the democracy of self-expression.


we have an Early Start today so while the sun rose we picked up email and GB sent the most Splendid clip of Patti Smith which Most enlivened and encouraged and warmed and engendered deep happiness – it’s here because we thought you’d love it too.

especially the bit where she talks about the democracy of self-expression and being able to get your work out Into the World and bypass the large corporations’ control to connect and speak and share and listen to others……………..and just concentrate on building and keeping a good Name – yes.


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and now we must write a thousand words before breakfast (well, we already snuck in a large cup of coffee and a plain Italian cracker, just to keep us going) of The House on Church Row because Charlotte is wearing a Burberry Macintosh, armed with an umbrella (it’s a very English novel, you see) and is having a conversation with the ghost of Annabelle’s dead sister in the churchyard – no, we had No Idea that would happen either – but it’s jolly good fun.

and then we will return to Wrestle with a PayPal button so we can launch our little shop (of our photographs as poster prints) before our Show in NYC and enjoy the fruits of the democracy of self-expression, as it were.

here’s where we Left our scene – we shall return….(sorry about the use of cigarettes et al but they just started lighting up, we had no control over them and certainly cannot dream of censoring the characters now they’re talking up a Storm)

The cigarettes burned down and Charlotte carefully scrunched it out on the bottom of the fence and handed it ceremonially to Marion who disposed of it. Charlotte was about to walk away and then she decided she could not resist. “How’s your ghost problem?” she said, wickedly. Marion just laughed. So the Agency tracking machines were even more sophisticated than she remembered. And then a chill ran through her veins. Why was the Agency bothering to update their tracking machines to denote the supernatural? What were they getting into?

Charlotte went back into the house and could hear voices outside. She opened the front door and saw her son and daughter-in-law huddled on the doorstep. “Did you get locked out?” she said, imperiously.

“Shut the door mother,” said Simon, firmly.

His mother was so shocked that she just closed the front door. Annabelle looked up at Simon lovingly. “I’m still going to get a job, even if you become deliciously masterful around your mother.” Simon sighed and hoped that it would pass. Annabelle had never had a job. She had no idea how boring it was to go to an office and endure the politics and the sucking up and the machinations of hideous power plays.

“What kind of job?” he said, suddenly wondering what on earth she was going to do for a living.

Annabelle looked into the middle distance. It was not the right time to tell him that she’d accepted Marion’s offer to become Art Director on Dorian’s creative team. They’d have breakfast first. The bandage around her throat suddenly didn’t feel so restrictive. Her scar was healing nicely, like the rest of Annabelle Jones.

Upstairs Charlotte was packing a small bag with her Agency tools and deciding which shoes to wear to meet a ghost. She decided on a pair of dark moss green clunky shoes from Hobbs. They went well with her dark Macintosh. She tied a headscarf under her chin but then removed it – slight overkill on the Miss. Marple look.

Annabelle and Simon were eating breakfast in the kitchen so she slipped past, left a note on the credenza that she’d be back for supper, and grabbed an umbrella by the door. It did look like it was going to rain, after all. But she also thought she might need a weapon.

Elyse was lying on an unmarked gravestone at the far end of the Churchyard. She did not want to die. She knew she was already dead. But not dead like these poor bastards. Not six feet under some stone monstrosity that one’s family picked out. In the morning sunlight she was completely translucent. Her visibility was fading fast as the moon waxed. She had a day left. Better make it count. Her eyes were closed so she did not see Charlotte approach brandishing an umbrella.

“You must be Elyse,” said Charlotte, a little unsure as to the correct opening gambit with a ghost.

Elyse sighed. What fresh hell was this, as her heroine Dorothy Parker, used to say? Actually that thought made her feel better. If she was really truly dead, she might get to meet Dorothy Parker. She turned over on her stomach and looked up at this Home Counties vision in sensible shoes and an even more sensible Macintosh. “Are you threatening me with that umbrella?” she laughed.

