Posts Tagged ‘Acclaimed Photographer Friend’

We went to a TOWN OF SHOPS. A whole TOWN. Of SHOPS.

This is Wife’s idea of town planning, and my idea of hell. I don’t mean that typical male cliche of “I can’t stand shopping, me” – but let me put the facts before you. We arrived (on a coach, which was something of a first for me since the days of school Rugby tours) at 9.45, before the shops opened, and we left at 6.45pm. We had twenty minutes for lunch – so for almost nine solid hours, we went round shops and bought things.

In its defence, I will confess that this place did a pretty good line in shops: Gucci, Prada (where WIfe relieved them of three dresses), TSE, Calvin Klein, Missoni – the whoel Bond Street thing, basically, mocked up to look like the location for Hitchcock’s “The Birds” (including a steepled building, presumably a Church of Shopping, which shows that they have understood their target audience pretty perfectly).

In the evening, we went over to Good Friend in PR’s flat (the Tribeca location of which marks him out as, in Acclaimed Photographer Friend’s view as “a fancy gay”), and then onto a great fish restaurant, where one of APF’s other great friends is the manager. She gave us the best table, the best service, and free Champagne: she had been primed by APF to expect us and she saw that we were treated like kings, exemplifying, as we agreed the difference between British service (“Let’s just get through this and pretend that each other is invisible”) and American service (“Let’s pretend that I am genuinely pleased to be serving you, and that nothing is too much trouble, because I am your FRIEND”). And then we went on to Soho House – and that’s when it all went wrong in terms of sheer amount of alcohol consumer in a companionable and funny night that saw us getting to bed at 2am – but given that (thanks to the children) this sort of hedonism is very much the exception, rather than the rule, I don’t see anything wrong with that (other than the headache that was left as a little aide-memoire for us when we awoke…)

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Wife and I saw a lot of Good Friend in PR this trip. New York is currently is home (although I am doing what I can to change that, considering teaming up with Events Company Chairwoman to form a powerful lobby that will force his repatriation to W4) and now that he works for himself we were able to see more of him that would have been the case in the bad old days of wage-slavery.

One night saw him (with typical flair) take us to two of the best rooftop bars in New York: the first, at his club, the very ritzy Soho House, the second, the tiny but beautiful bar at the top of the 60 Thompson hotel. We had a great time with him (he’s having a rather trying time, but dealing with everything with his customary generosity, good humour and grace), which explains why, although we both had separate dinner arrangements, he left Wife and I in Soho House when he went back to his flat, before joining us later.

As we sat on the roof terrace, being served by a waitress who (in Wife’s immortal phrase was “distracted by her own breasts” – understandably, as it happens, but anyway…), we talked about the difference in our characters, agreeing that one of my dominant character traits is to over-think, over-analyse (and thus) over-worry about pretty much everything. I suggested that it might be, in part, my job that makes me behave like this (analysis being something of a leitmotif in Planning), but she feels that the behaviour is more fundamental than that).

She also feels that I let my very English embarrassment gene kick in too easily. Citing a series of photographs that she took for her exhibition (in which she dressed as a giant, eerie rabbit – think Donnie Darko – and cavorted across a series of twilit landscapes to the amusement of the amassed onlookers), she said to me: “The thing is, darling: sometimes, you’ve got to wear the rabbit suit. You may feel a tit, but that’s the only way to get it done.” She’s right – sometimes, you have got to wear the rabbit suit – which will be a nice surprise for my colleagues at work.

After a great dinner at Matsuri, with Acclaimed Photographer Friend, we headed back over to Good Friend in PR’s current outpost – 60 Thomson. It’s a super chic hotel, and he was chic to match: cool haircut and a very svelte frame meant that he fits right into this sort of place (whereas I still manage to look like I really ought to be limited to bookshops) and we went up to the rooftop bar – the second of the night. What a view: absolutely breath-taking, and although we couldn’t stay long (Wife was not so fresh from her Go-Go Dancer baptism), we had a wonderful time.

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After a thorough briefing from Good Friend in PR  (whose knowledge of aviation and airline admin is, quite frankly, freakishly exhaustive), Wife and I bagged ourselves exit row seats for the flight over to New York (this is after some fairly lengthy dicking about with Virgin Atlantic, whose absolute uselessness and terrible customer service seems to me to contradict their “brand values” to some extent – but more of that anon). We settled into the Heathrow Clubhouse (which I will generously allow IS fantastic) – or rather, Wife went pelting up to the spa and got herself booked in for a pedicure (or what we refer to as work on her “Gandalfs” in respectful homage of the Hobbit, the soles of whose feet were said to be so leathery as to render shoes irrelevant) and I set about the business of ordering more Champagne than is either right or proper.

The highlight of our stay there was my choking fit, which saw me spray Champagne over the chair (and feasibly the blazer) of the gentleman sitting with his back to me. I don’t think I CAN have sprayed all over him, as he didn’t even turn around, which is fairly remarkable as I may a sound like a helium balloon being punctured: maybe he’s regularly spritzed with mouthfuls of Champagne… And then the flight, which was hideous.

We got to our hotel (the very, very nice The London, which I can heartily recommend – I stay there every time that I visit that great city) at around 7pm, local time – so midnight GMT: and Wife announced that she was going out dancing with Acclaimed Photographer Friend. He is one of her oldest friends, and Godfather to Daughter, and a fantastic man – and she always has a blast whenever she’s out with him – but when she asked whether or not I wanted to go with them, I declined. In part this was in deference to one of my father’s excellent dicta: “No dancing after 30, or six foot, whichever comes first”, but just as much to do with how knackered I was.

Wife returned at 2a.m,, having had a typically wonderful night. I only got the haziest of details, but one thing was clear: she has, in her own words “broken her Go-Go Dancer duck” – which means that at some point, in one of the gay clubs they visited, Wife shoved dollar bills into the sweaty mesh pants of one of the young ephebes dancing on the bar. I feel so proud.

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This is Acclaimed Photographer Friend’s view of the weather in New York at the moment. Wife and I are off there next weekend, and so were keen to understand just how relevant the mutterings of “100% humidity” proved to be – and it sounds like we’re going to be in for the kind of weather that we have been craving (and missing) in London this summer.

We’re both very excited: there are friends and family in New York (most particularly, Sister, who returns there today after a five week stay over here with Nephew) and the dollar is still weak enough (though strengthening slowly) to leave Wife with sleepless nights about the amount of shopping that it’s going to be possible to cram into the 200 hours that we are there for.

We’re back in The London – which is equidistant from everyone that we want to see, and opposite MoMA (which somehow, I always think I want to visit, and am, somehow always disappointed by) – but which (most splendidly) has suites instead of rooms, and so there is room for Nephew to come and run around, and for Wife to do catwalk style parading in whatever new wares she has purchased that day.

I find it such an exciting city to visit, no matter how many times I go back, when we drive in from the airport and see that clustered skyline of buildings jockeying for position, I get a feeling in my stomach comparable to the one when the lights go down in a theatre… I can’t wait.

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