You learn the most astonishing things from your friends. Yesterday and today I have been bombarded by texts and emails asking me why I am leaving Britain to go and live in America. This caught me not a little by surprise, since I have no plans at all to swap the UK for the US.
Apparently the plan is for me to hide in Hollywood as a response to the ‘twitter storm’ in which I was recently caught. Which paints me as even stupider than I believed I could be. Do I really think that Twitter is British? That leaving the shores of the United Kingdom and hissy-fitting my way to America would make the slightest difference?
Where can such an idea have come from? In whose head was it conceived? Is it perhaps a hint? Stephen, we would like you to leave. You are no longer welcome in the country of your birth. Quit. Depart at once never to return.
It’s a bit hard. I love Great Britain. You know, cricket, Scott’s Porage Oats, Shakespeare, Vimto, Churchill, Norwich City, Horlicks, Tennyson, The Archers, Gregg’s the Bakers, Bovril, Darts from the Ally Pally, pork pies, Maggie Smith and Alan Bennet, soldiers in egg yolk, Wimbledon – you can complete the list yourself I’m sure. And now I’m told I have to leave all this. I don’t understand. I really don’t understand.
According to one emailer it’s the Sun newspaper that says that I’m going. But of course these things catch on and now it seems to have become a truth. Despite being nonsense from first to last. How very, very odd.
I have, it’s true, had an American ‘green card’ for years – ever since I bought an apartment in New York in the 90s. I sold that in due course and last year bought a place in Los Angeles. But that was nothing to do with stamping my tiny jewelled heel and sweeping from Britain with a sniff and a sneer because Twitter got so smelly.
Seems odd to have to write this and yet if I don’t, the untruth of my going to live in the US might harden into an accepted truth with all the concomitant confusions and complications that would entail.
So I’m afraid you will have to put up with me for a little while longer yet.