Alexa Chung: 'The problem with this city is that too much is on offer'

Thursday 22 September 2011 07:59

America has been full of surprises this week. Firstly, I discovered you can get your nails painted any shade you wish for as little as $8 (but if you want smiley faces or hearts put on them, you have to shell out a little more). I discovered that the things that look like rubbish bins are in fact mailboxes and vice versa (I learnt this the hard way). And I came to the realisation that nobody EVER stays in and nobody EVER cooks.

I told my one American friend I was going to try and be good this week and cook all my meals myself, but this suggestion was met with a knowing laugh and some sisterly advice: "You should probably give up on that idea right away. To start with, there are no supermarkets round here."

In an act of defiance I went to the local cookshop, cleverly named Whisk, and invested in a set of scales, a cooling rack, a grater, and a mixing bowl. But not a whisk. All items remain unused in their packaging and have done for a week. I WILL use them. I will it's just that here there are so many yummy and inexpensive places to eat that it's almost easier to go out every evening. In fact, if there's a problem with this city it's that there's too much on offer, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In London I could easily be persuaded to stay in by a rogue episode of The Secret Millionaire, or my long-time favourite Grand Designs (my obsession with Kevin McCloud is verging on unhealthy). But here in New York, I am constantly tempted out by the convenience of everything.

I don't yet have a TV. Perhaps this is why Martine (the sofa) and I are not yet firm friends. I plan to keep it that way, at least for a bit, so that I can actually enjoy my neighbourhood before being swallowed up by the gazillion cable channels waiting to snare me. No TV means I have very little idea about what's going on in the world at large.

The biggest news story in my life right now is the dilemma I face trying to choose between the BlackBerry and iPhone. People have been shit-talking the BlackBerry for quite some time now and I have stoically stuck up for the business world's best friend. But then along came the flashy and creative Apple iPhone with all its "apps" and music memory, and swanky touch-screen technology, and suddenly I'm swooning over Google Map directions and snatching my friend's phone out of her hand just so I can fondle the keypad. So, iPhone it is then...

New York is similar to Shoreditch in that nobody appears to know who I am. This has left me open to a renewed feeling of freedom, not that I was being harrassed by scores of fans back in London, but sometimes if I happened to be grabbing a snack in Prêt a Manger alone or, more likely, raiding the rails of Topshop by myself, I felt like a bit of a loser if anyone happened to ask me if I was who I am. But while nobody has spotted me here, I have been spotting famous people left, right, and centre.

I saw Helena Christensen at an Animal Collective gig last week (a band who are, by the way, awesome). And most impressively, Malcolm Mclaren was waiting for the table I was occupying at the Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village from which I've just returned. I ate my papardelle as fast as I could so he wouldn't have to stand there long. Now I feel a bit sick.

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