hello from the unfashionable side of bayswater

darlings

we’re HERE!

and being ever-so-prudent with the Lodgings so we’ve found a Charming (former butler’s pantry next to the back kitchen perhaps?) room with a single bed and a small window looking out onto drainpipes of the next door similarly appointed 1800s listed building in an unfashionable side of Bayswater.

and it’s glorious.

we just took a walk at Dusk and the grown-up camera was Thrilled to be back in London too.

the Most Amusing thing about London (when one has lived Abroad for almost Thirteen Years) is that it feels strangely reminiscent of a film starring Mr. Colin Firth and Mr. Hugh Grant in that everyone is speaking with a Jolly nice accent, slightly diffident and bashful when crossing the road to the local hostelry and buying the Daily Telegraph (printed form seems to be popular in the unfashionable side of Bayswater near Hyde Park still it seems) or while weighing bananas (we are eight hours behind everyone else here so it’ll be curious to see whether we can sleep through the night or might require a mid-night-or-thereabouts snack).

luckily there’s a kettle and Tetley’s tea bags and small packets of UHT milk on a small white plastic tray (not shown) in the room by the power adaptors.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand just when one feels a Tiny bit lost (and weary) and alone, there is always a sign from the god(s) to remind one There is Magic Afoot.

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we’re not that tall so it was hard to zoom in or get near enough but safe to say – this was the front door that MR CECIL BEATON walked through in the late 1920s after a day languishing in the hot studio lights with grande dames and duchesses who desired a kinder lens and the chance of a spot in Vogue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand one hopes he Never fastened his bicycle at 223 Sussex Gardens to the railings either or it surely would have been removed as he clicked away upstairs, age 20 or thereabouts, in his first photographic studio at Home.

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whenever one travels, it is always good to look up and observe the blue plaques – one can then Imagine the footsteps on the pavement – with a purposeful stride – heading to the Tube – and follow in their wake, a cloud of cologne on the breeze still clings.

and we’ve only just arrived.

*shivers*

tomorrow – Brighton!

to the Seaside!

 

m e m o r i e s.

hello, darlings.

memories are precious things but sometimes they are just Moments that one is living and then suddenly they are forgotten.

unless one faithfully records in a moleskine notebook and remembers to scrapbook every three months or so – in a Cecil Beaton sort of a way or an Albert Hadley style of reliving and reviving what-was-once and what-may-well-become-MATERIAL.

nothing is wasted, love.

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we met up with George before the sun came up and as we gulped down delicately appreciated the soft embrace of caffeine we both talked not of Memories but Visions (which are also glorious). 15b67fe63e6911e3bb5722000aeb3e27_8

then, a little later, we spent a lovely hour reading the Financial Times at Chateau Marmont (because, well, we can).

before we go on – let’s watch this Transmission if you can see it in your Territory (not just for the Sublime Ms. Babs singing about Memories but also for the hair on those ladies in the audience – serious back-comb over large rollers – non?

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so this is how we spent the afternoon……OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

recording the past few months into the latest scrapbook….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and remembering (as if anew) the Thrills (those are the bit with an exclamation point/mark after them – not the Hospital visits where they continue to probe us every so often to see if there’s a new Cousin from the once-lingering Tobias.) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

wistful cutting out. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we have a LOT of memories (here are some of them – and no, we’re not interested in having shelves – they like being in boxes and Farrow and Ball bags – we don’t really look at them until years later or when embarking on a new Novel…..and that won’t be until the holiday season…..*shivers*)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and we always ceremoniously tie the latest one up with a ribbon.

the oddest thing about memory-keeping?

