Friday, May 17, 2013


I was reading James Salter's A Sport and a Pastime the other day and came to a scene in Paris, quite near the beginning, set at the old Les Halles market in the early hours of the morning. As soon as I started reading this scene, familiar images flashed into my mind of the photographs taken there by Tom Palumbo in 1962, which I've always loved. A Sport and a Pastime was published in 1967, Les Halles was demolished in 1971 and replaced by the Forum des Halles - the depressing, labyrinthine underground shopping centre and Chatelet-Les-Halles transport hub where I've never been without feeling lost and that I'll never emerge above ground again. Together James Salter's book and Tom Palumbo's photographs transport me to a place that was razed to the ground before I was born, as if I'd been there myself, clattering over cobblestones in the dark, looking for the pig place.

 Below, some excerpted paragraphs from the book interspersed with some of Tom Palumbo's images of Les Halles:

Isabel laughs. The evening has only begun.
At three in the morning - Christina never goes to bed when she's drinking - we are wandering through the disorder of Les Halles. The air is chilly at this hour, noises seem to ring in it. The workmen glance up from their crates at the unmistakeable sound of high heels. Isabel is talking. Christina. They are pointing everything out. We trail foolishly between great barricades of fruit and produce, past empty bars, through the carts and trucks. Finally we emerge at the roaring, iron galleries where meat is handled. ..........

"We're really going to sleep sometime?" Billy asks.

"Let's go to the pig place," Isabel says.
"Sweetheart, where is it? Isn't it right around here?"
"It's just down the street," Billy says.
It takes us ten minutes to find it. Of course, there's an enormous crowd, there always is this time of night. Taxis are waiting with their lights on dim. Cars are parked everywhere. The restaurant is filled. There are tourists, wedding parties, people who've been to cabarets, others who've stayed up in order to visit the famous market. It's said they are planning to move it to a location outside the city, it will soon be gone.

Au Pied de Cochon - the pig place! 
Somehow we find a table. Billy is rubbing his hands. There's a delicious odor of rich, encrusted soup which is the specialty. Christina doesn't want any, she wants wine. ..........

The crowd is thick. The waiters struggle to get through. They seem to hear nothing, or it has no effect. The patrons are multiplying as if in a dream. Incredible faces on every side, Algerian, bony as feet, cardboard American, the pink of French. Isabel is laughing, laughing. ..........

"Don't ever marry a Frenchman," she says. Then she laughs. She is hugging Coco, her poodle, and laughing.

{Excerpted passages from A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter, photographs by Tom Palumbo, Les Halles, 1962.}

Friday, May 10, 2013


I inexplicably missed celebrating the one year anniversary of chopping all my hair off, which was last month. It's been liberating and I now don't relate to the old me who had acres of dead protein to attend to daily. My spend on conditioner has reduced to almost nothing. I often don't use it and if I need to, I'll rub a little Kiehl's Creme with Silk Groom on the ends, the bottle of which lasts forever. No, really, I can't remember when I bought it - it must have been over five years ago, possibly ten. How it hasn't gone off I have no idea but there's still probably enough left to keep me going for another three years.

The only thing about having short hair is that it noticeably grows out and can start to do weird, unacceptable things in the process. I haven't had mine cut for ages and in growing an inch and a half it's taken it upon itself to go really flat, with an added housewife vibe. I finally made an appointment with my really expensive, but so good I've rued the few times I've betrayed her, hairdresser for next week. I can't wait to get my inner Daria back on again.

{Daria in Celine SS13 campaign by Juergen Teller, Daria in Maiyet SS13/AW12 campaigns by Cass Bird}

Monday, May 06, 2013


I just put everything in my shop on sale at 20% off until Friday. Spring things must go, summer's coming... Fun facts: I nearly called my shop Everything Must Go. And the Danish word for "end of sale" is slutspurt. Which is hilarious if you're English.

I really wanted to do one of those "It's a craaaazy bank holiday sale freennnnzzzyyy," a la Gary Glass the hot tub salesman in Desperately Seeking Susan, but I lack the videoing skills and unforgivably no one has thought to upload that scene to Youtube. So here are some flowers:

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Thursday, May 02, 2013


Last Thursday night I went to the launch of The Set Table: The Art of Small Gatherings at Anthropologie in Kings Road. The book is by Hannah Shuckburgh, (who is the features editor of Easy Living magazine) with photography by the very talented Charlotte Bland and illustrations by Lydia Starkey. It's about setting a beautiful table with what you love and have collected: mismatched linens and charity shop crockery, flowers from the garden, a few candles. It's the sort of artfully informal way you'd set a table now.

There was an atmosphere of excitement as we toasted the book, surrounded by armfuls of gorgeous flowers from the flower arranging workshop Hannah had hosted just prior to the launch.

Flipping through The Set Table I was struck by the photography of Charlotte Bland, who happens to be a very kind and exceptionally modest friend of mine. As I am not modest I will tell you that the book also happens to feature my hands, twice! Below are some exclusive original photos used in the book, which you can buy here and at lots of other good bookshops.

{All photos © Charlotte Bland}