According to Julia Roberts Brighton has become ‘Camden-locked’, a lampooning spoof parody of uber-trendy London lifestyle retail emporia. Hugh nodded and Biggins bellowed and guffawed in agreement. “That is why Hugh and I moved to the West Hill Dials because it’s so original, so individual, quirky and idiosyncratic. It reminds us of our days when we met in Notting Hill.” Hugh nodded in agreement.
“It’s our little London village by the Station and the Sea, a best-kept secret, a treasure-trove and that, my dear friends, is why we want to announce that we are taking over the empty Threshers building opposite Jasmine’s greengrocers and opening a Travel Bookshop and Patisserie.” The dinner table fell silent except for the multiple popping of champagne corks and Steve Coogan’s Ferrari screeching to a halt outside and, of course, the cheering. I had been sworn to absolute secrecy so was relieved they had broken the news. Hugh nodded.
Steve bounced into the room, kissed my nose rings and whispered into my studded ear “Have they told everyone yet?” Biggins winked in the affirmative. “I have some news myself” said Steve. “I am leaving Radio Norwich and have got my own show on Radio Sussex & Surrey.” More corks popped. I actually cried. Joy of joys, now Steve would be needing a huge stock of my visitors’ parking permits. I could virtually hear the bells of St Nicholas church ringing in my imagination. At that moment, the West Hill’s very own soon-to-be-elected, first ever Green MP ever, Caroline Lucas, climbed onto the table, her Sarah Pacini couture flowing with stylish effect. “I would like to propose a toast,” she orated with characteristic aplomb. She raised her chilled avocado juice skyward as she spoke. “To friendship.” We all cheered; the place went crazy. Dr Cazzer had never made such a short speech. As usual, her carefully composed words echoed the spirit of the room, the zeitgeist of the moment, the pulse of our group’s making. Hugh nodded in agreement.
Biggins bellowed and guffawed adoringly. He is so gorgeous, not even his recent addiction to super lagers would stop my loving him. Biggins had some Bright News of his own as he had been offered a part-time position at the convenience store in Buckingham Road. He was to be the manager of their new Krusty Kreme donut concession.
This party was going from better to even better. The naughties were over but the air was full of optimism for our own little London. This was going to be the Dials decade of the year.
So much is planned. New stylish street lighting, the cobbled pedestrianisation. The Little Buddha’s latest refit, Julie and Huey’s Patisserie bookshop about to open, (despite my reservations about the compatibility of travel books, choux pastry and cream horns). The installation of the Roger Moore sculpture on the Dials roundabout (at last), and the decision to relocate the property department of the estate agent near the Post Office to make way for a Selfridges Express, (bliss). A Green Council and a Green MP (joy of joys, the Children’s Hospital will be saved), but the icing on the cake has to be Melvyn ‘saveloy’ Bragg and I finally working together on a South Bank Show special about my life. This has meant more to me than even the New Year’s honours listing for my charity work. Expect to see camera crews galore, to add to the press pack permanently camped on my doorstep. If I can bring business to boost the local economy and support our darling traders, then my ambition is satiated with gratifying pleasures.
Julie and Hew are right, the West Hill Dials is like no other place in the country to live, our lifestyle, shops and restaurants are our lifeblood. We can eat Polish, Italian, Japanese, Thai, British (cream-based), Bengali and Turkish. We can shop at charming bathroom suppliers, and quirky stores to buy a will, or get Rothmans cigarettes, and orthopaedic chairs, panatone and stamps.
The champagne corks played their tune like a deranged wind instrument. Tomorrow was a new dawn, a bright, fresh beginning, the snow was long-gone, the recession recessed, and Hugh Grant, bless him, nodded in agreement.
Stop Press Breaking News
My closest friends and confidants have always said that if I jumped off the pier, others would follow. I was the first to invest in Dubai’s prefab island real estate, the Icelandish banks, and now, the move to St Leonards-on-Sea.
Hastings Council has long been head-hunting my regenerative qualities and I have finally agreed and moved my third UK home to that said Parish. The temptation of a free house has always been a weakness and I am now officially an O.F.B [Over from Brighton – Ed]. Hastings Council shrewdly recognise that a tsunami of D.F.Ls [Down from London – Ed] will be sure to follow in my path.
My contract is initially for just six months. The irony of ironies is that Biggins and I are actually living in a hotel in West Hill Road in St Leonards-on-Sea whilst the South East Development Agency [S.E.E.D.A – Ed] contemporise my seven bedroom seafront home. It will feel just like home, but very different. I am being paid a fixed tax-free salary with an annual performance related bonus, of 100% or 200% if I do well. For every Hackney artist that relocates, I get an additional cash-in-hand fee. Naturally, I will donate a percentage to both charities, the arts and the Save the Dyke Road Children’s Hospital site fund.
I will miss you all but please offer your famous West Hill hospitality to Jonathan. Rossy is duplex-sitting whilst in between jobs.
Next edition PG reports from St Leonards-on-Sea where she is living under the assumed name of Tina Malina.
PG says : Copyright PG – absolutely, definitely, no reproduction in any form without written permission from PG