Magazine article The Spectator

Diary: Joan Collins

Magazine article The Spectator

Diary: Joan Collins

Article excerpt

Can there be anything more perfect than early July in London, when the sun is shining, the sky a cloudless azure and the temperature hovers in the mid-seventies? Sorry, I still do Fahrenheit. It's party time everywhere, with all the annual events happening, but I don't do Ascot any more, too waggish, or Henley, too wet, or Wimbledon, too warm. The former has changed radically over the last 20 years, when I was fiercely censured for borrowing another woman's Royal Enclosure badge, on a dare that no one would recognise me. Now these high jinks would be deemed innocent in comparison to the behaviour that goes on: people snogging, passing out and throwing up in public hardly raise an eyebrow. Everyone was super-elegant then, most women wearing gorgeous hats and outfits. But sadly dressing up seems out of fashion today, which I sorely miss as I enjoy the fun of wearing a fabulous outfit, looking good and getting compliments. I would have thrived during 'La Belle Époque' -- ah well, maybe in the next life!

I thought this life was about to come to a nasty end last week when our plane travelling back to Heathrow was hit by lightning. We had been on a mile-long trek to our gate through Malpensa airport, where the amount of tourist shops, boutiques and feeding troughs make Gatwick airport look like a corner shop. A paparazzo was in pursuit and when I ducked into the bathroom to try and shake him, I banged my finger on the loo door. While I was running it under the cold water, I was besieged by a gaggle of Italian matrons demanding 'Aaah, Alexis, pleeeze can we take your picture?'

I'm usually quite sanguine when flying BA, but with my finger encased in an ice pack I found it hard to relax with the latest Speccie . Suddenly a violent flash of white light just outside my window illuminated the plane, which jolted and shook violently. 'What was that?' I yelped. 'It's the paparazzi and the Italian ladies,' joked Percy, 'They've strapped themselves to the wing to get your picture.' He looked quite calm, as did the flight attendants, so I stopped worrying about the possibility that this was a botched attempt by a terrorist wearing the latest in internal explosive devices, and continued reading. As we walked off the plane, the special services representative asked if we were very much shaken by the lighting strike she'd heard about. 'I was petrified! …

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