“So! How’s London? Please tell me you’re really, really happy and that you’re making tonnes and tonnes of money…?”
The bar was bursting with people – most of whom I know, knew or at least recognised. (The bar was tiny). Stephen Pastel was there, much to my sister’s amusement. “Oh my goodness! It’s 1987?” Had it turned out to actually be 1987, I’d be 8. I must have been happy when I was 8. I must have been. When I was 8 I wanted to be a stripper. Or a butcher – though to be fair the butcher phase didn’t last that long and it was never really based upon any real desire to chop up dead animals. The thought of it just then made me gag. I liked touching playdoh and plasticine and dough and squidgy, gooey stuff. My 8 year old brain made the leap from squidgy, gooey stuff to raw meat (as weird little 8 year old brains sometimes do) and, coupled with a little girl crush on the local butcher, well…there you have it. I’m not entirely sure where the stripper thing came from but my parents were relieved when it passed. People often said I belonged on the stage. When I was little I took this to be an insult. I’m not sure why. Now though, I’m wondering if maybe I ought to have given that suggestion some thought. There in the crammed, steamy bar, I wasn’t much bothered about what year it was, 1987 vs 2014 – but I was concerned that poor Stephen Pastel might think I was some kind of stalker. 24 hours hadn’t even passed since I’d seen him last, buying CDs in Monorail.
“Well… I’m making more money than I was making here. And, yeah, I guess I’m happier…”
I hadn’t seen these people in nearly two years and my better judgement told me that a little post-gig pub meet-up probably wasn’t the right time to blurt out that lately I’d been feeling professionally and creatively paralysed, utterly fucking confused about life and generally a bit lost. I just smiled and sipped my beer, rolling my eyes in a, ‘Ach, whatchayagonna do?’ kind of way and waited for the subject to change.
“You’ll never be happy… She’ll never be happy, will she?” My sister tilted her head in silent response then stuck her face into her pint glass. I took a bigger gulp of my drink and prayed that wasn’t true.
That was about a month ago. It’s funny how just a teeny snippet of conversation can stick in your brains… This weekend marks mine and Garry’s 2nd London anniversary and since we’ve been celebrating the occasion apart, I’ve had extra time on my own to get to thinking about the happy moments, fun celebrity spots + personal highlights …
The time Mary Portas ruffled my hair and my face got sweaty and red in front of a room full of posh people.
The time I walked to work in the sunshine and thought, ‘This is really happening… We’re here – and it’s really happening… And I’m not even wearing a COAT!’
The time Garry and I went on the Coney Island rides at the South Bank Centre and laughed until our intestines went in to spasm.
The time my boss called and offered me a full time job in tv and I cried in the garden.
The time I offered Danny Dyer a custard cream. ‘Nah, no fanks swee’hear’. Oim awoite’ *faints*
The time I looked down at London from the top of The Heron Tower and *actually* thought, ‘I have arrived’. Like a tit.
The time Clare Nicolson moved to London and Garry and I served her a donut banquet for breakfast.
The time I got to play dress up at Cos with fancy personal shoppers.
The time Garry made beetroot salsa and we had a barbecue in the garden with our friends.
The time I pretended to be a ballerina.
The time Garry and I ate Dishoom food and nearly passed out from the deliciousness.
The time we watched Limmy clips in the Balloon office and I became hysterical.
The time I thought, ‘Oh! I know that guy! HIYA!’ as Louis Theroux cycled toward me in the park.
The time I wept with joy all the way through the First Aid Kit show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
The time I danced with joy all the way through the First Aid Kit show at Somerset House.
The time I organised the SKINS wrap-party and drank too much Cafe Patron.
The time, at Field Dat, when I jumped higher than I thought I could to Parma Violets and Tim Burgess told me he liked my hair.
London, you have been very kind to us. We’re really enjoying get to know you, ya mad bastard. Happier is more than enough for now.