Saturday, June 30, 2007
Tanzania was a great source of interesting names. We knew a ‘Needpeace’, a ‘Godbless’ and a ‘Goodluck’. ‘Samwell’ (as opposed to Samuel) was also a popular one, we know a ‘Cosmas’ (as opposed to Cosmos, or Cosmo). One friend swore that she knew a ‘Christmas’ and a ‘Matches’ in Uganda. Their gardener was rather bewilderingly called ‘Mzungu’ (meaning foreigner, or more specifically white man). There were some good Arabic names at the coast like Habibu, Ahaadi, Mohammedi etc. We knew at least three ‘Saidi’s in Dar es Salaam (meaning ‘help’ in Swahili). Swahili numbers are commonly be used as names ie. Moja, Mbili, Tatu, Nne, Tano etc. making life in a large family simpler I suppose? When children are born, parents sometimes cleverly name the child after the parent’s employer, in the hopes of warming the cockles of the employer’s heart and thus ensuring sponsorship of that child through school etc. It’s a tactical move.
Last night I made a real faux pas with our kind driver; ‘Hello Wambui!’ I said, introducing myself brightly – ‘It’s Wambua’ he corrected me sternly. I then tumbled to it that Wambui is the female version of his name, so no wonder he was a bit cross.
Now there have been quite some column inches given over in the UK press as to how the poor children of celebrity’s now will feel about their silly names. ‘Apple’, ‘Bluebell Madonna’, ‘Shiloh’ (forgive any spelling errors). Apparently ‘Peaches’ Geldof, who is now becoming a bit of a celebrity columnist herself, has said that she absolutely detests her name and wishes she had never been cursed with it.
Second and third generation white Kenyans today have made it the fashion to name your child after a place in Kenya. River names: ‘Tana’ and ‘Tiva’ are popular girls names. ‘Karisa’ is a place at the coast and apparently doubles up as a girl’s name too, as does ‘Sala’, taken from the name of a Kenya Wildlife Service gate into Tsavo national park. ‘Lorian’ is the name of a swamp, ‘Batian’ a mountain peak (and also used as boys names). Then there are the less place specific names such as; Acacia, Savannah, and Cheza (Swahili word for ‘play’).
These names are not a patch on the nick names that crop up, generally amongst the 40, 50 and 60 year old white Kenyan set: Bimb, Bimbi, Beanie, Dudu, Dodo, Fuzz, Mouse, Pips, Saba and Thump are all real people would you believe!
We went to the Muthaiga Club Centenary Polo Ball last night, a classy affair and just imagine my mirth when I ran my eye down the seating lists, to see that both ‘Flip’ and ‘Flop’ were in the same party, one of them is usually known as ‘Flipflop’ though I’m not sure which. It made my evening!
Friday, June 29, 2007
Last weekend a seven year olds birthday party was ‘held up’ in Karen at 2.30pm by five armed ‘thugs’, wielding pistols and ak47s. I wasn’t there but the whole experience sounded pretty nasty. Children and adults were shepherded from room to room and robbed of jewellery, cash and mobile phones. Some adults were beaten up, threats were made and when emergency response teams came later, shots were fired. The gang were twitchy and panicking as party late comers kept arriving in cars, on foot and on bikes. One mother escaped by reversing down the narrow winding drive and quickly went to raise the alarm. The gang escaped after stealing another parent’s car. They dumped it down the road. There were no fatalities, but quite a few seven year olds are now asking their parents questions like; ‘why are there nasty men’ and ‘will the robbers be coming here?’ Apparently the perpetrators were wearing police/army issue work boots, which may be telling as poorly paid officers have been known to moonlight on the wrong side of the law during their spare time, in an effort to supplement their low income.
The story of the ill fated birthday party had circulated with hours, extra security vans were deployed here and there and night watchmen were warned to be extra vigilant during their rounds. Similar raids and hold ups have taken place over the last few years all over town, each with a similar formula (possibly the same gang). We’ve been advised not to put balloons on the gate and to step up security when planning children’s birthday parties. How depressing. What made it so distasteful is the fact that an innocent occasion like that was targeted and children, who above all you are responsible for protecting, were threatened and traumatised.
