Archive for January, 2015|Monthly archive page

Seven Days of Positive – Day 113

In books, Diets, Uncategorized, Weight loss on January 31, 2015 at 9:54 pm


On the chair in my bedroom is a pile of clothes which keeps getting higher. They’re the ones I can’t wear any more because they are too big.

Too. Big. Oh how I savour those words.

Since starting the plan of my nutrition guru Amelia Freer in October I’ve lost ten kilos – which is over a stone and a half in olde Englishe – and I’m down nearly three jeans sizes.

I say nearly because even the small size 12s are so big I can take them off without undoing them and have to hold them up with a belt, but while I can get into the small size 10s (jeans sizes are so inconsistent, it’s a total joke) they’re just a wee bit too snug to be quite comfortable.

Four years ago they were my go to jeans, comfy enough to wear on the plane from London to Sydney, so that’s where I’m trying to get back to. I reckon another two kilos should do it. Maybe three.

But I’m trying not to obsess on the numbers, what’s far more important is how much better I feel and not just ‘about myself’, in general wellness.

Obviously my self-esteem is boosted, no longer carrying fat bastard failure shame around with me, but I also feel exponentially better in myself.

It’s more than just less tired – although imagine carrying round a ten kilo suitcase all the time, strapped to your body… no wonder I was exhausted. I feel more cheerful, more optimistic and I’m sleeping better than I have for years.

In that regard, I think my adored five or six mugs of strong tea a day were messing me up a lot more than I realised.


I’m now having just one in the morning and occasionally another with lunch – with milk. I’m not supposed to have milk on the regime, but while I was perfectly happy to drink black coffee in the morning my skin went insane from it.

Coffee seems to be absolutely the one worst thing for rosacea, so I had to can that, but fancy dancy China tea served without milk, while very dainty, doesn’t deliver the caffeine kick I need first thing.

I decided to experiment with the one cup of proper tea with milk (OH JOY) and it hasn’t slowed down my weight loss so I’m sticking with it. Sometimes at 3pm I have to gnaw on my knuckles I want another one so badly, but I don’t give in.

I’ve come way too far to blow it now.

Apart from that I haven’t diverged from the plan at all – because I find it really easy to stick to. If you check back to my original posting on it here you’ll see what the key points are.

I really enjoy my meals. For lunch I had salmon fillet, stir-fried with leftover roasted butternut squash and green beans, with garlic, chili, ginger and coriander for flavour, with a delicious mango for pud. Tonight I had a two-egg omelette with fried courgettes, followed by a baked apple. Over an hour later I’m still absolutely stuffed. There’s no doubt eating fat keeps you fuller.

I have 190g of full fat Greek yogurt for breakfast and it’s so sustaining.

So losing weight feels easy when you’re never hungry, but in the last couple of weeks something else amazing has happened – I’ve got the Amelia Freer glow.

That was the thing that struck me almost more than the weight loss in my friend when I saw her post-Amelia. Her skin just had this radiance that makes her look really beautiful. The slender figure is almost a bonus on top.

George before

You can see it in the pictures of Boy George too. I just about it have it now. My skin is clearer from rosacea than it’s been for years and it’s getting that dewy look which seems to take about ten years off Amelia’s clients.

Changing the way you eat has to be worth it for that.

Quite a few Aussie readers expressed interest in Amelia’s book Eat. Nourish Glow. when I first wrote about it and I’m happy to say it’s now available there.


Here’s the link to the Harper Collins website with various suggestions where you can click on to buy it.

(I’m not going to advise a particular bookseller – as an author they are ALL my friends – and the other option is to ask your local independent bookshop to order you a copy, if they don’t have any in.)

Seven Days of Positive – Day 112

In Friends, Musicals, Theatre on January 29, 2015 at 9:36 pm


Now where was I? Oh yes, Monday.

I had a breakfast thing in London on Tuesday which gave me a great excuse to go up to town on Monday night and stay with one of my dearest pals.

We met in the early 1980s when we were both newly minted arrivals on London’s media scene. I can still remember the exact moment I met him – you know how that happens sometimes?

It was some party, a launch of some kind in a very crowded bar and this very tall handsome man introduced himself with enough twinkle in his blue eyes to light the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree. We’ve been great mates ever since.

He’s clever, funny, very successful, but one of the things I really value about him is his loyalty. A real friend for life guy.

As a lovely surprise he had tickets to a musical at the Donmar Warehouse called City of Angels, which has had rave reviews.

