Sunday, 10 January 2010

Tory All Women Shortlist- party mouthpieces or essential step to equality?

‘Women are the future of politics,’ so say the Conservatives, in what some might describe as a belated move. Ninety years after universal suffrage the fairer sex is being heralded by mainstream parties as the leaders of the 21st Century, ploughing forward to a truly representative government.

However, the means by which these women are entering the political sphere have attracted criticism across the board; from grassroots campaigners to female MPs who have struggle through the system already. The use of women-only shortlists (WOS) produce a female voice which, it has been argued, is controlled and vetted within the central party offices and gives rise to an artificially cultivated system allowing ‘Blair Babes’ and ‘Cameron Cuties’ to simply be party mouthpieces.

WOS are centrally imposed lists of potential female candidates for a constituency; usually a ‘safe’ seat which guarantees a place in parliament. These women need not necessarily have any links to the area, or, indeed, have to live there after nomination. The announcement from Conservative Head Office has been met with considerable resistance from both Association members and, indeed, other female MPs. When questioned on the policy Cameron replied, “There are many very, very good women on our priority list and I want to gave them a chance to serve in parliament.” The announcement was greeted with malcontent from many quarters as the editors of the influential ConservativeHome website issued a joint statement saying: “We feared this would happen, all women shortlists are fundamentally unConservative (sic) and they have no part to play in a party pledged to meritocracy.”

Although this is the first instance of Tories taking up the policy, it is certainly not the first time these shortlists have been used. The history of the WOS is chequered by rejection. First introduced by – the then Labour leader - John Smith in 1993, the lists were used to appease a number of large unions, guaranteeing a block vote in his favour. The policy was deemed unlawful by an industrial tribunal in 1996, after two potential male candidates felt their exclusion from the chance to run for office was unfair. However, the ruling conceeded that women already selected to stand could continue their campaigns. Allowing these female candidates to remain is widely credited with producing 120 female MPs – the highest number of women ever recorded in parliament- and 35 of the 38 candidates from the all women shortlists were successful. In 2002 the Government past the Sex Discriminations (Elections) Act, specifically to make it legal for political parties to use WOS until 2015.

The arguments for the system are clear. Britain elected its first female Prime Minister 30 years ago, and the number of law and regulations designed to ensure proportional representation have steadily increased since this time, with key industries accepting women in high-powered positions. It might appear, to the casual observer, that there is a semblance of, if not complete, equality. However startling statistics point to the converse. Of the 646 constituencies within the UK, only 129 seats are held by women: a trifling 19.5 percent. In terms of equality this places us behind Rwanda (56.3 percent), Iraq (25.5 percent) and even Afghanistan (27.7 percent).

Ceri Goddard, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for female equality in the UK, argues that these statistics show the current nomination system still fails to engage or incorporate women effectively into the system. She suggests that, in line with the UN’s directive to promote equality by using ‘special temporary measures’. WOS can help “accelerate de facto equality between men and women.
“The argument that women should get into parliament on their own merit assumes there is a fair and level playing field for women and implies, wrongly, that there are not enough ‘women of merit’ out there and ready to fill shortlists.”

Ann Widdecombe, MP for Maidstone and the Weald, has been a staunch critic of such measures. Struggling though the ranks without aid, she declares, made her the politician she is today. By carving out a route for women based on quotas and directives, she argues, a group of “second class citizens and no-one deserves to sit on the green benches with such a tag.” If a group of less experienced women are chivvied into power by a side-door, then parliament will be dominated by ‘bland babes’ who will be patronised and manipulated by ‘career politicians’. “We should be tapping good women on the shoulder and inviting them to turn their eyes to parliament instead of devising ever more restrictive rules to try and force selection committees to select by category instead of merit.”

Cameron’s enthusiasm to take on the policy has been condemned by many as a PR stunt to attract the, often overlooked, female vote. It is clear that within the party itself dissidence is rife. Critics of the policy maintain that skewing the pitch for women results in some constituencies being represented by someone without essential grassroots links to the community.

The most obvious example of this is the ‘Turnip Taliban’ of West Norwich. Unhappy with Liz Truss - the candidate handpicked by Cameron - who, it has emerged, had an affair with married frontbencher Mark Field. Despite the relationship ending five years ago, when the details surfaced it served to exacerbate the ill will surrounding what is seen as the disenfranchising the grassroots of the Association. Truss faced the electorate’s Association in a bid to quell calls for her to be de-selected.

