opened a wonderful perfume shop in Paris named A la Corbeille de Fleurs. Among its customers were Madame Du Barry mistress of King Louis XV and Marie-Antoinette. Legend has it that when Marie Antoinette was fleeing from Versailles to Varennes to escape the revolutionaries she was recognized as royalty and ultimately sent back to her death because of the magnificent scent of her Houbigant perfume. Quelques Fleurs L’original, was first created in 1912 it is ‘an intoxicating blend of over 300 floral essences’. I first read about it in an article on Dita Von Teese where she said it was her favorite perfume. Dita seems to know what she’s doing except when it comes to marriage so I popped over to Liberty and picked up a bottle for only £36. It is indeed delicious although not at first – the top note is pure cat piss but don’t rush to wash it off because underneath its amazing. The scent has a heart of rose, tuberose, jasmine and lily of the valley but a pornographic base of sandalwood, musk, amber and civet gives sets the real tone.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

How to get a hot body

High on the list of things I have never wanted to do, camping, bungee jumping , tattooing my face was Bikram Yoga – 90 minutes of strenuous Hatha Yoga postures in a room heated to ‘centre of the sun’ centigrade. However I am both greedy and weak willed so when a friend talked me into going along with her and signing up for a months unlimited classes for £29.00 I trotted along like a lamb. To be realistic anything that is unlimited for under £30.00 is unlikely to be pleasant but you don’t get to try the class first so I paid up and went inside the studio. The room was large, carpeted and extremely hot, I spread a towel on my mat and lay down next to about 30 other women and three men. I wriggled around on my mat ‘limbering up’ - ten minutes later the class was about to start and I was ready to go home. I can’t remember what actually happened – I can recall laughing out loud at the very idea of one of the instructions – staring at the clock wondering if time had actually stood still – wondering what the hell had possessed me to come along etc. I did manage to do a few manoeuvres I am not too bad at standing on one leg (I some times practice at the bus stop) I do OK if I am lying down, I had to be careful pointing my toes because I broke one of them in a hideous cleaning accident over the weekend and I can’t bend my spine backwards at all. My friend said even staying in the room for the full 90 minutes is an achievement and it was. Everybody, even ladylike me was dripping sweat, but anything that traumatic has got to be good for you. Some of the women in the class had amazing bodies, I am going to use up all my free classes to see if I can get one too.

Monday, 5 May 2008

The dark side

The dark moon is the most potent moon phase, heralding the new waxing moon and a time for ridding oneself of bad habits, binding spells, for exploring our darkest recesses and understanding our angers and passions. A powerful time to concentrate on things we want to draw into our lives.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

S/he's lost control again

On Tuesday evening I went with my friend Pippa to see the new Joy Division documentary directed by Grant Lee. Although I enjoyed the film I have to say that I preferred Control – last years Joy Division movie way more, it was just so much more creative and invocative of the depressing North West. The documentary was made up of archive footage of Joy Division intercut with interviews with the members of the band and their associates who rather than kill themselves tragically young had opted to grow old, fat and boring. What stood out for me though were sections of interviews with Genesis Breyer P-orridge who had been a friend of lead singer Ian Curtis. He was just mesmerizing and so intelligent and coherent – most people would seem so cut in next to Pete Hook but Genesis is such an interesting artist. I found a series of interviews with him on the internet so click on the link (I can’t believe I have made hyper links !!) and check him out. I like a man who goes just that little bit further.