I find myself the frantic city of New York and ask myself just one recurring question - why is it only possible to get a perspective on ones own habitat at a distance of over a thousand miles. For each step I take in the invasive damp heat here I take another invisible step back home on the drab grey paving stones of what used to be known as London Town. Yesterday I went to Soho House, a private members club whose originator is in London. Never having been to its London counterpart I am well aware that its bar stools and high backed armchairs are sat upon by advertising industry drones, storyliners from Eastenders and would be, could be, and could never be artists and plagarists. From the tabloid press to gossip over a dinner table I hear that the London Soho House is fuelled by white powder and over priced champagne, the air heavy and yellow with tobacco smoke and the toilets loud with arguments about whose turn it is to take the next line of a Class A named after our future king, an irony I have always enjoyed.
At 830 in the morning, the suns rays shine boastfully despite the fact that it is mid-Septmber here in New York. I enter a large room called The Library. So as not to draw attention to the intellectual capacity of any of its members this particular library has no books. At the far end of the room there is a bar. A breakfast of bagels and salmon, weak coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice is free. Or should I say complimentary as this breakfast is, in the eyes of the PR company who provide it, “an investment”
At the other end of the room a tall man in a dove grey suit talks his eager audience of well-presented twenty somethings through a powerpoint presentation on eyebrow surgery. I sit and pout and try to fashion a look of enthusiasm. All to no avail, as after the presentation the surgeon discusses his innovative techniques with my colleague and describes me as the 'silent partner'. When in truth, free clover coloured lipgloss not withstanding, I was just ever so slightly bored. Bored, as you can well appreciate, is a word only found in dictionaries on English bookshelves. I think it means I would rather be doing something else, even if that particular something was nothing at all and sometimes especially that.
They say that the UK and the US are two countries divided by a common language and yesterday evening I found myself once again at another promotion at Soho House apeing some sort of interest when I know it is unlikely that I will ever return there. After being shown around the dimly lit spa and beauty rooms we took a drink in the sparsely populated 5th floor bar. The staff are polite and reading your credit card, address you by your christian name in the same manner that telesales people do to boost their commission and your impatience.
Am I the only person here who does not have perfect nails, toes and eyebrows. Momentarily I feel ashamed for my shoddy appearance but tell myself the exuse that I am A Writer and that this adds character. Another pair of efficiently dressed nobodies enter the bar and not even I am convinced by my own protestations. A bar is a bar is a bar but in London a little down dressing has always been the order of the day.
I sip on the remains of my free champagne and am introduced to a group of people who are clearly settling in for the night. Making my exuses I leave early and on 14th street I take my reliable flip flops out of my handbag, slip off my gloriously delicate strappy sandles and run for the subway praising my bad british feet.