ciao manhattan and see ya brooklyn


we’re packed (again) and heading off to the airport in a black town car in approximately 45 minutes (give or take – actually no, we’re Very Precise)

another lovely day.

and some Very delicious meetings at our Publisher’s (such a lovely word) NY HQ if we may say so – *bigsmiletocamerawhileholdingbook*

and here’s one that you’ll remember, we’re sure – the words-in-your-head are underneath.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Harry Burns: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.

Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.

Harry Burns: I guess not.

Sally Albright: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.


ciao manhattan – and see ya, brooklyn……..

darlings – we’ll see you in London in the morning.

have a gorgeous evening/night/morning whatever Time Zone you’re currently residing in.


fade to black (pashmina).

emerald – finished and off to our lovely Agent in NYC.


we completely forgot to write yesterday.

quelle deep sigh.

why one might ask (well, we did, perhaps you did too)?

well as much as we Love being in Los Angeles, we have to say it’s also a tiny bit unsettling (and not just because it’s tax season) to build a new life while waiting for paperwork and so on and so forth.

so we write (alas not Here, yesterday – but lots of Other Stuff)

because – as we said on the Telephone to a friend in England (she called us – we don’t yet have International Dialing – one has to sign up with Different services and it’s Awfully Complicated and we almost don’t have the strength) – we-write-out-the-drama (and hopefully it becomes profitable which more than makes up for the pain of aforementioned drama – if it’s painful in the first place and, let’s face it, drama usually is – non?)

we digress.

as usual.

so we Don’t have Drama right now……

although – *warylooktocamera* – we are a Tiny Bit Nervous about bumping into People From Our Past as we had a Past here – we just – for the most part apart from that small diversion – had a Career in NYC.

so while we have a Pause on any drama at all we like to Mine the Past (profitably).

which is why we Finished the (first) Emerald novel after a very early start this morning and much languishing in bed trying to sort out grammar and be all Correct about paragraphs and Spelling and so forth.

viewerand sent it to our Agent in New York.

now Emerald (the first novel) is something we’ve worked on for a while but it was painful and funny and heart-warming and everything that a novel Could Be but we were nervous about releasing it into the world.

that sounds pretentious.

we really didn’t mean it to be so.

we just meant that sometimes writing something so Revealing is, well, revealing.

but stories are given by the muses in order to be shared (we think and we believe that’s a lovely and slightly humbling and Quite Magical way to think – so we continue to do so).

we’ve talked about Emerald before – in fact – we wrote the screenplay version of Novel 1 a while ago and embarked upon writing a Movie about her adventures at University (an excerpt was posted here, just in case you’re curious). 

and the Whole Point of moving to Los Angeles was to Write_and_take_photographs which we’re doing and feel Rather Kosher about with an actual book deal and who we are in RL is out there Taking Meetings and being a Special Advisor and finding consultancy clients and generally wearing-the-pearls-and-black-jacket look and driving around Beverly Hills and Having lunch on the Lot at the Hollywood Studios with Her Contacts (whom we are assured are jolly nice).


she does it awfully well.

but it would be half a life if one couldn’t be Us too (in a post-modern delicious way) and lie around and Write and send Notes to New York and receive deeply encouraging phonecalls from the Other Coast.

viewer-2and pop into beautiful francophile hotels to admire the subtle glow of an early–eighteenth century light fixture on a pale butterscotch wall.

may we share a few pages of Emerald’s adventures with you?

just for luck?

so we can say we’ve sent it out Into the World and now we need to let go and See What Happens?

you are Very Kind.



Very Kind.

Here goes (do you have some tea? you might need it).

a visual to start (not one of ours, sadly, so we’ve linked it to the Original source to be polite) – and we recommend you read this with a multi-textual-layered sense of irony

top layer = schoolgirls in england but the meta-text is all about the End of the Empire and how Girls were Educated and being different and personality splits and So On – just so you know – didn’t want you to miss out.

and it’s what the Publishing Industry call a YA novel (which is not Princess Anne being posh and saying Yah, it stands for Young Adult – i.e. teens).