Despite receiving a vote of confidence from some four-fifths of members present it is clear that a large proportion of the anger towards her had little to do with her misguided relationship choice. Being Norfolk, one can’t help but wonder if the outcry would have been less if she had embarked on an affair with her cousin instead.

More significantly, the fallout for Field has been non-existent, despite the revelation that his illicit clinches took place whilst he was meant to be on the job (as an MP). In the world of politics, where, if escapades of Alan B’Stard in The New Statesman has taught us nothing else, politics equates to power and there is nothing more seductive than power. Yet still the blame lies firmly on the shoulders of Truss.

Once a woman reaches the green seats of the House, the battle to ensure frontbench power appears to lie in the hands of one woman. Harriet Harman famously declared that “men cannot be trusted to run things on their own” in an interview where she described her own ascent to power as a way of ensuring that women were represented, citing it as “one of the reasons I was prepared to run for deputy leader”. She went on to suggest that there would never be an all male leadership again, saying “Do men want it all themselves? It just won’t happen again.” One of her first steps in her new role was an attempt to change the Labour leadership rules to ensure that there must always be either a female leader or deputy leader. Her proposal was shot down on the basis that merit should be uppermost when choosing such prominent figures. That and the fact that her proposition was seen as a ‘naked attempt’ to position herself for the leadership. Indeed the fact that she considers altering rules implies that there are not enough women of merit to be considered for the roles, making her even less popular with the party.

Its is clear that by using these lists there is a real risk of women being selected for statistical purposed rather than based on the merit of their own value, But until women are able to manoeuvre through the halls of Westminster with the same ease as their male counterparts these interim policies seem to be the only solution. The real issue, which the parties seem less willing to tackle, is why women do not engage so readily with politics than their y-chromosomes counterparts. Goddard argues that the current measures “need to be seen as a wider package. We need to make practical and cultural changes to work towards a culture where all girls and boys grow up believing in their equal value and worth. A society where we no longer need women-only shortlists.”

Monday, 4 January 2010

Oh, What A Difference A Year Makes

A brief consideration of the year that was.


Last year was the year of Nigella Mania. Men ogled and drooled over the Christmas cookery that drizzled and oozed all over Mrs Saachi’s delicately plump fingers. Naughty winks, simpers and sojourns to the local café all lead us to feel that is was our right to fritter our money down our gullets (why make your own caftiere of espresso if you can get dressed, styled and made up to walk ten minutes down a road and then pay 2 quid a pop for them instead?)

As sober times came upon us, we realised that we frankly couldn’t give a honeyed fig whether we’ve provided enough cream in our macaroni cheese to kill a small buffalo because, well, have you seen the price of dairy produce?

We were weary of rich rich foods, the kind of food Fred Goodwin (probably) eats, every day off gold plates (possibly) while Nigella does some kind of erotic fondue based striptease (unlikely, I’ll admit, but the metaphor remains.) 

Nigella offers a panacea of Creole soup, for the over-induldged, but what the nation needed was something more. No exotica, no promise of fortune, we needed sensible fare, bland, the foodie equivalent to magnolia paint to ease the fiery heartburn of a decade of excess.

Delia was our Gaviscon.

Simple, basic fare. How to cook the turkey not garnish, trim and puff it up until we think it’s some kind gastronomic marvel before tasting it and remembering we don’t like turkey anyway. Bland, comforting basics are the fodder for the Christmas year. Virtuosity overwhelms as we feel the rational purse keeping surrounding us once more. How we sighed with relief, watching the google box, as the safe soothing tones of reason guided us through how to have a satisfactory Yuletide dinner.


Shoulder pads were the 80s trend which could be considered the gift that just kept on giving in 2009. Like herpes. The warrior-woman of the boardroom look represented money money money in a Brownite move. The rational was that if we look like money and spend like we have money, then maybe, just maybe, we will get some. The same logic supported sky-high shoes- look like you only ever take taxis then someone is bound to order you one on the company account.

Looking to the year ahead the key looks are jumpsuits (because fixing your own boiler well be a messy, messy job), deconstructed (to ward of enquiries about your worn, frayed clobber with a ‘bang on trend’ retort), ditto for vintage, and milkmaids (a version of grown-your own taken to the next level). Pragmatism in extremis will be a bitter pill for many of us to swallow.

