Checks & Balances. April 2018.

Dear Rowley,

I recall some sick individual saying that Letters from Bloomsbury Square was the longest suicide note in history. Shows how wrong you can be. For some reason unfathomable even to me, it matters not if a sky-full of crap lands in my lap I appear to have the capacity to regroup, recover and come back with more to give. That must irritate certain folk and that gives me an awful lot of pleasure.

I’m in the checks and balances phase now post a manic period. Who did I offend, what on earth did I get up to and is there any cash left in the bank? Fortunately those who know me better know better than to be offended by bombs dropped during a manic phase. Even more fortunately, the bank balance is healthier than even I could even wish for despite my spending like a sailor on shore leave.

A manic episode teaches you who is a true friend and who is along for the shits and giggles. I now know that I have a ring of steel (no pun intended) that surrounds me when the storm is brewing and breaks. Even more importantly, they are there to clear-up the debris when calm finally comes.

The biggest test this time came from organisations I owed money to during the mad moments. There’s an awful lot of piss and wind about mental illness at the moment. It is supposed to be out of the closet and everyone understands. Unfortunately, this does not apply to utility and phone companies who would sell you down the river despite paying thousands of pounds on time for years on end. An exception is my bank HSBC who have behaved exquisitely and taken care of someone who has invested in them for decades … back before the old king died when it was called the Midland Bank.

One thing that never leaves a manic depressive is a devil may care attitude to life. The subtitle might read ‘so sue me’. In a manic phase nothing can be helped least of all the person going through it. All friends and family can do is close that ring of steel and protect as much as is physically and mentally possible. Thankfully my tribe have taken great care during the recent troubles and for that I am truly grateful.

I am less grateful for the posturing surrounding mental illness. Mariah Carey has ‘come out’ as a manic depressive though that is rather like jumping out of the cake decades after the birthday. I do feel certain individuals in the public eye use mental illness to mask addiction to alcohol or pills. Yes, I mean you Ant of Ant ‘n Dec fame. I would class Mariah in the list of badly behaved divas who use mental illness as a smokescreen for behaving like a spoilt brat.

Getting rather serious here, mental illness is a killer. In the low moments it can push towards suicide and in the highs recklessness can do equal damage. I am fortunate to have a natural stop gap that prevents acting on impulse though that is sorely tested when someone spikes a drink of yours as happened at the BTBA dinner a couple of weeks ago. Talk about malice in wonderland.

There are some terribly bad people out there not least the burglars who have targetted Bloomsbury Towers for the best part of the year. Technically they left me with nothing: all the family jewellery stolen and all of my Jewellery for Gentlemen stock filched. I did say at one point to my Dad ‘I have nothing’ but that’s not strictly true. The robbing bastards can take as many material things as they want but they can’t take away the God-given talents. I am immodest enough to say that one of my God-given talents is writing. Another is still looking half decent after a horrendous period of mental torture. Ta very much.

Humour is also a gift that keeps on giving no matter how black life might become. If you can find humour in the darkest corner there is always hope for a better day. It doesn’t help that a year’s worth of rain has fallen on London in recent weeks or that the burglars keep coming no matter how much CCTV or changed locks might prevent them. Burglars always get what they want but no loss of possessions leaves you with nothing.

I think of that Nina Simone song that goes along the lines of ‘I’ve got my mind, got my soul’ etc etc you know the rest. Nobody can take who you are away from you. That might well be a drunken slut with anger management issues (TM) but that’s still a drunken slut with anger management issues that people happen to like. My friends and immediate family have been there every step of the way on this recent descent into bi-polar and for that I am eternally grateful.

So what will become of this existential problem in Savile Row suits? Well, there’s telly work in May and the Henry Poole & Co book to write not to mention new designs for Jewellery for Gentlemen and sales to be made. I sold a diamond solitaire stickpin yesterday and in the process met a very interesting backer in fashion and luxury goods. I get more of a kick out of selling a piece of jewellery than I ever did writing a piece of journalism. Talk about a nation of shopkeepers.

So where do we go to my lovelies? KBO as Churchill famously said. Keep buggering on. Until next time…