interweb visiting, fran lebowitz, late night british drama and two fragments from e e cummings


are you having a beautiful sunday thus far?

what does your sunday entail? do. tell.

if you’re in Los Angeles (and soon, we hope to have these sundays again too) we know a Few of you are Very Sporty and take your bicycles from west hollywood (weho as some people call it which is not as rude as it sounds and yet, yes, you’re right, it does sound like a hunting cry to hounds or a sigh from a teen-age-girl-at-boarding-school-before-prep) to the Beach. Some of you RollerBlade (memories of L.A. Story there) or take a long solitary walk on the sand communing with Nature and one’s spiritual self while reading some improving literature before a healthy salad in Malibu in one’s Juicy Couture (pre-take-over-era) baby pink two-piece. And then a double-feature at the Arclight and a vegetarian curry at Paru, sitting under the gurus.

if you’re in england (in the late 40s), we imagine up-early-tea-toast-rushing-to-bathrooms-doors-banging-QuietMillie! and the sounds of many feet in proper black lace-up shoes and some Smart Trousers and off to Church – “lovely sermon, Vicar, didn’t the new curate do Well – apart from that snafu with the cassock” – and then back – walking, perhaps, by the village green, home, Roast-something-with-potatoes-and-veg-and-a-steamed-pudding-with-custard and Visiting.

visiting is an important ritual on a sunday.

the somnambulant effects of a Large Lunch, followed by the tinkle of tea-cups and “milk, sugar, one lump or Two?” conversations with various family members and friends and “do send Lavinia upstairs, the Others are all doing some frightful Play later, it’ll be lovely for her to do something and meet the other Smalls”.

when we were so-much-younger and significantly shorter we were taken along on Visits and did a lot of toe-scrapping in the shrubberies, looking for interesting stones and sighing and dreaming and making up stories in our head (we also have to admit we did a few Plays with other peoples’ children because we were/are Rather Bossy but they showed promise, even then, we think, modestly).

New York sundays are completely dependent on the Season – not a lot of roller blading going on here – some visiting (mostly out of town during the summer seasons or if one has children/money/both and has Moved to the Country), not much church to speak of (tourists at St. Patricks, yes, perhaps some devout loveliness on the Upper east side in heavy cream silk to-the-knee and t-bar-shoes and the Ladies up in Harlem in the gorgeous jewel shades and the Fabulous Hats). New York sundays are late affairs. We look down now from our high window over soho and not a person is out on the street as yet (0757 if you’re curious as to the Time). Brunch is a Deeply Important Ritual in NYC on a sunday but Only With Reservations (or a novel to read in-line and a relationship that has grown to accommodate both of you reading your email on your phones while standing in companionship before your Other Couple friends arrive). And the double feature at the movies is a Must when the cold winds start to blow in from the east (or wherever they blow in from – we are Rather hazy on weather patterns).

we cast our mind back to our international jet-set days and the only sunday experiences we could recall in Asia were either visiting temples in Taiwan (the longest incense sticks in the world and crouching under an umbrella from the rain in Taipei) or rushing for a flight to the next country (as we used to do the Korea-China-Hong-Kong-NYC round trip and sundays were always Changing Countries day). We hope to return under different circumstances to do some more leisurely sunday visiting, some day.

We are Very Modern so today the Visiting can be done from one’s Couch – which is delicious.

we did a spot of interweb visiting yesterday, where one can open Lots of Windows on the various browsers (we’re fond of Safari and our bank allows little else so we use the new fangled Chrome – lovely name – for most other browsing – we like the way it downloads attachments and pops them helpfully in the banner below – a nice touch) and then read, comment, chat and So On with lots of different virtual and real and both Friends.

such fun!

you get the idea…..

one can Roam from instagram to twitter to the blogosphere (does anyone still call it that? or we heard a good one a while ago “the fractured web” – nothing at all splintered when regular lovely People have the tools of production to share their thoughts and hopes and dreams and books and movies and ideas and the Hat they put on their Cat and make it Available and beautiful for the rest of the world to see – no – that’s an Exciting Movement and no mistake)

we digress.

