Alexa Chung: ‘Now I’m left wondering which will bite me first – the dog or the chair’

Girl About Town

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The oversized windows in my loft apartment, once a thing of beauty, are now my sworn enemies. They wake me up at 6am, they have very little respect for my privacy at night, and they’re virtually impossible to coax open. A day spent touring the best and worst of New York’s furniture stores in search of a way to block out the light has left me a broken expert on soft furnishings.


It’s OK, though, because now I have the items I require; two metal stag’s-head doorknockers and a length of rope to tie between them will have to suffice until I can summon the strength and the dollars to experiment with the distinctly parental practice of ordering custom-made blinds. Yuk.In keeping with the stress of a transatlantic move I dedicated 10 minutes of yesterday to occupying a rainy rooftop and trying to make myself cry.


My hard drive had just died, which meant this column, and another article I was writing, were lost. I was also convinced that all the things I had packed into boxes to be shipped over here were destined to get intercepted, and was so frustrated I took to top of my building to get angry in the rain.But then a woman came up for a cigarette and my desperate attempts to muster up some tears were thwarted as my eyeballs and my brain became distracted/baffled by her clog-clad feet. Maybe clogs in the rain make perfect sense – and seeing as I was the one up there failing to form tears for no particular reason, I really wasn’t one to judge.


The only thing I achieved from the whole childish exercise was a ruined pair of Les Chiffoniers leather trousers (they hate puddles of water) and a frizzing fake fur leopard-print coat (again, doesn’t fare well in the wet). By the time I got downstairs to my apartment, my Mac had switched itself back on, and when I re-read the column I realised it was rubbish anyway.This morning I woke to the irritating squawk of my doorbell and was greeted by the cardboard boxes I had crammed full of clothes and kitchenware back in England, all seven of them present and correct. Hallelujah! So now I have a LOT of cutlery but not so many of the things to sit on. Back to Crate and Barrel to choose between uninspiring looking pieces of furniture jazzed up by their designated names, I have ordered an olive-coloured sofa called “Martine”.


I realised I had a soft spot for Martine when I saw another man inspecting her and got a bit defensive watching his face turn from interest to disdain as he groped at the seat cushions. I enjoyed watching other couples testing out seating options, more often than not their appearance matched the upholstery.A lot of the people in my building own very small dogs, the kind of size that makes me feel nervous I might step on them accidentally, but also the kind of size that makes me want to step on them accidentally just to see whether they’re real or not. I’ve tried to make friends with most of them (the dogs) but some are trickier to impress than others.


One particularly stocky specimen appears to have a face designed to perfectly express its hatred towards me. I think she’s called Betty, but then again, after the owner informed me she was rather neurotic I may have drifted off a little. I met Betty in the lift on my journey towards the junk shop in the basement of our building. There I purchased a pale blue velvet chair that my friend was adamant was full of bed bugs. I decided to take the gamble and buy it anyway. Now I’m left wondering: what will bite me first – the dog or the chair? So far so good. Last night I went to watch The Kills and The Horrors play in Williamsburg where everyone is young and hot and formed part of a sea of plaid shirts. Both bands were amazing, but the crowd seemed a little too polite to really get into it, apart from one guy who was apparently being so rude that he ended up getting himself into an onstage kerfuffle with Jamie Hince.


After the show I sat in a row of English people who have all just moved here and realised that, since being in New York, I’ve seen more people from London than I usually see in an average week living in London. It’s time to be a little more adventurous.

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