Set in the 1930s, it’s a very clever parallel story of a noir crime novelist moved to Hollywood to write the screenplay for one of his Raymond Chandler-esque novels.

The novelist’s story and the plotline of the book/film unfold simultaneously, with the same actors playing in both, with some very well observed examples of how a writer’s life influences their output. That made my chuckle to myself.

The distinction between the two stories was that the ‘real people’ were in colour and the characters in the ‘film’ were in black and white, so cleverly done with costumes and lighting.


In one scene a bed with a green satin headboard, became a bed with a grey satin headboard, just by changing the lights on – what I presume was – white satin.

The songs were great, the costumes were fabulous and the cast wonderfully energetic. It also had some great lines in the ‘she tried to sit on my lap while I was still standing up’ (which is actually from The Big Sleep) vein.

donmar 2

And it was great to see it in the intimate confines of the Donmar, with seats on three sides.

Trevor Nunn was in the audience. I enjoyed observing him in his natural habitat.

But most of all it was just heaven to go to the theatre, because living out of town as I do now that’s something I really miss. Like a big drink of a delicious complex cocktail for the brain.

Seven Days of Positive – Day 111

In Actors, Food, Friends, Scotland on January 28, 2015 at 10:26 pm


Gosh so many jolly things have been going on, I’m getting behind.

I had an utterly top weekend last weekend which I must talk about before it’s this weekend.

On Saturday afternoon I went to the neighbouring town of Rye, which is one of the quaintest and most delightful in the whole of the UK.

Henry James lived there for eighteen years in elegant Lamb House, where he wrote The Awkward Age, The Wings of a Dove, The Ambassadors and The Golden Bowl.


After him it was home to EF Benson who wrote the Mapp and Luccia books there, inspired by the view from the bay window. They have recently filmed a new TV version of it in the glorious cobbled streets.

After dropping Peggy at a friend’s house, I discovered a wonderful lingerie shop (not new, but moved to a more prominent location on the High Street) called Pearl & Siren, where they sell the most gorgeous selection of undies – across a very wide range of sizes.

The lovely owners are highly knowledgeable and totally got it when I vented my frustration at the way the prettiest styles in bigger cup sizes look lovely from the front, but when you turn to the side you realise you resemble the figurehead of a galleon. I can’t bear it. With my limited height, I look completely out of proportion.

‘Ah,’ said one of them, nodding. ‘You have to avoid the ones with three seams, then.’

She then produced a selection of brilliant options for me. This is a shop that deserves a leisurely visit for trying on and consideration, with pleasant chat and I didn’t have time – and husband waiting in the car, which the killer of all relaxed shopping – so I’ll be going back. Although I did snap up a perfect underwired sports bra by Wacoal, which is what I like to wear for everyday.

On Saturday night we went for a glorious dinner, with friends who keep a most generous table. The wine was simply amazing, although it always tastes better when served by a butler…

I had some of the most interesting and entertaining conversations I’ve had for a long time, which you would expect when your dining companions include a member of the House of Lords, an MP, a concert pianist and someone who works for the United Nations.

My brain felt as though it had had the kind of work out you have daily when you work on a newspaper, which is something I still keenly miss about those days. In my working life now the only person I have to talk to is myself, which is the one downside of being a full-time author.

With Peggy at her sleepover, Sunday morning gave me the very rare chance to lie in bed and watch a film I’ve been longing to see since before it even came out: Dallas Buyers’ Club. It did not disappoint.

What an amazing story and it cemented Matthew McConaughy as my favourite actor (see earlier post on Magic Mike). He and Jared Leto, who played transgender character Rayon, so deserved their Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting. I was enthralled.

The deathbed scene of one of the characters (non spoiler) made me sob, bringing back the memories of the amazing friends I lost in those awful early days of AIDS. Never forgotten.

Sunday was Burns Night – the annual Scottish tradition celebrating the birthday of the great Scots dialect poet Robbie Burns. Haggis is served, with great ceremony, the Address to a Haggis is recited, the haggis is stabbed with a dagger, then eaten. Whisky is taken.

It’s a marvellous to do and while a lot of people are disgusted by it, I love haggis and its mashed tatties and neeps accompaniement – as I’m genetically programmed to do, with my seven eighths Scottish blood.