Of course, one trend is set to weather through the noughties into the, um, new decade (any ideas on what this one is?) The curse of the harem pant. The fantasy-wear favoured by genies and Conservative candidates for Stoke-on-Trent requires little sartorial explanation. Recommended wear of choice for any minister planning a Budget report this year, me thinks.


In a time honoured tradition the Christmas charts last year was ruled by the X-Factor scourge. Within the top five singles, there were two X-Factor winners, a duplicate version of an X-Factor single and a satirical number by Peter Kay as the winner of Britain's Got the Pop Factor... and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice.

Alexandra Burke’s re-interpretation of ‘Hallelujah’ with its with mass choral support and heightened production seemed to split the nation into the 576,000 who bought copies of the single, and everyone else who much preferred the beautifully pared-down Jeff Buckley version. Hell, most of us would even have taken the Leonard Cohen version. 

However, the seeds of malcontent were stirring, as half a decade in the grip of the musical mogul seemed to loom towards us. This grip, as tight as his smile after another round of botox, weakened as a facebook phenomenon gathered momentum to block the his latest ingénue, Joe McElderry, from reaching the top spot.  The baby-faced winner’s version of The Climb was trashed by the expletive-filled Killing In The Name by rock band Rage Against The Machine.
This remarkable turn off affairs blossomed from a Facebook group started by Jon Morter, 35, a part-time rock DJ and logistics expert from South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, who’s campaign followed on from 2008, when he attempted to get Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up to the top of the Christmas charts. This time, he was aided by comedian Peter Serafinowicz, who urged his 268,000 followers on Twitter to buy the alternative record. It became so popular that even dear old Sir Paul McCartney got in on the game.
The choice of song was so beautifully oppositional to the shmaltzy ballad previously performed by Disney’s latest cashcow and star of the Hanna Montana franchise.
While McElderry urges listeners to “keep the faith”, the Rage track challenge accepted conventions with the now iconic phrasing: “Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.”

Does this mean then that the reality pop bubble has truly burst? Unlikely- Alexandra Burke is still storming the charts, little Joe made it to number one in the end and Simon Cowell’s company is still a subsidary of Sony, who happen to manage Rage Against The Machine. It looks like ‘the man’ will still be in charge of the music business for a few years to come.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Snow fun over here

The icy tundra is upon us. So is this it? Finaly, the only time in (my) living memory that there is a  real possiblility of a white Christmas. Thanks, global warming.

Surely Bing Crosby will be turning in his grave, after all his song was ironic. Wasn't it?

Faced with the prospect of seasonal weather rather than grey drizzle has, of course, sent the British infra-structure hurtling into its own 3 ring of hell. You know, the one where you get buggered by red hot traffic cones and you are perpetually three cars away from the service station layby and you really need to pee.

It has even sent the Continent into a flurry (snarksnark) as Eurostar recieves a massive fail. Bizarre indeed considering the Continent is usually some three or four degrees colder in winter. Not the best publicity for their 15th anniversary.

Of course I would take the Danteist buggery any day of the week if I had to choose between that and the very really prospect of getting snowed in with my mother's family. Hailing from Feltham, their distrust of anyone who can pronounce a 't' at the end of a word is superceeded only by their desire to remind you that you're fat. Depressing enough, but, being family any form of retort is verboten. Irony indeed that such criticisms come from individualu who look like the Right Said Fred member kicked out because his floral blouse, sorry shirts, ('Paul Smith, yeh, well pricy') make him look 'too much like a girl'. But now it's on the web, so HA.


Equally depressing is the level of conversation the public can start up when faced with the prospect of slightly different weather to discuss.

Entire British marriages could be based on the this one meterological event, for years to come, extremely long lungs in conversation can be pepped up simply by remarking: "Do you remember that snow darling?)

Of course the general nationwide discussion appears to go along the lines of...

Day one "EEEEEE snow"
Day Two "Could you get to work? I couldn't"
Day Three "Eeeeeee its still snowing"
Day Four "Could you get to work? I couldn't"
repeat ad nauseum
Until - "fucking snow"

The whole beautiful range of human intellect . Brought on by crystalised water.

Simple folk really, aren't we?

Monday, 14 December 2009

Why Big Top is a big flop

The golden age of circus performance is dead. According to the script writers of the BBC's newest prime time show, Big Top. Unfortunately for both them and the public, so is the golden age of mediocre sitcoms.

