There’s this thing with Brits in New York. We listen out for each other – at work, in bars, wherever – and in my experience are overjoyed when we find one another.
A month ago, I went to the launch party of a TV programme called The Face that’s presented by Naomi Campbell. As I’ve said already, Naomi – I’m SURE inadvertently – trampled me as she mowed her way through the crowd on her way to the VIP area. But despite this, I still found myself wanting to say, “Naomi, hi! You’re British too! How different is the Meatpacking District from Croydon? Where’s the Whitgift Centre when you need it?!”
Thankfully, for us all, I remained mutely trampled. But I do love an Englishwoman or Englishman (or indeed a Scottish, Welsh, Irish or Cornish person) in New York. At a recent work night out, the Brits in the office (there are a couple) seemed to find themselves in a corner together. We were like little homing pigeons, moving towards each other to talk about tomato/tomahtos and Dot Cotton.
My friend’s husband is an actor who last week celebrated the launch of his new book at Soho House. And inevitably it was packed with the great and the good of Hollywood and the “creative industries”, but I was not interested. No people no. Because I found me a Brit. A hard-voiced northerner with red hair and a cackle. And we sat together and said, “Isn’t this weird, us being in this crazy town, and isn’t it, well, amazing?” As if we have no business at all leaving our tiny island. It just so happened that this flame-haired Brit is a rather well-known fashion creative director, something I didn’t find out until the following day, but which wouldn’t have changed the nature of our chat. Who needs to hear about runways and run-throughs when you can be comparing pics of apartments with views and bemoaning the lack of a Manhattan-based Boots the Chemist?
I met up with another Brit last night. A colleague who’s moved permanently from the UK office to the US office. We met at 6 at Oceana, a swish bar near the office and were still there, cackling (me), at nearly 1am when the entire place had cleared out aside from a very patient barman.
It’s not that I don’t love Americans. I love them! All of ’em! But there’s something reassuring about occasionally checking in with a Brit over here. Small mouse in the big city I suppose. When I arrived here I had a few emails from Brit expats with the subject heading ‘New Blood!’, so it’s not just me. Sometimes you just want to have a chat with someone who knows who Well’Ard is.