As always, Emerald snuck the letter into her left glove as they walked in elegant pairs to church. Henry keeping lookout, she swiftly posted it in the red post box with the regent’s initials in gold.

The letters to James could be sent, most safely, through the steely eye of a long-suspected school censor. Everyone left letters on the vast silver salver in the main hallway and the postman came every day before breakfast to pick up a bag of franked letters from the headmistress’ secretary.

But the notes to Sebastian – so full of intrigue and longing and dared for tales of nights in Paris dressed in ballet slipper pink satin with butterfly wings – no, those were never sent through the System.

It was Henry who acted as a go-between. Her parents, appalled at the possibility of a school censor who might read Henry’s bank statements, had set up a secret P.O. box at the local post office. So, on Saturdays, when the prefects escorted boarders to the village to buy sweets and magazines and postcards, Henry would slip undetected into back of the post office with her key and stuff the letters into the waistband of her school skirt.

As payment for Henry’s loyalty, Emerald ghostwrote her letters home and kept Henry’s parents happily entertained by the daughter for the first time since her attendance at pre-prep school.

While very grateful to Henry, Emerald started to become irritated at the double standard set for girls at Harcourt Hall against those for their male contemporaries at Lawrence College. At Harcourt Hall they were watched like hawks by schoolmistresses and staff alike, right down to the dinner ladies who ladled out the rice pudding, watching for those who were too old to receive second helpings and censuring those who were putting on weight. The whole system, noted Emerald, was to ensure that Harcourt Hall girls remained as white as snow, not too wide-of-hip and sadly lacking in individuality.

“The desired outcome,” she hissed to Henry on their way to church, “is to produce endless drones suitable as wives for perpetrators of the British Empire. Which,” she continued, “I hate to mention this, but the British Empire no longer exists.”

Myrtle overheard Emerald and was very shocked. She pursed her lips and shook her head as the three Sarahs crooked their ears trying to hear what Emerald was saying this time. Alice was making up a pair with Myrtle and they exchanged dark glances of bitter disappointment. Emma Katz had been doing so much better this term. Even Henry was being sociable and only slightly eccentric thus far.

“Besides,” said Emerald, a little quieter now, her neck hot with the disapproving stares from the pupils behind her, “Sebastian’s housemaster would probably be more than thrilled to find out he is corresponding with a girl. It would only enhance his reputation. If I get found out, I’m gated with an order mark and probably solitary in the San.”

Henry was bored by this whole conversation. She did not understand why Emerald was so sensitive to gender relations. As far as she was concerned, if you pretended it did not exist you did not have to follow the dictates. But there again, Henry had no interest in writing to a boy at Lawrence College. She sort of understood that Emerald needed someone to talk to about books and it was true Sebastian had read most of the books in the western world. But it was all really dull as far as she was concerned.

“It’s like we have a price on our heads,” said Emerald, now outraged and warming to her theme. “We are highly priced potential goods.”

By now Myrtle was beside herself with anger. Just because Emerald was against marriage it did not mean that she was allowed to dismiss the whole notion. Alice resolved to have another talk with Emma. She just could not go around referring to her form-mates as cattle to the slaughter. They were English ladies in waiting, English schoolgirls with expectations.

“And it is just not done,” hissed Myrtle, “for Emma Katz to speak badly about our futures filled with babies and nannies and chintz sofas and proper linens and a sensible husband in the City with prospects of something terribly interesting in the Foreign Office.”

the magic of letters. #HeleneHanff #letterfromnewyork


you never know which letters one writes that will have the desired effect – in work, life, love and all the other reasons to write and receive a Letter.

