It is a rainy Friday afternoon and I get to hunker down in my lounge with a cup of tea and my fave feminist about town, Daisy Buchanan. What a babe. Daisy writes for a million awesome publications but is most known for her epic Made In Chelsea reviews for Sabotage Times. Such is her popularity as unofficial commentator on all things Chelsea, Daisy’s written a book on the subject. The Wickedly Unofficial Guide to Made In Chelsea has been available on Amazon for one week, and it’s hilarious. As a non-watcher I’ve been instantly captivated by Daisy’s effortless and energetic account of the show.
How has the first week gone by?
It’s been very disappointing in a lot of ways. I thought that when you were an author you didn’t have to get the tube anymore, thought someone came round and did your hair for you in the morning, but no! Shit!
In all seriousness it’s been a lovely week. I’ve really liked how sweet everyone’s been. I’ve not quite grasped it; in a weird way it doesn’t feel like a part of me. It was so accidental and I think very lucky that I, just by chance, started writing about something I loved and struck a cord.
They seem like today’s Jane Austen characters: people who have nothing to do except have scandalous affairs.
It’s got a real old fashioned moral core. You know your heroes and villains. If you cheat, if you lie, if you try and make yourself appear any better than you are then, it may be the next episode, it may be in a whole series time but you’ll get caught out.
Obviously in terms of wealth and opportunity they’re representing the tiniest minority. But the show is so loved, I think because there are so many great stories. Also because you can quite comfortably laugh at and with the wealthy. And I want a bit of glitter aspiration in my life and I think lots of people feel the same.
What’s been your favourite Chelsea moment?
When Ollie’s going out with Chloe they all go fishing and Chloe eats a worm. And everyone’s hysterical, and they’re holding wine glasses, and everything’s flailing about but the wine’s perfectly still. And amongst all the general disastery and running around-ness, the maggots get overturned and Ollie goes “My WORMS.”
Are there any characters that you’re more invested in than others?
Definitely. Millie, who had a big love story with Hugo. At the time I had a terrible boyfriend, and I saw parallels in our situation. You don’t sensibly think I need to leave, he’s making me miserable, you think, if I just analyse everything I can fix this. I just need to work out how.
And Rosie: I think she’s definitely meant to be the villain. I think that’s editing and scripting.
So you don’t think in real life she’s a horrible person?
No. Oh my god, I hope not. I’m insuring myself; I’m very positive about the show in my writing, but I’m not kind about all of the characters. I wouldn’t want to be that unkind about a real person, I’m talking about her as a character.
That’s an interesting thing about the show is how much of it is real and how much is scripted.
The casting is brilliant in that they don’t make anyone do anything that’s unnatural to them. But they can interpret what people do to follow the arc they want. Scripted reality is such an odd and interesting genre, but I think they’re maybe 75% real – they’re playing themselves but it’s heightened.
In your writing it seems like you’re their parent and they’re a group of unruly toddlers. Do you have a sense of ownership?
I do a bit. I think generally when it comes to talking about the show I feel quite proprietorial of it. If people want to talk about Made in Chelsea, you want to come to me.
If the cast read the book, what would you hope they react with?
I hope they really, really laugh. I think most of them have enough of a sense of humour about themselves to be able to enjoy it.
What are your predictions?
People are saying that Richard and Cheska are finally going to get together. I don’t know if that’s what I want. I’d like her to meet someone who blows her mind. I’d like to see Louise with someone who adores her.
I hope they all find people they fancy. Although I don’t, because I want there to be crazy drama to write about.
Daisy didn’t leap into our lives through Made in Chelsea alone, of course; she’s a hugely experience pen-lady, having worked full time for a magazine for four years before going solo.
You started out at Bliss and you’ve recently thrown yourself out into freelance. How is that?
I had a brilliant time at Bliss I had so many adventures. Now I do treat every job like it might be my last, but so far it’s been very busy. I’ve had this book, which is ace. I’m working on another; it’s a middle class dilemmas handbook, a Sloane Ranger Handbook redux but less pie collars, more pesto. That’s all very up in the air at the moment. I’m mainly talking about that so my mum thinks I’m all right.
I’ve just done my first pieces for Grazia and Marie Clair. I feel like on paper it’s going brilliantly.
I love earning chunks of money. It reminds me of my first Saturday job: when I was fifteen I was waitressing at a pub, on three fifty and hour, and my first pay packet was twenty one pounds in an envelope. I still remember the feel of the pound coin in the brown paper; I thought I’d made it. I’d never had twenty one pounds before. And then quite quickly I discovered that it doesn’t go very far. So that’s what freelancing reminds me of.
And I love working from home. My boyfriend works from home at the moment as well, so that has many advantages. Being able to have sex at four o’clock in the afternoon, you know.