I have been agonising over whether to write this all week, as it’s not actually my story to tell (I wasn’t there) and nor is it really done to broadcast the down sides of expat living. The last thing I want to do is horrify family and friends, but these things happen here, in the same way as there are girl gangs of 12 year olds mugging people in London and murders happen in sleepy towns in England. Stoicism is the way of dealing with it here and more often than not the Kenyans, not the expats, are the unsuspecting victims.
I was chatting to a long term expat from the other side of town, bemoaning the state of security at the moment and he said there is always a spate of burglaries, beatings, raids and car jackings at this time of year. June seems to him to be a ‘hot’ month for crime; ‘You always end up feeling like going back to Europe for the summer and not bothering to coming back here, but we do come back and things seem to settle back down, at least for a while’.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
The whole subject of rubbish and its disposal is fraught. People throw away too much and in spite of appeals to recycle more in the West, the land fill sites are going to haunt us. The really shocking thing about the dumps in Kenya is that people are actually salvaging food from the dumps and eating it. The rubbish dump is their means of survival.
Every time I throw something in the bin, I’m aware of who is going to inadvertently come across my bags on the dump. Guiltily I toss dirty nappies in the bin, old bits of smelly bony fish, mouldering rice from the back of the fridge. We caught a rat in a trap a couple of weeks ago and it got binned as we were feeling squeamish. In retrospect we should have buried it to save the horror of some poor person unravelling it amongst our rubbish later. I took the attached photo from the window of my car and it’s not very good, but it does show the scale of the heap and the scavenging people and birds wandering around on top.
In ‘The Lion Children’, a book written by three children who moved from England to rural Botswana, Maisie describes how, as they began to settle into their new African life, some things would always feel very strange:
‘We had to dump our rubbish in the nearby rubbish tip, and every time we did so the same three children would come running out of their huts. They would tear open the plastic rubbish bags and search for food and anything they could play with. This made me feel very ashamed as we were throwing away things that were important to them. After that, we always cleaned the plastic water containers that they were rummaging around for and gave them food. It was something, but I still felt bad.’
(The Lion Children - by Angus Maisie & Travers McNeice. First pub 2001 - Orion)
Having spoken to friends somebody came up with the idea of a small incinerator made from old oil drums. Some routinely bury or burn their rubbish in their gardens, but burning plastic is never a good idea and gives off toxic fumes. A friend who lived in South Africa said that everyone was asked to deliberately put the food and other recyclable items into separate bags, in order to make it easier for those sifting through later. I guess this is a sensible idea and I’ll try it because anything is better than throwing it all out together and ignoring what happens next. But then that’s really not enough is it?…
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
* 72% of Africa’s urban population live in slums.
(Statistics from Exec Director of UN Habitat, Dr Anne Tibaijuka)
* 45% of urban Kenyans live in slums (approx 13.5 million).
* In Nairobi 60% of residents are slum dwellers.
* UN-Habitat has been supporting the government in a slums upgrading programme in Kenya but the process is slow and does not require those living in the slums to be involved.
* Kibera slum houses 700,000 people. A planned Kibera can only accommodate about 440,000 and residents are afraid they could not afford proposed rent for new houses.
* Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP) is a government led initiative which suggests communities and individuals in the slums contribute as much as possible into the scheme. This approach should be encouraged as it will help the slum residents take on responsibility, contribute and ultimately benefit from proper housing. To do this the slum community will need a lot of help in how to organise themselves, participate effectively and co-operatives must well lead and free from corruption (tricky). Other donors involved in KENSUP include the government, development partners, private sector, the civil society. The upgrading programme is to be implemented between 2005-2020 (hopefully).
Information from: Oluoch Japheth in ‘The Big Issue’ Kenya, June issue.
(The Big Issue was launched in Kenya 4 months ago)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
We also provide Panadol freely to anyone who needs it and now I come to think of it, do seem to get through quantities every month. I’m a bit worried about setting myself as the local pharmacist, although bringing up three children does seem to necessarily require every mother (world wide) to equip themselves with more than basic medical know how. It goes a bit further than just about dealing with coughs and colds and doling out arnica for bumps and bruises. Diagnosing rota virus, chicken pox, 24 hour sick bugs, amoebic dysentery, worms, heat rash and Nairobi fly burns are all par for the course. Friends of mine have applied steri-strips to gashed open heads and made splints for strained arms or legs at the drop of a hat.
