Red haired lady tells me I must be half her age, and she’s right – I’m 21 of her 42 years.
We discuss how much more feeling and soul the music of that time gave us than the musical offerings of today. It is an indulgence of nostalgia, a nostalgia very real for her and for me, like an imagined after glow from which I can feel a faint warmth not quite concrete.
She regales an anecdote in which she waited in a queue much like this one to meet another beloved idol of her youth, Lenny Kravitz.
After the line of fans pushed her forward into the the eyeline the night’s star, I saw a flicker of the excitement from that moment of defiance when he rejoined the queue to see him a second time!
The initial rush for a place in the queue now seems futile: Ms Jones has only just left her hotel room.
Predictable huffs and sighs and mentions of a diva complex follow, and I laugh at the film-worthy hilarity of it all.
We wait in the cloying chill of a November evening.
We wait, sharing polite English smiles.
Grace Jones has arrived!
Woops and cheers are dampened end at the mention that Ms Jones is first having something to eat.
The image of Grace munching on a stale sandwich from the Waterstones cafe evokes an delicious scene of juxtaposition – crumbs falling upon couture – and only helps to make my tummy remember how hungry it is.
I look pleadingly at the surly security guard to let me flit away for food but he tells me I’m likely to lose my spot.
The bright lights of next doors patisserie beckon me forward. Just think of the mouth watering offerings of refrigerated sandwiches and soggy chocolate cake! I shrug and dip under the velvet rope, my backpack straining to keep up with my vigorous movements.
My British English speed impediment of politeness stops me from executing an American moviesque barking demand, kindly requesting a rose water macaroon and salami and chicken sandwich.
BLEEP!, my contactless card impatiently urging me to stuff my face and rejoin the queue.
Turns out the security guard was right – folk had entered the building.
Tottering as quickly as my cowboy boots can carry me, I rush down the steps, back to where I originally tried my luck and pretend to be apologetic for losing my space, impotently waving my queue ticket at the assistants’ faces.
One rosy cheeked sweetheart nods me through, only to meet my door-keeping friend from before. I tell him I’ve the go ahead from the boys in black (Waterstones t-shirts) and he oozes pleasure by wagging his finger in my stunned face (the gall!), informing me I go when he tells me to go.
A familiar whistle sounds – his Samsung received a WhatsApp message which he swiftly tends to.
I waltz on past and retake my space next to my red-haired lady-friend.
I explain the palaver. We luxuriantly roll our eyes and move on to fulfilling one of the modern ages clichés – what’s your Facebook?!


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