We went to a very jolly Burns Night party to raise funds for the Bare Foot Opera company. The tartan was worn – that’s my friend Wendy above in her heather garland (shame I didn’t get a better background, but I had to snatch the chance) and her husband Lesley was in head to tea of the plaid – and after dinner was eaten and the appropriate poems had been recited and various airs played and sung, there was dancing.

Proper Scottish reeling, which is one of my absolutely very favourite and marvellous things.

At St Andrews, university balls were always centred around reeling and I’ve hardly had the chance to do it since I left, which is a shame because it’s great fun, good exercise and, when done properly, so romantic. You feel like a character in a Jane Austen novel.

I will never forget dancing the glorious Reel of the 51st Division – a very complicated one, created by members of the regiment in a POW camp in the Second World War – with a particular partner one night in Scotland very long ago…

Another highlight of the weekend was reading all your brilliant suggestions and comments regarding my reading drought. I found it interesting how much overlap there was.

It’s going to The Miniaturist next.

Seven Days of Positive – Day 110

In books on January 23, 2015 at 10:49 pm



I’m going to bed early tonight because I’m reading a really great book and I want to finish it.

This is a particularly pleasing prospect because it’s been strangely lacking in my life recently. You know when you go through one of those odd dry patches with books and just can’t find anything that feels right?

I go into my local book shop and the library and walk around wringing my hands. Anna Karenina? Jill Mansell? Aristotle? Ali Smith? It’s overwhelming. Then I walk out with nothing.

I ask friends and none of their suggestions appeal. I look at all my shelves of unread books and remember yet again why I never quite fancy any of them.

It’s so maddening because I’m bitterly aware that I’m never going to be able to read everything I want to, so wasting good reading time is a crime.

It started because I finally OD-ed on my beloved mid-20th century women novelists. I read about fifteen in a row and suddenly couldn’t stand the thought of any more coolly restrained renditions of tumultuous emotions.

Passion withheld across porcelain tea cups.

So I decided I needed something completely different and got sucked in by all the Samuel Johnson award-winning hype around H is for Hawk.

I found it N for Neurotic, T for Tedious and R for Repetitive. She’s constantly losing the fucking bird and tearing through brambles. It really gave me the pip.

Then in a moment of madness the next thing I bought was the Man Booker winner. Well, it was an Aussie author and it sounded amazing… but after three chapters I just couldn’t do it. Maybe I’ll go back one day.

Should I?

After that, I decided to cleanse my palate with something very reliable: Marian Keyes most recent one, the brilliantly titled The Woman Who Stole My Life. It was most enjoyable, like eating a big bar of fruit and nut chocolate.

It was better than nervy bird women and the Burma rail road, but I still longed for something a little more savoury. A goats cheese kind of a book. I finally found it, going by the cover recommendation of my friend Jojo Moyes.

She couldn’t put it down and I can’t wait to pick it up again: Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood. (That’s Martha Gellhorn at the top, who was one of them.)


It could also – if the title hadn’t already been notably used – be called Women In Love, as it brilliantly portrays the baton passing of Ernest Hemingway’s serial wives.

What a git he was.


Ms Wood evokes the very different emotional pulse rates of the different women absolutely brilliantly, set in vivid renderings of Paris and Antibes in the 1920s (Scott! Zelda!), Key West in the 1930s, Paris in the 40s and… wherever he ends up next. Gitting about. Although he was very handsome in his youth, as you can see here.


So I’m off to get back to that. Have you read anything good recently?

PS the first blog I ever did was running reviews of each book I read. I don’t seem to be able to update it now, but here it is if you fancy a look.

Seven Days of Positive – Day 109

In FIlms on January 22, 2015 at 10:21 pm


I could easily write today off as one of those ones when I will be very glad to go to bed because it will mean it’s nearly over.

I’ve spent all of it doing tax stuff, which really isn’t my comfort zone. In fact I’d really rather run naked through Selfridges beauty hall with a flaming ostrich feather up my bottom…

Anyway, while doing that, feeling like Uriah Heep, I found I am liable for a really quite significant payment for something I never asked for, which is completely unfair and wrong, but I have no redress.

I feel quite sick with the injustice of it.

Then my mashed potato went wrong. All that peeling and boiling and mashing, and then I accidentally put in loads of cream which was really properly off. Inedible. After the previous thing it felt like a massive deal.

But deep breath, I don’t want to go to bed feeling all churned up, so I watched Grand Budapest Hotel on the telly and found it most distracting.