Helene Hanff had no earthly clue that her charming and irascible letters to a certain bookseller would become a book, a broadway and west end Show and a movie.

so one writes.

and goes to the Post Office.

and waits to see…….

which is exactly what Helene did all those years ago and now we feel she’s living at our house – because we’re thoroughly Enjoying her book of scripts which she read each week for six years on the BBC (doff cap) called Letter From New York – and when we read a book, it feels as if the Author comes to stay.


so we are snuggling under the blankets (tis veritable Winter in manhattan now – all grey/gray/Dior-shade gloom and Rather Chilly) and imagining Helene in the next room, writing furiously (and probably smoking) before heading to the BBC studios in manhattan, clearing her throat, and speaking Directly into the microphone before being mixed and recorded and preserved on tape (in those days – it was the late 70s) back at Broadcasting House where we appeared ourselves many years ago on a Radio Programme (heady days).



so we lay here – with this view onto the cold manhattan day beyond – and imagine New York in the 70s – which isn’t hard to do with this New Reality of economic downturn out there, it seems – but in here, well, we are cozy and warm and enjoying Helene a great deal.


she talks of the cross-cultural differences between England (a transatlantic world away in those days – today – well – the Interweb has certainly brought it closer to us expats living Here and still wondering about life There).


and she talks about the dogs she knows and the keeping-ones-thanksgiving-entrees-in-the-cold-larder-in-upstairs-apartments (one had tiny apartments then, as now, in NYC). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA viewer-1

reading Helene is helping us spend the last few weeks of our manhattan-resident-status in something of a Rather Nice Reverie.

we are waiting for the next chapter to begin (and the interminable holidays to be over – so dispiriting to hear so many early-career-tracks from Mr. Sinatra in every shop that one visits – and it feels like Months now – bah humbug indeed – forgive – we enjoy twinkle-and-tinsel as much as the next cute virtual character but this year it has a forced desperation and is a tiny bit hollow…….or are we just being a little bit Too Sensitive, darlings?)

so Helene is keeping us Company.

and she makes for a terrific companion.

we even gave her our favo(u)rite cashmere throw to put over her knees on the couch while she’s correcting her drafts for the BBC.

the author is in residence.

and then – because we travel lightly in this world – we are giving our copy of Letter From New York to someone marvel(l)ous who also writes in NYC – and is a Fine writer herself – we hope she takes inspiration and solace and encouragement from Helene as we did.

we expect great things.

magical letters.

from magical writers.

booking flights. feeling scared. starting to plan.

as we sat with our cup of coffee this morning (before asking it to model, briefly, so we could absorb and reflect on the Very Nice winter light), we gathered up our strength and started to Make A Plan.

well, Of Sorts.

we counted back the days – how long to leave it before Finding an apartment (on the Other Coast)?

and then there’s the Holidays to factor in.

so we procrastinated (a lot) and went to a hotel to read magazines and write and drink tea and eat fruit and make notes about the Meetings Later Today (where we’re sort of expected to act grown-up and Knowledgeable but at least one of our meetings contains people who-know-about-teamgloria so there’ll be secret smiles which is Always delicious.

magazines-tea-fruit-writing: All of our favo(u)rite activities rolled into one. When Procrastinating.

we called this picture “homework”, for our friends on the interweb-of-pictures, and it is, of sorts. did we ever tell you about writing (yes, handwritten, young people) Letters to all the Glorious Executives in The Hollywood Reporter’s Lists? well. we’d just arrived in Los Angeles (this was back in 2001) and only knew one person (he was a Hollywood agent so it was a Rather good Start, tis true) so we thought we’d like to have Tea with people of influence-and-glamorous-offices.

and. we. did.


we met several of them.


it was fun, you’re right.

a story for another time (because we promised to be discreet).

or at least heavily submerged (beautifully) under the obscura-fiction-lens in a screenplay or two, perhaps.

so back to the plan.

we booked our tickets to Los Angeles (we’re calling this Trip 1 – Trip 1.1 is the Moving Trip and it might be done on a train rather than a plane – we’ll let you know). we’ll fly out for christmas eve and then LOOK FOR APARTMENTS (eek) on the thursday/friday before coming back to NYC because we’ve realized we’ve lived here for 6 years now and never seen Patti Smith at The Bowery Ballroom. It must be done.

and then…….


how does one Wind Down a Life on one coast and start again on the Other?

it’s been done. we know.