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sometimes one has to do the Grocery Shopping (because there was no food in the fridge) but when one has a Trader Joes on Sunset with Vinyl in the elevator/lift, one really can’t complain. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAespecially when we got to return not long after and watch the sky softly release a slow b l u s h.

and attempt to drown out the Rather loud party from a not-too-far-away-building with a little more Ms. Babs.

well – wouldn’t you?

beloved books and forbidden tales.

darlings

during our recent sojourn in brooklyn, we had breakfast with Ms. J. Fain (toast and marmalade and tea for us – something with almond milk for her, if we recall correctly) and she made a Special Request.

would you write about the books you own?

and we thought – Quelle Delightful Request!

but then we frowned (prettily) and wondered how best to approach this Task.

you see.

we usually don’t share in Such detail.

but we Used to be afraid of losing everything (not that we owned anything of great value in those days, but there was a lot of clutter and stuff and panic and purchasing at One time).

and now?

well.

let’s see.

we like to believe and participate in the flow.

the flow?

yes.

the flow of life and objects.

we do not add to our possessions – without giving something away.

and if we lose something (which rarely happens) but, for example, we once lost a blue pashmina from the back of a chair in a cafe in the fairfax district circa 2002 and got Quite Upset until someone (with a background in dubious self-improvement seminars and extended stays at esalen) said:

someone must have needed it.

we do remember feeling a tiny bit cross and annoyed (so recently arrived from england where such sentiments are seen as Tosh) and then the realization that getting Cross would not bring back the pashmina and a slowly curiously enhancing warm glow-ness that we Now lived in a Land where there Might be Other people that love blue pashminas Too.

and all was well.

because we slowly started to see that Things Return in the most delightful way (we wrote about that here).

gosh.

this is a very Long lead to a post which was meant to be about Why We Do Not Own Many Books (despite the fact we have read probably Thousands).

once we’ve read a paperback (purloined from a box left on a street – this happens a Lot more than one would expect – and if one keeps one’s eyes open – a real Find is often spotted) – we recycle it by passing it on to Friends with a nice note, often in the Post (or putting our Own box out on the street which is fun – or delivering bags to Housing Works or a similar fine organization).

we rarely keep them now.

because once we know What Happens (and we have almost perfect recall as many of our friends will tell you) we cannot keep something unless we are Deeply in Love with the writing itself (as opposed to plot).

some pictures now, please (do you have some tea to hand? we’re sipping coffee but the jet lag is not quite lifting from our Brows).

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so we are a Great Believer in Libraries.

especially as Beverly Hills has Such an Interesting Circulating Library and a splendid “Friends Shop” where one can gather up an armful of old New Yorkers (magazines, not people) to snip and read and peruse of a sunday afternoon on-the-sofa.

but it is the Los Angeles County Library (with its Many Branches) that is the real Jewel for its collection (see above) of 1960s era fashion books and much loved long out of print Editions which can be Requested via the Interweb and delivered to one’s local branch (so clever and so 19th century – the Request/Delivery bit).

and then there’s our own Modest Collection.

many 1st editions from the love that could not speak its name but wrote Beautifully.
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a Lot of Vita (we share the same birthday and she captures our imagination with her Verve and Travels to Teheran and Life and Loves and the ability to nurture a beauteous garden of white and roses and trees and birdsong.)

and some ex-library books purchased from those adorable people at Alibris).

Isherwood – of course (we own Edith Oliver’s former edition of Prater Violet).

did you spot Nancy Spain? Ginette Spainer (whom we wrote about last while In Paris ourselves) – who met because of their mutual friend Noel Coward (we own several books that feature Noel, of course – because he has been our Constant literary companion for decades *lookstocamera* are we That old now? tis true. *smiles* and inspired us to Write and live GLORIAously (as William calls it). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Plum, Cecil and Nancy, naturally.

yes, that Is a copy of William James……….sometimes we like to get rather Contemplative. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(signed) novels by several friends and people that we Wish we had known.
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delicious gifts from Friends and memories of the Day Job (the red binder is a gift from 20th Century Fox to who we are in RL because she worked on several Movies)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

more gifts from Friends (thank you B) and the Inspiring Life of DK for all those big-hair-slimline-hipped-80s-gloriousness. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and current bedside reading (note: paperbacks: so will be donated or passed on when we’ve written down passages that please us or photographed them for instagram.

funny enough the Only books that haven’t passed through the Los Angeles Country Circulating Library or our own bookshelves or boxes on the street or donations found in treasure trove second-hand bookshops – are – *coughs* – *lookstocamera*- well – Ours.

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soon (Jan 2014, apparently – still waiting on Exact Confirmation – it takes a little while – but the red letter day from Last Year – is almost coming to fruition).

since that Deal was signed, we’ve delivered Emerald to our agent (and she said she Likes it Very much) and we’re now 30,000 words into The House On Church Row – may we share just a few more lines with you?

