­­­Social pariah: Charlotte Hogarth-Jones

Standing inside the Co-op in Hull Road. Trying hard to get out. I am directly in front of the automatic doors but for some strange reason they are failing to yield to my powers. I walk very close to them. I back up a bit and start making movements which I imagine would trigger some kind of lazy motion censor, doing an excellent impression a giant man trying to scare off a bear at the same time. Much cleverer friend arrives. She hasn’t bought four packets of blue Millions (Co-op is the only place that sells them near me you know) a bottle of Cava and a pack of Tangfastics for dinner. She has bought Ryvita, turkey and raisins and many other things which can be tupperwared and taken to the library and still only add up to £5 in total.

“That’s the entrance, the doors won’t open to let you out,” she ventures with a wry smile.

Suddenly, as if from nowhere the doors swoosh open dramatically and, like Moses parting the seas, I throw my hands to the skies and proclaim “YUS! IN. YOUR. FACE!”. However, my momentary smugness is overturned when I see that I have, in fact, ironically shouted but three millimetres INTO SOMEONE’S FACE and they are now side scuttling to the baskets at a disconcertingly abnormal speed. And thus, the balance is restored.

First night of Hustings. I already feel like a bit of a numpty in that I have come dressed for my friends 21st and in doing so have seriously violated the unspoken Hustings dresscode of “election beach chic”. Tim is loafing about in Richard Branson-esque shorts. Roberto sports a wooden necklace and looks like he’s hopped straight off the set of The Beach. Everyone looks chilled, and tanned and easy going and cooolllll….. I, however, am revealing not only my “pale and interesting” complexion but also my Essex roots in heels and hotpants. I don a blazer, a failsafe way of looking serious and a tad more professional. Sadly the jacket covers the shorts entirely, so it looks like I just stood in front of the mirror and decided “Charlotte, today is not the day for dressing the bottom half”. The net result is that I end up as some kind of horrendous MargretThatcherCheekyGirl type hybrid. But I can bring things back.

Luckily, global afro-inspiration and Tres-semme spokesperson David Levene offers up a golden chance for impressive and suave conversation. He is Parkinson. I am Natasha Kaplinsky. Except, I doubt that glamour-puss Tash would have made such a heinous blunder as myself.

“So, I’ve been around a lot recently, I’ve done the whole of James College today”


“I’m sorry?”

Bugger. “I said um, I said that you were a slag but I’m sorry, you’re obviously not”

“I don’t understand? Did, did you just call me a slag? What’s that got to do with my campaign? Are you blogging this?”

“God no! No, I mean I’m sure you’re really gentlemanly, you probably aren’t a slag at all, and I mean if you were it’s probably a good thing but I mean, well but it’s just that you said you’d DONE the whole of James so….y’know….”

“Aaah Charlotte, I read your column!” slurs a lovely but tipsy ami at the Fusion afterparty, “So how do you think up such hilarrrrrrrious stories?”

“Um, actually they aren’t stories, they’re all real.”

He erupts into laughter, eventually snickering so raucously that other people start to look at me with hopeful, beaming faces, proffering their friendly moon smiles in the hope that I will share what is clearly the funniest joke of our time, perhaps ever, with them. I have nothing.

“It’s not that funny,” I implore him under my breath, but this seems futile as he begins to clutch at his stomach and seems to contemplate a bit of rolling about on the floor for good measure.

“Charlotte, what’s he laughing about?”

“Oh, it’s nothing”

“No come on! Tell us! What’s so funny?!” they beg, staring up with puppy-dog eyes and willing, willing for there to be an answer.

“Um, I dunno, my life apparently…”

“oh…right…” There’s quite a long pause. A couple of people actually visibly recoil. Awkward.

One comment

  1. These columns are absolute genius.

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