but there’s ending leases, getting deposits and new leases and paying deposits, moving furniture, cancel(l)ing utilities, setting up utilities, unpacking vintage books, working out where to hang framed photographs, finding a new place to swim, telling the place where we swim we no longer can swim there, packing moleskines and scrapbooks and clothes and giving away stuff we don’t need and others might-like, buying a car (eek!), buying the last metrocard for the new york subway, finding consultancy, doing the final edit on the BOOK, getting published, talking about the book, doing a book tour of-sorts, writing the next book, taking more photographs, seeing the accountant, settling roll-overs with the financial advisor for 401K and insurance, getting mail re-directed, finding a new place to sit and drink coffee in the morning, creating a nice Home Office, maybe finding a space to work-with-others, writing for the Hollywood studios about movies-that-other-people-have-made, dreaming of making our own movies, finding out the nearest grocery store that sells the things we like, falling in love, making better choices about Everything.

oh. god(s).

a lot to do.

thank goodness we have Jonathan for the East-Coast-Bit.

because it’s going to be Very Hard to leave all this.

and hopefully (hint) he’ll set up an office on The Other Coast so we can feel not so cRaZY at doing this stuff ourselves (because it’s Really not our best skill-set, darlings – we have Other Skills as someone very kind once said to us).

so there you have it.

there’s a lot to do.

but this is waiting at the Other Side.

and a very differently-shaped-life (hopefully one that includes something of a Melrose place powder pink apartment building with a blue-blue-pool).


you’re right.

what a difference a year makes.



deciding Not to start all over again.

we woke up at 2AM.

hasn’t happened for a while.

not since we stopped travel(l)ing for La Vie JetSet.

perhaps there was something about not wanting to be as devil-may-care about the move (back to Los Angeles if you’ve just joined us, darlings).

we are Tired of starting all over again – again – so we’re not going to.

we are going to Take all the Furniture (instead of doing some Grand Gesture of giving away one’s Possessions – yet again – and packing a few items to be sent via the Post Office).

maybe it was the prospect of almost fifteen years of scrapbooks (one needs a Legacy and the memory is not what it was so they always make for Curiously good Viewing – did we really go to INDIA, CHINA and Korea in such a short space of time? gosh) and nine years of journals/theraputicRelease/materialForMovies – we just couldn’t do it.

so they’ll all be coming with us (apart from the large framed pictures we already promised to certain people – they needed to stay in NYC anyway and they’ll have Such a good home there).

that feels better.

we don’t feel Great having only got a few hours sleep last night but the Furniture seems to be smiling this morning at the prospect of seeing Los Angeles (it has never been and often wondered what it might be like).


we almost forgot.

yesterday was splendid-with-consultancy-meetings and we had pockets of time to Walk everywhere (downtown to chelsea and back to almost the Tip of manhattan).


bien sur.

the day was Crisp and Very Cold (but excellent for walking with upbeat music in the ears).

after chelsea we walked almost to the tip of the island and had to pause for thought when seeing so many medical military personnel (in the city to head out to Long Island for the disaster site post-hurricane).

a quiet moment.

we thanked them for being there (it felt only right) and headed upstairs to our meeting (which was Splendid, thank you for the questioning look).

Presently, a blast of icy wind chilled our curiosity and blew us right into the Chapel. Anyone who looks on the religion of colonial times as gloomy would be astonished by the cheery interior of St. Paul’s. Sunlight was streaming through enormous windowpanes of clear glass; none of those Biblical scenes designed to inspire awe. The Waterford chandeliers, huge though they are, manage to seem dainty. The altar and pulpit are painted ivory, picked out with gold; the walls are pink, the ceiling sky blue. “A perfect color scheme for a young girl’s debut party!” said Helen.

