Today the lockdown eases up again and suddenly lots of lovely things can start reappearing in our lives. Once again, you can go for a fancy meal indoors, followed by the cinema and then enjoy some cautious hugging. It’s basically my ideal Saturday night.
But there’s somewhere else I’ve been dreaming about ever since the shutters came down last year — Tate Britain. Its absence over the past few months has been incredibly tough but now, finally, it’s back. Nowhere else could get me this excited about Pimlico. It’s always been my favourite of the London galleries, neither too big nor too small, always busy but never rammed and — of course — stuffed with some of the most mind-blowing works in the nation.
Back pre-lockdown, when we could last properly breathe the oxygen of art, Tatey B was my absolute lifeline. No matter how challenging or difficult life seemed, taking a Monday morning there with my magical friend to commune with a painting always shifted my mood several notches upwards. Twenty minutes with a glorious Turner or a spectacular Bacon and you’re ready for anything the world might throw at you.
I absolutely can’t wait to get back — it’s a spa for the soul.
On my way to Russia a couple of years ago, a friend and I stopped off in Amsterdam. My friend thought our experience at the Van Gogh museum would be enhanced by … well, let’s call it a chocolate confection. That “special” sort of confection you can buy in Amsterdam cafes.
It resulted in a perfectly lovely and giggly look at Sunflowers. It also meant that — when I sat on the plane hours later — I had to ask the steward where my friend had gone. It was only as the announcement came over the Tannoy that I realised she’d been sitting next to me the whole time. I then blissfully hoovered up my airline meal, even though it tasted like cardboard. Then I fell asleep.
So yes, I’ve legally tried cannabis … but would it be right for London? The Mayor has said he’s going to look into the possibility of decriminalisation, something the Evening Standard campaigned for, and I agree it’s time to have a grown-up conversation on the topic. To be frank, I’m not yet persuaded of its benefits. I accept it might allow police to divert time and resources elsewhere but like many, I’m worried about the impact of psychedelics on young people. It’s a complicated question. But the main thing is that we need to discuss it calmly. It’s too important for some outraged Twittery squabble — London deserves a proper debate.
There’s been a lot of online chatter about whether or not I might fill Piers Morgan’s chair on Good Morning Britain. But the only calls I’ve had have come from my grandma. She asks me how long till I’ll get the job and I just sigh down the phone. That said, I don’t feel too terrible about it as I’m told a current favourite is the magnificent Richard Madeley. I’ve just enjoyed several hours on Loose Men with him (the programme, that is) and I’ve no doubt he’s the right man for the job. First, he really is adored — whenever you mention his name, people can’t help but smile (admittedly some shake their heads while they do it). Secondly, he is incredibly well informed on a huge range of topics. Thirdly, he always says precisely what he thinks — which is 100 per cent what GMB needs. If there’s a bookie willing to take your money, I’d say pop a fiver on Madeley.