Characters Of The Day: @caitlinmoran & @alexispetridis
“I live on Twitter. My outgoing answerphone message tells people to “come and find me there”, and there’s one very simple reason; I work from home and am often so lonely I could die. Not that I want to work in an office, you understand. There, you have to deal with people you find vexatious on a daily basis. An office is an environment you have no control over. An office would be the opposite of lonely; annoying. That’s why I love Twitter. It’s like an office staffed only by people you’ve hand-picked to be work-mates. It’s the platonic ideal of socialising. Like Cheers, but without Carla in it (I hated Carla.) If someone annoys you on Twitter you can just block them and never think about them again. Satisfying. I wish I could have blocked Carla. And Daphne Moon in Frasier. Stupid fucking bitch.
In the first year I was on Twitter I spent 70% of my time clubbing together with @gracedent to pick on @alexispetridis. Having never worked in an office I was thrilled by how easily I slipped into this classic workplace set-up. We were the mean girls, he was a well-meaning guy whose life we made hell. Most of the time it was his own fault. He’d talk about “sourcing” pasta, instead of buying it, because he’s a posho Cambridge graduate Guardian fop. The two chippy working class girls would look at each other, then charge at him. The day he used the word “riven” to describe some slate tiles was particularly bloody, as I recall.
The day of the photoshoot was just the same but in real life. He turned up late because his dandy hand-made shoes were too tight to walk in properly and I think I riffed off that for half an hour. Then I noticed Chris Floyd shares office-space with someone who sells the complete Farrow & Ball paint range and I got a bit excited talking about how I wanted to paint my hall in “Pavilion Grey.” Alexis used that as ammunition to claim that I, too, was a posho fop and I think we called it a draw.
I wish Grace had been there. We would have won then.”
“For someone who has their photo taken quite a lot, I hate having my photograph taken, because I hate how I look in most photographs. There’s a kind of vanity that comes not as a result of narcissism, but as a result of whatever the opposite of narcissism is: eternal dissatisfaction with your appearance, knowing that you’re a peculiar-looking bugger. I’m very self-conscious in front of a camera. In half the photos that Chris took, I have the air of a sulky indie kid who’s just been informed that the DJ at the college disco hasn’t got anything by The Cure or The Smiths, which is clearly no way for a 40 year old father of two to look.
I look happier here. I’m laughing at something Caitlin said. I can’t remember what exactly, but I can hazard a guess it was about herself, purely on the grounds that about 99% of her conversation, like 99% of her writing, is based exclusively on this endlessly riveting topic. It made sense to have our picture taken together, because virtually our entire friendship has been played out on Twitter. I only joined Twitter in the first place because she told me to – I think I was shocked into action because she appeared to have stopped talking about herself for a minute – but I didn’t really know her that well when I did, although she’s subsequently become one of my closest friends.
I didn’t – or maybe don’t – know most of the people I communicate with via Twitter that well. It’s a slightly baffling medium: it creates a kind of weird, virtual intimacy that bleeds over into the real world. I bumped into David Baddiel in the street a few months ago. I’ve never met him before, but I knew where he was going to dinner later in the week. It’s an odd thing: you reach an age where you assume you have enough friends and aren’t going to make any more – you don’t have time to pursue friendships because of kids and work and all the other pressures of being a grown-up – and you suddenly end up with a vastly extended social circle thanks to Twitter. While you’re watching repeats of Top Of The Pops, they’re all sat on your sofa with you, being uproariously funny about Elton John’s hair.”