Photography by Alasdair McLellan
I'm having a lovely lazy Sunday. I need to get myself together and go to a show this evening, I'm not even dressed yet, I'd better get a bath on, lively!
I saw my friend Giles briefly last night. It's his show tomorrow night at the Old Bailey. Our tickets were hand delivered yesterday. They are official summons, hand typed and delivered in ominous looking brown envelopes. I thought for a minute I'd forgotten to pay the council tax again or something! Princess Julia said to me when the bike appeared at her door with a summons she nearly had a heart attack as she didn't have her glasses on. Giles said he had wondered whether some people would actually open them as they look nothing like a fashion show invite!
I was reminded of a piece in the Sunday Times on Giles and another post I did ages ago when barely anyone read my blog where you write a letter to your sixteen year old self. Giles's made me laugh, Patsy's honesty was brilliant, Lesley's Manville's struck a cord and Julian Clary's is beautiful, funny and sad all at the same time.
This is one of the oldest snaps of Giles I have. Giles, Ann Cowling and Damian Wilson (I have no idea what he has on his head!) in their St Martin's days.
Dear teenage Giles,
You lock yourself in your room with your headphones and play Axel F on the synthesizer. You’ve perfected Jump by Van Halen, too. Mum and Dad are pleased you’re quiet upstairs. You might be messing around, but it’s these early influences that become embedded in your psyche for you to draw on later, without sounding too “la-di-da”.
You have a bit of a quiff on the go and wear lot of fluorescent acrylic jumpers. The tweed jodhpurs probably aren’t you at your best, nor the suede plus fours you made yourself. Still, enjoy it, one day you will be quite boring style-wise: a comedy T-shirt, jeans, fun socks and a good velvet jacket and you’re organised.
To fund your acrylic jumper habit, you’ve got a job shovelling pony nuts into big bags. You are meant to fill 80 bags a day, but you’re lucky if you do three-quarters of one. They won’t ask you back, you’re just too lazy. That aspect of you will change when you find out what you love doing, and when you see results that are more than just a full bag of nuts.
Your mum is obsessed with you having surgery on your bent right ear, the one you sleep on. She doesn’t want you to have cabbage ears. Luckily, mumps will break out at school, so the surgery can’t go ahead. Good thing, too, you’ll grow fond of that ear - it’s great on trains because it cuts out the noise.
You quite like the girl in the garage, she’s good on the pumps. In your mind, you’re fairly confident with girls, but you’ll look back and realise it was all an absolute embarrassment. Your idea of a date is taking a girl out on the tractor.
You can be quite cheeky with a few of the teachers. Your history teacher made you stand in a bin for ages to teach you to be quiet. It’s okay, though, it’s not like you’re hideously bad, just a bit overexcitable, which you always will be. It’s more fun that way.
Dear adult Giles,
You’ve worked hard, have your own fashion brand and company and you’re still alive — bananas!
I interviewed the gorgeous Patsy Kensit for LOVE Magazine a little while ago. Patsy and her lovely PA, JD very kindly sent me a present and card thanking me. The present was a book I'd flicked through and showed an interest in while I was at Patsy's house called Dear Me. Some of our greatest personalities were asked to write a letter to their sixteen year old selves, contributors include Sir Elton John, Stephen Fry, Annie Lennox, Jonathan Ross, Jackie Collins, Joanna Lumley, Emma Thompson, Debbie Harry, Zandra Rhodes, Julian Clary and Tracey Emin. The book is edited by Joseph Galliano with a foreward by Sir Elton John. The letters make a compassionate, heartbreaking and often hilarious read.
All proceeds go to The Elton John AIDS Foundation
16th July 2009
Dear 16 year old Patsy,
You adore music more than anything in the world, you have a great passion for rock and roll... but that doesn't mean you have to marry the lead singer of every band you ever had a poster of on your bedroom wall.
Your older you!
I haven't finished the book yet but the other two that I've really liked so far are Lesley Manville and Julian Clary. Acclaimed actress and Mike Leigh muse, Lesley was the first wife of Gary Oldman and later went on to marry another actor, Joe Dixon. Gary is now on wife number four, jazz singer Alexandra Edenborough, having previously been married to Uma Thurman and former model Donya Fiorentino.
Lesley's letter made me laugh, although I'm not sure The Actor will like it! He's been a fantastic boyfriend to me so thankfully I don't need to take Lesley's advice... and I know I'm very lucky!
I'm trying very very hard here to give you the best possible advice and all that I can come up with is.....
DON'T GO OUT WITH ACTORS, AND DON'T EVER EVER EVER CONSIDER MARRYING THEM, BECAUSE THEY ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO LIVE WITH AND THEY WILL TRY TO COMPROMISE YOUR LIFE, TALENT AND EVERYTHING ELSE BECAUSE THEY ARE SELF OBSESSED LOTHARIOS.
I can't think of anything else I need to warn you against dear girl, because apart from that I think you'll be just fine.
Lots of love from,
Me (you)... (only a little bit wiser) xx
I first saw Julian Clary in the mid eighties when he was performing in Joan Collins Fan Club with Fanny the Wonder Dog and I was friends with his manager. I've always been a big fan and I love Julian's sense of humour so I knew I'd love his letter to himself.
At the moment you are a willowy virgin who has never had an alcoholic drink and wears Marks and Spencer's slacks and sensible shoes. You think you'd like to be a vet. All this will change.
It's hard to swallow but in a few years you will swan around in black rubber consuming men like After Eight mints. You will earn a living making jokes about gay sex in all it's glorious variations. Some people will like you but the Daily Mail will not.
You have a tendency to worry and will spend several uncomfortable years plagued by panic attacks. But rest assured that the Universe will always protect you. Your partner Christopher and your dear friend Stephen will be taken from you by AIDS, but you will never stop thinking of them and you will always love them.
Whenever you are miserable go and find a homeless puppy. Love will come and find you again when you are ready.
You are set to have a happy and unusual life. Comedy, television shows, book writing - all this excitement awaits you. Although you can't dance you will become a ballroom dancer and although you can't sing you will star in a West End musical. Don't try and figure this out, go with the flow.
Peace and salutations,
PS. If anyone offers you crystal meth at a party make your excuses and leave.
I love Julian! I hope you enjoyed them all. This book is well worth a look, buy a copy here. God knows what I would write to myself!
Have a wonderful Sunday xxx