The 'Circus Maestro' is run by sexy modern woman Lizzie (Amanda Holden) who fell into her family business of running a shambolic and squabbling troupe of unfunny clowns, 'zany' (read foreign) acrobats and cynical stagehands.

Picking character actors from various successful comedies - notably John Thompson (The Fast Show), Tony Robinson (Blackadder) and Ruth Maddock (Hi-De-Hi) - smacks of a lazy attempt to fill the void of Last Of The Summer Wine re-runs. Unfortunately throwing seasoned actors against the wall with only facepaint simply doesn't make the show stick. The casting of the perpetually frozen-faced Amanda Holden should really be called placing as 'casting' implies some level of acting. The only benefit for Holden herself will be to re-assure fans of Britain's Got Talent that her tears of joy while watching dance performing dogs must be heartfelt, for she has admirably demonstrated that she has not an acting bone in her body.

Billed as a "warm hearted family comedy" the show lumbers through an archaic and done-to-death premise that clowns are inherently sad and bitter, and that speaking in an Eastern European accent makes people funny. Attempting to add to the credibility of the show by using a live studio audience only serves to underline the flat one-liners as canned hysteria fills the gaps between talent and writing.

In these bleak times it is true that a little escapism could be the perfect panacea as Holden argues: "colour, escapism, eccentricity and clowns. What more could you want?" Well, comedy wouldn't go amiss.

Free at last

Standing on a train platform on my way home I have time to reflect on my week’s journey from Sussex Girl to the Middle East (a poor Jordan joke, but let me have it).

I am freezing in bare legs in the middle of winter - I’m not sure public transport is something that Katie has ever needed to consider - and I feel tarty as hell.

The reactions that I have received for my complete overhaul have been varied. I was concerned that most women seemed to like my look; the fake tan, hair and nails seem to be entrenched as part of a modern culture that I am clearly not part of. For a woman who made her name marketing herself to men I was surprised at how the female population has embraced the plastic fantastic look.

Surely the women of the UK could spend the hours upon hours of time it takes to stop looking like themselves to more constructive use. Cure for cancer maybe?

I’m relieved that only comparatively few men found my look appealing. Perhaps the lads’ culture of the nineties has caused a backlash which makes the pumped-up, puffed-out look undesirable. Then again, the men who did enjoy my appearance seemed to be the kind who looked like they consider heavy reading a copy of ‘Nuts’.

So, will I take any gems of knowledge away with me on my as I retire my tanning mitt and hairpiece?

The answer to that is a defiant ‘yes’. I am now of the complete conviction that Katy with a ‘y’ is much better off than my counterpart. I don’t hide between a mask of makeup and fakery, I have time to think rather than buffing, polishing and de-fuzzing constantly, and I know the impact I make on people is down to my personality, not the copious amounts of cleavage I’m showing.

Thank you Katie Price, your guide to life has shown me that I’m much better off with my own.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Day Six

I thought that Friday night, out on the tiles like a true Brighton Girl would have been the worst point of my week.

Then I thought, perhaps, it would have been those first ten minutes of waking when I remembered drinking quite a bit of liquid courage before standing on a train station, then in a restaurant, then walking up a hill…

But no, really not the worst of it.

The requirements for the day were to get up to London to see various people at various galleries. No casual casual (so no velour) more, sort of smart casual so, 8 inch flippy sort of mini (which, I have discovered actually does flash my derriere a little bit when I walk) boob tube and blazer (ok, I probably shouldn’t have been allowed the blazer, but it was bloody cold.)

As I left the house my parents actually seemed to think I might get assaulted on the way there. Or back. And I don’t really blame them, I stand out a bit in November.

In a decidedly anti-Jordan mode I wandered around the Modernist wonder that is a big black box in the Tate, and it was good. Or something.

Heading along the Strand there began looks as people emerged from their early morning fug and actually made eye contact with the orangeness that is my face. I was beginning to be judge- I don’t really know why, if people were judging, they weren’t judging me, per se, just the person I’m dressing up as. It wasn’t pleasant, but it wasn’t so horrific as to make me run and hide.

Maybe, I console myself, I look a bit like an actress in-between shows, or a presenter, or a member of Girls Aloud. Maybe not.

