Today, I met up with my wonderful friend Will above (not Matt Damon, although striking resemblance that’s for sure) for a late lunch at Carluccio’s in Leeds as he was visiting from London for a meeting.
So busy non stop chatting, we took ten years to order food (lasagna for him, salad nicoise for me-not hard huh!), devised a genius test ad for B&Q (full credit must go to Will) based on his recent painterly expeditions to the store and involved Santa like B&Q wizards coming out of cupboards solving your woes (you just wait until we’ve shot it 😉 )…and we put the world to rights too of course!
It was a much needed injection of midweek fun for me and really restorative too! Real friends do that for you, right?!
To give you some background: Will is one of my oldest, closest friends (of the male variety) but he’s up there equally with my girlfriends too and despite being one of my original ‘boy mates’ (he announced we’d known each other 15 years today-wow), meeting during our first year at Uni (I know what you’re thinking, crazy how young we look right??) Will really is the only man friend who’s stood the test of time. Sad face. Where have all my males friends gone?
Posing over a Salad Nicoise as you do!
I suppose it’s inevitable isn’t it, you meet ‘the One’, get married, have kids and finding the time and sometimes the urge, for all the usual booty shaking, single-style antics are hard to come by as you get older and well, you tend to want different things too. That’s not to say you don’t still like to hang out with your friends, dance the night away when you can and still be YOU- no way, it’s just life changes a little when you settle down.
…To be fair, I’m actually pretty good when it comes to staying in touch with close mates and always try and make the effort to keep the ones I love, firmly in my life; there’s nothing like limited time to really make you focus on those who matter, but somehow the men in my life (and I have had quite a lot of strong male friendships over the years) dwindled when I met my now husband Peter and then when kids arrived on the scene.
You see the great Nora Ephron had it right with When Harry Met Sally, male and female friendships can be complicated, some involve unrequited love/feelings/weird sexual angst and others, well others, simply do not.
Will and I have always had a purely platonic, brother-sisterly relationship. Meeting as students aged 19, working on weekends as ‘hosts’ (seating people in the restaurant at Tiger Tiger, London -when it was cool, then taking clubbers’ money) we instantly clicked and became inseparable.
Discovering we were both studying at universities nearby which came under the University of London umbrella made life easy too-Will was a med student (now an anesthetist, I, a film student); we met up pretty much every weekend for shopping, clubbing, house parties and crazy media events one of us had blagged our ways into (Will modelled his way through med school and I worked for the BBC and Talk Sport Radio on weekends and holidays-faxing clubs on headed paper helped get us into all the best clubs without queuing too-thanks Aunty Beeb).
In fact, Will even accompanied me to an open audition to become an MTV presenter the day after we met. I didn’t get the job (much to my parents relief) and the fact Richard Blackwood flirted with me softened the blow to my immature 19 year old self-and Will and I laughed the whole time we were there (and we were there for hours and hours and hours-there were quite a lot of 19 year old wannabee MTV presenters waiting for stardom that day, let me tell you).
Told you we laugh a lot.
…In fact laughter is a running theme in our relationship- on the very first night we met, we naughtily snuck off to the dance floor at Tiger Tiger, bored with collecting punters’ money (bad hosts) and Will made me literally roll on the floor in hysterics with his crazy (hoping ironic) techno style moves (think embarrassing Dad and Uncle combo trying to dance at your school disco on Red Bull)…hmmm.
Oh and we liked to pose on random motorbikes for pictures in Soho!
….We danced A LOT over the years (sometimes even on the Tube Mary Poppins style with umbrellas-don’t ask-photo evidence below) and Will is super creative so we connected over TV ideas, screenwriting and painting too! I would test him on medical questions pre exams and in my head I studied medicine alongside him…to this day I love giving unqualified advice to anyone who asks (Ha)!
Seriously though, we were there for each other through early, often dramatic relationship troubles, of which we both seemed to have a lot of in those days and we shared so many incredibly laugh out loud crazy times too (did I mention the partying and blagging?) I remember Will walking the catwalk for an FHM party at the National History Museum that was quite a party! I’m not sure how we ever graduated in all honesty…
… Will actually attributes surviving Uni to me ( taking on the motherly role) as I always made sure he was fed as opposed to his idea of shopping which usually meant stealing flatmates’ cheese and stale bread for dinner. Nice. There was a time we lost touch for a while but on reuniting, nothing had changed, our friendship was still intact and stronger than before….Will still refers to me as his Mummy today (in jest, we’re not COMPLETE weirdos)!
…And you know what the Mummy part is one I’ve always appropriated, the nurturing, maternal friend (for all my chums) pre-kids too and even on set directing…but back to the burning question of where did all the boys go?!
Well, a lot of my filmmaking set headed for the hills when Oliver (now 4) arrived in early 2010, I think they didn’t get why I wanted to procreate, especially with an award winning career as a director (give me a baby over a Bafta any day)…although maybe ask me again when I’ve actually won a Bafta (kidding) and I still work in the industry (who knew)… and of course, before then, post wedding, it was bye bye to a few who either thought I’d changed (and maybe I had) and those jogged on not wanting to share me with (so to speak) my husband.
Of course now, with, SHOCK HORROR two kids on the scene, well here we are-me and my only best but bloody wonderful friend Will.
Granted, I’m friends with my husband’s mates but Will is my friend (not a hand-me-down) the one I have so much history with, the one I respect and care for and hope to be friends with forever more. He gets on great with my husband Peter (above) and adores the kids which helps of course but it’s our friendship which unites us all.
…So you know what, it doesn’t really matter that most of my male friends frittered away because the best one, the one who still makes me laugh today with his silly dance moves, Will, has stayed around.
Have you got any male friends left?