Thursday, November 19, 2009

How To Live Your Life

I finally got around to watching that fascinating Nicky Haslam programme on BBC4.

If I'm honest I always thought he was a bit of a figure of fun, a cross between Danny La Rue and Tony Curtis, an ancient society fop who was in denial about getting old, hanging louchely round the bars of London and wearing ridiculous clothes that are way too young for him.

This doc changed my mind - kind of. He's vaguely absurd in an English eccentric way, and has a silly job that clearly makes him a fortune doing up the houses of Russians with hideous taste. And he wears some clothes that are far to young for him that he buys from Top Man, because he's not ready to slip into the Dunn & Co. just yet. So good for him, really. What was so fascinating about him though is the amazing life he's led.

If you could live a life to full, his is how it should be. He knew everyone, and I mean everyone, from Warhol to Burton and Taylor to Mick and Bianca to John Lennon and beyond. He travelled the world, living this Zelig-like existence being in the right place at the right time throughout the most exciting of decades.

Despite all this, however, he strikes me as being a bit lonely. There was a moment at the end of the film where he broke down over a former lover. This ex was interviewed earlier and said they didn't work out because Nicky had to be out every night. He didn't want to be out, he HAD to be out, whereas the lover would rather have stayed in and watched EastEnders. Nicky would never do that. I doubt he knows what it is.

So how does one become this sort of person? I think it's all in the breeding. You often hear old money types saying things like 'my mother told me all joints on the table will be carved' or 'never run after a bus or a man'. They seem to remember all these nursery level tips and use them to lead a charmed life. You don't get these words of wisdom out of the mouths of dustmen or fish gutters do you? (Correct me if I'm wrong).

There's also a need to be the centre of attention, largely due to being seen and not heard or packed off to boarding school, and of course the number one social attribute, confidence.

But people are rather wary of the over-confident. It's a bit brash or American or, as NIcky himself would say, common. There are lots of things Nicky thinks common: scented candles, and above all, loving your parents (?!).

Anyway, where there's a star, there's Nicky. The doc showed him getting into the middle of the action at a Russian oligarch's party. He simply glided past the security guards right to the main attraction and inveigled himself right in the middle of the action. How clever is that? And when Paris Hilton - the world's most photographed woman turned up at a party, there was Nicky right by her side.

Most days I drive by a shop in Pimlico called "Nicholas Haslam". I thought it might be someone else, seeing as he's only known as Nicky, but then it struck me that of course there can be only one.

Here's Enya, with the one of the best number one hits ever, Orinoco Flow.


BPP said...

Sounds like a bit of a twat.

And as for leading 'a charmed life', why? Because he hung around with famous people? Whup-de-do! They're better, are they? Because they can read out some words in front of a camera or 'design' a garment? Fuck that - I'd rather hang around down at my local greasy spoon. You get far more interesting and likeable characters down there, not unpleasant shits like Richard Burton or a waspish arseholes like John Lennon.

Five-Centres said...

Each to their own, BPP. It's not a life I'd want either, but I thought it was an interesting slice of a life few people get to live.

Dan Worth said...

Never run after buses is something I subscribe too (unless I absolutely have to) because, well, I don't know, seems undignified, and if you don't make it everyone thinks 'that man missed his bus' (and they're dead right), and you feel very exposed standing a few feet short of an empty bus stop.

Five-Centres said...

So Dan was that you who won the Word competition this month?

Dan Worth said...

Yes! The very same; did you not read my blog on it all!

But yes, I cheekily asked to write the piece, which I believe was going to be a bit of a Q&A instead, and they said okay, which was great!

Five-Centres said...

No, but I have now. Good video too. I can't play a note on anything. It's terribly distressing for me.

Bright Ambassador said...

Nicky Haslam's never hesrd of Eastenders? That's okay beacause I haven't the faintest idea who Nicky Haslam is.
Was it his brother, Ron, who used to race motorcycles in the 70s and 80s? Rocket Ron Haslam? No...?

Five-Centres said...

Great if it was, BA. The old snob.

BPP said...

Barry Sheen died too young, in my not particularly humble opinion.

'Ere, Mr. Centres! Have you done your Christmas shopping? I have!


Five-Centres said...

None of it. I'm impressed, BPP. I must take a leaf out of your book.