I am in (the very early stages of) my 30s. Unfortunately, I am still as easily influenced as I was when I was 15. Maybe even more so.
My friend Ruth and I have been on beginning-of-the-year health kicks. We were discussing exercise classes and kale smoothies via email, and Ruth randomly mentioned that she was listening to Youth and Young Manhood by the Kings of Leon – which sparked a whole new conversation about how this was unquestionably their greatest (and in my opinion: only great) record. It brings back brilliant memories for me of hot boys, wild parties, dancing in the mud at Glastonbury in a magenta cocktail dress that belonged to my mum in the 80s, with a beer in each hand and a fag balanced on one corner of a lip. You know, that kind of stuff.
Ruth said it before I did. Damn, but Kings of Leon was not good music to soundtrack a health kick. By California Waiting we were both gasping for a double whisky and a Marlboro Red, followed by a greasy hotdog on the way home.
Over Christmas, I fell into a black hole of Cat Marnell. I unwisely spent a whole day reading her old beauty columns on xoJane. By nightfall, I was considering: fake tan, snapback caps, white jeans and ketamine. Seriously. What the hell is wrong with me?
Last night, I started Googling pictures of Liv Tyler in the 90s, and instantly started wondering if I could pull of a long-sleeved midriff top with a low-slung jean these days. I reckon: maybe. But then I started wondering if I should have some collagen injections in my top lip – maybe even less advisable than midriff-baring.
Since Cat Power cropped and bleached her hair, I have been left with quite the dilemma. I used to spend hours – and, OK, still do – Google-imaging photographs of Chan with her long brown hair and fringe, being inspired as to how I could look even more like her.
I’ve been worried about her lately, and I desperately want her to stay well because – selfishly – her getting well and happy has been such an inspiration to me. We can both do it! (Oh, and with the hair – I’ve come to the decision that when I turn 40, just like Chan did, I will chop and bleach my hair. I will restrain myself in the meantime.)
Fortunately, I’ve learned – only lately – that it works both ways. I can try to make myself obsess over things that make me healthy and productive, and still appeal to my sensibilities. They might sound weird but here they are:
Seriously. She is so pretty, I love everything she wears, and I am still obsessed with Black Swan. She also seems so sensible, so sorted. She is exactly the same age as me, very nearly to the day. After reading a few archive interviews with her, I am usually left wanting to be similarly sensible and sorted.
Not even kidding. I know everyone else seems to find GP and her constant quest for self-betterment grating. I find it very honest and refreshing – so much better than claiming that one can look like that through funtimes and pure fluke. And some of the advice in her newsletters – yeah, OK, she’s a bit out of touch with ‘civilians’ but that makes it extra fun – is actually really helpful.
Frame is a trendy exercise studio in Shoreditch. Unfortunately, I have never been there, as I do not live in trendy Shoreditch. However, I do occasionally badger them via the medium of Twitter to open their next branch in Brighton. In the meantime, luckily for me, they have an excellent blog that provides me with constant motivation to keep healthy, fit, trendy and Shoreditch-y. Honestly, it’s the only website I’ve ever encountered that makes being super-healthy look cool and aspirational, rather than boring and pious. Praise be.
I know I’ve talked about Emma Forrest here before, but she is worth mentioning time and time again. Her beautiful, brave and brilliant memoir, Your Voice in My Head, has become a self-help book to me – the only one I’ve ever actually used. I’ve given it to so many friends I’ve lost count. I keep it nearby at all times – by my bed, in my handbag – and spent an hour last night re-reading it in a hot bath. I have a whole paragraph highlighted on page 98, which has become my mantra – I suggest you buy the book and you’ll know which one I mean.