It broke the ice. Charlotte smoothed down her Macintosh and sat down on the grave and eyeballed Elyse. “Why are you here?” she said.

“Who wants to know?” said Elyse, warily.

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.



a saturday back in manhattan: street art, salad, sumptuous with an air of Vivienne Westwood

firstly, a few photographs on our first saturday back in manhattan after being Abroad:

after Therapy (Most Interesting), we took a walk around the area to feel our feet on the pavement/sidewalk/street again and to notice how the jet lag started to lift as we noticed things anew – streetArt, people, accents, puff-ball-skirts-on-Japanese-tourists (girls) and pork pie hats on New Yorkers (both genders – or at least two of the seven we observe possible, perhaps more, in the Spectrum – but the usual ones that people identify Others as anyway).

the art store (Blick) was open so we stocked up on new moleskine journals and cartes postales and blue-blue-envelopes with satin paper inner linings and a Radical magazine (for tis in such an area in such an art supply store that one Finds such things – so Deeply Interesting in this Time Of Change) and then More of caffeine’s dark embrace as the jet lag subsided and then Returned, idly twisting our brain cells into something Almost akin to Sadness but not really.

new graffiti abounded on the streets around Bowery and a magazine torn up and pasted on a concrete wall from 1930s Barcelona (how had we missed that before?) and new (proofs) and vintage (second-hand) books on the shelves at housing works on crosby opposite a movie shoot (isn’t there always one around, it seems? NY in the spring/summer is full of film crews in bomber jackets and terse expressions and we-ve-been-up-since-dawn-weariness).

the day has felt different because we’re wearing a new fragrance.

actually, it’s a fragrance we wore back in 2002.

from Vivienne Westwood

it’s called Boudoir (blush).

and we ordered the tenth anniversary edition (from 2008) without realizing it has been a decade since We wore it (curiousness) – mainly because we remember it fondly (orange blossom, vanilla, deep tuberose and cinnamon) from our days in Los Angeles – but also because we adore toiles de jouy (and the bottle is thus embellished).

drifting around manhattan, still not quite here, fully, in spirit or physically, it seems, and surrounded by a once-beloved fragrance on our pulse points and subtly perfuming our pashmina (the celestial blue one), we were reminded of that line by MFK Fisher – which we can’t find so forgive us for paraphrasing or misquoting:

I was wrapped in a passionate mist

here are some other quotes from Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher that you might enjoy.

she always had wonderful things to say about life, and food, and fragrance and love.

don’t you think?

we’ve just woken up from a nap……………..don’t you adore a nap on a weekend afternoon? with nothing but the sound of birds outside, taxis whisking people back to their hotels with packages from shopping, tired feet resting on the little leather mats they have beneath the TVs that all residents turn off instantly and perhaps a few Tourists watch – just for the news or the weather or the excitement of being in NYC, the sous chefs prepping for the many restaurants in SoHo, and maybe Patti Smith is hanging out on her stoop, writing poetry and glancing darkly up at the sky (she lives Quite nearby, we just found out – and we saw her last Winter as we were trying out our new Swedish wellington boots in the snow – she came swooping round the corner in a Russian greatcoat which looked like it came from a used vintage store but probably came from Prada or Balmain – she’s Very Impressive close up, as I’m sure you’d imagine, darlings).

so you see – lots of not joined-up-thoughts – post-nap – still inside the jetlag from Abroad and now off to walk up to the swimming pool and exercise before surrendering to the expert hands of a masseuse.

life is utterly delicious, isn’t it?

how was Your saturday, darlings?

what did you do?

Update: #blissfulMassage post-swim (feeling So Virtuous – 3rd time this week, despite slug-like-jet-lag) and a long, slow walk back through Greenwich village (and, ahem, a moment’s musing in #milkandcookies for a – yes, you guessed it – a glass of milk and a milk chocolate cookie – oh yes, the raw juice fasting plan didn’t exactly get underway ;) Yet.)