Page 2. " in manner of Miss Moneypenny "
Miss Moneypenny's Office
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMiss Moneypenny's Office - Credit: Jörg Behrens

Miss Moneypenny is a character from the James Bond books, personal assistant to the head of the Secret Service.  In the films, she indulges in mild flirtation with Bond whenever he is called to see "M". 

Page 8. " Julie! The one that's got that super-dooper job at Arthur Andersen "

Arthur Andersen was at the time one of the "big six" accountancy/consulting firms.  It collapsed after being found guilty of criminal practices in the auditing of Enron.

Not so super-dooper any more.

Page 11. " He did a jokey Bruce Forsyth step "
Bruce Forsyth
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBruce Forsyth - Credit: SqueakBox, Wikimedia

Bruce Forsyth has been presenting family entertainment shows since the late 1950's. He can sing, he can dance, he can still touch his toes even now he's in his eighties, and this is the distinctive move that makes him the master. Often copied, never bettered.


Page 13. " mainly leather-bound series of books about the Third Reich, which Geoffrey sends off for from Reader's Digest. "
Reader's Digest Book
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeReader's Digest Book - Credit: Kungfuman, Wikimedia

  The Third Reich refers to Germany under Nazi leadership, from 1933 to 1945.

 Reader's Digest is an American company that publishes books and magazines covering a wide range of issues: current affairs, health and well-being, and dramatic real-life stories.  The UK arm of Reader's Digest went into administration in 2010, unable to fund a £125m pension deficit.

Page 13. " It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party. It's like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting 'Cathy' and banging your head against a tree. "
Mr Darcy
Public DomainMr Darcy - Credit: C. E. Brook

 Mr Darcy is a character from the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which was first published in 1813. Despite being a desperately suitable match for any young lady, Mr Darcy manages to offend almost every one of them, by acting like any sort of communication is an incredibly tedious chore, particularly at parties.

"But I can assure you," she added, "that Lizzy does not lose much by not suiting his fancy; for he is a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing. So high and so conceited that there was no enduring him! He walked here, and he walked there, fancying himself so very great! Not handsome enough to dance with! I wish you had been there, my dear, to have given him one of your set-downs. I quite detest the man."

A character from Wuthering Heights (1847), the first and only novel by Emily BrontëHeathcliff is fiercely devoted to the woman he loves, Cathy, and really doesn't care who knows it. Or that she's married to somebody else. The news of her death provokes a violent reaction:

"And I pray one prayer--I repeat it till my tongue stiffens--Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you--haunt me, then!... Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!"... He hit his head against a nearby tree in anguish.



Page 14. " Backlash, actually, by Susan Faludi "

As a stalwart part-time feminist, Bridget has of course heard of Backlash, a book which examines the anti-feminist attitude of 1980s America, but is yet to read it.  Susan Faludi is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist. 


Page 15. " Una threw herself across the room like Will Carling "

Will Carling is a former rugby union player.  He was captain of the England team at the time.

Page 18. " What a blessing to be born with such Sloaney arrogance. Perpetua could be the size of a Renault Espace and not give it a thought. "
Perpetua from the back
Creative Commons AttributionPerpetua from the back - Credit: Danny McL

Sloane Square
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSloane Square - Credit: Fin Fahey
 "Sloaney" comes from Sloane Ranger, a 1980s term for a particular breed of young upper class person with large amounts of money and confidence, and the desire to show off both.  A silly name was typical, particular amongst the female of the species.

The term derives from Sloane Square in London, a favourite haunt for the type.  It was popularised by The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook (1982) by Peter York.


Page 18. " while watching EastEnders, imagining it was a Christmas special "

Creative Commons AttributionChristmas - Credit: Vicky Brock

EastEnders is an immensely popular and long-running British soap opera, focusing on the miserable and complicated lives of the residents of Albert Square, a fictional address in Walford, East London.

Page 19. " now trapped in the ladies' with Alice Cooper eyes and no make-up bag. "
Alice Cooper
Creative Commons AttributionAlice Cooper - Credit: Hunter-Desportes

A heavy metal icon, Alice Cooper is an American 'shock rocker' whose eyes are usually heavily rimmed with black make-up.

Page 20. " Emotional fuckwittage "

Emotional fuckwittage is a term coined by Helen Fielding to describe the behaviour of men who rely on mind games to wriggle out of or avoid long-term commitment to a partner. It has become an immensely popular and much-used phrase following the book's publication.

Page 21. " She must stop beating herself over the head with Women Who Love Too Much and instead think more towards Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus "

Creative Commons AttributionLovers - Credit: Mike Baird
Women Who Love Too Much was one of the first self-help guides, published in 1985. Written by Robin Norwood, it was aimed at women who focus everything they have on sustaining a relationship with an unsuitable or 'emotionally unavailable' partner. The book attracted a lot of criticism from feminists but became a multi-million bestseller, and was re-published in 2008.

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray is another immensely popular self-help guide, which categorises the differences between the sexes and offer strategies for coping with and resolving these differences. 


Page 25. " Though by no means trying to suggest language fixed rather than constantly adapting, fluctuating tool of communication (cf Hoenigswald) "

Professor Henry Hoenigswald (1915-2003) was a German historical linguist who questioned the nature of existing methods of research in the 1930s/1940s and went on to write a number of articles on how best to analyse language.