Absolute Beginners? I went to a lovely nursery school two doors away from our home in north London run by Mrs Dacre, mother of the current editor of The Daily Mail. Paul was a very sweet, angelic little boy but I lost contact after the age of five. My sister went there, too, and there were about a dozen of us.
Strings to Your Bowes? I went to the local Bowes Road Primary School. We were taught French, which was unusual for a state primary school. Afterwards I read that David Puttnam was there a few years earlier.
Mind Your Grammar? I wasn't a very academic student at grammar school. I was form captain for a few years running and was very social, the organiser of social events like dances for the school and Oxfam. Talking was always a favourite occupation and I used to speak in class forums.
Dedicated Follower of Fashion? I was always very interested in fashion and lifestyle trends; if it was bowling alleys that were trendy, I'd be first at the bowling alley. I think my friends looked to me to give them the nod. The head teacher used to call me in on a daily basis for wearing the wrong coat, the wrong jewellery and the wrong hairstyle. I used to read the fashion and music magazines; one boy, who went on to become a very successful record producer, told me that I had got him interested by bringing in a copy of NME every week.
O-levels? I enjoyed English and passed literature and language, as well as history and French.
Absolute Zero? Sciences weren't my thing; to focus on them took energy I wasn't prepared to give. I failed physics, biology and chemistry - I didn't even go into half the exams. I also failed maths, although since then I've always been good at learning about money. I didn't take A-levels.
Absentee Fabulous? At 16 I went to do a shorthand-typing course for eight months but left with very poor speeds because I was always skiving off to the movies and shopping. I was one of the regular dancers on [the TV show] Ready Steady Go.
Frankly Speaking? I was lucky being able to do what I've done without academic qualifications, which is not so easy now. I feel I've been at the University of Life. I have done a lot of lecturing at academic institutions and even found myself speaking at an Oxford Union debate on fashion organised by Elle; I was doing PR for the magazine and stepped in at a few hours' notice when one of the speakers dropped out. Afterwards, the Union president asked me for a job. My children have had a lot more opportunities than I had: they were privately educated, travelled a lot, had a more international vision - spoilt, basically!nReuse content