A cemetery is a funny place to go on a date, people said. Morbid, creepy, unpleasant. No, actually. I’d wanted to visit Highgate for as long as I can remember. It sat there quietly on my list along with Prague, the White House and a cool, grassy bank in Reykjavik, from where I can lie on my back watching the northern lights.
A friend and former client who seems to know me rather well, sent me a Whatsapp message regaling stories about all night gatherings he attended there in the 90s. I would have loved that – atmospheric evenings around a campfire, capturing the fading light then waiting for sunrise, strumming Judie Tzuke songs on the guitar.
He told me – and I quote: “You would have been perfect – lots of classical English beauties looking very gothic and very witchy…” I appreciated the compliment – and wished I’d gone along in a Stevie Nicks-style flowing black chiffon dress. He then finished the sentence with “… and some very naked!” WHAT???! I didn’t ask about his attire in the 90s, some things are best left in the depths of wonderment. I’ve been too busy to play Facebook Scrabble for a while but my naked scrabble buddy will be very interested to hear about this.
Witches and nakedness aside, the cemetery is as beautiful as they come. It captures perfectly the essence of Victorian romanticism. Its ethereal atmosphere wraps itself around you as you wander along storybook paths among ancient, crumbling gravestones draped with ivy. The sun of an Indian summer shone through filtered leaves, creating an effect that I find hard to describe. So I won’t. I’ll simply say, if you get the chance to visit, take it.
Also on the theme of morbidity, I was advised by various friends that McQueen is a dark, dismal play about the untimely death of the designer. It’s not. It’s a visual masterpiece that does, indeed, delve into the dark depths of a suicidal man’s mind – but in a dreamlike and mesmerising fashion.
The choreography was a symphony of elegance, and the stylish set created a perfect backdrop for the portrayal of one brilliant man’s alter ego to emerge and fan his obsession for creating the perfect garment for each individual customer. He gained inspiration from their desires and inhibitions, their movements and their aura. Spellbinding is the best word I can think of to describe my afternoon in the Haymarket Theatre.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the theatre recently. As I write this, I’m thinking about tomorrow night when I’m in London again to see Dusty, the musical about Ms Springfield. I’ll have to do my best to refrain from joining in with Son of a Preacher Man, as the soulful sounds I hear emerge from my mouth make others cover their ears and screw up their faces in horror.
We’re driving up for Dusty. I thought about booking Gordon to drive us – he runs a chauffeur business now as a sideline, driving brides and prom queens in his beautiful golden Bentley. The car is gorgeous, deep cream leather and wood panelled doors – even Lady Penelope would be proud to travel in such style. I’m not on commission here but I always like to help local businesses with a boost where possible – please do get in touch with Gordon if you’re planning a special trip.
This is what I’d have sung at Highgate, all those years ago when I didn’t yet know my ‘un-named friend.’ I’ll sing it now instead – cover your ears! “It’s the same old situation; every word so finely placed. Running around my concentration is the feeling that I’ve just got to break out and say…”
If you’re looking for words finely chosen and strategically placed, call me to talk about copywriting. Or ask me here: @WeekendWitch.