A Lil' Nite Muzak
29 November 2001
Don't ask me when it happened. Maybe it's something to do with neglecting my usual habits (Times Crossword every breakfast, Verdi on the way to work, The Economist on the way home), maybe it's just the drink and the drugs. Maybe it's living with a pair of twenty-year-old girls (actually, that would probably do it). Whatever the reason, my tastes have noticeably slipped over the last six months.
Exactly a year ago today, I was getting ready for press night at the ballet, followed by a late supper with fellow art lovers and critics. I had spent a pleasant morning attending a lecture on Dada at the British Library, and was in the process of aiding the digestion of a light lunch at Yushoi Mishugi's new art-deco sushi bar with a small glass of VSOP. The bath was running, and I could smell the scent of my lavender bath oil suffusing the apartment.
Now look at me. I'm sitting in my dressing gown and tracksuit bottoms, having spent the whole day in bed. A can of Fosters and a half-smoked Camel light share the small table to my left. I'm waiting for my flatmates to finish in the bathroom so I can have a quick scrub and get ready for our evening in Crazy Larry's. And I'm looking forward to it. After Eastenders, of course.
People have offered different theories. The one I used to buy into was that this was a process of cultural osmosis: I'd be exposed to a new range of experiences, so it was only natural that some of the influences I was lacking seeped into my character. So I encountered the hitherto unknown attractions of Kylie Minogue, the delights of a Mega-Mac Meal (to which I 'went large'), the Hollyoaks omnibus. A whole new world opened up.
But if this were true, surely it would have worked both ways. There'd have to be some sort of equalisation, some kind of exchange. I exposed them to the delights of Newsnight (though Kirsty Wark was becoming less alluring by the day), to nights at the opera, to wine served at the right temperature, to the Observer, even to Ealing comedies for a little light relief. No response. It was like some kind of cultural black hole, like living with vampires hungry for good taste. And they drained the fight from me. Appears that I was spiritually weak and easy to influence, quite simply.
I've been disowned by my usual social circle, needless to say. The only premiere I've enjoyed recently is advertised by Dani Behr; the nearest I've got to an arthouse movie in the last twelve months was Billy Elliot. And I couldn't see the point of that one. My level of conversation hasn't exactly gone down well with the litterati, who appeared distinctly unimpressed with my passionate avocation of 4-4-2 as guest speaker at a poetry dinner. It's really made me feel like I don't belong there any more.
On the other hand, it has allowed my to make a few new friends. One girl was so impressed with my exclamation of 'I carried a watermelon?!!' (long story, circumstances too many and confusing to go into here) that she ended up sleeping with me - the first time I ever got someone into bed without reciting Baudelaire to them first. And while I must admit to missing the increasingly alcoholic lunches-that-became-dinners we used to enjoy in my club, I have started regaining my figure through our regular visits to the gym and twice-weekly visits to nightclubs. I'm quite a mover, if the truth be told.
And move I do. As the room resounds with the glorious sounds of S Club 7, I'm getting the energy together to have a large one tonight. The blazer has worked its way down to the very bottom of my wardrobe, where it nestles amongst the school ties and the tweed; Man at Burton is my new look, it seems. So, if you want to spot me on the dancefloor, I'll be the one being stared at adoringly by young girls half his age. You're more than welcome to join me. Laters.
18 December 2003. George writes: This List
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