My Last 5 Girlfriends (2009)

Hello, and a very good morning to you.
It's BBC London, 94.9.
- It's me, Jo Good, and Paul Ross.
- May I say,
with the sun shining outside as
it plays across the beautiful buildings,
- you look gorgeous this morning.
- Thank you very much.
- You said a bit of sun.
- My favourite vista ever
is going over Waterloo Bridge.
You see Westminster, Big Ben,
you see the London Eye,
the South Bank.
The great thing is it's better to be on
Waterloo Bridge looking across the river
because Waterloo Bridge is the most
boring bridge apart from London Bridge.
But on Waterloo, you see good things.
Never stay at the Dorchester.
Stay at the cheap place next door
and look down on the Dorchester.
- You save money, get a better view.
- You're so right.
What a lovely city we live in.
Enough of our yakking...
Dear Wendy, Olive,
Rhona, Natalie and Gemma:
I hope you're all very happy.
Did that sound sarcastic?
It was meant to.
What you've collectively done to me...
What you've collectively
done to me is...
What you've collectively done to me
is quite an achievement.
Four years ago, I was happy to believe
in a very simple concept.
You might have heard of it.
It's called love.
But thanks to the five of you,
I now know that love is a lie,
a myth specifically concocted
to bring me as much pain
and misery as possible.
Were you ever really
that interested in me?
Or was I just understudying for Alex
while you and him
went though a dull patch?
Almost everything I told you was a lie.
I'm sorry about that.
Rhona. Who did you think I was?
If I was that wrong for you,
you should have been
paying more attention at the start.
OK, so I got myself out of that one,
but did you really want me?
Orjust someone?
And Gemma.
What should I say to you?
I suppose I should forgive you.
This is a suicide note, after all.
OK, I forgive you.
But I don't want that
to make you feel any better.
I'm sure you'll all find someone.
You might even think you're in love.
But don't kid yourselves.
We're all just playing out scenes
we've seen in films.
The only difference is our stories
have depressing endings.
When real people
walk towards a sunset,
no music swells, no credits roll.
They just get to the end of the beach,
have a row and walk back to the car.
And that's depressing.
In fact, after reading this you might
feel your only option is to join me.
And that's the one thing
I wouldn't blame you for.
Bye, then.
Sorry, but I think my belt
is stuck under your...
Sorry. I thought this seat
felt a bit uncomfortable.
No, that's normal.
That's just economy.
Sorry, that's just what?
Economy. That's just being in...
- It doesn't matter, wasn't very funny.
- No, I get it.
Sorry. I'm a bit slow sometimes.
I'm only in economy because
my firm are such cheapskates.
- Me, too.
- Were you at Graphica?
- Sorry, what?
- At the expo.
You've got no idea
what I'm talking about.
Not really.
Sorry, you must think you've got
lumbered next to a right nutter.
- I promise I'll shut up now.
- No, no, not at all.
What is it? Graphic...?
Graphica. It's just a work thing.
And I just assumed that you were
coming back from it as well.
Which is, of course, ridiculous.
And a little bit arrogant.
I have this tendency to think other
people's lives revolve around mine
so I am gonna stop talking
and leave you in peace.
No, that's quite all right. It's OK.
No, I...
Of all the people I could have sat
next to, I sat next to Wendy.
I couldn't accept that meeting her
on that plane
had merely been a coincidence.
Had heavenly forces been subtly
shifting our movements
so that we would one day meet
on the Paris to London shuttle?
Or was it just down to chance?
- Johnny?
- Thanks, Duncan.
OK. Well, between Charles De Gaulle
and Heathrow Airport,
there are two national airlines.
And they were running that morning
six flights.
So the odds: one in six.
I'd actually planned to get
the 10.30 Air France flight.
But somehow, a bottle
of shampoo leaked in my bag,
wasting a valuable ten minutes.
By the time the hotel clerk
had produced my bill,
cleared my credit card and
I found a taxi, it was already 9. 15.
Then because of some ridiculous
roadworks on the Champs-lyses,
by the time I got to the airport,
my flight had finished boarding.
I couldn't be bothered waiting for the
next Air France, so I got the next BA.
- Would you like some lunch, madam?
- Yes, thank you.
- And you, sir?
- No. I don't...
- We have sandwiches if you'd like.
- I'm not really...
Go on. Take them.
I'll eat them. I'm starving.
- Thank you. Thanks.
- Thank you.
- Are you sure I'm not depriving you?
- No. Absolutely not.
Thank you.
- I love airline food.
- Really? You must be the only one.
I don't know, it sort of...
It still seems like a treat somehow.
My mum used to have
one of these trays at home,
and anything I wouldn't eat,
she'd put in it
and pretend we were going on holiday.
- Did it work?
- Yeah. Every time.
It's kind of...
It's a bit silly, really.
No. Not really.
Not as silly as collecting sick bags.
Collecting what?
- No, it's nothing.
- No, do you collect sick bags?
Not anymore.
So how many have you got?
About a hundred?
Blimey! You must have travelled a lot!
It was my dad, mainly.
He'd collect them for me.
They were sort of like postcards.
He'd write little messages
and draw pictures on them.
They're like works of art.
- Sweet.
- Really?
Well, it did make me want to travel.
He'd write reviews
of the places he'd been.