A seven year old at our seven year old’s birthday party last weekend, fell off the top of the adventurous (and popular) ‘flying fox’ slide (fashioned ‘ad-hoc’ from Mr W’s rally car winch attached to a fever tree) and I just plain panicked. It didn’t help that the injured child went all floppy, couldn’t move her arm and kept on crying and wincing in pain for ages, refusing all offers of fanta, crisps and sweets. I was torn over whether to abandon x 24 seven year old girls at our house and head off to the nearest casualty facility. In retrospect I could easily have done that as there were enough other adults to cope, however, instead I put her in front of Cartoon Network and rang her mum. It might not have helped matters that I kept insisting the poor child waggle her arm and fingers, in order to make me feel better. Her mum came as quickly as possible (after half an hour) and wound up spending 5 hours in clinics and hospital waiting rooms, only to discover after x-ray that the limb wasn’t broken. She finally got home at 10pm, her Saturday night ruined.
I do feel a bit guilty about that incident and am not sure that I really do qualify as a self proclaimed pharmacist/doctor after all (in spite of years of unwanted experience). Perhaps I should have got the gardener to go to the doctor in the first place and given him the afternoon off today…..oh the dilemma and the responsibility! I hope the poor boy has improved by tomorrow, not slipped into a coma or something dreadful. We shall see.
Quick update: The littel boy did end up seeing a doctor and having pneumonia but has made a full recovery now!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
I have heard it said that it takes at least a year to settle into a place. If you’re on a two year contract that adds up to only one year of actually enjoying yourself?!? Add to that that the last six months are generally spent frantically travelling around the countryside on holidays and weekends away, in order not to have missed an opportunity to see the country you are living in. Those on short postings often never stop referring to their next move; ‘I have to watch what furniture I buy here because I only have ‘x’ cubic meters of freight allowance when we leave’; ‘Little Johnnie will be in another school next year so I don’t really mind what happens at this kindergarten’ and often they don’t bother with things like hanging pictures or making a pretty home as they are not around for long. This can all be a bit depressing for the ‘long termers’.
In a bigger expat community, where you have a little more choice socially, people tend to gravitate to others who have arrived at roughly the same time. Then you are on pretty much the same wavelength insofar as exploring the area is concerned, first holidays/safaris, shopping, school choices, comparing notes on husband’s frustrations at work etc. It’s a valuable information exchange and quite a bonding time.
On arrival it’s fun to explore and there’s the holiday feeling pervading your daily life as all experiences are new and exciting (Tourist phase). Later you might find yourself sitting about moaning to friends about all the things you don’t like about your new country, and how things work much better at home (emptiness phase). Hopefully you will later find good friends and feel confident about how you fit in to your new life and community (assimilation phase).
All these phases are well and good but then a spanner is thrown into the works when ‘wham bam’ a best friend/sole mate unexpectedly announces over coffee that they are moving on in a few months, leaving you behind. Often friends are excited about their move (ie. back to the developed world), but sometimes they will be unhappy about their next posting (i.e. if they are off to Nigeria or somewhere difficult). Which ever way you look at it there is not much advice you can give and the move will be inevitable. Next will be a round of leaving parties, farewell lunches and goodbye coffee mornings. The ‘leavers’ will be selling off household items that they don’t want to have to ship and conversation will always turn to what the future might hold for them.
After all this you are left a bit blank. Where you might have picked up the phone at a lonely moment, it’s no longer possible. For ‘long termers’ in a community, they inevitably get ‘friendship fatigue’ and make a point of finding out how long someone will be around before deciding to make an effort to form friendships. This can be frustrating when you are a new comer and don’t understand why others seem standoffish. The problem is that it’s wearing to hear about first exciting safari experiences when you have done it all a thousand times before. You have learned that whinging about unreliable water and electricity supplies won’t help matters in the long run.
When you are the one leaving, you almost find yourself wishing time away until you leave. It’s difficult to get through the hiatus until the actual departure date. Some friends will noticeably withdraw from you before you go in anticipation of getting on without you. Children are left heart broken when a best friend moves on leaving an empty space in class and when you are the ones moving you assume it will be easy for your kids to settle down quickly, however this is not always the case.
