Some things I have achieved in the past couple of weeks:
1. Successfully pulled off my friend Cara’s hen do. Penis straws, penis whistles, pole dancing in a club in Soho. You know, the usual. And I realise this is a dreadfully liberal elite, London-centric thing to say but can I just recommend London hens? They’re bloody amazing. Everyone gets to sleep in their own beds and there’s no depressing chug back into the city along the M40 on a Sunday evening. (If you want to read my precious thoughts on hen weekends, find them HERE in a piece I wrote for Tatler nearly two years ago). I’m done with hen weekends in draughty Norfolk barn conversions with 16 girls packed in where I inevitably end up sleeping on the camp bed because I’m the ‘polite’ one who insists she doesn’t mind. I do mind.
2. Been to the cinema twice. Once to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the sweet, Harry Potter spin-off about magical creatures which features Eddie Redmaye, furiously blinking his way through it like some sort of 1920s showgirl as usual. Not Fantastic *Breasts* and Where To Find Them, as one wag on Twitter had it.
Also, Jackie, the film starring Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy in the days immediately after his assasination. Not a light watch and there aren’t many magical creatures in it. But it’s a pretty powerful depiction of grief. And her wardrobe is banging. I went to a preview screening but it’s out in the next couple of weeks and no doubt it’ll have Democrats in America all over the place, lamenting ‘Camelot’ and, in general, feeling particularly sore about things given their country has just elected a cheesy wotsit as president.
3. I gave my friend Sarah her wedding present, nearly a year after she got married. I am one of those tiresome people who refuses to buy from the list because I want to get my friends something ‘special’. I choose to ignore the fact that most of what they’ve put on the list they actually want. Anyway, apparently this is the rule; that you are allowed to give newlyweds their present up to a year after they get married. So I gave Sarah a framed, vintage travel poster. A travel poster of Calcutta dating from the 1920s because her husband’s father was ambassador to India and they went to Calcutta on their honeymoon. Way more thoughtful than a decanter, frankly.
4. Realised the new series of The Affair has started. The third series. I’ve probably droned on about Dominic West here before. Big fan. So he’s back on Sky Atlantic and sporting an alarming beard in the first ep. But don’t panic, pognophobes, the beard soon goes.
6. Grumbled to everyone I’ve seen about Winter Wonderland. I run in Hyde Park most days because it keeps me semi-sane. On any given morning I will see old ladies in swimming hats, swan dodging while doing breast crawl in the Serpentine, Emily Maitlis trotting along in her lycra, small dogs carrying sticks that are too big for them, dozens of parakeets, snogging couples, tourists pointing excitedly at squirrels as if they’ve just discovered the yeti and so on and so on. An hour or so in there is the closest thing I have to a church. Which is why I’m, selfishly, a bit peeved at the fact that the Winter Wonderland circus has rolled back into town, closing the roads on the park’s north side and churning up the grass while people make themselves sick on sugary mulled wine from a packet, steins of ‘Bavarian’ beer and bratwurst. Then they shove off in January and new sods are shipped in and carefully rolled out to replace the disaster zone they’ve left behind. And everything starts looking lovely again just before the summer concert lot roll in and erect barricades to churn it all up again. Moan moan moan, I know, but I’m trying to find out what Winter Wonderland pays for the privilege because I bet it’s about 50p.*
*UPDATE FROM A FRIEND WHO ALSO HAPPENS TO BE A WESTMINSTER COUNCILLOR: ‘You are not the only one who is furious about the amount of boarded up space. The payment is to Royal Parks who claim they couldn’t possibly survive without it especially as Hyde Park subsides a lot of outlying parks. But whenever I have looked at their accounts I’ve come to the conclusion they’ve got no business sense at all. When last we went into this they were making less from the rock concerts than from ice cream sales in the kiosks! And all the traffic disruption and all the noise as well as acres of grass ruined and out of bounds….’
7. Grumbled to everyone I’ve seen about Black Friday. I got off the 94 bus on Oxford Street circa 7.30am on Friday morning and there were already people shivering outside John Lewis. Also, every single shop had hastily erected ropey posters in their windows overnight shouting about Black Friday. Then, today, I got circa 400 emails declaring it was Cyber Monday. Can you all remember when we just called days of the week things like ‘Monday’ and ‘Tuesday’? I can. It was a happier time I think.
8. Started reading a book called Future Sex, published in October. It’s by an American journalist called Emily Witt, four years older than me, and it’s asking, in a nutshell, what the fuck’s happened with relationships and sex, to our aspirations and expectations? ‘I was single, straight, and female,’ Witt starts. ‘When I turned thirty, in 2011, I srill envisoned my sexual experience eventually reaching a terminus…I would disembark, find myself face-to-face with another human being, and there we would remain in our permanent station in life: the future.’ That’s the first paragraph and I’m only on page 45 tonight, so I’ve got no idea yet whether she comes up with any answers. But so far, fellow 30-something women, it’s brilliant. One of those things you read and think ‘YES EXACTLY THIS WOMAN MUST BE A WITCH BECAUSE SHE’S STOLEN ALL MY THOUGHTS.’