London is a city full of well-intentioned people.
We want to recycle, we want to give back and we want to be there for our friends. Unfortunately, life gets in the way. No matter that Emma is spinning out about her new lip fillers and Kate has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease: unless they live in the same postcode or, ideally, the same street, it’s hard to meet up when your boss needs you to work late. Or when your partner has inexplicably decided that he/she/they wants to spend time with you and is banging on about ‘date night’ like some sort of American. So far, you’ve managed to coast through the year with a barrage of cheery ‘let’s def meet before Christmas’ texts, accompanied by a wink emoji because back in May, the idea that it would take five months to find a mutually convenient date was ridonkulous.
Well guess what, London. This is the week that the chickens come home to roost. In Santa hats. For in 37 days, it will be 1 December, aka Party Season, aka Game Over. And you still haven’t met Eilidh to talk about her Tinder date with the man possessed of the world’s smallest dick. When Twitter user @bronzebygold recently wrote, ‘I hate London friendships’, accompanied by a screenshot of a friend’s WhatsApp suggesting they meet ‘week of Dec 16?’, it received more than 10k likes. My friend forwarded it to our WhatsApp group, @Ladies-Who-Lunch. ‘This is us,’ she said, reminding us we’d been trying to find a mutually convenient Saturday since February. Yet none of us is exactly what you’d call a social butterfly.
So what are we doing that makes us so perpetually unavailable? It’s a question we must all ask ourselves, because if your usual riposte to ‘So, what did you get up to last night?’ is ‘binge-watched Succession’, you need to get out more. Farm out the kids to the nearest sentient over-16, or over-13 if you’re desperate. Life is not what happens when you’re making other plans. That’s just a lie in a crap meme. Life is what happens when you leave your living room. Don’t suggest ‘Jan 2020?’ as a meeting date. Your friends might need you more than you think.
Trial and error
In with a bullet as the second most fear-inducing word after Brexit: ‘subscription’. How many can a person set up before falling into penury? How many free trials can a person take out and forget to cancel before eventually realising they’re the loser? Maybe this is why Nicky Morgan’s casual pronouncement that she is ‘open-minded’ to the idea of the BBC replacing its licence fee with the S-word has struck such fear into the nation — even that portion who complains about paying £154.50 for the privilege of watching Line of Duty. Please don’t turn the BBC into Netflix.
By now, even Lord Lucan must be aware that Jennifer Aniston has joined Instagram. More excitingly for non-Friends fans, Annie Leibovitz also joined the social networking app, eschewing her habitual glossy 10-page Vanity Fair spreads for the pixelated limitations of the grid. While both women are worthy additions, no group shot of the Friends cast will ever be as uplifting as searching #dogsin, my go-to hashtag for instant cheer. Recent finds include #dogsinrecordshops, #dogsinbandanas and a new favourite, #dogsinrick, for when it comes to niche interests, no platform serves them better than Instagram. Dogs wearing Rick Owens is the account 2019 needs and deserves.