Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Absolutely, Vanessa!"

I won't hear a word against Vanessa Feltz. I know she has made some dodgy decisions about her professional appearances, her clothes and her lovers, but that only endears her to me, who has often made the same mistakes. Her daily phone-in on BBC London 94.9 shows that she is professional, clever, funny, self-deprecating, articulate and genuine.

On her Saturday show this week, one of the topics is Tupperware. There have been newspaper reports that in these credit-crunch times, people are going back to packed lunches, and sales of lunch boxes are up 40%. After an Australian Londoner phones in, saying she cannot get Tupperware here and is reduced to trawling charity shops for her fix, I decide to phone in and set the record straight (and maybe get a bit of business).

When I speak to Vanessa's researcher, it turns out that she has been looking for me all morning. As the Tupperware consultant for London, she was hoping I could add something cogent to the discussion. I end up doing a 10-minute interview. I also say "Absolutely!" way too much.

Tupperware in fashion

Last April, I blogged about my guest appearance at Timberlina's Bingo Pub Night at London's Royal Vauxhall Tavern. This week we team up again to bring a touch of Tupperware to a swanky party during London Fashion Week. Various celebrities (and Peaches Geldof) have been invited to decorate a beach hut, which is displayed at the party at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly. The huts will be auctioned, and the proceeds given to the celeb designer's chosen charity. For some reason, Timberlina and I are invited to occupy the floral beach hut designed by singer Alesha Dixon, where we will demonstrate Tupperware as people arrive at the party. As the publicity says, "Join Ms T for a glass of something as she embarks on a new career tangent as a freelance Tupperware consultant with her mentor for the evening, Andrew".

It's a more starry event than my usual parties, and many of the guests are pictured arriving or leaving in the papers the next day. Duncan James and Tara Palmer-Tompkinson are there, and Rhys Ifans, Roisin Murphy, Mark Ronson and Mika glide by our hut. A shockingly bony Lady Victoria Hervey has a 3-person camera crew in tow all evening. I talk Tupperware with Cleo Rocos, who takes two catalogues. Timberlina has to explain to me who keen browser Patrick Wolf is, and that the polite posh girl called Morwenna who buys a Mini-Max is a famous catwalk model.

I used to work with fashion students, and every fashion party and show I ever went to was total chaos. Crowds cramming to get in, and not being allowed in for no apparent reason. Tonight's party was no exception. Lots of ticket waving. But Timberlina and I have fun, and someone brings us a bottle of Taittinger champagne which we sip all evening from Tupperware dripless straw tumblers.

Fashion people are not great customers, they expect to get everything for free or in a goody bag. But it was a hoot, and who knows where these things may lead.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Robbed by East End villains

Please look closely at the the item in the photo above, top right. That is a set of Tiwi Ice Tups, the classic Tupperware product for making home-made ice lollies. If a dishevelled and evil-smelling man approaches you on the streets of East London, and offers to sell you a set of Tiwi Ice Tups, that will not be me. Rugby tackle him to the ground, grab the Ice Tups, and contact me immediately. Let me explain.

The organisers of the annual St Barnabus Community Fete in Bow invite me to be part of their event this year. It pretty much pours with rain all day, but I have a prime spot next to the spectacular cake stall (below right), and I can bask in the glory of their amazing array of rock cakes, fairy cakes and brownies.

Business is as brisk as the weather allows, and I sell quite a lot of Tupperware. At one point two members of what I shall generously call the street drinking community shuffle over and start fingering my products. Distracted by another customer, I just catch the Can Opener going to one guy's bag. "I'll have that back please", I bark. He gives a fake-puzzled look. "The can opener you just put in your bag. I need it back". He hands it back, muttering something, and lurches on the to cake stall and asks for a free cake.

A little while later, someone asks about the Ice Tups and I say "Oh yes, a classic, they are right here... oh." Robbed! Later still I notice that a Universal Peeler has gone too. Either the guy who took the can opener also took the other stuff without me noticing, or my stall is being staked out by a latter-day Fagin and his gang. I report it to the organisers, and there follows a hilarious sweep of the fete, with strapping South African security guards occasionally beckoning me over to ID a possible wino with a Tupperware habit.

There were a couple of occasions when, a la Albert Square market, I asked one of the cake women to "Watch my stall" while I fetched a coffee, so maybe it was my own fault. Bleedin' East Enders.

I have been in touch with members of the East End Women's Institute and will be running a Tupperware party for them in December. I am delighted to see that they are running the tea tent at the Community Fete, and I go an introduce myself. I get a big hug from Sorella Le Var, Vice President and Food Champion. She has popped up on television this summer advising on food storage and preservation. My kinda gal!