My most sincere apologies for not submitting a blog entry for last week. This was partly because I was busy on the weekend (which is when I normally sit down and ‘blog’) but also because there was very little of note to write about. But this week has been quite the reverse.
I write this on a Wednesday. I am up in London for the week, mainly on a ‘jolly’ (as my agent, Laura, called it yesterday) – although I did/do have some business-related meetings scheduled.
I arrived on Monday and spent most of that day shopping. I bought a coat, which I am told is technically called a ‘blouson’. Someone said yesterday I looked like something out of Miami Vice. I’ve never watched that show (too young!): was that a compliment? Maybe its best I don’t know. The afternoon was spent reading my book whilst sitting on a deck chair in St James’s Park. It was jolly nice indeed.
After a relatively calm day on Monday, Tuesday was quite the opposite. I had been asked to pop along to Western House, home of BBC Radio 2, to do a piece for BBC Scotland, from the contribution studios. In said studios, there is a book on the wall that has a plaque above it that reads the following: ‘We ask contributors to sign this book which we will auction for Children in Need [a UK Charity] at the end of the year’. I felt I should do my bit for charity and proceeded to sign… just under Kylie Minogue’s autograph! Previous entries included the actor Simon Callow (yes, the one I sat next to a few weeks ago in Oxford) and the writer Lynne Truss. Whoever wins the book in the auction is going to feel cheated when they read my name. They’ll wonder who I am. But one day it’ll be worth something… perhaps… maybe… I hope so.
After speaking to Scotland (about whether we rely too much on mobile phones) I then went to kill an hour walking around the National Gallery. As I tweeted on the day, there are some lovely frames there. After that, I walked down Whitehall to Smith Square, where I had a meeting. As I walked past Number 10 Downing Street, the gates opened for a delivery truck to get through. My mind wondered and I began to ask myself what would happen if I suddenly ran through the open gates up to the main door, whether I’d get shot. In America, I think it would almost be a definite (I now feel like I am an expert in American politics having watched so much of ‘The West Wing’!)
After I came out of my meeting I had a call from my agent (@laurajgraham) to say that Big Brother’s Little Brother wanted me to film a piece with them. After many calls between me, the researcher, the producer, Laura, and the travel supervisor, we set it all up for Wednesday.
Then, as that was all being sorted, I had another call from Laura saying the Scottish Daily Record wanted to get a quote or two from me, so I dealt with that before heading off to Highbury to meet a friend (@steve_charles) for dinner and then to watch him perform at a stand-up comedy night.
I shall share with you now what is possibly going to be my best story for quite some time. Sadly, the London Underground was playing up and so Steve was late and so we went and bought some sandwiches from Tesco Express. There was no convenient park bench nearby (no park, either) so we perched ourselves on a low wall just outside the supermarket (who says I don’t slum it from time to time?) As we were tucking into our dinner (his chicken and stuffing, mine a chicken Caesar), we noticed a magazine lying on the pavement nearby. It was a copy of Stylist. I noticed the date of the magazine – it was the most recent one. My mind whirred slightly before I exclaimed: ‘I’m in that!’ I picked it up quickly and opened to page 41 and there was my name, quoted in an article about Carla Bruni. We both found this very amusing.
Wednesday was an early start to get ready in time to set off for Elstree to film for Big Brother’s Little Brother. I’ve been lucky enough to work on the last three series of this British TV icon: love it or loathe it, it has certainly changed the British TV landscape. (For non-UK readers, this summer is the last UK series of Big Brother.) The premise for the shoot was that one of the housemates, who had been evicted the previous week, was a bit of a ‘Jack the lad’ personality; I was going to turn him into a gentleman – polish the edges, so to speak. Nathan (for that is his name) was a willing pupil and hopefully it’ll end up a nice fun, tongue-in-cheek piece (airing Friday, E4, 6.30pm).
That is what has happened so far in London. I’ve found two new favourite shops: Pulbrook & Gould on Sloane Street (a wonderful florist) and Thomas Goode & Co on South Audley Street (a furniture and china shop). They are the sort of shops you walk around and go ‘aaaaah’ and ‘gosh’ and ‘wow’ at most of the stock. Both worth a visit, in my opinion.