What finally appeared on Century's desk was deemed too chaotic and wayward to be publishable, and has been sent back for radical surgery. I can't wait. This is, let me remind you, the woman responsible for the huge gaps in the ex-Pogues singer Shane MacGowan's front teeth, and the woman who struck up an unlikely alliance with the late Ian Board, the stunningly disreputable patron of the Colony Room drinking club in Soho.
Among the anecdotes nearly lost to us is the reaction of her father when Ms Stansfield once explained the state of her love life to him. Having previously gone out with the drummer of the band she was fronting, and, subsequently, spending some time hanging out with the lead guitarist, she was now, she explained, being romanced by the bassist. "Lisa, lass," said her droll Papa, "it's looky yer not in t'bloody brass band ..."
It doesn't take much to outrage the French these days, does it? Sophisticated Parisians have apparently been fainting with shock at the poster advertising the film Disclosure, in which Demi Moore tries to have her evil way with Michael Douglas and a suit for sexual harassment ensues. Now banned in France, the hoarding has just begun to appear on British high streets. It looks pretty innocuous to me - a a back view of Ms Moore's clothed and statuesque rear being clutched by the hands of an unseen (but really, you know, threatened) Mr Douglas.
What can have upset the Gallic moralists? Can it be the Italianate focus on the bottom as the seat of sexuality? The way the male figure is reduced to a weedy shadow by the looming female? Or because the French, unlike us, have spotted that the figures in the picture aren't Ms Moore and Mr Douglas at all, and are enraged at being fobbed off with body doubles?
I saw the film at a recent preview. It's terrible. But, when not rocking with laughter at the sight of Mr Douglas fighting off his gorgeous assailant, the audience enjoyed the one-liners - especially a barbed remark which seemed to relate directly to Ms Moore's pushy off-screen persona. Asked if a woman attorney is publicity-conscious, the company boss snarls: "Listen, that woman would change her name to TV Listings if she thought it would get her in the papers."
Dinner with an Indian writer friend brings some insights into the current fixations of Bombay's haute-bourgeoisie. It seems that nearly half a century after the British fled from India, taking their imperialist paraphernalia of pink gins and Bird's custard with them, trendy young Parsee professionals have become obsessed with British and American brand names. "Oh, we have everything now," my friend was airily informed by his neighbour on a recent visit, "Coca-Cola, Kiwi shoe polish, Huntley & Palmer's ..." Whole conversations revolve around the likelihood of Gentlemen's Relish becoming available in downtown shops.
It's considered quite normal these days to ask your neighbour at a dinner party: "What are you having for breakfast these days? We have Kellogg's Rice Krispies," to which the reply is always: "Oh we've been having those for weeks."
If you wish to excruciate your social-climbing associates, my friend tells me bitchily, try ringing them up and remarking, in a casual aside: "I hear you're still having those old basmati crisps for breakfast."
I thought I knew Bruges. Lace, dinky architecture, nuns everywhere, complicated chocolates, fusty churches, glass-topped canal barges, nouvelle cuisine after everybody else had dropped it, super-formal art galleries, polite cops. Its essence, as far as I was concerned, was the huge bunches of early-budded and early-snipped roses that sat in shop windows like long-stemmed corpses and were sold as bleak table decorations. Still life is what Bruges is about, I thought, nature morte. Now the place is turning into Casablanca. It's a city where things happen. British actors, fleeing their horrid critics, stride through the streets wearing berets. Tabloid paparazzi lurk in the parks. Marauding Euro-sceptics name their group after the city. Elderly Chelsea supporters are bundled into police vans. Knives flash in the darkness. Riot squads. Water cannon ... Private Eye used to have a running joke about a David Hare-style movie, a spoof intellectual thriller called They Flew to Bruges. They won't be able to laugh at the place much longer.Reuse content