OK, it's Saturday. You know the routine. Went for a run and now I'm in my slobbing about clothes. No need to recap, it's all been featured before. Instead I'm going to talk about essential peripherals. We all have them. The things we'd never leave the house without, or not out of choice, anyway. I can conceive of emergencies so dire they'd propel you out of the house stark naked, without even a snatched-up dressing gown to preserve your dignity. But short of this, there are always one or two things we need in order to go out and face the world.
I'm assuming that for all but the most flagrant exhibitionist, this will include clothes, so we'll take them for granted. In my case I need the following:
And to save you having to peer and strain your eyes, I'll talk you through the selection in the picture. (You may ignore the blue bowls and plants, by the way, they are simply there to give a tantalising glimpse into my lifestyle.) What you are looking at here are mascara, contact lenses, hair product, and perfume. Top of the list--the thing I can least easily do without--is the hair product. Without it my expensively cut hair (choppy, lots of texture) lies flat. I have a morbid fear of boring hair. This drives me into the arms (metaphorically) of the lovely Andy at Francesco's, Walsall, roughly every 8 weeks.
Top stylists, even in the West Midlands, are not cheap. If you normally pop round to Chris the Greek and pay £6, then I will shield you from the truth. In fact, I will shield you all. There is a myth in the chancellery that the chancellor has no idea how much my cut and blow dries cost. We will preserve that myth. But my point is this: why pay for an expensive cut and then not maintain it? I NEED PRODUCT. I alternate between the product in the blue tin: VO5 Extreme Style Matt Clay (for texture and definition with a matt finish, easy to wash out) and the product in the pink jar: Lee Stafford Messed Up putty for a choppy number. Both of these are fairly cheap. The VO5 used to smell vile, like 30 teenage boys after PE who have applied Lynx with a crop-sprayer. Fortunately they've changed the formula and it's pretty inoffensive now. Either of these products give my hair that choppy, textured look which you would only otherwise get by trying to retrieve a bagel from the toaster with a fork.
Contact lenses come second on my list. I've gone out in my glasses, but I've never gone out with flat hair. The last time I went out in my glasses was 4.55am on Easter morning last year for the vigil. We all stagger out before dawn to greet our saviour's resurrection. The precentor makes us. He does this by the cunning strategy of pointing out that if it was the airport and we were going on holiday, we'd all be there.
Joint third on the list are mascara and perfume. The mascara is Clinique (I'm prone to allergies) 'Lash Power Long-Wearing Formula'. This only comes off with hot water and a good old rub, which means it survives the rigours of both judo and bursting into tears during moving church services. Can't recommend it highly enough. My signature scent at the moment is Czech & Speake's Cuba. Don't go out and buy it. You'd hate it. It smells of rotting pirate. Plus it's outrageously expensive. Honestly, stick to something safe from the perfume counter at Boots. I'll have to find another signature scent if you all start copying me.
About this blog
This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.