I always wanted to know
if he was right.
So you're working your way
through the sick bags?
Sort of. I suppose I'm about halfway.
That's so great. I wish
I had a mission like that.
Something to devote myself to.
I'm Wendy, by the way.
For the next 33 minutes,
Wendy gave me her mini biography.
Wendy had been in Paris
attending a trade fair.
She worked as a graphic designer
for a fashion magazine in Soho.
She was born in Blackpool...
...but moved to Wiltshire as a child.
She did fine art at Camberwell...
...and now lives alone
in a flat in Earl's Court.
The whole place
is falling apart, though.
I really shouldn't have bought it.
It needs so much doing to it.
But it was one of those rash decisions.
I have a tendency to do that.
Well, one of those
rash decisions became me.
Soon my life would be full of...
I need to see you now.
- ... and...
- You make me very happy.
Despite incredible odds,
we had found each other.
Didn't that prove that these things
weren't just down to chance?
That God is running some kind
of heavenly dating service?
Have you given up hope of ever
finding that special person?
Well, don't despair.
At Divine Dating, we have hundreds
of expertly trained staff
standing by to meet
your romantic requirements.
I never thought I'd find her.
I'd given up hope.
A friend introduced me to Divine Dating,
and I've never looked back.
Now, I just think of the future
for both of us.
The three of us, remember?
Oh, yes, the three of us!
Divine Dating.
'Cause one day,
the big fella will get round to you.
And that means you!
It has to be something like that
because otherwise people are just
meaninglessly bumping into each other.
Let me look.
I happen to be a doctor.
- It's very kind of you.
- I had to believe that Wendy and I
were meant to be together.
I mean, just look at the evidence.
We were both born at around midnight
in the same month
of an even-numbered year.
Both of us tried to learn the clarinet.
We were both in school productions
of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
We both have two large freckles
on a toe on our left feet,
and a cavity in the same rear molar.
And both of us
do this in bright sunlight.
We even own the same edition
of Anna Karenina.
I was convinced that I was always
destined to sit next to her
and not just any other girl.
I was meant to fall in love
with those eyes,
that way of combing her hair,
of biting her lower lip.
That despite odds of 0.313 per cent,
I was sure that I was put
on this earth to be with Wendy.
I love being with you.
I know that.
So, what's the problem?
It just wouldn't be fair on Alex.
I thought you said
that didn't matter anymore.
I know, but...
He should be devastated.
You're wonderful.
I want to spend
the rest of my life with you.
Stop! Don't, I can't.
It's gonna be painful
whatever happens.
The longer you leave it,
the worse it's gonna get.
- I know.
- You told me yourself
that you don't love him any more.
It's just that Alex has had so much
tragedy in his life this year.
- This'll just destroy him.
- But surely if you keep Iying to him,
it's only gonna make things worse.
I don't know
if I'm Iying to him, though.
What does that mean?
I don't know.
No. Come on, Wendy.
You either love him or you don't.
Yeah, I do love him.
Yes, but do you love him
more than me?
So how did this happen?
Where was...?
I need to see you now.
- And...
- You make me very happy.
Was this the same person that
on the sixth of December said...
Yeah, I'm sort of with this guy.
Sort of. But it's been pretty ropy
for quite some time now.
And two weeks later...
That's it. It's over.
It really is all over.
At what point did that become this?
- So you didn't tell him?
- Kind of.
It's kind of obvious.
He's not stupid.
When did the rot set in?
When did Alex start to seem
not that bad after all?
Was it the night
I described Wendy as...
- She's a bit dizzy.
- ... in front of her friends?
Was it my lack of enthusiasm
for this piece of contemporary dance?
Maybe I was too clingy.
- Hiya!
- Christ!
Or just too laid back.
Hey! Come on, it's starting!
Or maybe I never really stood
any bloody chance in the first place.
Would you like some wine?
I don't mind. Do you?
Whatever you want.
- Either way is fine by me.
- I agree.
So should we have it or not?
Well, I don't think I'll have any.
After five dates with Olive,
I still knew almost nothing about her.
What kind of books do you like?
I like James Joyce, Henry James,
John Kennedy Toole.
I developed new personalities.
- Do you like your job?
- I think all jobs are pretty crappy.
Personalities based
on what I thought
she might like.
What do you like to do
at the weekends?
I run Saturday mornings,
and I have to see some nature.
But I couldn't tell who she was.
One minute she'd say...
I think there's nothing wrong
with being emotionally vulnerable.
- And the next...
- People are such wimps.
Had she liked any of the places
we had been together?
Did she like me?
I had no idea what she wanted.
Do you think two people
should live solely for one another?
- In most cases.
- Was your childhood difficult?
In parts.
Have you ever been truly, truly in love?
It felt like it,
but I think I was deceiving myself.
- So, what's your favourite colour?
- Orange.
Dessert, madam?
What do you think,
the chocolate or caramel?
I just love chocolate, don't you?
I can't understand people
who don't like chocolate.
- That one, please.
- Sir?
Well, it's only
a mild chocolate allergy.
It shouldn't be too much of a problem.
You'll have to give him
something else for Easter.
Did Olive like me any more
because I lied?
I mean, why had I been
attracted to her?
It had nothing to do with her interest
in chocolate or James Joyce.
When I originally told Olive...
- It's all right. I'll drop you home.