so we spent a Lot of our Saturday visiting (we do this for a portion of each day – it’s Friendly and our publisher calls it “building our platform to support the book” which isn’t a Large Podium for some visiting Lady speakers from the Fashion Industry to come and tell us about The New Chinese Silk being Imported to America but for a second we thought it did and still do, somewhat secretly). We’re pretty sure the book is going to be a small Trim size (we just learned that expression and we’re using it a Lot this week since the News.

and then we went to visit Fran Lebowitz.

now we don’t actually Know Fran (may we call her Fran?)

and we’re Pretty Sure she wouldn’t understand us as gloria.

we Did meet her at a very glorious Party – ok, we can tell you – it was for the launch of O, the Oprah Magazine back in – what was that – 1999? we were still living in England at the time and Flew over for work meetings and a party – and that was the Party – (yes – quelle glam-ness indeed).

but it was Before we became gloria when we were just who-we-are-in-Real-Life.

we remember this distinctly.

Fran gave us a very cursory once-over-look and then was about to move on rapidly (we were not one of her Editors, she was just making sure) until she screeched with a halt (passively and without speaking) when she got to the dr. martens lace-up shoes. We remember this distinctly. She flashed her (excellent) cuffs, gave a tiny-wry-smile and swept off in her lovely tailored smart trouser suit in pursuit of someone to smoke cigarettes with.

you see Fran is very New York (as only someone originally escaped at 17 from New Jersey could be, darlings).

we saw this picture on a fabulous blog called “it’s wonderful being a girl” and got Quite Lost for a while – fascinating……we must link to them here.


this is turning out to be a long post.

shall we take a small break?

brb as they used to say in the old IM days………

pause for caffeine.



might be typing very fast now – that coffee with chicory from new orleans is STRONG.

so where were we?

oh yes.

we went to visit Fran Lebowitz.

she was with her friend Frank Rich for a cozy fire-side (alas, no fire – but a couple of lovely chandeliers) at the Town Hall last night.

it was a curious occasion.

as you know, we are documenting NYC, before we move (back) West (that is, if you’re keeping up with us on a regular basis and we do so hope you are – we love to feel you reading and maybe, if you feel at all inclined, make a comment and we can chat here – or offline – or we can come round for tea next time we’re in Town because we’ll be Friends by then……..just an idea, darlings).

so when we passed by a dry-cleaners on our way home from the Swimming Pool last month and saw a poster for this event we thought “oh yes! now that’s a New York Typical Style Event and no mistake” (yes, we actually do say these sorts of things out loud when no one is listening).

so we bought a ticket and went to visit Fran Lebowitz last night.

deep sigh.

not sure how to describe it.

we’ve not been to many a Political event (although we like to think we are Informed but until we become a citizen, we can’t vote so our involvement in US-style politics is somewhat limited as yet) but this felt like everyone who feels as strongly about US-style politics as, say, Fran Lebowitz and Frank Rich, went to visit at the Town Hall last night.

oh, wait.

there was One dissenting voice (or two – or it may have been the same man) and it is likely it is the same man, perhaps, who left after Fran dispatched him with a couple of choice lines –

Tell me where you’re appearing tomorrow night? I’ll buy a ticket and come and see you.

which felt Very Music Hall and heckling and so on.

but a little uncomfortable-making (which is maybe why that man left – and we have to be honest, we left too, just before the Q&A).

a little description of the event:

well, the Town Hall is a Splendid venue (and very democratic-lly-built – no boxes for the Landed Gentry), built in 1921 and it has an Extraordinary History of debate and inclusion and Ideas and Political Change. We felt privileged to just be there and drink in its witnessing and furthering of history.

there was no debate (apart from the dissenting man and as we pointed out – he left).

it was sort of self-affirming for New Yorkers who need a place to visit each other (they rarely gather in large venues – especially the crowd of Smart People – nary a blonde nor a beard was seen – just a lot of navy blue cashmere, bespectacled and Highly Opinionated) – it was a glorious conflagration of Thought and Clapping-when-Agreeing and generally getting all hot and bothered but laughing to release the tension.

Fran trotted out her usual lines about gay marriage and racism and Bloomberg and rich people and writers and New York and traffic and it was all Very Clever but we sort of felt like we’d like to get up there on-stage, perch on the arm of the suspiciously-La-Z-Boy-looking brown armchairs and tap Fran’s cowboy boot with the toe of our dr. martens and say:

darling, can we go home now and watch The Hour?

so we said it in our head and left and came home via the bustle of Times Square and a subway and settled in to watch the DVDs we’ve been sent (thank you, dad) of the SPLENDID british drama The Hour.