What’s the plan for the next year?
My dream would be if someone could give me a bloody column. This is going to sound arrogant, but I’ve done a lot of writing for free and I’m at that point now where I think people should be fucking paying me because I know I’m good. It’s a terrible thing, you should never go around saying “I’m good” but if you don’t back yourself, no one else is going to.
You do write a lot of different styles for a lot of different places, The Vagenda and AWOT and Work In Prowess, who can’t yet pay their contributors.
I’m a cuckoo. Laying my eggs in other people’s nests. The amount of talent that amasses there dazzles me and I’m really honoured to be part of those things. But I was recently asked by a big name to do some free work and I was like “Dudes! If you don’t have money, who does?” And if I had a decent column I would have more time to do stuff for Work In Prowess and Vagenda and AWOT and that would feel like a good use of my time.
If you don’t follow Daisy on twitter already, you’re a fool. She’s @notrollergirl over there, and is relentlessly entertaining. Naturally this gives her an ideal platform for marketing her book.
Recently Rick Edwards started following me and I sent him a message saying “Hey there, you can tell me to bugger off, this is really unclassy and not how I operate, but if you could draw people’s attention to this, that would make a real difference to me and be incredible,” and he was just charming and lovely and gentlemanly and did it and I’m going to make him a pie. It means a huge amount when people who are in a position to do so do endorse what I do. I really don’t like asking for it.
I think twitter is such a brilliant thing for new writers. What the hell would we have done before twitter? I would not be here now, I wouldn’t be talking to you. I wouldn’t know my boyfriend if it wasn’t for twitter. I wouldn’t have got laid in the last year if it wasn’t for twitter. It’s like a chat-room that’s ok. You get the odd dick, but people are nice.
Daisy wears her feminism like an exceptionally well chosen perfume. The kind that mixes with you so well that wearing it makes you smell more like yourself than not. It’s not about placards all the time, she says, sometimes it’s about sitting in your pyjamas with your laptop.
Women like us, we’re, you know, we’re just so normal. We don’t do anything special about feminism. But it seems so important to talk about that when you talk about anything else.
Campaigning as starting discussions?
Yeah. I think that starting discussions is a really important idea. It’s not enough now to just say, “well I think this,” you have to be receptive to what people are going to say. And sometimes just being open to people who are being total cunts is enough to make the cunt’s argument fall apart.
What do you feel about the term feminism?
I like the idea of sexy feminism. I want to smack down the idea that feminism is misandry and misery. My sister’s boyfriend once said, “Are you a feminist? But you wear make up.” Like, are you fucking kidding me? And anyone who says “why do we call it feminism, why don’t we call it equalism?” I just want to smack them really hard. It’s so often guys say it, guys who are all liberaller than thou. Where do you begin to explain that everything from FGM and forced marriage and not being able to vote or drive to the fact that I got hollered and beeped at nine times walking through Walthamstow to get to Londis yesterday. How the fuck is that fair?
There are other things that are important to me and other battles that need fighting but I wouldn’t be playing to my strengths.
But for Daisy (and thank the heavens there are more of us that fell this way) it’s not about a denial of femininity.
When it comes to desire, I mean I objectify myself every day. I’m going to a party tonight, I’ve got a tight, shiny dress, I want to look hot. I started my own blog, sprayedbydaisy.tumblr.com, and it’s a perfume thing. My first post is a piece on what perfume to wear to make people want to have sex with you. But are you allowed to want people to want to have sex with you? And how do you fight that? I want everyone to want to have sex with me.
But you don’t want them to feel entitled to have sex with you.
Exactly. That is exactly it. Feminism is about making patriarchal and entitlement culture fuck off.
Being a writer, who is also a woman, can sometimes make you feel like you’re supposed to lead the charge into territory that’s been traditionally male. But then who will write about periods and cupcakes?
People say “women should be hired to write about all the things” and I feel like I’m betraying someone somewhere somehow because I do write about girl shit. But then again, I do just want to be funny and make people laugh; I’d make a terrible war correspondent. I can hammer out anything anyone asks me to, I feel confident in that, but if I’m going to be dazzling, it needs to be shit about sex, abortions, periods, perfume, tele, boyfriends.
And with that, we’re done:
I think that’s it, I’m knackered, are you knackered, shall we have some wine?
Janina (the interviewer) is addicted to dark chocolate and peppermint tea. She once made a burger so good she has a picture of the occasion on her bedroom wall. You can find out more about her at myrednotebook.com and follow her on twitter at @J9London.
@NotRollergirl (the interviewee) is a freelance funnywoman and writerlady. She’s the women’s editor over on Sabotage Times, she writes books, and she knows all the words to ABBA’s entire collection. Follow her on Twitter (recommended for daily giggles).