By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Monday, 7 July 2014

The Richard Curtis Effect...

Reader, living in London is a pretty wonderful thing sometimes. But it sometimes has a rather odd effect on me. I'll be walking across London Bridge with a friend, and suddenly it's as if we've entered a strange dimension, where we're endearingly bumbling English folk. Suddenly we start making grand statements and doing really wanky things, like holding hands and running across in the rain hollering and whooping, or yelling across the Thames. What a bunch of knobatrons.

I call this The Richard Curtis Effect. It's when the feeling of being in London overwhelms you to the point where it feels like your life has become a scene in Bridget Jones or Four Weddings and A Funeral and you start imagining that everyone pauses for comedic effects and certain moments go by in slow motion.

Now, obviously, this has its good points-somehow, cringey moments are less awful when you're imagining what Hugh Grant or Domnhall Gleeson would do during them (and as someone who has truly embarrassing moments day to day, this is cheering). I have learnt to laugh at myself when I do something ridiculous, and just think of it as a story to tell my friends when they need a giggle. Also, how cross can you get with yourself when you think that Richard Curtis is directing your story and thus this is all just a prelude to you being about to fall in love with the guy who reached for that book at the same time as you in the tiny second hand shop?

Because that's the thing about The Richard Curtis Effect-you think that there's always going to be a happy ending, no matter how dire things get. Incarcerated for a drugs offence you didn't commit? The dishy lawyer you're in love with is about to break you out and start your career as an internationally acclaimed journo. Wife dead, leaving you with tiny, angry blond stepson? You're going to get off with Claudia Schiffer and form a bond deeper than most biological father/sons with the sprog. Born ginger? You get to TIME TRAVEL and spend your life with the woman of your dreams. Always late for weddings and leaving a trail of mental ex girlfriends behind you?...Oh...ok, this one is a bit awkward, you're in love with this total dickhead American lady who can't tell when it's raining. (I like to imagine when Four Weddings ends, Hugh sorts his shit out and gets with his fantastically sarcastic best friend who has forever loved him from afar). Your career always goes stellar, your house is always either a cosy one bed above the globe with french windows, a rambling country estate or a snug little cottage covered in roses. You may have some heartbreak, but that makes the story SO much better. As does the fact that you're a little bit fat and you sometimes wear some really, really dire outfits.

When I walk around Southbank, you know what I hear? Well, it depends on my mood actually. If I'm happy, it's 'AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH etc etc', if I'm sad it's always 'Sorry seems to be the hardest word' and there is inevitably a lot of standing looking across the water, clutching a coat to myself. I know. I am RIDICULOUS. I am not Bridget Jones by any stretch of the imagination (apart from the clumsy side, the love of all cheese, the lack of a tidy bedroom...erm....shut up) but when The Richard Curtis Effect looms, I just go with it, and so does my internal soundtrack.

This has also affected my taste in men. You know who I get crushes on? Boys with posh voices. Floppy hair also leaves me wooed. Men who are polite and gentlemanly, but then also hysterically funny and you could imagine them doing really mad but sweet things for someone they liked (Domnhall travelled through time guys. I'm just saying). I am a SUCKER for romance. I try to deny it, but I am. It's atrocious. I blame things like Love, Actually and Four Weddings ENTIRELY. I fear that without their influence, I would be a far more cynical, realistic woman.

Saying that though-who wants to be cynical? I am a massive optimist, and if that means seeing through the rose tinted glasses of British rom-coms with people with large teeth and larger hats, so be it! I may say things that come out ridiculously wanky sometimes, but I always say them with genuine feeling, I know you can use prescription goggles instead of glasses whilst at the cinema if you lose your specs and I know to never, ever, EVER go back to a man who cheats on you with a lithe American model. Life lessons people.

So go out in London today Reader (if you in fact live there-if you don't...erm...I don't Four Weddings or something) and enjoy looking through the rom-com goggles!
P.s. Richard Curtis is also responsible for the Mr.Bean movie. Yeah.

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