My lord what a cast! The wrap party must have been a riot. Harvey Keitel, Owen Wilson and Bill Murray… Willen Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum and Tilda Swinton? Character actor heaven.



And as for Mr Fiennes, I think it’s almost my favourite of his performances.


I’m sure he based his wonderfully modulated tones and very particularly breathy phrasing on legendary British TV and radio presenter Nicholas Parsons, most well known for hosting on BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute.

He’s 90 now and a living national treasure.

The show isn’t available on the iPlayer at the moment, but I found some televised versions. Close your eyes to get the full effect.

One of the other things I adored about the film was the sets and I found this great slideshow about them on the Architectural Digest site.


Seven Days of Positive – Day 108

In Dance, FIlms on January 21, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Continuing the dance theme, I watched Fame – the original 1980 Alan Parker film – with Peggy.

It was such a joy, because she totally loved it and I’m sure other parents – and anyone who’s tried sharing much loved films with friends – will be all too familiar with the sinking feeling when they just don’t ‘get’ it.

It’s so easy to oversell a film you love, so the other person approaches it with expectations raised to heights nothing could live up to. With kids you add in an element of them being contrarily predisposed to hate it, precisely because you love it.

I had that experience at Christmas with West Side Story. She hardly looked at it, finding the whole thing a huge drag and I was gutted because I was so transported by that film when I watched it at the same age.

But she loved Fame from the opening frame. Fully appreciating all the key moments, including Leroy’s memorable audition…

(Not the greatest quality, but still heaven.)

It was so satisfying and it was an adventure for us both, because I haven’t seen it since 1980 and appreciated it with a fresh eye for Alan Parker’s beautiful direction.

The cinematography is wonderful, such interesting compositions with a lot of diagonals, which had gone right over my head when I first saw it.


And I was glad I hadn’t told her the very specific circumstances in which I saw it first, which is why it means so much to me.

It was August 1980 and I was appearing in a very successful show on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which had transferred there from the original production put on at the university theatre in St Andrews.

‘Mouthpieces’ was written by Scottish playwright Marcella Evaristi and directed by an up and coming theatre director called Michael Boyd. He is now Sir Michael Boyd and was until recently artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

So it was a pretty special thing to be part of.

On our night off the entire cast went to see Fame together and we came out dancing. You can imagine how that felt. To be twenty years old, in a successful show at the Edinburgh Festival and watching Fame… Glorious times.


So that all came flooding back to me as I watched it again, but I’m glad I didn’t burden her with it. That was my thing. She loved Fame on her own terms and even declared the clothes ‘cool’.

I’ve downloaded the soundtrack. There will be dancing – and not just her.

Here’s one of my favourite scenes.

Seven Days of Positive – Day 107

In Ballet, Royal Ballet on January 19, 2015 at 11:14 pm


The other day, I took Peggy to London to be fitted for her first pair of pointe shoes. It would be hard to say which of us it meant more to.

Peggy has been doing ballet – on and off – since she was four. In the past couple of years it has gradually progressed up the ladder of her priorities to become all consuming. She’s obsessed with it to the point where it can be quite dangerous in our house depending which step or move she is perfecting.

Many is the time I’ve turned the corner towards the front door to have a small figure grande jete into me, or turned round in the kitchen with a hot pan to find her spinning in a series of whiplash pirouettes.

I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.

I’m mad about ballet, always have been and I was bewildered for years that Pegs didn’t share my joy. She liked skipping about in a leotard as much as she likes all things physical, but she didn’t share my obsession for all the glorious details of ballet. The kit and the barre and the famous dancers.

Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn were my idols and I couldn’t interest her in any of that side of it, until one day it just clicked. She suddenly became fixated on the notion and legend of pointe shoes, just as I had as a child.

From there it’s grown and grown. World Ballet Day last year (see below) moved her on to the next level, of understanding the fascination of the daily class, the rehearsal outfits, the subtle way dancers’ personalities are reflected in their dancing.

Since then she has absorbed all the French terms for steps, with the ease keen gardeners reel off Latin plant names.

But the key thing was finding the right teachers, as she’d been put off early on by a grumpy one at a very competitive school. The change started with a lovely woman, who does very small, low key classes in a studio in her family home. Without the mean girls and pushy mums, Peggy was able to simply enjoy the dancing.

After a year there which really built her confidence, she wanted a greater challenge and has progressed to a school with a very upbeat modern atmosphere – and a head who went to the Royal Ballet School. She now works with three teachers there, all of them lovely and she has come to adore the sense of being in a gang with them and her Grade 5 colleagues.

