Use Me Again. March 2012.

Dear Rowley,

I was cruising the local Waitrose last night when I caught the eye of a lady for whom life had clearly challenged her to a duel and won. If there was a speech bubble above that broad’s head it would have read ‘where do you go to surrender?’ The woman had eyes like a bloodhound, ugly shoes and hair that intimated she really didn’t think she was worth it. Said lady was dragging a calico bag behind her bearing the legend ‘Use Me Again’. I was just about to hand her the number of the Samaritans when I realised the logo referred to recycling rather than her inner turmoil.

Why does the recycling lobby always recruit such joyless people? I saw the most marvellous cartoon in Private Eye last week about 21st century takes on universal subjects. A poor sap was lying on his deathbed saying, ‘regrets? I wish I’d recycled more’. Private Eye always nails it. Politicians pick causes these days to win votes not because they actually want two blokes to stoat up an aisle in matching morning coats or wind farms to destroy what’s left of our green and pleasant land. I always take the long view.

Equality is rather overrated, don’t you find?  There is an opinion of the majority and that perhaps should take precedence; allowing those of us who disagree to feel deliciously subversive. Why would one force a Church of England vicar to marry two men if one knew it went against every fibre of his being? Then again, it’s all very well for the Pope to raise the Dark Mark and instruct all his acolytes to fight against gay marriage but not when people allegedly in authority protect kiddy fiddlers. The Catholic church doesn’t really have the moral authority to dictate terms on this one.

So would I march down the aisle with Better Half? Not likely. For one I don’t think we need St Margaret’s and a reception at Claridge’s to validate eleven years together. For two I wouldn’t have the first clue what to wear. For three I have never conformed and don’t intend to start now. Marriage today has become a game of Deal or No Deal. There’s so much at stake when you divorce. I’ve known many women who have tied the knot knowing that in the long term a couple of years of misery will pay off. Perhaps this will be the case with men in years to come. It’s not to be encouraged now divorce is as easy as playing Monopoly. 

Don’t you find it much more admirable that two people stay together because they want to rather than because the wages of splitting up are tantamount to a lottery win? Speaking of game shows, I hear Deal or No Deal is being investigated by the gambling commission and is threatened with being taken off TV or placed beyond the watershed. Well, let Gypsy Sherwood make a prediction. You can increase council tax, fuel bills, green taxes or petrol but if the government cans Deal or No Deal you’ll have riots that make the anti-capitalist march look like the teddy bears’ picnic. End of.

And breathe out. Let’s move onto a more savoury subject: Marilyn at Getty Images. I’m still on mouth-t0-mouth resuscitation having seen Marilyn  Monroe’s film costumes at the Getty Images Gallery. I remember as a child first seeing Bus Stop when Marilyn played ‘chantoos Cherie’ from the Deep South. It was the most profoundly touching performance and one that confirms that MM was one of the screen’s truly instinctive actresses. To see her costume from the film was quite simply a thrill on a par with a Bible belter seeing the Turin Shroud. Strike that. Seeing Marilyn’s costumes was not a religious experience. It was one of pure, unadulterated pleasure. No hand-wringing or penitence necessary.

So what else is new? I had a very glamorous interlude on Sunday when my brother and his wife pitched-up at Bloomsbury Towers with their baby Georgina. They’d been in town for the weekend and had clearly had a ball. As you know darling, Bloomsbury Towers is no stranger to infants (no comments please Rowley). Contrary to popular belief, I am rather good with children. The last time I saw Beenie and her two little boys, it was noticeable how much the youngest took to me. He particularly enjoyed trying to tip my champagne glass into his mouth despite being under two years old. Reminded me of my introduction to alcohol: a teaspoon brandy on the day I was born. Sometimes that’s the only explanation. Until next time…