Page 76. " We stared at each other transfixed like two African animals at the start of a fight on a David Attenborough programme. "

If they'd only had trunks, this is how it might have looked:


David Attenborough is a highly-respected nature journalist, who has dominated British wildlife documentaries for half a century.

Page 78. " reading Hello!, checking out everyone's ages in desperate search for role models (Jane Seymour is forty-two!) "
Jane Seymour
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeJane Seymour - Credit: Ilya Haykinson

Hello! is a weekly magazine that invites the reader into the homes and lives of a gallery of 'stars', some famous, some desperate to become so.

Jane Seymour is a British actress, much praised for retaining a Hollywood figure even after giving birth to 4 children (not all at once).

Page 78. " Am going to ask everyone for cocktails, perhaps Manhattans. "
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeManhattan - Credit: Joshua Hammond

A Manhattan is a classic cocktail:

1 part sweet vermouth

3 parts bourbon

dash of Angostura bitters

Mix over ice and strain.  Serve with a Maraschino cherry.

Page 81. " beaming like Bonnie Langford "
Bonnie Langford
Public DomainBonnie Langford

  Bonnie Langford is an British actress and entertainer who first became famous as a child for her winsome looks and talent for dancing.


Page 89. " I read in an article that Kathleen Tynan, late wife of the late Kenneth, had 'inner poise' "

Kathleen Tynan was a journalist and author who must have had to draw heavily on her own reserves on inner poise during her tumultuous marriage to theatre critic, Kenneth Tynan.  A highly influential writer, he was famously the first person to say "fuck" on BBC television.  Later in life he became deeply obsessed with sado-masochism, sometimes hiring prostitutes as extras in elaborate erotic scenarios.  He also tried to compile an anthology of masturbation fantasies but failed to attract contributors. 

Picture of Kathleen Tynan, looking poised

Page 90. " I switched channels and lurched in horror. It was a trailer for the Anne and Nick show "

Good Morning with Anne and Nick was a cosy breakfast televion offering from the BBC which ran for 4 years, presented by Anne Diamond and Nick Owen (also a fan of the diamond patterned sweater).


Page 90. " all bouffed and made-up, as if she were Katie Bloody Boyle "

Katie bloody Boyle is an immaculately styled British television presenter, who fronted the Eurovision song contest throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Picture of the fragrant Katie Boyle

Page 94. " she'd been reading a self-help book about Zen "
Public DomainBodhidharma

 Zen is a school of Buddhism that aims to bring about a state of enlightenment through intense meditation.


Page 95. " I did a version of Salute to the Sun I remembered from distant Yogacise class "


Page 96. " Apparently, Tina Brown of the New Yorker is brilliant at dealing with parties "

Tina Brown is a prominent British journalist, author and magazine editor, who became an American citizen in 2005 and currently hosts her own talk show.


The New Yorker is a fearsome American magazine, specialising in commentary, criticism and satire.

Page 98. " Simon from Marketing was talking to Julian Barnes "

Julian Barnes is an imposing literary figure, author of The History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters and Flaubert's Parrot.  He won the Booker Prize in 2011 with The Sense of an Ending.


Page 99. " channel hopping between Noel's House Party and Blind Date "

Blind Date was a light-weight dating show, hosted by Cilla Black, that proved immensely popular with Saturday night viewers.



Page 100. " without the Frank Bough-style diamond-patterned sweater "

Surprising revelations about drug use and visits to prostitutes polished off family-friendly Frank Bough's successful career as a sports and leisure presenter for the BBC, and he moved to rival channel ITV.

Picture of the scandalous Frank Bough.