ALEXANDRA SHULMAN'S NOTEBOOK: I'll stick to wine o'clockNovember 15, 2023
ALEXANDRA SHULMAN’S NOTEBOOK: Binge-drink tequila? I’ll just stick to wine o’clock
When I read that British women are, alongside the Danes, the world’s greatest binge-drinkers, my first thought was hurrah, that’s an issue I could write about. There are many subjects on which I don’t feel I have anything to contribute, but alcohol consumption is where I have some skin in the game.
But then, considering it further, I realised that in truth I know very little about binge-drinking, which despite our national prowess in this field is a relatively new phenomenon. Binge sessions have never been a part of my life.
I don’t remember anybody binge-drinking when I was younger – people just drank. Everybody did. Having a drink was a normal activity and indulged in regularly, whether it was a pint at the pub or a Moscow Mule in a cocktail bar, or more likely a bottle of plonk in the evening.
As a child I was brought up in a household where my parents drank. Rarely to excess but consistently.
Occasionally, the apple-shaped, green metal ice bucket would be put out on a tray alongside the Gordon’s and Schweppes tonic water if someone was coming over for a ‘drink’.
That would have been for a special occasion but every night, unfailingly, there was a bottle of red wine on the dinner table. I still remember my father coming home in the evening brandishing the bottle from the shop.
I realised that in truth I know very little about binge-drinking, which despite our national prowess in this field is a relatively new phenomenon (Stock Image)
By definition, binge-drinking requires a contrast between overdoing it and abstinence – so by that criterion, I have never binged.
It’s not only women who binge. It’s most common among the 30-50 age group (according to a US National Institutes of Health survey) who, using some spurious rationale, consider not drinking during the week – or on any day with a T in it – and then caning it at the weekend is a healthier modus vivendi. Those of us in older age know better and regard having a glass or two as part of life’s rich, daily tapestry.
Most of us are aware of the inconvenient truth that alcohol is not healthy. However, faced with the choice between a nightly half-bottle of Chianti or a basin full of tequila once a week, I know which I’d choose.
Why women don’t get top fashion jobs
Phoebe Philo made a huge success of her tenure as creative director of Celine – bringing mannish overcoats, Stan Smith sneakers and oversized funnel neck sweaters to mass popularity.
She has been frequently lauded as the designer who designs for women and now she has launched her own line, Phoebe Philo.
There’s no question that she has terrific ideas but when it comes to being a woman designer, it would be fair to say she has only limited competition in this field since, curiously, hardly any large luxury brands are headed by women.
The arena has become slightly more female with Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior and Virginie Viard succeeding Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel but most of the big houses are still led by men. There has, for example, never been a woman creative director at Burberry.
Phoebe Philo made a huge success of her tenure as creative director of Celine
The way clothes feel on a body is an essential part of them and while there have been many astounding and influential male designers over the decades – Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Cristobal Balenciaga – they will always have had a different input to that of a woman who can understand what it is to actually wear the clothes.
So it’s extraordinary that so few women are still landing the big roles. But, of course, most of those decisions are made at board level and taken by guess what… men.
It’s a little rich to confess now, Monty
Monty Don is leaving BBC2’s Gardeners’ World after 17 years with the declaration that the Corporation should hire as his replacement somebody who is not, like him, a white, Oxford-educated male. He adds that he now feels he has had an unfairly privileged career – a statement that chimes with the mood of the times but is oh-so tediously right-on.
The desire for greater diversity in both gardening and broadcasting is understandable but surely it’s a bit rich to make this announcement after decades of success and fame, firmly pulling up the ladder behind him and being able to continue writing from his ivory tower.
Monty Don is leaving BBC2’s Gardeners’ World after 17 years with the declaration that the Corporation should hire as his replacement somebody who is not, like him, a white, Oxford-educated male
Perhaps the time to have made his feelings on this subject known would have been earlier on in his career – generously giving someone else the opportunity he now doesn’t want anybody else like him to enjoy.
A ‘deathday’ party? Over my dead body!
By the time this is published, I will be on the cusp of 66. There are many people who think that this somewhat inconsequential age is nothing to celebrate but I intend to mark it in style.
However, I learned last week of a new trend for commemorating a ‘deathday’. I am saying it here: should anyone reading this be around when I shuffle off – please, I don’t want any deathday remembrances. Birthdays, bring them on – but deathday we can forget about.
Mamma, Mia! This film takes me back
The breakout star of director Molly Manning Walker’s film How To Have Sex is the brilliant Mia McKenna-Bruce.
The breakout star of director Molly Manning Walker’s film How To Have Sex is the brilliant Mia McKenna-Bruce
She plays Lara, a 16-year-old on a girls’ holiday to Greece, and along with the rest of the cast and a pitch-perfect script, brings back all that is wonderful and completely awful about being a teenager.
The movie doesn’t have anything like the wide distribution of Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon, but it’s far better, and half the length.
All I want for Xmas is for it to start later
Christmas decorations are going up in the stores and it’s only the second week of November.
We’ve got five more weeks of this to get through. It shouldn’t be legal to start playing Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You this early. There ought to be some statute of limitations on the date that all this stuff can appear.
I suggest it comes post-Thanksgiving, which allows a month for us to be drowned in tinsel and Christmas tunes and would make the possibility of surviving the deluge more likely.
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