(are you ok for coffee/tea/toast? we can wait……..)


may we share some photos from the BBC America site?


it’s full of whisky in the top right drawer at the office, clinking of glasses (Anna Chancellor is a dream in Kate Hepburn trousers, silk shirts and a lovely way with a Woodbine cigarette), Lime Grove – the old 50s BBC life, milky-green-cups-and-saucers from Heals, probably, and dialogue that trips off the tongue…..

“Some nice girl needs to rescue you.
Who? There’s only ever been you. And you’re not even that nice.”


“I run a news programme. It’s my job to cover the news. That’s what I intend to do tonight. Anything else is reckless.”

Bel Rowley in The Hour episode two


Hector: Freddie? You don’t like me, do you?

Freddie: It’s not personal. You went to a minor public school in…?

Hector: Sherbone.

Freddie: Not so minor then. Where you excelled at cricket, rugby and fives. I bet you were…

Hector: Headboy.

Freddie: Then Cambridge where everyone hoped for a First but sadly you partied more than you should, met the right people and had a ball. Your parents were naturally disappointed but what’s an Upper…Lower Second…THIRD? Still, you had fun.

Hector: Indeed I did.

Freddie: Whereas mugs like me slaved away at a second rate university with very little of what you’d call a good time and for a paltry, unrecognised First, most of it in a haze of misery.


Freddie: Like I said, it’s nothing personal, I just don’t like privilege.

and there’s lots of clicking-in-cuban heels (and back shots with ladies clearly in Proper corsetry and zips up the back that require a husband or a lover to do up while in the Country for the weekend) and giggling in the bath, usually while smoking and the Corridors of Power where women have been so recently tolerated.

so we watched the Entire Season last night (almost – we watched 3 – 6 as we’d already seen 1 and 2 Last weekend) – we’re not the only one – Tumblr is full of fans doing The Hour marathons.

and there’s even an e e cummings moment which took our breath away:

Freddie: I don’t know what it is about you that closes and opens only something in me understands; the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses. Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.

Bel: e. e. cummings.

Freddie: That’s the one.

(excerpt from somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond, by e. e. cummings)

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

(we had an e e cummings moment recently on the interweb when we re-tweeted – which is a sign of adoration for content or admiration for the tweeter – like this:)

yes, you’re right – that is Megan Ellison, daughter of Larry, and the best new movie producer in town – bet she Adores The Hour (perhaps we’ll write to her and ask – you know we love to write letters).

For us (and this is our blog, after all – isn’t that delicious, thank you wordpress and all the clever coders therein for making it so simple to use) The Hour takes us right back to being a journalist on a newspaper in the early to mid 90s.

No milky-green-cups from Lime Grove via Heals, sadly (although there was proper crockery in the Editor’s office, we remember that – but sort of boarding school BBC canteen issue, in slightly off-white but good for P. G Tips and for balancing an arrowroot biscuit). It was a dreamy (if hazy) time. We were Very Young and inexperienced (and not yet a journalist but a floating temp and we did a lot of floating in those days) but it was Glorious the first day we got a real by-line in the Next Day’s paper and had to leave it out on our desk (next to the big ash-tray) and just casually glance down and See Our Name – deep sigh, even now.

It was a hot bed of repressed British sexual tension, too. Lots of rumo(u)red affairs and dark longing glances over the spike (where they put your copy when it wasn’t going to make the paper) and the crumpled sheets of deep thoughts dashed off at lunch before the third-one-must-get-back-he-ll-have-my-guts-for-garters and rushing out to get chips (the kind with vinegar and a pickled onion wrapped in newsprint) for a late night re-writing session to catch the first edition.

Just like The Hour really.

Without the proper corsetry.

But plenty of lust and Clever people and intensity.

we can’t wait for Season 2.

perhaps we’ll send the DVDs to Fran Lebowitz and ask if we can visit her for tea to talk it over.

we have a feeling she’ll Adore Anna Chancellor’s character:

6 thoughts on “interweb visiting, fran lebowitz, late night british drama and two fragments from e e cummings

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