- ... it wasn't loaded with significance.
- I better get off then.
- Yeah.
But with a quarter of a mile to go
before Six Liverpool Mews,
it seemed monumental.
At some point, one of us
would have to define the situation.
- But the risks were high.
- What are you doing?
Everything would change.
The end of hidden signs
- and coded speech.
- Have you ever been truly,
truly in love?
But how to go about it.
Maybe I should propose
the metaphorical cup of coffee.
Orjust leap straight in.
In the end, the double chocolate cake
made the decision for me.
It's one of the world's
most extreme rides, the Rhona-coaster.
Highest drops, the most loops.
It's supposed to represent the
two months you spent with Rhona.
Let me tell you, most people
feel sick when they get off.
Why are they in shoes?
As my next girlfriend's influence
spread across my flat,
one thing was clear:
Rhona and I were very different.
And to begin with,
I rather liked each new exotic addition
she added to my life.
But at some point,
we would have to deal with the fact
that our tastes were not the same.
I'm back!
I've got to show you something.
I've got to show you
what I bought today.
I could have bought the whole shop.
They have such amazing things there.
You should have seen
the boots they had.
I'm going to wear them every day.
Don't you just love them?
A fine leather caresses the ankle.
The heel gives a perfect balance
between functionality and style.
This upturned toe
has a remarkable way
of lengthening and flattering the leg.
And I'm loving these pin tucks that
lead you through to this jaunty bow,
making this a beautiful shoe.
Yeah, and you forgot to mention,
they're fucking horrible!
How could this person,
the person I'd spent three months
feeling so in touch with,
be in such raptures about
the world's most unattractive shoes?
If I'm honest, other differences
between us had started to appear.
Why did Rhona insist
on walking everywhere?
Why did she always
complain in restaurants?
Excuse me?
Why did she never have
more than six hours sleep?
Why did she find
Patch Adams so funny?
Why did we have to have sex
at every conceivable opportunity?
And why-oh-why
was she so bloody clumsy?
It was like Rhona
was a wonderful symphony orchestra,
but one or two of the players
were slightly off-key.
- Do you fancy going to a club?
- OK. Or we could go to the cinema.
No, you're right, let's go to a club.
Those shoes came
to symbolise our differences
and the need to gently accommodate
each other's bum notes.
Unfortunately, that isn't what happened.
- You don't like them?
- Frankly, I don't.
Why not?
I just don't like that kind of shoe.
- It looks like a pelican.
- It's elegant.
- No, it's not.
- Yes, it is.
Look at the heel and the bow.
I think you're on your own
with this one, Rhona.
You don't know anything about fashion.
That may be, but I know a horrible shoe
when I see one.
It's not horrible. You're jealous
I bought a new pair of shoes.
I'm trying to tell you how I feel.
I really don't think they're suitable
for the party tonight.
Well, that's great. 'Cause that's
why I fucking bought them.
- Well, so wear them.
- Now, I can't, can I?
- Why not?
- Because a minute ago,
you told me I looked like
a pelican wearing them.
Why did I have to tell her?
Why couldn't I have lied?
- Haven't you got any milk?
- There's some at the back.
- Hang on a second.
- A few days earlier,
I noticed Mr. Paul, our local newsagent,
was wearing thick grey socks
and brown leather sandals.
They were spectacularly ugly.
But did I say...
You're not gonna keep wearing
those sandals, are you, Mr. Paul?
- Why not?
- Because they're disgusting
and frankly rather offensive.
Of course I didn't,
because I'm not in love with Mr. Paul.
So why did I spare his feelings
and not Rhona's?
I suppose we could have just politely
tolerated each other's differences.
But you see, I didn't want
to end up like my parents.
Good night, dear.
Good night.
Why can't you keep
your opinions to yourself?
Because I care about you, Rhona.
Someone has to tell you when you've
bought a pair of disgusting shoes.
Anyway, why do you care
about what I think?
Because I want you to like them.
I bought them hoping you'd like them,
and now you're telling me
I look like an alien wearing them.
Why does everything I do
always have to be wrong?
Come on, don't throw that one at me.
You know that's not true.
Yes, it is.
You don't even like my shoes.
I like almost everything else.
So why can't you forget
about the shoes?
- Because you deserve better.
- OK.
- Maybe I deserve better than you.
- What?
I'll spare you the full melodrama.
Suffice to say, she didn't
eventually wear them to the party
because we never went to the party.
In fact, we never went
to any parties ever again.
I know what you mean, pal.
Those shoes were shocking.
- I should have lied.
- No. You tell it how it is.
Hardcore. Keep it real.
- Would you have lied?
- Yeah.
Excuse the mess.
The rest of the flat's
really just for show.
This is where I really live.
And meet Guppy, my first love.
Oh! Your shoes.
- What?
- What's wrong?
- What do you mean?
- You're not into it. What's up?
- I can't help thinking.
- Don't think, just get on with it.
I'm trying to, but all sorts of stuff's
spinning round my head.
Look, mate, take my advice.
You've just got to switch this off.
Do you think I'd be able to do this
if I thought about it? Do you?
- I know, but it's all a bit...
- A bit quick? Yeah.
- Yeah, a little bit too easy?
- I suppose.
And if this was so easy for you,
how many other...?
I don't want to think about that,
but I can't help it.
