|Manhattan - the island of general intoxication?|
I have the fashion sense of an artichoke - and not one of those lovely Globe artichokes (great with a vinaigrette) with the wonderful thistly flowers. No, we're talking here about
Jerusalem artichokes (rather peculiar looking, and with not an idea what to do about it). Perhaps because of this I have a fascination for fashion programmes, the cheesier the better - America's Next Top Model, Project Runway - you get the idea. They're just so wonderfully shallow, and just great for when you get a Holly Golightly moment and want to have nothing more complicated in your life than look fabulously beautiful, and have nothing more to worry about than where your next set of Tiffany earrings are going to come from. Hence Sex and the city.
I would hate to live the life of the heroines of Sex and the city. I would much rather be trapped in a room with a slightly cross dog than be at a party, with a load of people I don't know, having to be sociable. I'd also prefer to be in a muddy field in a rainstorm than be in a city in just about any kind of weather, but then that's what books do for you - they're able to transport you to somewhere completely different from your everyday live, and to outside your comfort zone.
If you think fashion is shallow, the book Sex and the city takes you to new levels of shallowness. This is not a novel but rather a series of short articles, many of which Candace Bushnell, the "real" Carrie Bradshaw, had previously published in The New York Observer. The articles follow a group of New York socialites around the party circuit of Manhattan, and off on their summer round of visits to the Hamptons and other upper-crust hangouts. Fuelled by sex, copious amounts of drugs, and alcohol, the socialites lead a strangely sterile and loveless existence, moving from one unhappy relationship to the next.
I found it a really uncomfortable read. It's compelling, but in a rather nauseating way. Occasionally funny, the feeling I was left with at the end was of great sadness for these people who appear to have everything, but actually seem to have nothing. In this way I think it is a true successor to Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's.
*SPOILER ALERT*It's many years since I read Breakfast at Tiffany's, but I seem to remember that the ending was very different from the film. In the film Holly eventually finds love with Paul. She'll probably never get her Tiffany jewellery, but the implication is that she will be happy. In the book, she's last heard of heading off to South America as the paramour of her latest rich beau. Implication - she will get to order from Tiffanys regularly but will probably never gain lasting happiness, as she will always be dependent on her looks and wealthy men for what she truly wants in life. If Sex and the city is right, there are still a lot of Holly Golightlys out there...