It’s heartbreaking the way strong friendships are formed and lost when living overseas. There’s no family ties or old school friends to fall back on. However, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ and the experience of having a good buddy for a year or two is always preferable to foregoing new friendships altogether.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Today I met up with our ex-askari who needed a cash hand out for routine medical tests. Thank goodness he and his wife are in good health for now. He offered (again) for us to visit his home in Kibera and I think we will steel ourselves and go. It has to be a Sunday as that’s his day off. It will be tricky as we’ll need to get someone to come in specially to look after the kids on our ‘staff free’ day. Our ex askari is still active in the HIV awareness programmes operating out of Kibera and both he and his wife are trained as counsellors. He said he recently met an Italian lady from an NGO and he’s been asked to email his CV in the hopes of her finding him a job within the organisation she runs. He’s naming us as references. I hope it works out.
I’ve been thinking about the slums a lot lately, with all the news stories of police raids seeking out Mungiki members there and disasters in the news etc. I also just re-watched the April 2006 Channel 4 documentary by Aidan Hartley for ‘Unreported World’, about the rubbish dumps and slums in Nairobi. His angle was that the disenfranchised youth living in the slums are massing together, becoming armed and will soon be a force to be reckoned with for the Mercedes driving, cash rich MPs who are still pocketing so much aid money and operating on an ‘every man for himself’ style of governing. His prophecy seems to be coming true and I wondered why MPs and those in power do nothing about the living appalling conditions and lack of rights of those in the slums. Then it struck me that perhaps the people in government who have come from a very rural or lowly backgrounds might seriously see the situation as really, honestly ‘not that bad’.
From a Western perspective lack of proper sanitation, flying toilets, no running water, little electricity, poorly clothed children, makeshift homes rather than bricks and mortar, does make a startling and scandalous picture, but for many in the Kenyan countryside similar conditions are a fact of life and have been for years. Young people leave the country and migrate to town in order to escape arranged marriages and a future of solitary subsistence farming or livestock tending. There is little money in the countryside and times are hard. In town it’s more cosmopolitan and cool with more job prospects too (albeit slim pickings). It’s possible to buy a (second hand) Tommy Hilfiger shirt and rip off designer shades and hang out with people your own age, even if you do have to put up with overcrowded slums and poor living conditions.
It will be interesting to see how this situation develops. There have been attempts to return unemployed squatters to parts of the country from whence they came, but obviously this is not a realistic solution. The problem of the slums in urban Victorian England was dealt with by proper planning and Government intervention. I hope that the right steps by those in charge will finally be taken here. We will have to see.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
We’re having a run of bad luck in
Mungiki: 300 arrested as hunt stepped up – Daily Nation - June 4
The most worrying is the rise in power of the Mungiki sect. Since the end of April, the Mungiki have appeared in the news headlines for brutally killing at least nine people. The illegal group has mutated over the past five or ten years from a harmless Kikuyu cultural group from Central Province whose aims included educating youths on original Kikuyu values, to a sprawling mob of youthful gangsters running a fearful protection racket along matatu routes countrywide and within the urban slums. Members are initiated into the group by participating in an ‘oathing’ ceremony. Apparently gruesome and shameful practices used in the ceremonies have been likened to those employed by the Kimathi’s Mau Mau (such as drinking blood etc). Others have come forward to say that they were forcibly initiated into Mungiki after being kidnapped by gang members and held for several hours. The penalty for being disloyal to the sect is beheading.
Previously the Mungiki have been used by MPs and the government to appear in force at political rallies. However, the group has is now recognised more for its move into organised crime, which started when the group began to recruit unemployed youths to levy daily fees on matatus (mini buses) operating certain routes through Central Province and the Rift Valley (ie 200 shillings per day, per vehicle; 40,000 shillings per new matatu onto the route). When matatu owners refused to pay recently, they were punished by violence and beheading, outraging the public and making the police and government stand up and take notice. The Mungiki is also powerful urban areas, finding it easy extort money inside the slums, charging fees for offering protection; use of public toilets and hijacking electricity supplies then reconnecting residents at a fee. Since the problems arising from the Mungiki sect have exploded two policemen have been shot dead and the Mathare slum in
Disaster in Slum – Daily Nation – June 11
Thirteen people were killed, including three children aged between five and ten years, in
Bomb Terror – The Standard – June 12
A bomb, thought to have been left in a black rucksack at a busy city centre bus stop exploded yesterday killing one and injuring over thirty people. Sadly the man killed was an innocent bystander and two suspects escaped the scene. There is some speculation that the bombers tried to board a bus to
All this combined with the Kenya Airways plane crash makes for a pretty disastrous couple of months in
Thursday, June 07, 2007
It has taken decades for the British to move on from a nod of the head, to a formal handshake and on to a bit of ‘European’ style air kissing today. When I miss aim and kiss my seven or four year old daughters on the lips, they say ‘Yuck Mum, you kissed me on the lips!!’ in utter disgust. If someone planted a smacker on my lips, I would be stunned (and obviously flattered), but also bemused. For us Brits, it’s just not done.
