It was fun. It was — compared to the hard beds, army cots, boat decks, and mosquito netting of my last weeks — luxurious. It was, at times, unexpectedly gut-wrenching. It was, at times, strange as hell. And yes, goddamnit, that was a real tan.
My first foray into network television was indeed, a bizarre trip to the Other Side, where the necessary glare of a million lights and I don’t even know how many cameras, and layer after layer of sweat-absorbing makeup give an unnatural hue, an otherworldly glow, a Barbie-like patina to even the most honestly acquired New York beach tan. By the end of day, you look like Jack Nicholson’s Joker from the first Batman film. But I wouldn’t have missed it.
First off, let me say, if you are lucky enough to be friends with Nigella Lawson, you are very fortunate indeed. Waking up every day to have a car take you to studio where the sublime Ms. Lawson is padding about in fuzzy slippers and an Ethel Mertz robe, her hair in curlers, is one of life’s great joys. I don’t know what the female version of a mensch is, but that’s what Nigella is: always there with a band-aid, magically-prepared fresh-ground coffee, her own toaster, a multi-disc DVD anthology of film history for the down hours. She carries her own supply of French sea salt in a suspicious looking container in her purse. She is not averse to a shot of tequila with the boys, should the equally delightful Ludo be offering some in his trailer. She kicks ass at beer pong. She is exactly who she is on television — but better.
And Ludo, by the way, is much, much nicer than he appears on television. A softie, truth be told. But I’m sure he’d rather I kept that quiet.