With her passion ignited, she has leapt forward in skills as she does along the hallway, until finally the big day came and the head of the school examined all the Grade 5 feet and declared them ready to move on to pointe.

I admit I had a moment’s doubt. Would it destroy her beautiful little feet?

I was never allowed to have pointes. My father was a radiologist and he said he’d looked at too many x rays of dancers’ wrecked feet to allow any child of his to do that to themselves. Add to that, my mother having damaged her own feet with pointe shoes and it just wasn’t going to happen for me. I gave up ballet.

(Which I cannot, in all honesty, pretend was any loss to the world of dance…)

So forcing her to wait (which I also reckoned wouldn’t do her any harm) while I did some research, I satisfied myself that pointe shoes and training for them have advanced a lot since my mum’s day and apart from the inevitable corns and blisters, dancers’ feet are no longer inevitably deformed.

With this established, I was just as excited as Peggy and there was only one place I was prepared to take her for the momentous fitting: Freed, in London. That legendary shop which produces bespoke shoes for many of the world’s greatest ballerinas, still marvellously old fashioned and not re-branded (long may that last).

But before we went there, I had another treat planned. I booked us in for the backstage tour of the Royal Opera House. What a bargain. £12 for me, £8 for Peggy and it was simply thrilling. I am now in absolute awe of that institution and would recommend the tour to everyone.

It’s all amazing, but the best part for us, of course, was getting to watch through the observation window as two principals from the Royal Ballet (two words it thrills me even to type) rehearsed a pas de deux from Don Quixote.

When we moved on to the next part of the tour, we came round the corner to find Steven McRae very intently engaged in a warm up plie. Peggy’s eyes nearly came out on stalks.


The level of his concentration was like nothing I’ve ever witnessed before. It was like standing next to Roger Federer just before a serve. I was also able to observe that male ballet dancers are a lot beefier up close than they look leaping about a stage. The man is a wall of muscle.

Round the next corner we found Eric Underwood, casually lying down on a window seat. I could have fainted dead away.


Steven McRae is the wonderful Aussie dancer who is so amazing as the tapping Mad Hatter in the Royal Ballet’s production of Alice in Wonderland. Eric Underwood plays the caterpillar. We are now completely obsessed with them both and are planning to queue from 7am for day tickets to see Mr McRae in Swan Lake in March (all the regular tickets are long sold out).

Have a look at this and you’ll understand why we were so blown away.

By the time we left I was on such a cloud of excitement, I felt like I was on pointe myself, bourree-ing en couru out on to Drury Lane. Then there was just time for a quick photo with the ballerina statue opposite the Opera House and then on to Freed.


We were served by Amy and it was every bit as thrilling as I thought it would be. She and her colleague taking the choice of the shoe – there are very subtle differences between the styles, about five different ones, as far as I could tell – very seriously.

It reminded me of the scene in the wand shop in Harry Potter.


And finally, the very first rise…


The shoes chosen, we then had the joy of selecting some accessories – a special pointe shoe sewing kit (pink, of course), toe protectors, a pointe shoe bag, some of those tights which convert from footed to footless and then, because I only have one daughter, a Freed ballet bag.

The train journey home was the perfect opportunity to sew on the ribbons and then the great moment – tying them on for the very first time. Over thick socks, as advised by her teacher.


Her first walk in them was like watching Daffy Duck, but in what seemed like moments they became part of her and she spent the rest of the journey practising lifts at the conveniently provided barre (hand rail).


She has named them her ‘Amys’, has them on her feet every moment she’s in the house and sleeps with them next to her pillow.

Seven Days of Positive – Day 106

In Designers, Red, Trends on January 13, 2015 at 11:35 pm

00240h_640x960Apologies for the break in service. I have been both unwell and cray cray busy, not a great combination, but I’m still alive.

It’s likely to be patchy for a few days as I’m going to spend some time with my darling mum who really isn’t very well and needs some company. Wifi doesn’t feature there.

Apart from cooking her up a storming chicken soup with matzo balls, I plan to spend my time there lying on the bed next to her watching crap TV, reading magazines. Just chatting and napping together.

I’m also going to get out the old photographs, because I know how much pleasure it gives her to look at them with one of the family. I will encourage her to tell me stories about her 1920s childhood and living in London during the Blitz.

