How to be cool


I was walking across Shaftesbury Avenue yesterday afternoon, fag in hand, big black coat open waving in the wind, hair dishevelled, talking to this girl I was going to see Kill Bill with, and we were just in front of the fire station when she slung her arms around me with her eyes sparkling and said:

'You're so cool, you looked like a film director striding across that road!'

'You think I'm cool?'

'Bit rough around the edges, but cool yeah!'

'You're saying I'm cool?'

'I notice you ignored rough around the edges, but yeah, you're cool!'

'Oh, thanks,' I said, passing the Chinatown phone booth. I felt a warm glow, as you do when you realise a pretty girl is gonna be easy to shag.

I guess she just had one of those framed moments in her mind's eye, and I must admit just the moment before she slung her arms around me I had that sense of striding through the world like I was some artistic demigod. Usually I try to remain completely unconscious to avoid thought, save what spontaneously bubbles up. But I do recognise those 'just so' moments, you see yourself with a cinematographer's eye and think that's a great shot. And her commenting on it like that was a split-second afterwards, so I guess there must have been something there and she picked up on it too.

I get this every so often, people insisting I'm cool. It amuses me. If anything, I've always set great store by not trying to be cool. To me cool is people who imagine they're cool meeting me and thinking hang on a minute no I'm not cool he's cool. I'm vain enough to find that funny. And I can always be reassuring in a crisis of coolness from some hip dude fallen down the coolness stakes by comparison with, let's face it, the genuine article.