The Stowaway

I discovered a style stowaway. Saturday night of the penultimate weekend of the X Factor telly thing, I was ‘working’ as usual with the delectable Miss Exley in the confined, darkened metal-bolted space under the audience seating. It's like a cross between Upstairs Downstairs* and Das Boot*. (* click for links)

Space is at a premium backstage on The X Factor.

As Captain O’Leary slips through the hatch sporadically, Exley and I tweak, powder, de-fluff and re-mint him. Proper taxing stuff it is. One can sneak around into the space beside the jib camera and watch whatever song is being ‘executed’, then back into gloom of the under-seating hull.

Exley and I at 'work'.

Here I spied a young girl peering at the show through gaps in the rigging. “Are you a stowaway?” I enquired of the willowy, striking, strawberry blonde, (not my type at all you understand). It seemed she was, (a stowaway that is). One Direction’s turn included a score of excitable girls on stage waving and screaming. They were herded in via the wings like the other supporting roles, then swiftly out again. This whirly one had slipped off and stayed aboard.

Original stowaway, Blackborow.

I plotted her by the jib to watch the show close up, with instructions to stay put. The only person I informed was Captain Dermot himself, who promptly named her Pierce Blackborow, after the arch stowaway.

ITV's own Shackleton in pinstripe.

The Stowaway was student of tailoring at LCF. She asked about the Captain’s impeccable suits and turn out. Later in his dressing room,  I showed her the rail of Thom Sweeney and Spencer Hart, whom she already knew of. She gasped in awe at the construct of his Edward Sexton and puzzled over the structureless Amies work. It was gratifying to show a young disciple examples of truly excellent tailoring.

Stranded when Wembley froze.

The Stowaway had useless friends left stranded in the canteen bar. This expedition  had no exit plan from Wembley at this late hour, now past midnight, so I gave them a lift in my chauffeured car from West to East. I disembarked at The Hoxton Queen and bid the Stowaway return in my carriage after dispatching her companions. The Queen was no good at all and I called almost straight away. It rang and rang to no avail. Rinsed of my ride by a 21 year old stowaway. Dagnabbit! I had to laugh, and in my Anderson&Sheppard chalk stripe three piece and matching cashmere cap, I picked my way with contempt through drunken weekend Shoreditch; the Blackpool seafront of stylish London.

Unabashed I arrived in Vogue Fabrics, Dalston. After Jennifer had regaled me of my usual Rum and Becks and I had admired Lyall’s interpretation of theatre scrubs meet Dynasty glamour, my phone rang. A slightly panicked Stowaway had been set on vibrate apparently. Hmm. Redemption could only be attained with a conspicuous re-appearance, she should dress accordingly. “How?” she asked. Up, of course.

Amongst the transvestite Doctors and nurses running the night, twisted surgeons and bondage consultants ruled the dance floor. Macho, check-shirted, moustachioed boys and fringe-flicking, neckerchiefed trendies jostled cheek by scowl. Through this fashion melee appeared The Stowaway. A virginal white Fifties prom dress was teamed with white ankle strap courts. Not the only girly dress in the room, but the only one worn by a girl. With neat hair and make-up and unbridled innocence, it was the perfect entrance to Dalston's club scene. Also the perfect antidote to the Shoreditch contrivances I had endured earlier on route. Congratulations The Stowaway: You’ve passed the first audition.

TS out

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