Alexa Chung:'Want to know the next big catwalk trends? Hit Tesco in Bethnal Green'

Girl About Town
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Lying in a tepid bath, pondering just how bad it would be to vomit in it, or alternatively trying to muster the wherewithal to make it to the loo, was not how I envisaged my weekend panning out. It appears I had food poisoning. Not wanting to lay the blame at anyone's feet in particular, I can categorically say that the airline I flew back on did this to me. OK, it may not have done, it could have been some suspect broccoli at a restaurant in Spitalfields, or perhaps the scrambled eggs I ate for breakfast, but that "cheeseboard" (aka plastic tub of putrid, sweating cow curd) I ordered in the departure lounge seems more and more like the culprit.

I've been here before with the food poisoning thing. Almost exactly a year ago, I ruined a Charles Anastase dress at the O2 after ill-advisedly consuming deep-fried gyoza while interviewing people for the NME awards. I only went to the place in question because they had swivelly chairs (and all I got was this ruined T-shirt). Because my producer wanted me to keep working, the gyoza nearly ended up on Kate Nash, the Cribs and Glasvegas. Grimmy had a broken toe and I had a broken soul by the end of the evening.

Eventually, they let me go home and, four days later, yes days later, Dr Doom came round to inject my bottom with something to stop the never-ending nausea.

But the food poisoning wasn't the most harrowing part of my journey back from the US. The airport staff at JFK have a unique talent for making you feel like you've committed a crime. It's as if they've all been through training to remove any sense of humour/personality/good grace they previously possessed. I understand that security has to be stringent, and I'm glad they're mindful of our safety, but I'm also fairly certain that a kamikaze terrorist would not be swayed from his death course by a moody demeanour and some badly applied make-up.

But what the staff lack in social skills they more than make up for in fear-mongering. During the process of exiting New York, I was barked at more times than throughout my teenage years. Perhaps the problem isn't their shitty attitudes but my bolshy responses. Maybe I provoke anger in them because I find it hard not to snipe back when someone irritates me.

The morning after the sickness had ceased, I ventured outside in the direction of my local Tesco, in Bethnal Green, to buy bread and reassure myself that there is life beyond QI on BBC iPlayer. If you ever want to know what the next big trends are before they hit the catwalks, this place (Tesco in Bethnal Green, not QI) is crawling with hip young things (to use a phrase only slightly more annoying than "movers and shakers") wearing impossible items of clothing.

As I passed the pawnshop with the sign outside that reads "Only open Mondays", some dude started murmuring something along the lines of "Sexy, sexy, sexy" in my direction. In fact, it was those exact words. I floundered for a response, but by the time something had sprung to mind, he had vanished. And this is what infuriates me, if he had meant what he was saying, if he actually found me desirable in my Uggs, Barbour and sick-stained jumper, surely he would hang around for my response. But no, it's like he knows that he's the sleaziest man in the history of the world ever.

Except he's not, because this is not an isolated incident, and I am not the only girl it happens to. Far from it. As I'm sure you are aware, anything female under the age of 40 (and often over that age, too) is subjected to this on a daily basis from a handful of men who are oversexed, overweight, over-optimistic and over-the-hill.

My mother, and various other oracles, have informed me that when I hit middle age, I'll miss this kind of attention. I beg to differ: I won't miss it and neither would they if they were on the receiving end of the kind of language that is now slung in the direction of young women. In their day, people pretended they didn't have sex before they got married; nowadays, strangers describe what they want to do to you in the middle of the street. This is not OK. And why is it never the hot, attractive, eloquent ones who lyrically molest you in public? Because actually, if the creeps with the confidence to say things actually said something worthwhile or interesting or funny, maybe – just maybe – the girls would turn round and say, "Yeah, OK, lets get to it".

They should watch Stephen Fry on QI. He really does say the cleverest things.