One of the great things about my job as a stand-up is that it means I can be anywhere doing anything. I love this unpredictability. I have no definite routine and this suits me very well. I can be at a comedy club one day, hosting a fashion show the day after and recording a podcast the next. It's never mundane.
The downside to this is that I have last-minute panics about the most ridiculous things. Last week I was hosting the main stage of a music festival. I was introducing bands. When I booked the gig I thought it sounded like great fun and would be a real challenge. I was really looking forward to it - until the day before.
The day before I go to a gig, I pack. Normally I chuck in my wash-bag that remains unpacked from previous trips, pants, socks, fresh pair of jeans and a couple of tops. Last weekend I was thrown into a fresh new hell. I'm in my late 30s. On my way to a music festival in my 20s I would have thought about my three-day-wardrobe for weeks. In my late 30s with three kids to look after, it only occurred to me as I was packing. Now, festival wear is an important consideration. Pages and pages of fashion magazines are dedicated to festival wear. Pictures of Alexa Chung and Pixie Geldof looking amazing are all over these pages. What the hell am I supposed to wear as someone who is old enough to be their mother?
I can't go anywhere near the denim shorts/white vest/black waistcoat look that Kate Moss favours because - let's face it - you have to be Kate Moss to pull that off. I had a coffee with the girls and explained my confusion to them. I also confessed that as a younger women, when I planned an outfit I'd think 'sailor' or 'army' or 'Hollywood' as my vague idea for the look I was trying to achieve. Now, here I was, ploughing through my wardrobe thinking; "What would Fearne Cotton wear?". It turns out that was a bum-steer as my good friend suggested I should've been asking: "What would Ferne Cotton wear in 20 years?"
It really shouldn't matter. I shouldn't care but I do. I hate the idea of being inappropriately dressed. I can't bear turning up somewhere and feeling like a fish out of water when I have dressed for a prison visit rather than a royal visit. When other women are dressed perfectly I feel crap when I stand out like a sore thumb.
The week before last my packing was easy. I was learning how to race cars. Essentially - a boys sport. I thought about what to wear: something warm and practical. Boom! Done! I didn't feel over-dressed or under-dressed. Men don't put the same pressure on dressing for an event do they? Even if I had turned up to race cars in the perfect Hunter wellies, denim hot-pants and waist-coat, I'd have had to put my racing overalls on anyway so it wouldn't have mattered.
For the music festival I didn't channel Kate Moss or Fearne Cotton. I ended up going for the Russell Brand look: black skinnies, messy hair and a cardigan. I just didn't realise he dressed like a middle-aged woman with an identity crisis.