Image: Lydia Garnett
February 04 2013
Saturday takes an unusual direction. Do you ever have those days when you keep
seeing people in toupees? With funny walks? Or when an infrequently used word
suddenly comes up in conversation and appears in everything you read? For
example, last week the word “slang-whanger” (which means someone who throws around abusive slang) kept appearing everywhere – not in
relation to my writing, I hasten to add.
Well, my Saturday began in a chilled-out, typically London kind of way. I sauntered down the road to The De Beauvoir Deli for croissants and picked up the FT, along with a number of other broadsheets. I suffer from chronic “abibliophobia”, the fear of running out of reading matter.
After breakfast and a sprint through the papers, I pick up my messages and my day begins to take on a distinctly African theme. I have received two emails from the continent, which is really quite unusual for me. The first is from a leading South African fashion editor/entrepreneur (I’m sure that the slashy trend began in Africa, where no self-respecting individual follows just one profession/goes under one title). The fashion editor/entrepreneur has been following our progress with interest and would like to buy our collection for her store. Her message coincides with an email from Arise magazine inviting us to Arise Magazine Fashion Week in Nigeria. These trips can be a very good way to research and begin trading in a new territory. In my last Diary of a Somebody series I wrote about our first experience of Singapore, which, although not entirely smooth, introduced us to a lucrative and dynamic new market. I have never been to Nigeria and right now there is a strong commercial energy building in parts of west Africa.
On Saturday we had planned to have a mega movie session, attempting to catch up on our ever-expanding list of must-see films. I have to admit that I do most of my film viewing on long-haul flights, and often miss the shared experience of enjoying a movie with my wife. Today we wanted to experience the 19th-century march to liberation on both sides of the Atlantic by watching Lincoln followed by Les Misérables, but unfortunately Maria is catching up with an old friend and for me something a little more pressing has come up. It is not only the first day of the Six Nations rugby, but also Ghana is playing Cape Verde in the Africa Cup of Nations. Ghana is where my father was born, and I certainly have a deep affinity with the country. I’m not a sports fanatic, but I do enjoy the big occasions. This weekend is not short of them. I toss a coin and my African leitmotif continues. To our utter delight, Ghana achieves a clear victory and goes into the semi-final.
After the game, I compile a playlist for a post on a leading music and fashion site. It has asked me to select tracks that reflect the various sides of the musician/fashion designer/producer Kanye West. In recent years I’ve learnt about the importance of communicating and creating an emotional connection with your fashion audience through the internet.
On Sunday Maria prepares a relaxed family lunch at home of pasta trevigiana, followed by grilled sea bream and a bottle of Ca’Marcanda Magari. With friends we pay a leisurely, postprandial visit to the Egon Schiele works on display at Sotheby’s in New Bond Street. Three of the four are being sold by the Leopold Museum in Vienna. Of course, his lines are exquisite. There are two powerful self-portraits, one of them also featuring his mistress, Wally. I am taken aback by his sensitive use of colour and, as always, struck by his discerning execution. Schiele was a major influence on fashion drawing during my days at art school, and when I look at the work of recent graduates it’s clear his legacy continues.
In the late evening a group of us gather to watch the Super Bowl. A gentleman named Jones scores a spectacular touchdown, but I have to admit that the high points for me are seeing Alicia Keys and Beyoncé. After the half-time entertainment there is a lighting malfunction and a sudden blackout occurs – which I deem a timely opportunity to retire.