Back in Business. November 2011.

Dear Rowley,

Apologies for being incommunicado. As you’ll see from the photograph, better half and I have been terribly busy with the adoption agency in Africa and are now in possession of a cute little bundle of joy we are going to call Liza  Sherwood. Better half was all in favour of calling her Bang Bang La Desh but I thought better of it. Of course this is all abject nonsense darling. Said bundle of joy is my brother’s first born Georgina who we caught up with a couple of weeks ago in Derbyshire. I’ve sent you a snap of the Victorian clerk’s desk Georgina bought for my 40th. Glad to see the Sherwood good taste gene has been passed to another generation.

Now when I am handed a baby or tickle it under the chin, said creature usually bellows as if Beelzebub is prodding it’s bottom with a pitch fork. Better half’s niece Ella was the first baby I ever cradled that actually fixed her baby blues on me and smiled. Somewhat surprisingly, Georgina’s response to seeing my face looming over her cradle was one of joy rather than abject horror so she might be in the running for the Sherwood diamonds when I finally shuffle off to buffalo. Not that I’m planning to say ‘goodbye cruel world’ quite yet.

Another reason for radio silence apart from my new book deadline for The Perfect Gentleman is the new series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. It really does come to a pretty pass when you’re invited to the Christmas lights party on Bond Street and the first thing that enters the head is ‘but Mark’s doing a bush tucker trial tonight. He can’t possibly do it without me’. Actually, the least interesting thing about Celebrity is the absolutely repulsive things Ant ‘n ‘Dec seem to delight in making the contestants endure.

I am absolutely fascinated by the psychology of a group of strangers placed in a Lord of the Flies situation and how they negotiate privation, starvation and constant observation. The ‘celebrity’ of the contributors is almost beside the point over and above how the true personality emerges despite brinksmanship. I’ve met two of the contestants this year: Willie Carson and Lorraine Chaise. Lorraine is the absolute salt of the earth and a genuinely lovely woman. Willie is a very complicated man: a champion and an entertainer.  He could win it.

Fatima Whitbread has the fatal combination of arrogance and ignorance. The surprise for me is Mark from The Only Way is Essex. I never saw the show and have no idea why he’s the star of the show but can take an educated guess. I can recall Jordan being on Celebrity and what a turn-off it was seeing her huge silicone boobs being waggled at the camera to win votes. Mark’s turning the same trick ripping his top off at every given opportunity and I could’t have liked it more. How the world has changed. I got wolf whistled by a builder yesterday and he wasn’t taking the Mick. I felt like Barbara Windsor in a Carry On.

But back to the jungle. I genuinely believe that TV producers misread the public’s appetite for cruelty. Let’s face it, what the celebrities are expected to go through by public vote is the stuff of horror movies and nightmare. Nobody takes pleasure in seeing a fellow human being paralysed by fear and at the mercy of phobias. If Celebrity was more of a scout camp with tests of endurance and intelligence rather than nastiness I think the programme would be so much better TV. Perhaps it would also attract a higher tier of celebrity.

Speaking of celebrity, I have to say the bronze statue of George ‘Beau’ Brummell on Jermyn Street is growing on me. As with Savile Row: The Master Tailors of British Bespoke, The Perfect Gentleman book is haunted by Brummell. HIs moment in the sun of his sponsor/friend the Prince Regent’s favour was relatively brief and yet he laid the foundations of severe English masculine elegance before falling from grace and fleeing his debts to die impoverished in France. Had Brummell been alive today, he’d be a prime candidate for I’m A Celebrity. 

Did I tell you I was asked to speak at a luxury goods briefing at the City law firm Charles Russell this week? As I said to Agent G, they’re not really my audience. I was asked to discuss British luxury brands in under twenty minutes for a mixed audience and to be honest that’s a difficult gig. PowerPoint presentations are anathema to me. I only need to glance at a pie chart and my eyes glaze like a Harlem crack whore after her first bump. Anyway, how went it? Not my best day at the office but I think I banged the drum for British luxury goods and specifically Savile Row.

Just watching Barak Obama in Australia. The man says absolutely nothing with absolute conviction. He’s a cipher. I’m coming to the same conclusion about Mr Cameron: career politician and PR man who knows how he wants to be perceived but doesn’t have any substance behind the spin. It’s absolutely no good peppering his Banqueting House speech with references to he being Eurosceptic. ‘Money’ and ‘Mouth Is’ sprung to mind. It looks like Germany is achieving now what it didn’t with two World Wars and Mr Cameron’s response is not exactly what you’d call Churchillian. These aren’t laughing matters but what else can we do but KBO?