This revelation leads me to consider that while living in Kenya you will never be subjected to sitting next to a necking couple at a park bench or bus stop as is common in the UK. It might not strike you immediately, but soon it becomes evident that ‘public displays of affection’ (PDAs) are just not done here. The atmosphere is overall restrained and very above board (think: 1930s). All kissing takes place behind closed doors. Whilst men will hold hands for long minutes (even walk along the road hand in hand – and they are definitely not gay couples), it’s not usual to see a man and woman doing the same. Mr W has found it a helpful trick to grab onto the hand of a traffic policeman as he is trying to fine or caution you. If you refuse to let go, smile and maintain eye contact for long enough, the poor man will be intimidated into letting you off as you will have convinced him you are his friend (in theory). It’s a kind of ‘killing with kindness’ technique. In the Masai culture, there is no kissing on the lips allowed between husband and wife.
Other quirky things you will notice, is that it is polite to accept money by offering the right hand forward, with the left hand resting on the right arm, in full view to show that the transaction is an honest one. A handshake when hands are not clean is replaced by grasping one another slightly further up the arm, in a kind of forearm shake (rather than spitting on your palm and wiping it on your trousers Brit style).
One of my best Swahili words is ‘pole’ (pronounced ‘pole-ay’). It means sorry, but specifically it is said to you when you have done something to yourself. It’s like saying; ‘sorry you have been so clumsy/had some bad luck/tripped over – though it’s not my fault - I’m just sorry for you’. Whereas, ‘samahani’ is the ‘sorry’ word that you use when accepting some degree of blame – i.e. ‘I trod on your toe, sorry!’ There is no Swahili translation for the ‘sorry’ that an English person might quickly say when someone has bumped into them (i.e. sorry I was in your way)?!?
Don’t expect to hear an awful lot of pleases and thank you’s as is the British way. It’s not part of the culture to say these words and that is just a fact. I’m sure people are bemused by each expat sentence being peppered by niceties and worse, those who expect to hear please and thank you at every turn might be gravely disappointed.
I once received a very amusing email entitled ‘A Kenyan’s Guide to Kenya – vol. 1’, and would like to copy a paste a bit of it – but am sorry to say I never found out who wrote it so can’t credit the wit to anyone by name. Some of it made me laugh out loud:
I've often been terribly disappointed by the tourist guidebooks written about Kenya. Most of the time they tell you stuff you already know, like "you can go on safari and see some lions." That's probably why you wanted to come here in the first place, so that's not helpful. Other times they give you all manner of useless information. For example: what's the point of telling you how to ask for directions in Kiswahili if you're not going to understand the answer? (Sometimes they seem to be written by a malicious Kenyan who hates tourists. One time I was lying on the beach and was accosted by an earnest American who said, "Jambo. Nyinyi muna kula viazi?" First of all, no Kenyan says "Jambo."Secondly, I was lying on the beach, I was alone and I definitely wasn't eating potatoes.)
Here's what you should know: When we want you to pass us something, say the salt, we'll point with our mouths. Example: We'll catch your eye then say, "Nani." Then we'll use our mouths to point at the desired object. This is achieved by a slight upward nod followed by an abrupt thrusting out of the lower lip, which is pointed in the object's general direction. There's no explanation for this. ("Nani" can be roughly translated as, oh I don't know, "Whats-your-face," “You”, or "Thingie." We're unfailingly polite.)