Twice Over Lightly
Anita Loos and Helen Hayes
P. 25

yes! we looked around upon leaving the meeting and realized where we were – next to St. Paul’s chapel – which Anita Loos and Helen Hayes visited in 1972 for Twice Over Lightly (the book that we are re-enacting to say goodbye to manhattan).

it has not changed a bit (apart from the sadly necessary place of grieving for 911 memorial which now lines the walls)

as you know we Adore a chandelier. and there are some Truly Beautiful ones at St. Paul’s.

manhattan was in fine form yesterday – and looked a lot like it was doing a sly impression of Paris……

or Rome….

or 1972.

or Indonesia….

or mexico….

but but as we headed home, nose burrowed into a cashmere scarf, cloche hat firmly down over the ears, manhattan looked like manhattan again – and full of possibility.

the new york playlist.

so it’s 2.56 AM in new york and we’re doing what many other people are probably doing Right Now – making a mixtape, darlings – waiting for dawn to come up (the sun, not a delivery person with late-night-chinese-order but that Did occur to us too)

can’t sleep.

music helps.

we even joined this new fangled (to us) website that allows one to create a list and share them…..isn’t that delightful?

just in case the instructions didn’t quite work (or there’s a geo-blocking for our friends outside of the Tri-State Area) – here’s the list.

if it sounds familiar that’s because we probably texted you (if we know you in RL) a little while ago – we were making a new york “app” but it needed more functionality and we’ll “re-visit” the concept when we have Left for the West and have more time.

although if we have any more sleepless nights, time is something we clearly have on our hands.



nearly forgot – here’s the list!*

1. Arthur’s Theme: Christopher Cross

2. Walk on the Wild Side: Lou Reed

3. Gloria: Patti Smith

4. 1999: Prince

5. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song): Billy Joel

6. Get Into The Groove: Madonna

7. Sunday Morning: Velvet Underground

8. The Only LIving Boy in New York: Simon and Garfunkel

9. Everybody’s Talkin: Fred Neil

10. Let The River Run: New Texas

11. Take the A Train: Duke Ellington

12. Rapture: Blondie

13. Life During Wartime: Talking Heads

14. New York Minute: Don Henley

15. Autumn in New York: Charlie Parker

16. Hot In the City: Billy Idol

17. New York New York: Liza

18. Fashion: David Bowie

*the cool tracks are from our cooler friends – the Liza is All Ours, love.

before coffee.

before coffee, we are very quiet.

during coffee, we are thoughtful.

after too much coffee, we are manic.

– such a delicate balance.

usually off-set by reading or distractions – after all, to meditate while drinking coffee would be foolish (so we stopped trying to do that).

it’s sort of annoying to be so controlled by a substance.

and we still feel that about having parts-of-our-body-removed-and-replaced-by-a-pill.

especially one you have to take on an empty stomach so need to remember to take it before coffee is even thought of, let alone brewed, or poured into a thick enamel mug and enjoyed with 1 per cent (but surprisingly rich, and, yes, organic) milk and a view over the tree tops of downtown manhattan.

it’s a mighty Pill one might say.

but it has a time clock on it.

by the time we got into a taxi cab at the corner of broadway and somewhere-in-the-60s (we were with friends, we walked a block or two or three – it’s a Very New York thing to do before one looks slightly worried back uptown and searches in vain for the flash of yellow and the light on the top of the available cars – but it’s Fall in the City and such a good place to walk) it was Very Late and our battery had run out.

it had been a long time since we fell into bed without removing the mascara.

but there you go.


by the drama-that-surrounds (still), a lot of stuff-to-do-at-work, swimming (fab), foot massage (delicious), movie (oh dear, Arbitrage, the less said the better) and supper with a Good Friend.

so it was 11pm (blimey).

and the armour thyroid replacement pill had clocked off for the night.

we didn’t even open the mail/post/parcels that had arrived – and we Adore a parcel.

felt a bit sad that we didn’t have any more juice inside.

so the coffee this morning was extra Jolt-y.


maybe when we move back to the Other Coast we’ll try and quit the caffeine (again).

we can feel the headache start to rise up in horror inside our head.


not today.

we have therapy at 10AM and NOBODY does therapy in New York without coffee.

especially the therapists.

by the way (shy smile across the interweb) – we love the new camera – it takes delicious whimsical and fluttery-light-shadow moments.

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.







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!