I was asked by BBC Three to describe my perfect day to them for a UK-wide promotional campaign for the channel. I was called in the evening whilst I was studying in Senate House Library, and was told by Ed, one of the people responsible for organising the project, that the Creative Team loved my contribution to Queer Britain and were wondering if I would like to take part in a recreation of the 1997 BBC2 charity single Perfect Day. To understand me a little more, Ed asked me some questions which were unexpectedly profound, asking me to give responses to things I had long buried and never dared utter out loud. In the three seconds I appear on the ad, we of course don’t understand the full extent of my journey, but those who know me, or at least know themselves well enough to know me… without knowing me, know fully well what is beind the red painted lips, the vintage Oleg Cassini jacket, the silk headscarf, the Soviet каракуль hat and why I chose Ridley Road Market as my setting.
I want to flick the calendar back to 2006 when I was in my father’s house in Wigan and flicking through the Sunday Times’ Style magazine.
London and all it contained was a galaxy apart in which shoes for thousands of pounds was the norm and everyone was Size Zero with an oversized It bag hunched on their emaciated shoulders. It was the realm of Jodie Harsh, Kate Moss and Amy Winehouse, and I would feverishly flick through its pages every week when my father would, having bought this teleportation device from the cornershop three doors down, drop the paper on the dining table, its magazines tucked within and wrapped in plastic. I would of course devour the Funday Times, the kids supplement, from page to page, but Style was the one for me.
I remember reading a restaurant review, and I vividly recall a grinning doorman in a tophat, huddled under an umbrella with the dazzling technicolor Piccadilly Circus screen in the background. I turned to my father and told him, “I want to live in Piccadilly Circus.”
“Really?” he said. “It’ll be very busy.”