At home with Virginia Ironside

Virginia showing Small her wall of kick-knacks

Virginia showing Small her wall of knick-knacks

Virginia Ironside, once the Daily Mail’s rock columnist, is what I would describe as old-school-west-london-cool.  But, I can hear her chime ‘less of the old’ particularly as her most recent book No! I Don’t Need Reading Glasses!yet again reinstates that old doesn’t need to mean boring, blind and a bore. The book is actually really funny (she premiered her stand up routine, Growing Old Disgracefully, this year at the Edinburgh festival) and there’s no doubt that her agony aunt fame gives her all the material she requires.

Virginia demonstrates her collectable gimmicks

Virginia demonstrates her collectable gimmicks

What else do you need to know to tempt you into buying this book?  Well, she’s a proud singleton, the right side of 70 and is having more fun than most of the UK’s 20-somethings currently worrying about dip-dye hair and their rent.  In that order.

With her new book on sale from 12th January, Virginia invited me to her home in Shepherd’s Bush (with Small in tow as term hadn’t begun) for a quick interrogation.  He is pretty keen on the idea of stand comedy (despite only being 6 six years old – gawd help us) and so I thought they might hit off.  And they really did.

What makes you leap out of bed?  Guilt at seeing it’s past eight

How old do you feel? I’m 68 and feel about 60

What makes you feel young? I don’t feel young. I feel enthusiastically and excitedly old.

What makes you feel old? What makes me feel even older is arthritis, and finding it takes longer to get out of a car than it used to.

turning the words and wit into books

turning the words and wit into books

What distracts/irritates you? Radio Two blaring from a van outside that appears to have no driver in it.

Who is YOUR agony aunt? I have a vast range, with different friends for different problems.

Which is your favourite local restaurant? The Princess Victoria pub on the Uxbridge Road. It is also, to be honest, the ONLY decent local restaurant.

Where would we find you relaxing? I’m hopeless at relaxing. I like to keep on the go constantly.

Who makes you laugh? PG Wodehouse and, I’m afraid, some of my own jokes.

What are your New Year resolutions? To slow down. Fat chance.

If not West London, where?  Is there anywhere else? Surely you’re not thinking of somewhere North of the Park or South of the river, are you my dear?

Tell us a secret. Come to Shepherd’s Bush and from the local Syrian supermarkets buy your fill of pomegranate molasses, big bunches of coriander for 50p, boxes of mangoes, pickled lemons, rose water, frozen artichoke hearts and a thousand other delicacies that you normally only find at posh shops for twice the price in Holland Park.

No! I Don’t Need Reading Glasses is on sale here.




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