“Am I interrupting?” said Annabelle.

“Yes. You are.”

Annabelle was fascinated and yet appalled by Marion’s forthrightness. She took a step back and wondered why she had bothered coming. It didn’t seem as if Marion wanted to be friendly. “Sorry. I’ll come another time,” she said, turning around to face the street, to hide her annoyance.

Marion relented. The British stiff upper lip was really funny up close. “I’m drinking alone,” she drawled. “Join me. Then I won’t be drinking alone.”

Annabelle was a tiny bit shocked. “But it’s a school night,” she said, looking at her house next door and starting to feel guilty that she’d brought nothing home for supper except cake.

“I didn’t think either of us were still schoolgirls,” smiled Marion, leaning to steady herself on the side of the door.

“You are persuasive,” giggled Annabelle.

“I work in advertising. I need to be.”

Annabelle walked into the house to follow Marion and got a sudden kick in her stomach. She had not been inside the house for years. When Diana told her that there was a new tenant, she had given her the welcome note, but never actually thought she’d be invited inside. She broke out in a cold sweat.

“Scotch?” said Marion, from the end of the corridor near the kitchen, holding a bottle. “No, wait, you probably drink white wine, don’t you?” She disappeared and emerged with a Chardonnay.

“Yes please,” said Annabelle, quickly, and rather flattered, before she changed her mind. While Marion fiddled with the corkscrew and found proper wine glasses in the cupboard, Annabelle looked around. The kitchen was the original 1940s design from the last time the house was renovated. Her mother had been under strict instructions from her grandparents not to update anything, so she didn’t. It wasn’t her thing anyway as she much preferred to be upstairs in the turret room painting strange abstracts in oils while listening to Cole Porter. She could have cared less if the Aga had seen better days or some of the original Bakelite black doorknobs were scratched and needed replacing. The cupboards were a heavy cream shade with panels of wallpaper inside, a sprig of sweet peas on one and pale pink roses on other.

The large chest freezer in the butler’s pantry used to be full of vol au vents for parties and trays of shrimp. Annabelle remembered washing up glasses carefully after late dinners for pocket money at the low sink and handing them to her sister to dry with a tea towel.

“Where did you just go?” said Marion, handing her a large glass of wine.

Annabelle had to bring herself back to the present day. There were so many memories in this half of the house. Her own kitchen next door was modern. Simon had left the Aga but put in all new fixtures and fittings when they got married. If she closed her eyes while washing the dishes, she could always sense this half of the kitchen on the other side of the wall and mentally walk round it while she daydreamed.

“I used to live here,” said Annabelle.

Marion was taken aback. She had not expected anything above light neighborhood gossip or a slightly giggly housewife after a glass of wine. “You did?”

“A long time ago. I grew up here. It was my grandparents’ house. In fact, the house was split down the middle and when I got married I moved into the other half.”

and a bit Further On………just a snippet…..

The cab pulled away and Marion fell gratefully into the waiting car.

“I like her,” said Alex to his brother, as they drove back down Mile End.

They had no idea that Marion was doubling the price of the contract. If she had to deal with crap, she was going to make sure she was well compensated. She picked up her mobile phone and started to dial Kelly to celebrate but changed her mind. She was her assistant, not her friend. Marion threw the phone back in the bag and leaned back, looking out of the window at the lights twinkling on Regent Street. They passed Liberty’s and up to Oxford Street and got stuck in traffic. She looked down at her phone again. She wished she had someone to call.

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ok. one Tiny bit more then we Must get ready – we have People To See.

They stared at each other for a long time until Simon realized he really had to go to the office. In a daze he went upstairs to get dressed. As he entered their bedroom, the scent of musk oil assaulted his senses.

He sat down on the bed.

How could this be happening to him?

This was Hampstead, for God’s sake.

Seriously Enjoying Writing THIS.

*grins*

have a delicious saturday darlings.

(even more) curiously fascinating spirits on the interweb….

darlings

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin

aren’t there are So Many Fascinating spirits out there on the interweb?