- Well, then you've got to stop.
- What?
Yeah, you got to stop immediately,
tell her that you respect her
far too much to continue
having sex with her.
- Really?
- Course not, you moppet!
Just enjoy it.
- Thanks, Guppy.
- Don't mention it.
When did a fire alarm go off
in an inappropriate moment
in your life?
It may be in the middle
of the West End...
You can leave some
of your stuff here.
It has been nearly six months now.
To begin with, my old leather bag
had been just a quirky character trait.
God! What have you got in there?
But eventually it began to symbolise
my deliberate attempts
to keep my relationship
with Natalie unclear.
As soon as I let it go,
I knew that a few of my clothes
and my toothbrush would take up
permanent residence in her flat.
Every morning I would re-pack it
as though this was the last time
we would ever see each other.
It's all right.
They need washing anyway.
Your toothbrush doesn't.
And this inevitably led on
to a discussion about...
And I had very definite
opinions about that.
You just need to be
a bit patient with me, that's all.
I just need time to adjust.
The truth was it felt like Natalie and I
were quickly melting into one person,
and frankly I found that
a little disturbing.
- She now freely used my...
- Perfect!
- And my...
- How dare you? general conversation.
I acquired Natalie's need
for total darkness in the bedroom.
She copied my way
of folding newspapers.
I took to wandering round things
to think a problem through.
And she acquired a taste
for lying on the carpet.
We even developed our own secret
language based on ourjoint history.
A language of mutual references
that no one else would understand.
I did a bit of a ming last night.
But all these common incidents, like the
accountant on the bus that told us...
I always keep a gun in my bag.
Look, there's that accountant!
...created our own little world
that brought us closer together.
And soon my old leather bag
was powerless
to prevent us dissolving into one.
Don't you think we should
walk your granddad's dog?
He's not an accountant.
He's an IT consultant from Leicester.
A Ming vase?
Emperor Ming from Flash Gordon?
- Maybe he just smells.
- His granddad's dog died
- over six months ago, so what is it?
- Keep trying.
The answer's got to be
out there somewhere.
- Hiya!
- Hi. Sorry we're a bit late.
Don't worry. I'm running behind myself.
You must be Duncan.
- Hi.
- I'm Gemma. Come on in.
Thank you.
I would have loved
to have been an architect.
I don't have the concentration.
Have you done anything
I would have seen?
Doubt it. Unless you've been to
one restaurant on Charlotte Street.
- Which one?
- Chew Chew.
No! I love Chew Chew!
- You didn't?
- No. Well, sort of.
- Have you been to the toilet?
- With all the glass! I love that!
And it has the great big shiny...
Well, that's not me either.
But the corridor
and the area around the fire escape.
Well, that's me.
I'm hoping they have a fire.
Then my work will really get noticed.
- I'll start one next time I'm there.
- Could you? I'd appreciate that.
No problem.
All right, so I fell in love with Gemma
just a little bit that night.
Watching her talk,
blowing out a candle,
messing about in the kitchen,
brushing hair from her face.
I began to consider alternative
love-lives I could have lived.
- Hiya!
- Hi. Sorry we're a bit late.
It's fine. I'm running behind
a bit myself.
In city streets or busy restaurants,
I'm often aware of the millions
of women whose lives are doomed
to remain a mystery to me.
Seeing these women fills me with regret.
It normally only takes me 20 minutes,
but it's being fixed, you see.
I want to be back in Colchester
by the weekend.
If I don't book my ticket now,
I'll have to stand on the train.
She's looking much better now.
She's been ill for almost a year.
I would feel momentarily sad
that I would never get to hear
the rest of these stories.
What was it about Gemma that evoked
such confused feelings in me?
Feelings that my love for Natalie
didn't seem to resolve.
So did you fall in love with her?
- What?
- I saw you with her.
- Who?
- Gemma.
Of course not.
- She's just your type.
- No, she's not.
So, what was I feeling so guilty about?
Had my feelings
towards Natalie changed?
Is something wrong?
Do you not like me today?
- I like you less.
- Really? Much less?
- No, not that much.
- Out of ten?
Today? I should say six and a half.
No, six and three-quarters, perhaps.
How about you with me?
I'd say about minus three.
Although it might have been
a 12 and a half last night.
Often I couldn't tell whether
my feelings towards Natalie
had anything to do with her at all.
Here, for instance.
Was I furious with Natalie for making a
racket while I tried to watch the news?
Or did it have more to do
with losing the contract
for Tooting Bec tube station?
Or was I still disturbed by a comment
I had overheard Natalie say at a party?
You can't spend forever
looking for the right person.
- You've got to get on with your life.
- On the face of it,
Natalie and I were a perfect match,
but in reality something was missing.
That mysterious, indefinable spark
just wasn't there.
To stabilise our feelings
for each other,
we would often project
a future for ourselves,
imagining we were a couple of oldies
with stacks of grandchildren.
Or find houses we both liked
and decorate them in our heads.
We tried to make ourselves believe
in a future together.
A future that deep down both of us
knew would never happen.
And so in a pattern that we've
now seen repeated many times over,
another ride representing
another failed relationship
- comes to an end.
- God, what a loser.
Are you getting on?
Yeah, OK.
Which brings us
to the next stop on our tour.
An area devoted to
a rather difficult period
in Duncan's life.