Running into a very conservative friend dressed in tweed (you can’t make it up) I automatically shout and run up. A good five seconds of confusion and concern (familiar voice but unfamiliar look) fill his face before he works out who I am. Then he laughs at my hair, and pretty much doesn’t stop laughing from there.

Continuing across the trashier tourist parts of town before hitting Bond Street I realise that, with my classier(?) St Tropez tan, curled hair and a big pair of shades, I can just about pull off a Continental glamour look, from afar at least. And I don’t stand out. I am part of the crowd.

Surely this defies the point of the look- to spend hours each day preening and buffing and polishing and planning outfits, just so you look normal. How far away from natural has our population gone? I’m not the bizarre, instead I am, seemingly mundane- really, this is far more disturbing than I thought.

At the Wallace Collection I am met by my cool Aunt who tells me I look like a tramp. But I seem to recall that being a term of endearment from her. Certainly observing Gainsborough’s and a truly shoddy collection of daubings by Hirst I felt observed by the masses. If only Damian was better with a paintbrush.

At a the Selfridge’s Clinique counter, normally a bastion of sensible natural make up, the counter-girl literally screamed when I explained to her what I was doing, and promptly discussed all the intimacies of the Price-Andre-Crossdressingbloke liasons that she had gleaned from this week’s Reveal magazine, and declared her undying love for my lashes. She even collected work colleagues to come and listen to me and look at my makeup. There was love all around for my eyelashes, the excess bronzer, my dexterity with the fake tan. And not one of them thought I looked odd, or thought what I was doing was odd. Admittedly this was a makeup counter, but it was a classy one. I tried to explain that my foundation was NC40, and that Mac only went up to 55, surely this can’t be right? On the upside they gave me LOADS of free skincare to sort out my tortured epidermis beneath the slap as the lash glue is making my eyelid peel.

Strangely, no man I’ve spoken to will admit to fancying her (or me for that matter.) The men who wolf whistle and shout, well admittedly I don’t want to ask, but I suspect that if I walked over and offered them a date/ snog etc that they’d probably run away. Surely the whole brand that is Katie Price was marketed at men? I’ve realised that the people who really like my look are women who are trying to buy into it themselves. From selling sex to men to selling sexuality back to women. Is this post-feminism?

Drinks were fine although was told I look like I’m “30, with something to hide.” I’m surprised as I tend to get ID with makeup on as I look like I’m young but wearing my mother’s make-up to look older. That said I get ID-ed without make-up to. Regardless, this is the oldest anyone has ever described me. Of course Pricey is only 33 herself, but uses a weekly dermabrasion and botox as a way of balancing out those daily sunbeds. I am still thoroughly upset until I finish my second martini that is. And suddenly it seems quite funny.

From here I head on to a dinner party, where, I realise, my charming host has absolutely no idea about my week as Katie. I can’t lie, I feel a little sick. Especially when I realise that I’m not going to know everyone there, and first impressions are so terribly important. Prepping round my cousin’s copious additional bronzer is applied, fishnets are thrown on with my heels as I need to make my outfit ‘distinctive’ (I could have gone for Pricey’s popular one sock look, but thought that I didn’t want to look silly.) The three sets of lashes are still fluttering and off we go.

Praise Yaweh, Buddah, Allah and anyone else who’d like to take credit for making it Halloween. I am, just about, able to get away with the walk from door to car without being solicited as apparently the world and his dog are wearing minis, glitter and fishnet tonight.

I am, it must be said, very lucky to know so many men who are so beautifully well brought-up. ‘Ah, you’re hair’s a little different’ was the worst thing said to me by the host who looked totally bemused, then flummoxed and then ran off to the kitchen before I could explain. Possibly to cry into some lamb.

As I step forward to introduce myself to the other guests I begin to suspect that in heels my skirt doesn’t just flip up at the back. There is real fear in their eyes. Even after explaining the whole stupid premise the suspicion remained. As if halfway through my merlot the sound system would spark to life and tassels would start flying in a clock-wise direction. I can’t say I blame them. The whole thing is farcical, and I can honestly say I wanted the ground to swallow me up.

It take a bottle of wine before the air relaxes, or rather I drank a bottle before I felt relaxed, which is almost the same thing really, isn’t it?

Certainly around the table no-one liked my look, the phrase ‘vulgar and disgusting’ was used, although in all honesty I’m not sure if that was directed at me personally or the general appearance and attitude of my muse.