– and we’ve been meeting many of them through the Questions that we’ve all been asking each other in this virtual masked ball of an evening-that-stretches-into-dawn.

and here’s another delicious person-1courtesy of Ms. Beautycalypse who brought her to the party all the way from the ancient lands of where writers lie on a chaise eating ripe peaches.

we’re going to re-read her responses carefully and then go and Visit all the people she suggested (virtually, of course, it’s still 07:30 hours in the morning over here in Los Angeles and we’ve not applied the non-toxic gentle face cream from Boots The Chemist that comes in a little pink pot).

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and now we must Breakfast and then look vaguely at the electronic diary to see what the day holds after the dark embrace of caffeine and something remarkably healthy like a grapefruit from the weekend farmers’ market.


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we always feel so Rested and ready-for-the-day after an evening listening (some classical, some lyrical-whimsical early Rickie Lee Jones or BBC Radio 4) while sorting and pasting and thinking and remembering and recording for posterity and feeling grateful for what-has-happened and remembering not-to-do-that-again and generally reviewing and feeling good about The Adventure so far.

Some people call it scrapbooking, apparently.

but we’re in Very Good Company if that’s true.

 

 

what did You want to become, darlings?

when you were small (playground size and we don’t mean those dodgy clubs south of the river where the cabs don’t go)……what did you want to be?

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we used to pour over Magazines (we still do) and dream of becoming Noel Coward and (note Not Or but And) Cecil Beaton and Nancy Mitford.

plus ca change then darlings….

but You?

what/who/inWhatForm did you want to become as a “grown-up”?
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we never really became disillusioned with our dreams because we sort of don’t listen to dull people (Noel, Cecil and Nancy taught us well). viewer-2 viewer-3 Yes, there are moments when we think: “oh dear god(s), how are we going to make a living Next?!”

but then we remember we’ve done this So many times and had So many Adventures – real ones – in Foreign far-off Lands or just dreamed of in the back of a pub in Camden Town or while a teenager and walking despairingly across the cliffs of southern england with nothing in our pockets but a crumpled pound note (pre coins, love) and then suddenly (or, you know, a decade later) there we are – in Milan – about to get up on stage to talk in front of a room of GORGEOUS people after a famous fashion designer (ok, Donatella, there, we Said it) and thought, “Yes! this is Exactly how we imagined it”.
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plus who could get worried about the Future when there are twinkle lights and a portrait of Jean done by Bailey to enjoy chez teamgloria.

as we said to a good friend the other day – the point is to Dream.

and then we made them smile, slowly, when we said:

we never wanted to be Moneypenny
we wanted to be James.
and now we’re heading towards being M (Judi, not the new chap – oops – did we just ruin Skyfall for you?)

so, darlings.

what did you want to become when you grew up?

and are you there yet?

it’s good isn’t it?

Life.

and all that jazz.

(we saw you at the back on the Other coast with that hand action – very good – actually remarkably sprightly if we do say so – Bob – can we call him Bob? he would have loved that move. well, Bob invented that move. right?)

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sensational Cecil: exquisite Manners in the Metropolis.

quelle sensation!

a satiny, luscious, champagne bubble of an exhibition.

Cecil Beaton at the Museum of the city of new York.

a delicious way to wind down on a Friday in Fall.

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elegance – 1930s – silk – suites at the St Regis (where we took the Sophisticate for tea before he embarked – metaphorically aboard The Queen Mary or some such more glorious mode of la vie jet set than the red eye from JFK – for The Continent) – vintage days at the Graybar Building – irrepressible celebrities and Brooding Stars and…………DV!

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scrapbooking a la Cecil.

if you hadn’t already guessed, we are Terribly Type A (and thus Organized/organised/neat).

so the entire surgery and Tobias the tumours/tumors hideousness is now catalogued and Scrapbooked and…….ready to be mined for inspiration.

the dummy of the book is en route through the US Postal System so we can proof and then show to Interested Parties.

and we’ve already started a jolly good fictionalization/screenplay about a corporate executive who gets sick and Learns Stuff (and gets sidetracked into Revolution within the Machine). Terribly Exciting Stuff.

We had a lot of pictures left over (always order double sets, darlings) So we did some collaging (don’t smile – it’s Awfully Theraputic) at the end of the medical leave scrapbook.

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and we’ve also started a fresh moleskine (#122).

Isn’t life delicious?

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