Never mind the election or Elton John at the Brits or the desirability of the Co-op’s cider vinegar crisps or how much chewing gum Prince Harry sees on supermarket floors, which is apparently a lot, according to his latest outpourings, making one wonder where he buys his fro-yos and lentils.
Maybe what he is actually seeing is a speckled or patterned linoleum? For Our Reluctant Prince grew up with Hanoverian oak and custom-weave Axminster beneath his feet, so perhaps he doesn’t know his sisal grass from his elbow, but we all knew that, what’s new, move on. Because, dear God, I am not writing about Harry this week.
I’ve had enough of him and his banquet of bespoke celebrity problems, including a chief beef about lack of privacy which he has talked about on global TV with James Corden, then with Oprah Winfrey and now in a 90-minute podcast in which he seemed to agree with his interlocutors that yes, limbless orphans in Lesotho had it bad, but at least they had their freedom, unlike his good self.
Today, millions of Americans are trying to find freedom from Harry’s injured tone and his endless complaining, but there just isn’t a rock or a pair of ear muffs big enough.
Next week friends can be hugged, laps can be swum or sat upon, while restaurants will be flinging open their doors again to welcome customers. This new social frontier is impossibly exciting, but not without its drawbacks — what on earth are we all going to wear? [Stock image]
And if there was, he would soon be tapping on the side, Kevin-the-teenager-style, reminding you that he didn’t ask to be born and certainly didn’t want to be born into a life of malice in the palace, which is why he fled to California for a life of the-me-you-can-see expansion in a mansion instead.
But freedom is what I am writing about. Cry freedom, Harry! For once you et moi are in accord on this vital topic. We both need it, we want it, and any minute now we are going to get at least a taste of it as the countdown to a new phase of un-lockdown begins.
Next week friends can be hugged, laps can be swum or sat upon, while restaurants will be flinging open their doors again to welcome customers. This new social frontier is impossibly exciting, but not without its drawbacks — what on earth are we all going to wear?
Smart dressing is a concept that slipped from my un-manicured grasp months ago, leaving only a faint memory of ironed garments, polished shoes and clothes that are not — bear with me — pyjamas.
Is that correct? Some of my friends have already booked in for emergency treatments, including the SROFL (Surgical Removal of Leggings) and various corrective procedures to reduce FFFS (Flip-flop Foot Spread).
Shoes are the big issue. Millions of women have not worn heels for over a year now, and many probably never will again. For after we have thrown off the tyranny of the kitten and the Cuban heel, the wedge, the stiletto and the cocktail spike, is there any going back?
Smart dressing is a concept that slipped from my un-manicured grasp months ago, leaving only a faint memory of ironed garments, polished shoes and clothes that are not — bear with me — pyjamas [Stock image]
Not so long ago, the lavish shoe wardrobes of characters such as Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) in Sex And The City were the envy of fashionistas everywhere. Now as Louboutins and Jimmy Choos rot silently in cupboards across the world, is it a frivolous step too far to go back to those good old, bad old shoe days?
Perhaps it should be no surprise that ghastly Crocs are already making a comeback, with the comfy rubber clog’s lockdown popularity seeing the company’s revenues climb by over 64 per cent, reaching a record £331 million in sales.
There was even a pair of Crocs on the red carpet at the Oscars recently, albeit worn by a man. And there is the bunion rub. For anyone who fondly thought that women were going to be cut some sartorial slack in the post-pandemic world, forget it.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that ghastly Crocs are already making a comeback, with the comfy rubber clog’s lockdown popularity seeing the company’s revenues climb by over 64 per cent, reaching a record £331 million in sales. There was even a pair of Crocs on the red carpet at the Oscars recently. Pictured: Questlove wearing Crocs on the Oscars red carpet
Look at Angela Rayner, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who was criticised for being inappropriately dressed for a trip to Hartlepool during the recent election campaign. She wore leopard print trousers, an orange hooded top, a padded jacket and chunky leather boots. What would you call that look, sniffed her critics? Primark Primordial?
And what did she look like — school mum runner, dog walker, duck pond dredger, vote canvasser, door knocker?
I thought Angela looked fine. Tell me, what would have been appropriate for a rain-lashed visit to Hartlepool on a cold spring day in the time of Covid?
Some cheapo, synthetic fibre suit and red block heels from Zara’s Front Bench range? How interesting that despite everything, including a global plague, Angela Rayner is still expected to conform to some misbegotten notion of female elegance while her male contemporaries roamed the Teesside Riviera in tragic nylon anoraks, and no one said a word about them.
How interesting that despite everything, including a global plague, Angela Rayner is still expected to conform to some misbegotten notion of female elegance while her male contemporaries roamed the Teesside Riviera in tragic nylon anoraks, and no one said a word about them [File photo]
So clearly, the pressure is on. Already I feel out of control, like a spaceship hurtling back towards Earth, without the correct accessories to facilitate a stylish atmospheric re-entry.
Yes, I’m going to a restaurant on Monday at lunchtime. Inside an actual restaurant. Not sitting outside, where you can get away with a dressing gown and Wellingtons. And then back to the office to work. Shoes and heels. What am I to do? Have the rules changed? Someone give me a clue, please.
I notice the Duchess of Sussex has been the picture of pandemic elegance in her gorgeous Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta silk dresses, costing thousands of pounds each. At her glamorous side, Harry looks like the under-gardener, loafing around in his terrible old socks and suede booties, before doing a bit of dibbling on the avocado patch.