This landscape represents Duncan's life
in the second half of this year.
A bleak and barren time,
devoid of any companionship
or happiness.
Six months of take-away pizzas
and video rentals.
Perhaps some of you might like
to take a quiet moment of reflection.
It's something that many of our guests
like to do at this point.
But let's not dwell here for too long,
as an area of the park devoted
to the new year
is just around the corner.
And who could have guessed
what that would bring?
Visitors of Duncanworld.
Today I have the great pleasure of
opening this theme park's latest ride.
Higher, faster, more exciting than
anything you have experienced before.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
I give you...
...the Gemma.
Hey! Excuse me!
The alarm's gone off.
Can I check your bags?
- I paid for everything in my bag.
- I'm not saying you haven't.
But I need to check your bags.
Maybe there's a tag or something.
There, you see? Socks.
- Still got the tag. Got a receipt?
- No, I didn't put those in my bag.
You saying you didn't pay for 'em?
I'm saying I didn't
put those in my bag.
I paid for my food, I literally
came straight from the checkout.
I'm not gonna have time
to steal socks, am I?
Why are you losing control? I'm
asking to see a receipt for the socks.
- You're joking, aren't you?
- Gemma!
Are you all right?
- I think so.
- I need to see your receipt.
Come on. You don't seriously think
she stole those, do you?
- So sorry. I don't mean to be rude.
- No, it's only your job.
- Your party about six months ago.
- Hey.
First of all, what would she want
with a pair of men's socks?
I don't know, sir.
Maybe her boyfriend?
How do you know that? Gemma,
do you need a pair of men's socks?
- Do you have a boyfriend?
- No.
No. So we're all just wasting our time.
- So how are you?
- I'm fine. Thank you.
- Where's your car?
- Just down here.
- Are you still designing fire exits?
- Wow. You remember.
Yeah, I'm your biggest fan.
Your emergency corridor
is one of my favourites.
Really? They let me do
a bit more now, you know.
- I'm designing a health centre.
- Oh, shame.
I really thought
you'd found your medium.
Do you think? Thanks very much.
- Isn't all this a bit premature?
- I'm sorry?
- She might not be very interested.
- Does she really fancy you?
Mere details, friends.
Yeah, what's to say that you won't make
exactly the same mistakes as before?
- Yeah.
- Yeah.
But this time
things are gonna be different.
I'm going into it
with a whole new attitude.
- I'm not going to let this one go.
- Right, OK.
I'm gonna pay attention
to every tiny detail.
I'll anticipate the problems. I'm gonna
make use of all of this experience.
Do you think? I just found people
were too unappreciative
during an emergency evacuation.
They don't take the time
- to appreciate the craftsmanship.
- That's what I've always felt.
- Please don't tell me this is it.
- Hey, do not be rude about my car.
- I love my little car.
- No, it's lovely.
It's just not much of a getaway vehicle.
If you're gonna plan
daring sock robberies,
you really ought to think
the whole thing through.
- Where were you headed?
- I was shopping.
- Where?
- In the supermarket.
Where's your shopping?
They didn't have what I wanted.
Which was?
An avocado.
I really needed an avocado.
What, like this one?
You put those socks in my bag,
didn't you?
Is that important? Really?
Surely, the most important thing
is that you go out with me.
Blimey, you're forward.
Not really, I'm just desperate.
And this time it was different.
T- minus ten, nine, eight,
seven, six, five,
four, three,
two, one.
We have lift-off.
This was someone I could imagine
spending the rest of my life with.
We seemed able to accommodate
each other's differences.
And there wasn't some old relationship
waiting in the wings,
ready to be re-started.
I was walking past Jigsaw today.
There's this really nice jumper
in the window.
- Great.
- It's lovely.
- Why are you telling me?
- Shut up.
I was walking past Bang & Olufsen
the other day.
- But it's not your birthday, is it?
- Why, whose is it?
You are such an idiot.
I picked up the jumper
on my way back from work.
But as I was filling out
the accompanying card, I realised
that this was my first non-intimidating
chance to legitimately tell Gemma
that I loved her. I had wanted
to tell her plenty of times.
I love you.
You see,
Gemma was suspicious of words.
People can talk problems into existence.
Problems that aren't even there
in the first place.
When I was 12 years old,
I fell madly in love with this boy
on a holiday camp,
called Giles.
We ended up walking
around this lake together.
Do you want to sit down?
It was like the first time
that I'd held a boy's hand.
I got really emotional,
and for some reason,
I decided to tell him that.
This is the best thing
that's ever happened to me.
Which turned out to be a big mistake.
Gemma loves Giles! Gemma loves Giles!
I don't trust words.
They always spoil things.
Maybe a pullover
was enough of a sign of love.
A message in knitwear code.
But even if I told her,
would she actually know what I meant?
Come to think of it,
does anyone know what love means?
If I told Gemma
that I had a stomach ache,
a red car
or a bunch of daffodils,
then I know she would understand.
More or less.
Naturally, our perceptions
might differ slightly.
But love is so ambiguous that it could
mean completely different things to us.
Some people would
never have fallen in love
if they had not heard of love.
He could be right.
Who's to say there's any such thing
as love in the first place.
For instance, the Manu tribe of New
Guinea don't even have a word for it.
