West London Types

The Lido Swimmer


'Sharing a bath with the great unwashed is Cate’s idea of bliss'

When Cate lived in Bayswater she used to swim in the Serpentine, but after moving south she’s discovered the lidos of Brockwell and Tooting Bec.

Sharing a bath with the great unwashed is Cate’s idea of bliss. Impervious to the medley of old man back hair, Love Island body lotion, belly button fluff, verrucas and peeling skin, she powers forward with a strident breaststroke.

The heaving throngs are invisible to her. Focusing on a 6 inch patch of unoccupied water she imagines she’s on the Amalfi Coast; she’s just so lucky to have open water like this in Brockwell.

The Art Deco surrounds add a sense of heritage; her morning constitutional is a timeless experience, much like the one Marlene … Read more →

The Banker in the Country


'Rory has all the gear and no idea'

Rory has all the gear and no idea.

One summer when Rory was fifteen he was sent to help out on his uncle’s farm. Uncle Percy didn’t have the heart to tell his sister her son was more trouble than he was worth.

But Rory went to Rosey for sixth form. And now, having convinced a bunch of school chums to join him for lockdown, he’s regaling them with tales of a British childhood spent hunting, shooting and lambing ‘on the family farm’. He omits the time he forgot to check the safety on his 12 bore and, startled by a hare, shot poor Percy.

Rory never much liked the country; all that mud messed up his Nikes and he … Read more →

The Washed-Up Socialite


'Claudia frantically types a name she hasn’t heard of into her email’s keyword search '

Claudia is super cool. She gets invited to all the best launches, parties and previews.

Claudia is the scene – if she’s not there it’s not happening. Her insta-game is second to none. Always just out of shot when Tatler’s photographer comes around, she obsessively checks Bystander all the same.

Hang on. SHIT! Wait! Bear with.…

What? Where was this Hugo? Why would you show me something and not tell me? Well where did you see it? No, hang on, where?

Claudia frantically types a name she hasn’t heard of into her email’s keyword search. Shit! Buggery BUGGERY! She doesn’t even know the brand, and definitely wasn’t at Annabel’s for the launch.

Hugo slides the social pages under the sofa.… Read more →

The Right-On Couple


'Ursula feels most at home with Corbyn, the rescue tabby, and secretly wonders if there's actually any point in having a baby '

Jeremy cycles seven miles to work and frets about the mortgage on their Canonbury fixer-upper.

Ursula loves health food shops and anything ‘chemical free’, wilfully unaware that a chemical is, quite literally, any substance.

A long-suffering doctor once tried to explain that chemicals do not, actually, have a morality. He gently told her that even pure mountain water, just like the Voss she was clutching, is a chemical. But Ursula feels reassured by the nice, natural sounding words all the same, and pictures of trees on Wholefoods labels make her feel like she’s doing her bit.

Wringing her hands, she turns casual kitchen suppers into environmental symposiums. Volunteering to help, she arrives early with home-made hummus and chases her host … Read more →

The Suburban Saleswoman


'Shelley thinks Homer’s Odyssey is an episode of The Simpsons'

Shelley sells corporate software to companies that don’t yet know they need it. She likes to drop terms like idea shower, and close-of-play into conversation at the pub.

Actioning her bar order and explaining the benefits of squaring the circle to a 16 year old who was only in the market for a whiskey and coke, she systematically commits high treason of the English language.

As she espouses the merits of blue sky thinking and looking under the bonnet, the poor girl pleadingly makes eye-contact with the barman, willing him to extricate her, hoping her fake ID won’t be clocked.

Flicking her poker-straight hair, Shelley gathers up her Canada Goose and thinks she’d better shoot off after her second vodka … Read more →

The Oligarch at Breakfast


'His toast is too well done. He sends it back'

Vlad is at Epicure’s gardens shattered by the loud-speaker audio of Ulrike’s Moscow drawl. The English couple next to him get up hastily and ask for the remains to be sent up to their room. This pleases Vlad immensely. The guy doesn’t want his girlfriend’s eye turned.

Being so successful, Vlad gets this a lot. People leave when he places his Maserati keys down, when they see his Jacob & Co bracelet clanking against his Richard Mille. Yobaniya, when they see the jailbait on his arm they lose their shit.

Egor is pissing him off. He’s feigning indifference to the girls’ visit, raising his eyes only slightly from his paper with too vague a nod of acknowledgement. Vlad goes out … Read more →