Vertigo Leg 1: 2005, US


New York post-show - Talking heads.

New York post-show - Talking heads. Two ancient New York matrons talk about fur, bras, Saks and the loneliness of widowhood.

Overheard an extraordinary conversation in a Manhattan diner booth this morning. Two older women who both looked like a cross between Barbara Cartland and Lucille Ball, real New York 'Old Money', very well dressed, dyed red hair, very white foundation and one of them doing all the talking. I sat reading 'Popism' and it all just fitted together somehow. The woman's monologue was extremely loud, oblivious to the fact that practically the whole place could hear her. She started with a long tirade about her investment broker, which I phased in and out of, then she talked a lot about broken blood vessels around her eyes and getting her neck "done", which sounded a little frightening, wandering through various medical items most of which I tried to blank, but then out of nowhere: "I want to buy a new mink coat. I need a lift, I really do. I want to buy a new mink. It'll be the last one I buy in my life and I need a lift. A light one, with dark trim and long. Like a sable, well, a mink, you know. A light one with a little collar, and long. And some beige shoes, some simple beige shoes, and a little CoCo dress. I need a lift and oh, just once I'd like to be dressed like that." Her older companion mutters off-handly 'well, buy it then', before the monologue resumes. "Did you read about Zha Zha in the newspaper? Did you see her? Saying she was the last of her blood. Well, I'm the last of my blood and I have been all these years that Jack's been gone. I'm on my own and if I've only got a little while left, then let me be happy. Last Sunday I got up early and do you know what I did? After I'd got up and dressed myself nicely, I took a cab up to Saks on Fifth Avenue. I took a cab to Saks. It was a lovely morning, so I got up and took a cab to Saks. I went into their bra department and they only had one of the kind that I wear, so I got that and then looked for a half slip, but really I couldn't find anything, there's something about the colours they do now. So I bought the bra, the one they had, and I went up to the restaurant. I went up to the restaurant and I sat by myself and the place was full of couples. Couples eating and drinking and talking to each other. And I ate very slowly and then I had three cups of coffee so I could stay and watch all these couples and some were drinking wine and you know, toasting each other with their glasses, lifting their glasses and laughing and talking and I watched them all for a long time and I watched and I watched and I couldn't believe that once I had lived like that... then when I left, I walked right up the Avenue and through the park and I carried on walking, a long walk, and I walked until I just couldn't walk any more..."

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