If I had been able to post yesterday, it would have been this: John Galliano’s return to the catwalk. His first show for four years.

I know some people will never forgive him what he said in Paris that fateful night. I have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism myself and have been known to leave dinner parties where ‘Jewish jokes’ were told. Not funny.

But although what he said was vile, he has shown great remorse for it. He was not of sound mind when he said those things. It was wrong but I believe he has paid his dues and hard.

I think it’s time to let him back in. To allow one of the greatest creative minds in fashion history to wallow in obscurity would be such a waste.

So now we have seen his first collection for Martin Margiela, which I though was the weirdest pairing when I first heard about it – but it is the couture line and I loved it.


It’s not accessible fashion. A lot of it will look weird in terms of what we will ‘actually wear’. But with my eye trained from so very many years attending fashion shows I could see a lot in it which will influence fashion going forward.

In the not too distant future we will be wearing head to toe red.


And if you can’t cope with the more ‘directional’ outfits, just look at this simple double-breasted suit. Perfection.


If I were going to the Oscars I would be on the phone to my stylist right now begging her to get me this frock to wear. Imagine how those ribbons would flutter as you walked along the red carpet?


Seven Days of Postive: Day 106

In Bloggers on January 11, 2015 at 11:57 pm

Priory Meadow

I have laryngitis. The doctor has told me to rest my voice. Not talk.

People pay to go on silent retreats. I’m getting this for nothing and it’s not my idea of a good time.

The family think it’s hilarious and say that nagging is down 100% in the neighbourhood. Lights being left on, food plates being left in bedrooms and towels on the bathroom floor are all up 100%.

It is pretty hilarious that I’ve been told to rest my voice, because I spent all of yesterday morning talking to people about the campaign I’m involved with on an information stand in a local shopping centre.

It was exhausting (that’s why there was no post yesterday), but worth it, because we had a really great reaction. People really stopped to look at and read the posters we’d put together.

I was very touched by the grown man – quite a rough, hard nut – who got tears in his eyes when he looked at the photographs of what has happened to the extraordinary landscape he played in as a child.

He’s been away from Hastings for years and his elderly mum brought him over to look.

‘How has that been allowed?’ he asked me.

That’s the question we have never been able to get an answer to.

An official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty pretty much wrecked by a rogue caravan park owner, the local council who were supposed to protect it putting all their efforts into Bart Simpson style denials, rather than sorting it out.

It’s exhausting work, it has tested my belief in the political system, but I will never give up.



In other news, the lovely Natalie Joos who I blogged about recently and wrote today’s column about, sent me a message on Twitter. How cool is that?

More will be revealed in the Rules column next week, so I’ll keep schtum on the details, but it was such a nice surprise.

Seven Days of Positive – Day 105

In Joni Mitchell, Music, Older women on January 9, 2015 at 10:31 pm


Today was totes cray cray. Running around like a loony, trying to do everything at once.

After years on newspapers – including one memorable spell editing a daily diary on the Evening Standard – I’m used to pressure. I can remember being so busy in those days, I didn’t have time to go to the loo.

But today nearly threw me.

I think I just about got everything done, but not all quite to my standard, which I really don’t like. That is just not how I roll. It goes against every grain of my editor brain.

It’s why editing books is such torture for me. It has to be-ee-ee-ee-ee perfect. I’ve got four planets in Virgo, what can I tell ya?

But among all this, I stumbled upon the latest in fashion’s love affair with OLD.

Saint Laurent have co-opted my number one goddess heroine, Joni Mitchell as their latest face. Part of their music project.

This comes the day after Joan Didion was announced as the new ‘face’ of Céline.


Why am I not feeling quite comfortable with all of this? I just can’t help finding something ever so slightly patronising about it. I need to ponder more on this subject.

Meanwhile, I have cleansed my palate by watching Joni on Youtube. The first one, Urge for Going, is an early song I only discovered a couple of years ago, which is akin to someone finding a lost manuscript by Jane Austen for me.

Listening to this song is like reading a novel to me. It’s so spare, but there’s endless depth. I can see it all.

There’s one particular line in it which makes me swoon:

‘I had me a man in summer time, he had summer coloured skin.’

This is a very early version. The one I have is more recent and I prefer it. Her voice is less quivery wivery and my favourite line is a bit different in this version, not quite so good.

And here’s a couple more, because you really can’t have too much Joni, can you?

I know every line of every song on her first eight albums off by heart.

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