ALEXANDRA SHULMAN: If you see me in a row… do feel free to join in!

ALEXANDRA SHULMAN’S NOTEBOOK: If you see me in a furious row… do feel free to join in!

We were having supper with friends in a restaurant when the argument erupted. The discussion was about a subject I planned to write for this column and I was canvassing thoughts.

He-who-shares-my-life never holds back on his opinions and considered my theory total nonsense. 

As I recall, ‘You’re talking through your hat. Are you sure, are you absolutely sure of your facts?’ was one of his milder observations.

Despite our being in public, the rest of the meal was dominated by our spat while our friends lobbed in the occasional attempt to calm things down, along the lines of, ‘I think what he/she is trying to say…’, which naturally didn’t help at all.

When I apologised to them for this ill-tempered display ruining dinner, they said they were delighted we felt we knew them well enough to argue in front of them.

We were having supper with friends in a restaurant when the argument erupted. The discussion was about a subject I planned to write for this column and I was canvassing thoughts

It made me realise that I have always regarded arguing as a part of general conversation and not something to keep behind closed doors.

There is, of course, a difference between feisty conversation and vicious verbal abuse. If you are brought up, as I was, in a household where everyone yelled opinions at each other over dinner, such exchanges are normal. In fact so heated did the discussions often get that visitors had been known to ask as they were leaving if everything was all right. And it was. Because as angry as we all might get about a subject, we didn’t feel it a personal attack.

But many people who have been brought up in truly acrimonious households, where parents fight in front them, will go some very long distance to avoid confrontation and hate witnessing it in others. 

It made me realise that I have always regarded arguing as a part of general conversation and not something to keep behind closed doors

As, I notice, do many younger people who are far less likely to have shouting matches across the table than my lot. Ask most young people how they feel about such behaviour and they cringe. As one 28-year-old I was working with last week described it: ‘I feel like I’m not meant to be hearing it. We’d never argue in public. If I disagree I do that quiet annoyed thing.’

So if you find yourself at a dinner table near me when I’m immersed in a noisy disagreement, feel free to jump in. I won’t take it personally.

My perfume ain’t broke so don’t fix it!

GERRY BARNEY, the 82-year-old designer of the British Rail arrow logo, is less than thrilled about the revamp of his work, unveiled last week. Nobody likes their work being tinkered with and his familiar red-and-white design has been recast in shades of green, to signify the new eco-friendly transport agenda.

He was quoted in The Guardian as finding the new design confusing and unnecessary – and he was right.

It’s extraordinary how often people seem to think they need to fiddle around with things that are perfectly good already. The subject is particularly close to my own heart right now, because my favourite perfume for 40 years has been Miss Dior Original Eau de Toilette in a houndstooth check moulded glass bottle.

Miss Dior has just been relaunched in an arsenal of new pink (for heaven’s sake!) bottles and with a different smell.

My treasured scent is now an endangered species, unavailable at any duty-free and many department stores. Like the British Rail logo, it weren’t broke, and it didn’t need fixing.

Super Linda’s first step to recovery

LINDA EVANGELISTA was the most super of the supermodels. Even her name was super. One of my lowest moments at British Vogue was having to pose for photographs next to her; standing beside a woman of such physical perfection it was almost unbelievable.

She and her other supers were goddess-like and as such were expected to only lead charmed lives. But, of course, in reality no one is immune to the fates and I feel hugely sorry for Linda, who revealed last week that she has been living for the past five years in shame and sadness after a bad reaction to a procedure to remove fat cells left her, in her eyes, disfigured.

Such procedures carry risks, if relatively rare, and it sounds like terribly bad luck that Linda has been left with a changed appearance. For a woman like Linda, whose whole identity was built from an early age on her perfect beauty, it is a particularly keen blow, especially, as she points out, when her contemporaries such as Cindy Crawford are experiencing a resurgence in their careers as older models.

Hopefully her public announcement of what happened will be the first step to a recovery, if not of the supermodel looks of her girlhood but of her self-esteem and a renewed confidence in the woman she now is.

That is so much more important.

Why posh Boris has that je ne sais quoi…

BORIS’S lapse into Franglais with his ‘Donnez-moi un break’ comment to President Macron was in the posho tradition of Wodehousian-style lingo such as ‘frappe la route’ and ‘mon vieux haricot’. A rosbif flinging Franglais around is not ideal for the old entente cordiale, but good on Boris for not succumbing to pressure to speak other than the way he naturally does.

In general, it has got extremely difficult to speak in a way that pleases everybody. You’re either too posh or not posh enough. Boris clearly doesn’t care.

TONIGHT’S final episode of the gripping, if totally unbelievable, submarine drama Vigil still won’t answer one of the most pressing questions of the series. Where’s Martin Compston?

Why did Line Of Duty’s big star take on such a minor role – he was killed off in the first episode and has scarcely featured in the back stories of the six-parter.

Vigil is made by the LoD team but perhaps more of an inducement for Compston to add his name – if not much of his presence – to the drama was because it asks questions of our submarine nuclear deterrent.

Compston is a loyal SNP member, appearing in the party’s recent election videos and, of course, the SNP have ending Trident’s presence in the Clyde as one of the pillars of their manifesto.

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