Lessons In Lockdown: Who lives in a house like this?

By Claire Mahoney

Anyone familiar with the comedy game show ‘Through The Keyhole’? For nosey parkers such a myself it is a piece of television genius.

I remember watching it when Lloyd Grossman and David Frost presented it. They would visit several celebrity homes and then other celebrities would have to guess whose house it was.

Well good old COVID-19 has taken away all that guesswork for us. No more wondering about whether Madonna has a bidet in her bathroom, or which style of curtain tie-back Mariah Carey prefers…. it’s all there. We literally have a window into their private spaces thanks to social media and their desire to share their lockdown lunacy with the rest of the world.

For me, I have to say the best of these sneak celebrity peaks was inside Paul Weller’s house. I have been a huge fan of Mr Weller since I was a teenager and way back then the only sniff we would get at his domestic arrangements was the photocopied handwritten letter from his sister Nicki who ran the fan club and an overzealous misinterpretation of his song lyrics to fit our teenage fantasies.

These days its a veritable backstage bonanza for music fans. And luckily for me and many others Paul’s wife Hannah is very social media friendly and seems to enjoy sharing her insta clips of domestic bliss in lockdown. Perhaps had I been younger my focus would have been on the main man and his music. But now knocking 50-plus my menopausal mind has completely different priorities.

Apart from treating us to daily doses of what she was making for dinner, she also proudly displayed their vitamin and mineral collection. Apparently its magnesium and zinc all the way for their household. And you know what they say Zinc is good for…..

Anyhow. After a couple of days Hannah announced that she had persuaded Paul to serenade us with a tune or two. After all Chris Martin from Coldplay had been doing it for days and sent us all to sleep so we needed Weller to literally ‘Wake up the Nation’.

Now, I’ve seen Weller live a fair few times and while seeing him play is always great – seeing him perform inside his house was the gift that kept on giving. I played the video back several times…first so I could see what was on the walls, then, so I could snoop at their cushion covers and lastly, so I could get a real eyeball on how they had arranged their fairy lights in the garden.

And you know what the best bit was? When Hannah pointed out that the marital duvet was hanging drying over their kitchen door? What domestic disaster had befallen it? I wondered. Was this a regular thing? I’ve never washed a duvet in my life before! And I’ve certainly never hung it on a door to dry.

My mind raced on. That duvet can’t be very large then to fit on a door. Was it a king or queen bed, I wondered? Was it duck down, goose or synthetic? I know, I know I can hear you all saying – don’t be ridiculous. But I know for a fact that it’s exactly what all the other Weller-mad women were thinking. “If I were his wife would I have hung a duvet to dry on the door?”

So this is it – this is what lockdown has driven me to and no doubt many others. We have become a nation of virtual curtain twitchers, who at a time when restaurants and bars and indeed gigs are off limits, we can dine out on what books the politicians have strategically placed on their bookshelves, whether their woodwork needs a touch up, whose got good interior taste and who hasn’t.

It’s been one of the more enjoyable aspects of lockdown and has meant being at home has never looked so glamorous. So thank you celebs and people of talent for giving us a window into your private worlds. Nosey parkers of the world unite!

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Claire is a journalist and author and broadcaster based in Cardiff. Her recent book Welsh Mod: Our Story documents the roots and revival of the mod subculture in Wales and is available to purchase in all good bookshops as well as online at www.welshmod.co.uk 

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Thanks to Claire for writing exclusively for Mrs SVJ – the community blog of Sue Vincent-Jones. Sue is a journalist, editor, and communications specialist who blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a quirky, and queer, girl done good.

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