This is London. March 2012.

Dear Rowley,

Where do you go to surrender? I’ve always relied on the new Madonna album to keep me out of the elephant’s graveyard for clubbers old enough to know better. So I was the first in the queue to download MDNA and party like it’s 1981. But it seems Madonna is channelling ‘badass bitch gangsta rappers’ and evidently hasn’t spent enough time in anger management therapy since the break-up with Mr Ritchie. Songs like I don’t Give A seem to suggest she isn’t comfortable with criticism for age-inappropriate clothing. There’s nothing wrong with dressing like a tuppeny ho’. Ask Cher. But when M starts to resemble Barbie’s granny, you know this way sadness lies.

God love Madonna for pouring herself into fishnet tights and hot pants but with the best will in the world I don’t think Gang Bang is going to be one of my Desert Island Discs. M always scored by writing songs that were as contagious as the ebola virus. I don’t think there’s a single track on MDNA that earns a place on the Greatest Hits album. Still, it’s much easier to criticise than to praise. M is still putting it out there, selling out stadia and – let’s face it – who doesn’t try to pour themselves into last year’s jeans trusting to more luck than judgement?

People are terribly quick to scent hubris, don’t you find? My absolute favourite balloon-deflating comment came courtesy of my make-up artist friend Liberty many years ago who sat listening to a model in the autumn of her career saying with all sincerity ‘I’d like to say goodbye to modelling before it says goodbye to me’. With deadpan comic timing, Liberty said under her breath ‘it never said hello, love’. Happens to the best of us. Better half and I were in Surrey this weekend for an al fresco with his brother John and wife Simona who live in LA.

We were discussing Miami. Now I’ve only been to Miami once with an ex who flew down from New York with his poodle. We were billeted in the Eden Roc where there was a ballroom dancing convention so y0u can imagine every time the lift opened, it was like an explosion in a chicken factory. Nothing camp about that. My enduring memory of Miami was walking the poodle on South Beach wearing Burberry check swimming shorts with a matching bag. No, I don’t want your pity. I was young. But I probably made Daniella Westbrook look like Grace Kelly in comparison.

Anyway, Simona asked me about Miami and I went into a misty eyed, elegiac monologue about it being the era when ‘Gianni’ had the palazzo, Madonna still had a villa there and Rupert Everett was holed-up in the hotel in the Deco district. I didn’t quite shed a tear but you get the gist. Simona skipped a beat then with a gleam in her eye said, ‘yes, and when all your friends had left Miami just wasn’t the same’. Game, set and match to sister-in-law. Deflating hubris should be an Olympic sport.

Speaking of the Olympics, are you all geared-up for the influx of Lycra, baseball caps and misplaced national pride? I can’t help but think the games will be entirely hijacked by the politically correct, health-and-safety, multi-cultural brigade who presumably sanctioned Stella McCartney to re colour the Union Flag for the British kit. What is the betting the opening ceremony will be like an episode of Britain’s Got Talent? I was absolutely horrified that practically all of the clobber produced for the Olympics is made overseas. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the BBC insisted all of its presenters record their commentary in Manchester. It’s enough to make you toss in your wig.

Still, there are occasions on my travels around London that restore faith in our national sense of humour and perspective. Don’t you adore the chalk board outside the Soho pub on Brewer Street?  ’Have you had your daily pint?’ It put a smile on my face for the whole day. Equally pleasing was a visit to see London’s Queen of Diamonds Alisa Moussaieff who called with an invitation to see a recently set piece of jewellery that I would walk over hot coals to witness let alone cross London at high speed for. Moussaieff is one of the only jewellers in the world who would have the audacity and creativity to set seven Colombian emeralds in a waterfall of diamonds and consider the parure incomplete without matching diamond and emerald earrings. To see such a masterpiece is a privilege and reminds one that London is a city full of hidden treasures.

So what else is new? The Perfect Gentleman book has been handed over to Thames & Hudson for translation into Italian and French. The cover is still a moot point and a battle to be fought but one that needs consensus rather than my usual riding into battle like Boadicea bearing a grudge. The Anderson & Sheppard No 17 Clifford Street project is I think one of the most challenging assignments to date. Writing about collections as I did, you propose an opinion/judgement. Helping to put together a definitive edit of classically elegant men’s wear is a huge responsibility because every decision will be judged by the customer.

Contrary to form, I can’t say an awful lot more about No 17. But I know what we’re putting together is terribly you. Until next time…