And the Chinese traditionally
have scant regard
for romantic love in their culture.
Nevertheless, the manager
of our local Chinese restaurant
was delighted to take our booking.
Maybe the feeling in my stomach
wasn't love at all,
but a viral infection.
Or food poisoning.
Or a coronary attack.
S.M. Greenfield, in an article
in Sociological Quarterly,
writes that love is kept alive
by modern capitalism
only in order to...
Motivate individuals where there is
no other means of motivating them,
to occupy the positions
husband-wife and wife-mother
and form nuclear families
that are essential
not only for reproduction
and socialisation
but also to maintain
the existing arrangement
for distributing consumer goods
and services,
and in general,
to keep the social system
in proper working order,
and thus maintaining it
as a going concern.
In the end, I decided that a card
featuring cats and dogs
on a bicycle wasn't the best place
to first declare my love.
I would do it properly.
I would tell her myself.
Oh, God, I feel so much better.
I must have been starving.
I've been so depressed all day.
Because I have this thing
about birthdays.
They always remind me of death
and forced jollity.
- Know where I was this time last year?
- No, where?
Being taken out to dinner
by my horrible aunt.
It was, like, awful.
I kept having
to go to the bathroom to cry.
I was so upset that it was my birthday
and the only one who'd invited me out
was my aunt,
who couldn't stop telling me she didn't
understand how a nice girl like me
didn't have a man in her life.
It's probably not a bad thing
that I ran into you.
There was my chance.
But itjust seemed too obvious.
- Too corny to say...
- I love you.
The words had lost their power,
worn out by a million soap operas.
- I love you.
- I love you.
I love you.
But I was determined to say something,
so I cowardly turned
to alcohol for help.
Until, at quarter to 12,
I found myself staring at a
complimentary miniature marshmallow.
And for some reason it seemed to
perfectly sum up
how I felt about Gemma.
I've something
very important to tell you.
It's very important.
Are you ready?
I marshmallow you.
That's the sweetest thing anyone
has ever said to me.
I think she understood.
By the way,
she was delighted with the jumper.
But I should have got the purple one.
The thing about declaring
your love for someone
is from that point on,
everything changes.
For me, everything
seemed so much clearer.
For Gemma...
Isn't it wonderful?
- Isn't it?
- But is it?
Shush, don't spoil it.
No, you're right, it is wonderful.
I couldn't have imagined
a place like this existing.
It seems cut off from everything, like
a paradise no one's bothered to ruin.
I could spend the rest of my life here.
So could I.
We could live here together.
I'd tend to the goats,
you'd handle the olives,
we'd write books, paint and...
Are you all right?
I am now.
I don't know what happened.
I just got this terrible pain
in my head,
it was like an awful throbbing
or something.
It's probably nothing.
- No! Shit!
- Let me feel.
No, Duncan! You're not gonna
feel anything. It's inside.
- I know, but I'll empathise.
- God.
I better go inside and lie down.
It's probably just the height
or the travelling or something.
I'll go inside.
You stay out here. I'll be fine.
In actual fact,
Gemma had a habit of doing this.
She seemed incapable
of enjoying pleasurable experiences
as they happened.
A couple of weeks ago,
we'd spent the afternoon
on my work partner Will's house boat.
Our friends were there, the food was
delicious, Gemma looked beautiful.
But for some reason,
she had to find fault.
- Are you cold?
- No, no, I'm all right.
Have you seen my shoes?
We'd both been looking forward
to the meal for weeks.
- On the way home, she'd told me...
- That was lovely.
But at the time,
she just couldn't accept it.
It was like she could only enjoy things
in anticipation or as memories.
I don't know what it is, Will.
I just can't quite
put my finger on it.
Don't worry.
It's bound to go through phases.
I just feel like something is wrong.
I don't know what,
but since we came back from Spain,
I've been noticing things.
I don't just mean in the bedroom.
I mean everywhere.
Nothing I can put my finger on directly.
All right, here's one thing.
She likes a different cereal from me.
But because I spend
a lot of time at her place,
she usually buys the cereal I like
so we can eat breakfast together.
Then all of a sudden last week
she stops buying it and says...
It's far too expensive.
I don't want to come to any
conclusions, I'm just noticing.
- Hey!
- So which parts of these designs
- are yours then, Will?
- Well, really it's a collaboration.
Don't be so modest.
I know you did all the interior design.
I love the way
you've used brick and metal.
Why can't you do more stuff like that?
Well, my work is more structural.
It's not quite so obvious.
Well I think Will's work is great.
Incredible, in fact.
- I'm so glad I've seen it.
- It's great to hear you say so.
No, I am so impressed.
Your work is exactly
the kind of thing I'm interested in.
It's such a pity that more architects
aren't trying to do what you're doing.
- I imagine it can't be easy.
- It's not that easy.
But I've always been taught
to go with the things I believe in.
I work on projects that emit
a sort of energy from them.
Yeah, I think I see what you mean.
I was working on a project
in Monterey, and I mean,
there you can really get a sense of what
you can achieve by using different sorts
of stone as well as some steel
and aluminium,
about working with the landscape
instead of against it.
- Don't you think we better be...?
- What?
It seems to be winding down.
- Maybe we should go for a drink.
- Its a bit late, isn't it?
- Come on.
- Will anywhere be open?
