Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

Westfield Shopping Centre has opened perilously close to our home: a fifteen minute walk away, to be exact.

Ordinarily, a new shopping centre might be something to shrugged at (or possibly feared, with the likely adornment of scrofulous, hoodie-wearing, scowling adolescents hanging around) – but Westfield is different. And it scares me.

Westfield is no ordinary “Debenhams ‘n’ Borders” concrete shed. It’s amazing. Gucci, Prada, Miu Miu, Boss, Apple, Tiffany, Foyles, Jo Malone, Abercrombie and Fitch, HMV… the list goes on (and exceeds some two hundred stores, of every description) and I am genuinely frightened that with New Bond Street within fevered running distance, Wife will go insane and be found banging on the doors at 3am in the morning in a pair of pyjamas and a full length coat.

I went there to do some Christmas shopping earlier today: I can’t imagine ever having to go further into London ever again to shop. I don’t mean that I BOUGHT much: I just walked around with a slack-jawed expression, marvelling at how ruinously expensive it could be, and delighting in the idea that I would never have to go to Oxford Street, Regent Street or Bond Street again.

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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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Saturday, 26th May 2007

Yes. Yes. The dollar IS weak right now.

How does that translate itself into a shopping trip that made me gasp, though? How did phrases such as “Cartier bracelet”, “Cartier rings” (note the plural, please m’lud), Dolce E Gabbana snakeskin heels and “Most of Ralph Lauren” become part (hell, most of) Wife’s vocabulary as she announced what she had done when I had been in the first day of my conference at Soho House, New York (a shit-hole, by the way…)?

We arrived back from New York this morning. We had flown out with one and a half bags. We returned with three bags (one of which, truly is the size of Wife and rendered the driver almost tearful with exertion as he lifted it into the boot) and a ridiculous amount of stuff. 

I can’t pretend that I have come out of this Mammon Frenzy badly. I am ACTUALLY too ashamed of what I have got (most of it as gifts from Wife) to record it here. let me just say that the watch I had been dropping heavy hints about as a possible 40th birthday present, is now mine for no other reason than Wife thought I deserved it). I am going to have to introduce the spoils gradually, rather than deck myself out like a Chav on a Romford Estate going down Cinderella’s for a night of lovebites and fighting.

And it’s not just one new watch I’ve got. No. No it isn’t.

I think a spot of penance wouldn’t go amiss: I’ll rinse that hair shirt through…

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Sunday, 11th November 2007

We spent a shitload of money on utter shit today.

Not quite sure how we managed to do it, but we managed to spunk away £200 and return home with almost nothing.

We did get a few things: a “Christmas present” for Best Friend and some presents for Sister. Oh YES! And I got six pairs of socks which are so 1950s stripily-perfect that I feel I could be sick with happiness. There is the matter of the two lanterns we bought for the garden, too: although they were over and above the £200, so REALLY, it would probably have been easier just to stand in East London with the money Sellotaped to our clothes, with a sign saying “Please Rob Us. We’re a Pair of Idiots”.

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Friday, 30th November 2007

Wife is accompanying me to a Black Tie work dinner at Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons in a couple of weeks – and her choice of outfit has been exercising her somewhat.

So, today (when I had a day off), we went shopping to find her a seventh or eighth alternative to the shortlist that she has already drawn up…

When she tried on a pink 1940’s style, full-length, Paul Smith evening dress, with a ribboned back, she looked at herself in the mirror and said: “I feel like Keira Knightley in “Atonement”. But it costs too much.” The truth is: she looked better (for a start, she actually has GOT some tits, unlike Keira “Boy in a Vest” Knightley) – better than I’ve ever seen her look, which is saying something. So I bought it for her, rather than put it back on the rack.

There was no demurral when she found the “perfect” shoes in Nicole Farhi – so I don’t think she was trying it on, but frankly, she’s so perfect that I couldn’t care if she was.

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