London life guys, it’s like a mixture between ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and a Rimmel ad – the ones with Georgia May Jagger, not Kate Moss. Oh, it’s all frills and ruffles and Beefeaters and Christopher Kane. In no way is it me typing away on my friend’s couch in Wood Green while he plays Pro Evolution at an ever-increasing volume. “RAAAAAAAH”, the crowd goes. “RAAAAAAH”.
London is nine pounds fifty for a packet of cigarettes – I promised my mother that I’d give up anyway. London is a sea of bodies, some more interesting than others – I saw Michael Cera, the gangly, chinless guy from Superbad, coming out of the Apple Store on Regent Street the other day. At least, I think that I did.
London is London Fashion Week. Before I moved over here, I was safe in the inevitability that I would get a press pass. Everything was accounted for. I had been pre-approved. I had my PVC trousers packed in my suitcase and everything. Then, the day before LFW started – the rejection. My application hadn’t been processed properly.
You’d think that this would be a bummer, but it isn’t. I didn’t particularly enjoy Fashion Week the first time around. It is an industry event, and at industry events you go to learn and not to have your photo taken. I’m only glad it happened this time around, when I didn’t have essential work to do.
Fashion week is something you have to go to – there are crowds and queues and long days. Of course, the perks are great. Free make-up, free hairdos, designer trinkets, the knowledge that you have enough clout to actually get in the door. But even then, when you’re in you’re subjected to a barrage of scrutiny by PRs, other journalists and the guy serving you your free espresso in the courtyard.
I had a spare afternoon and decided to wander, minus pass, to Somerset House, the epicentre of London Fashion goings-on. Just a note – I’m five foot nothing and terrible with crowds. I hate them. Thank God for the habit of tall guys to pop small girls on their shoulders, otherwise I would never have had a good concert experience. I prayed for rain, knowing that in Somerset House, crowdsurfing is frowned upon.
The courtyard was cold and rainy – and deserted. It’s usually a heaving mass of streetstyle photographers and people who really, really want to be photographed. In this weather, the heaving mass had decamped to a nearby arch right by the Courtauld Gallery. The result was a mix of flashing lights and slightly confused tourists trying to find an exhibition on Drawing the Figure.
I was watching the photographers. I was watching the people hanging around, smoking expensive cigarettes, waiting to have their photo taken. I was watching them, watching the photographers, looking like I was waiting to be photographed myself.
The rain thickened. The atmosphere was soggy. The last show was long over. And yet everyone was waiting, and not for the rain to stop. No roar from this crowd, just a murmur.
The time to go back to Wood Green was long overdue, and I was glad of it.