Will, do you fancy a drink?
You can't say no.
That's it then.
We're gonna go for a drink.
I'm pretty tired, to be honest.
OK. Well, I'll see you tomorrow then.
I know this amazing bar in the West End.
Have you been to the Monkey Bar?
- I've heard of it.
- Oh, my gosh. You'll love it.
It has these huge screens
on either side.
- So... will I see you later then?
- Yes.
Don't worry, I'll call you
as soon as I get home, OK?
Anyway, as I was saying...
Of course, I had no problem
with Gemma and Will going off
for a drink without me.
No problem at all.
I was absolutely fine with it.
Hi, it's me. I can't get to the phone.
Leave a message.
Completely OK.
Over the moon, in fact.
Hi, it's me. I can't get to the phone.
Leave a message.
I was just glad that my best friend
and my girlfriend
were getting on so well.
Really, really well.
Hi, it's me. I can't get to the phone.
Leave a message.
People can talk problems
into existence.
Problems that aren't
even there in the first place.
You can drop me anywhere
round here, thanks.
- Will this do?
- Great, yeah.
Well, thanks. That was lovely.
It was, wasn't it?
I should get going, Will.
Duncan is gonna be worried sick.
Sure. OK. I'll see you around.
Hi, it's me. I can't get to the phone.
Leave a message.
Gemma's alibi went like this:
She'd gone to that bar in Soho
and stayed there chatting till late.
By which time,
she'd had quite a bit to drink.
So she decided that it would be easier
to stop off in Bloomsbury
than travel all the way back
to Islington.
- Hi.
- I'm so sorry.
It's OK.
She stayed the night
at her girlfriend Paula's house.
She had wanted to call me,
but didn't want to wake me up.
After all, had I not said...
I'm pretty tired, to be honest.
All perfectly feasible.
But then she blew it.
Why are you making that face?
It's the one you like, isn't it?
Why had Gemma gone to all the trouble
of getting me my favourite cereal?
What was she feeling so guilty about?
After all, I thought
Three Cereal Oat Bran was...
It's far too expensive.
Surely, this proved she was covering up.
- The polygraph's clean.
- But she's Iying.
- She'll walk.
- What about the cereal?
- Circumstantial, my friend.
- It'll never stick.
I just know it, though.
Did you speak to Paula?
The whole thing's airtight.
She was there all night.
You must be able to do something.
Sounds to me like you want her
to cheat on you?
- Of course not.
- Then why look for problems?
- Maybe you're looking for a way out.
- What?
Perhaps you don't love her any more,
you don't want to tell her.
- That right, Duncan?
- Hang on a minute.
- Are you not man enough to tell her?
- No...
- I thought not.
- I do love her.
I'm not trying to break it up.
I want it to work.
Then what's the problem? The lady
clearly feels bad about not ringing you.
She's trying to make things up.
What do you do?
- You make her feel worse.
- She doesn't deserve this.
- What kind of animal are you?
- OK! So I'm wrong!
- I made a mistake!
- Damn right.
So, what should I do?
You need us to tell you?
Don't, not now.
I said once already, not now!
Right then, I knew it.
If I didn't act quickly, I'd lose her.
Look what I got today.
I had planned the perfect weekend.
A first-class trip to Paris.
Our own chauffeur on standby
for three days.
An executive suite
in a five-star hotel
with all the comforts and amenities
you could possibly imagine.
It even had a balcony
with stunning views across the city.
I pulled every string I could
to get a window seat
at a three-star Michelin restaurant.
I somehow managed to get
two tickets to her favourite opera.
I even booked a twilight trip
down the Seine
with music, champagne, the works.
And do you know what?
From the minute we arrived, I knew
it was going to be a fucking disaster.
Have you got the key?
No, you said you had it.
No, I didn't. I don't have the key.
You've just locked us out.
I haven't locked us out. I just shut
the door thinking you had the key,
because the key wasn't where I left it.
That was really silly of you
because I don't have it either.
- So we're locked out, thanks to you.
- Thanks to me.
For God's sake, stop blaming me for the
fact that it was you who forgot the key.
I had nothing to do with the key.
I'm sorry. I did have it all along.
That's it.
Duncan! Don't be so silly.
Where are you going?
Duncan. Duncan!
Childish, I know,
but I felt I deserved a sulk.
I'd put up with so many of Gemma's.
Wasn't it my turn?
Successful sulking, a guide.
One, the sulk must be sparked
by some wrong-doing,
the more trivial the better.
Two, the punishment
inflicted by the sulk
must be disproportionately large
in relation to the original offence.
Three, beware of
making sulks too short
and therefore not allowing sufficient
guilt to build up in the sulked.
Four, the sulk should never be about
the incident that sparked it.
For example, for...
I am angry at you for accusing me
of losing the key.
I am angry at you
for not loving me any more.
Five, the sulk should be
gauged a success if and only if
the sulker has to be talked out
of the sulk by the sulked.
So? Are you gonna
forgive me or what?
Come on. You know I hate
leaving arguments unresolved.
Anyway, we're on holiday. We're
supposed to be enjoying ourselves.
We were on our best behaviour
that night, trying to avoid tensions.
In fact, if you had watched the scene
from the matre d's point of view,
we would have seemed like
the classic romantic couple.
Little would you know, however,
that our relationship had just
entered a dark new phase,
a phase called romantic terrorism.