We claim to speak English and Kiswahili, which technically means that we should be able to communicate with the English-speaking world and Tanzania. What we really mean is that if you're not Kenyan you won't understand a damn word we say or why we say it. Example: "Sasa" in Kiswahili means "now." We use it as a greeting. Correct usage: "Sasa?" "Ah, fit." It confuses us that Tanzanians don't understand this. We also, just as randomly, might greet you by saying, "Otherwise" Common response: "Uh-uh." There is no explanation for this.
So, cultural differences can prove to present quite a social minefield. I suppose that the only solution is to keep a very open mind, especially if you receive a sudden and unexpected kiss on the lips!!
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
The mosquito-like ‘lake flies’ were weird and congregated in dark corners during the day. It was necessary to block your nose and close your mouth on each trip to the shady poolside loo as there were so many there was always a danger of inadvertently inhaling a few! They are also very common on lake Victoria, and at
The beige coloured silty lake was calm and beautiful and local fishermen trawling for catfish in small canoes hand crafted from reeds, made a pretty photograph. The lake has changed a little over time and one collection of island people were forced to move as their piece of land became a spit joined to the mainland. Apparently bandits kept coming to raid their livestock and make trouble, which is tragic when you see how precious few possessions these people have. Fortunately they found a new uninhabited island further into the lake, where they can now stay in relative peace, though the goats and cattle look a bit out of place on the rocky islands.
We saw crocs and hippos and the more gung ho visitors dropped themselves and their children into the water for water skiing, doughnuts and kayaking, taking their lives in their hands. (There was a reported crocodile related attack on a swimmer off one of the islands fairly recently). A gentle, diverting boat trip with the only non swimming child trussed up in a life jacket and a quick stop off to another island lodge (to compare notes on facilities etc), was more what we had in mind.
After throwing dead fish into the air for wily fish eagles that skilfully caught them in mid air, we noticed that our blue sky was quickly turning into a forbidding dark one. Storm clouds were gathering and the wind was picking up. Soon enough white horses were forming on the lake, we were beginning to get wet and the children started to say ‘I’m scared’. Our outboard motor operator decided to head for our planned island stop off, in order to shelter from the threatening rain. Within the space of an hour of setting foot onto dry land; one child had been bitten by a rock hyrax (twice); two had been attacked by armies of biting safari ants; another had picked up a decorated shot glass in the tiny gift shop and proceeded to smash it on the concrete floor and the storm began to kick off with spectacular thunder and lightening. Everyone was cold as we’d set out in the sunshine with scant supplies of spare clothes. We seriously contemplated having to stay put for the night as we peering though the gloaming, feeling island fever setting in. However, miraculously the rain blew away and we sped back to our own island exhilarated by our narrow escape.
The journey home with five children involved fording through rocky, flooded rivers, multiple wee stops (with ubiquitous audience) and a dubious picnic kindly supplied by our tented camp.
Richard Branson has been in town a bit lately. He’s launching Virgin airlines in
The drinks was interesting I gather, although the hotel venue kept experiencing power cuts throughout the evening, which perhaps was an inauspicious start for the billionaire entrepreneur who was venturing into uncharted territory in Kenya.
The latest excitement was that he was back again on June 1st, booking out all seats on the first Virgin flight into
Well, being celebrity obsessed and devourer of Hello, OK and the E! Entertainment channel, I hoped we might be in line for an invite. After waiting, none was forthcoming. Mr W got a three line whip to procure a ‘golden ticket’ (ie phone up Virgin and beg), because the thought of Brangelina partying down the road, with Karen cronies and within reach, was more than I could bear! Anyway, all failed. Apparently numbers for the party were being very strictly monitored. Only the most favoured were able to bag invitations for their wives (plus Mr W didn’t have one anyway - though he did say that he fouled up when introducing himself to MR B at the previous drinks party by introducing himself as Mr B’s new landlord. Apparently his jokey repartee fell flat amidst the power outages and bevy of attractive girls).
Gutted, I listened to the not so distant sounds of party music blaring last night. Today I rushed to get a text update from a friend whose husband was luckily invited (but she wasn’t, so she also spent her Sunday night stewing). It read; ‘Not a celeb in sight! He (ie her husband) was home by 11pm). Phew, that was a close call! But also lesson learned in how rumours fly in these small expat communities! Perhaps it’s better to focus on a real social life, rather than an imagined one - involving celebrities…
p.s. I stand corrected - apparently Ewan McGregor was at the party - although that may be just another Karen rumour...