Surely all the times this look is justified by Miss Price and she claims not to give a damn- well I can’t believe she doesn’t. In fact, to look like this in all sincerity I can’t believe that you are not either incredibly naïve (which I am sure she’s not) or deeply savvy and manipulative.

Whether or not the girls who will, invariably, copy her style will realise what they look like (starts with ‘p’ and rhymes with ‘frostitute’) I don’t know. But it certainly splits opinion.

All I can say is thank goodness for red wine otherwise I may have just had to skulk into a corner and die.

The result: a day of two halves, venerated by lots of girls, and totally destroyed by everyone else.

Day Five

As Jordan has ‘sprinkled a bit of girly glamour’ across the equestrian world with her velour based riding line obviously the practicalities of call girl style at a muddy stable needed to be investigated. I can confirm wholly and unevquivolally that ANYTHING to do with horse- holding, grooming, cleaning, riding… are TOTALLY impossible. The nails ping off, you can't grasp anything, and horses really don’t appreciate the levels of selfcare that go into being Upper Hartfield’s sex kitten. 

Next up, a trip to Sainsburys. There are, it has to be said comparitively few odd looks even though I’m tripping around in a floral mini, velour hoodie and I headbutted the bronzer before I left the house.

However I did get seranaded next to the pringles as a very melodious chap crooned that he wanted to give me some ‘good loving.’ Fabulous. I do begin to see a pattern the type of man who finds this look attract. Chavvy and brazen. I can honestly put my hands up and say that I have never found propositioning in the dry goods aisle a tempting offer.

Confusingly as I am wearing my little sister’s clothes I have to ask, is this level off interest some from of socialised peadophilia? Obvously I am old enough for it to be legal, and yet I am wearing, essentially, little children’s clothing. Deeply worrying.

Tonight is my night out on the tiles a la Pricey. Apparently on a night out she has looked at girls and thought ‘god what a slut’ before realising that she was wearing the same thing. The seperating factor, according to her, is that she doesn’t act like one. Of course.

So, curlers on, fake tan applied and I squeze myself into corset, platforms and a skirt hitched up to so more leg and tulle than I have eve shown before. My make up takes hours, with three layers of lashes, lip liner around (not on) my lips and I apply my gloss with a trowel, I also draw on my fake cleavage look with bronzer.

I feel highly over-exposed, to a level of virtual public nudity which isn't attractive. No wonder she goes on crazy diets, wearing this little every flaw is exposed, and it really isn't pretty.Ten minutes into our trip and I have been banned from repeating the phrase ‘I look like a common prostitute.’ Which I do.

Waiting on the station platform I am freezing to death- apparently I am not allowed a coast as a ‘puffer jacket would ruin’ my look as, of course, that is EXACLY what I would wear.

As it’s the Friday of Halloween I think I have been pretty lucky, but every double take resulting in me apologising, saying it’s a fancy dress outfit and I spend the entire journey loudly talking about my journalism job getting me to wear funny clothes. Just in case anyone hadn't got it.

Arriving in Brighton I discover that taxi drivers love this look. Leaning out of windows, flashing me, doing double takes. Who knew KP’s fan base could be so specific.

Walking down the road I realised that a city centre is infact the place to go where you don’t get double-takes. Girls in mini skirts, luminous tans and cleavage a-plenty and it becomes increasingly obvious to me that this look isn’t an object of ridicule, it just appears to be the norm.

At dinner, on a table of people who had been primed for my arrival, I was pretty horrified at how enthusiastic people were. My three sets of clumpy horrible lashes smothered in mascara were admired. I can barely open my eyes and to be honest it stings a bit, yet I’m not laughed at.

A staring woman in the toilet tells me how much she loves my skirt (where knickers are pretty much on show) and my eye make up which reaches up beyond my brows with a Cruella D’Ville shape.

Heading aross main roads and more enquires of where I was staying tonight were thown my way by classy looking men, but confused looks were pretty few and far between.

On the train we find a collection of drag queens, all of whom, unsurprisingly, thought my look was totally acceptable for a night out on the tiles. ‘Its great dahling’ said one titian beauty.

Moving to a bar in Haywards Heath (mmmm, I know) and I attempt to flirt by sitting on a man’s knee. ‘Sorry darling, I don’t need another girlfriend.’ I don’t bother again. Ah well, the life as Sussex’s most desirable is a lonely one….