You see, my sulk had been
little more than an attempt
to force Gemma to love me.
Dialogue had failed.
Is something wrong?
No. Should there be?
I just thought you might
want to talk about things.
- About what things?
- About us.
- You mean about you.
- No, I mean about us.
I had to break the deadlock
in our romantic negotiations.
So on the way back to the airport,
I flirted with a woman
we met at the hotel. It was just
an attempt to make Gemma jealous.
But she called my bluff
by acting unconcerned.
There will be no negotiation
with terrorists of any kind.
She wouldn't allow me
the pleasure of a jealous reaction.
I may have scored a minor victory
with my afternoon sulk,
but it was a hollow victory
because the romantic terrorist
is doomed to be disappointed.
You must love me.
I will force you to love me by sulking
you and making you feel jealous.
But if you force me,
it will never be spontaneous love
and therefore never genuine love.
OK, let her go.
Are you all right?
You're too good for me.
I said you're too good for me.
Because you are.
What are you saying this for, Gemma?
I don't know.
If anything,
I'd say it was the other way round.
You're always the one to make
an effort when there's a problem.
- You're just more self-deprecating...
- Please stop.
- Why?
- Because I've been seeing Will.
You've what?
I've been seeing Will, OK?
What does seeing mean?
Seeing Will?
For God's sake!
I've been to bed with Will!
Would madam like a beverage
or a light snack?
- No, thank you.
- Nothing at all?
- I'm all right.
- How about for sir?
No, thank you.
I can't believe this.
Tell me it's a joke.
A terrible, horrible joke.
You've been to bed with Will?
How could you?
I'm sorry. I really am.
I'm just...
I'm sorry.
Gemma, please don't cry.
We can talk about this.
Here, take this handkerchief.
It'll be OK. It will, I promise.
Ladies and gentlemen, I've just
turned on the seat belt signs
as we will be landing shortly.
Let me take this opportunity to thank
you for flying with British Airways.
We hope you've had
a very pleasant flight
and will choose to fly with us again
very soon.
I'm sorry for offering you
my confusion.
I'm sorry for ruining our trip to Paris.
I am sorry for the melodrama of it all.
You were so sweet to me.
That's what made me cry all the more.
Other men would have told me
to go to hell, but you didn't.
And that's what made it
so very difficult.
There is still
so much holding me to you.
But I realise I cannot continue
to deny you the love you deserve.
It would be unfair.
It would destroy us both.
I will miss you.
Nothing can take away
what we have shared.
I simply don't wish
to continue hurting you.
And I couldn't bear for it
to slowly go stale.
I don't know where I will go from here.
I'll probably spend time on my own
over Christmas, or go to my parents.
Don't blame Will, don't be unfair.
He was only a symptom,
not the cause of what happened.
Excuse this messy letter.
Its confusion will probably be
a reminder of the way I was with you.
Forgive me, you were too good
for me. I hope we can stay friends.
All my love, Gemma.
It seemed to be
the most sensible thing to do.
- Of course, people will say...
- You'll get over it.
Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off.
Get yourself back out there.
- People drift apart.
- You're young.
You'll find somebody really,
really lovely who will adore you.
It's like a bus. One is going,
the other one is coming.
But this was important. This wasn't
something you just shrug off.
My suicide would show
the world once and for all
that love is a deadly serious matter!
I would become a martyr.
A martyr to love.
- Is there something wrong?
- Yes!
Oh, God, yes!
All right, so it didn't end like that.
I had actually only taken
Which was lucky
because it suddenly dawned on me
how unsatisfying suicide is.
All I'd wanted to do was make a point.
But why make such a scene if you're
not around to witness the result?
If you don't get to see the reactions
of those you're trying to affect.
Commit suicide and you're too dead
to get pleasure from it.
And the award goes jointly
to Duncan Anderson and Will Knott
for the Hackney Health Centre.
My work partner, Will,
can't be here this evening
because he ran off with my girlfriend.
No, he really did.
Thank you!
For months,
I saw her wherever I went.
Anything could trigger it.
Tomato paste.
A pile of cushions.
Rain on Hammersmith Bridge.
Some days I would convince myself
that Gemma and I were still together.
That any moment I could pick up
that phone and she'd be there.
- Hello.
- Hi, it's me. You wanna meet up?
I would make myself forget
that she had now settled
with another man in Battersea.
But then I'd find her hairbrush
down the back of the sofa,
and the horrible reality
would hit me again.
Then one day I drove past that
supermarket, and you know what?
It was a good minute and a half
before I remembered the link.
Gemma was beginning to fade.
I became able to think of this area
as not just the Gemma District
but as Islington again.
I threw myself into work.
Obviously, this is...
How refreshing to think
about just me for once,
about what I wanted.
This is the future of urban living.
No longer did I have to worry about
whether she would like this film.
Or what time she had to be
wherever in the morning.
In fact, who needed
this love thing anyway?
Hadn't it just brought me
heartache and anguish?
After all, I'm not the first one
to try and make sense of love.
There's been centuries of analysts,
and writers who've tried.
And did they find a solution?
An answer to the misery
of most people's emotional lives?
So one day I decided.
I wasn't going
to play this game any more.
I didn't understand the rules
and the injuries were just too painful.
And then I met Angela.