Harry and Meghan, Angela and me. In so many ways we are all in it together in this post-pandemic world, yet so very much not in others
Goodbye Ellen, whoever you really are
Chat show host Ellen DeGeneres is retiring from the sofa and the studio. She is going off to sulk in one of her many mansions after trying to explain that the Ellen persona she put on for the Ellen show was not the real Ellen.
Chat show host Ellen DeGeneres is retiring from the sofa and the studio [File photo]
She also swept aside allegations of systemic bullying by claiming that sometimes she was just a bit cranky.
This crankiness is nothing new. We know from the tax affairs of daytime queen Lorraine Kelly that the Lorraine we see on Lorraine is not the real Lorraine.
That super-empathetic character, that perma-kind presence who would give you her last teabag and is as sweet as a granny in a seasonal grotto?
That is not Lorraine, but a Lorraine construct, a ‘theatrical artist’ who is performing and burnishing her brand.
You might recall that during her tax case in court, to save a fortune in payments, Real Lorraine had to convince a judge that it was Fake Lorraine on the screen and that she was only acting being nice all along.
How lucky for her that the judge agreed that ‘all parts of the show are a performance, the act being to perform the role of a friendly, chatty and fun personality’.
One could argue that life itself is a performance. But not for Ellen.
Not for much longer.
I turned on Good Morning Britain this week, for the first time since Piers Morgan left. But what fresh hell was this? Blair and Campbell before my very eyes?
It was like falling down some nightmarish time tunnel. Not only was former spin doctor Alastair Campbell hosting the beleaguered show, his former boss was his main guest.
Tony Blair has been everywhere this week, trying to drag the Labour Party back from the wilderness. He has been keen to explain to culture warriors on the Left why they won’t get their mitts on the keys to No 10 any time soon.
‘A progressive party seeking power which looks askance at the likes of Trevor Phillips, Sara Khan or J.K. Rowling is not going to win,’ he pointed out, adding that ‘defund the police’ was the Left’s most damaging slogan since ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’.
It is hard to argue with any of that. But will they listen?
People have started speaking about Mick Jagger in the same affectionate way they once spoke about Prince Philip. Look at him! Doing so well for his age! Still as giddy as a spring goat. Isn’t he simply marvellous?
Indeed. Jagger, now 77, is in a relationship with 34-year-old ballerina Melanie Hamrick, whom he started dating in 2014.
The couple have a four-year-old son, Deveraux, and they posted happy family pictures this week from Italy, where they are riding out the pandemic together.
People have started speaking about Mick Jagger (pictured) in the same affectionate way they once spoke about Prince Philip. Look at him! Doing so well for his age! [File photo]
Jagger had heart surgery in 2019, making him particularly vulnerable to catching Covid.
‘He is in the danger zone,’ his former girlfriend Luciana Gimenez Morad told me last year. ‘He is very well but we all worry about him because of his age.’
He won’t have been thrilled about that, but at least there are distractions.
Recently, the athletic Miss Hamrick posted a video of herself doing the standing splits — and looked in no danger of ricking her hams any time soon.
Can we say the same about Mick? Only time will tell.
Still hankering for an £84 tin of sludge or fudge
No, I don’t have any walls painted with Farrow & Ball.
Not because I don’t want to, but because I live with someone who bellows ‘we are not paying £84 for a tin of paint, are you insane?’ every time it is mentioned.
Despite Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s dismissal of Farrow & Ball’s muted palette in these pages yesterday, I still hanker after sludge and fudge walls [Stock image]
The fact that you can get an equivalent amount of Dulux for £12 is the end of that particular discussion in my house.
Yet despite Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s dismissal of Farrow & Ball’s muted palette in these pages yesterday, I still hanker after sludge and fudge walls.
My soul is obviously pure serf, because I could live with what LLB sneers at as ‘estate colours’ for ever. Yet F&B do brights, too.
The best thing in the BBC’s new adaptation of The Pursuit Of Love was the colour of the walls in the hotel loo at Linda’s wedding.
I suspect it was Farrow & Ball’s Lake Red, but it could have been Incarnadine or perhaps even Radicchio.
There is another paint company, called Bulmer, who specialise in the same sort of thing. On Instagram they post films of their precious paints being poured slo-mo into tiny tins, like dairy cream.
I marvel at their Clove and, like many, long for a Jonquil in my bathroom.
However, I do worry that their softest brown is called Mummy, which is rather nightmarish.
Mummy, the walls are closing in!
But, like I said, that is enough about Prince Harry for one week.
We can’t all be as brave as Tracey
Tracey Emin had an operation last year to save her life when she found she had squamous cell bladder cancer. It seems to have worked.
She announced recently, that she’s had the all-clear, which is marvellous — but it has certainly cost a lot.
As well as losing her uterus, ovaries, lymph nodes, part of her colon, her urethra and part of her vagina, she has revealed: ‘I’ve got no bladder.’ So for the rest of her life, she has to use a urostomy bag.
Tracey has been in the news, showing off selfies of her ravaged body and her attached bags, with their terrifying, viscous liquids swilling in the bottom. ‘This is mine. I own it,’ she said, staring down the lens.
How incredibly brave of her to carry on making art of her life and her situation, despite the gravity of her illness.
However, I want to take a moment to say that not everyone can cope with their cancer in such a flamboyant way. Yes, those with a difficult diagnosis might find Tracey Emin’s attitude inspirational.
Others might not. And some may even feel inadequate because they don’t have her boldness or daring, or could never find it in themselves to blaze with such brightness in such a dark corner.
But so what?
Facing cancer privately and quietly, as the actress Helen McCrory did before her death, is every bit as courageous.
For those in a tight medical spot, don’t let Tracey’s public positivism make you feel negative about your own situation. Everyone just has to get through it as best they can, selfies or not.