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Sykes Plum Sykes, journalist and novelist, and her twin sister, Lucy Sykes, fashion editor Interviews by Bridget Freer Lucy Sykes is editor-at-large for American Marie Claire and a consultant for two American fashion designers. She is married to Euan Rellie, a banker, and lives in New York. They have a baby son, Heathcliff. PLUM: Our mother is a children's fashion designer. We grew up surrounded by bolts of fabric and wearing turn-of-the-century lace dresses. Very rarely did she dress Lucy and me the same ² which I admire because, as a mother of twins, all the pressure is to make them into this cute little double act. But we did have to go to school in insanely expensive white piqué smock dresses with matching knickerbockers, when everyone else was in tracksuits. And while they were allowed crisps for break, we had to eat wholemeal sandwiches. We felt like losers from hell. Lucy and I were very different: she wasn't interested in schoolwork; I was really swotty and studious. I was always thinking: "How come Lucy never does any work? She just does tapdancing and acting, ballet and discos and parties, and I'm always doing my Latin homework." Lucy's the dominant twin; I was very shy and unconfident. She started dyeing her hair blonde when she was 11. I basically did what I was told until I was 17 or 18. I never smoked or took drugs or really drank ² I wouldn't do anything. When we were 11, my mum and dad didn't think: "They should go to the same school because they're twins." They thought: "They should go wherever suits them." People assume twins have separation anxiety, but they don't. You need to be an individual; it's awful to be a child who's always one of a duo. Twins constantly try to get away from each other, but they always end up together. Take us: I went to Oxford; she went to acting school. But guess what ² we're now both in New York working for fashion magazines! In my novel, I write about a glamorous New York girl and show the world how she thinks ² while Lucy shoots the glamorous New York girl and shows her what to wear. They're different expressions of the same world. We're both very ambitious ² we don't want to be poor. My parents had a pretty unpleasant divorce and lost all their money. If you grow up with a nice life and then the whole thing's taken away, that's a really unpleasant experience. Most people Lucy and I grew up with had trust funds and were bought flats. But we didn't have any of that. As much as being a double act is a nightmare, it's also very helpful for your career ² it's more of a story. No one ever paid me any attention in London. None. But once I got here, it was: "Twin girls from England arrive and get in right at the top." Of course, it wasn't true: I'd already been working for five years at British Vogue, and Lucy had been here three years working her way up. But that's the story everyone wrote.
Then the newspapers said I'd taken my own wedding dress. I don't know what we discuss: just ideas. and just having a twin sister really elevated my career and persona. and we love how over the top New York is. I'm always going to visit him. and Plum and I were chosen to be in the fashion show. who really can see the best in you. more American tastes. To cheer me up. We're both obsessed with clothes. And it's really fun to have someone that laughs at your jokes. They wanted to caricature Lucy as the happy. but we've never clashed over boyfriends either.People invent stories all the time. Since Lucy's had a baby." So he made me this super-incredible dress: chocolate-brown metallic chiffon. and I'd wear a John Galliano ruffled slip dress with a fur stole. Our friends are very different: mine are the quiet type. But then the engagement was called off. 2 . I am very. and Alexander McQueen. and anyone who's in the industry knows it's the biggest torture. So we decided it would be better for our emotional health if we got an adjoining suite in the Hotel Coste. clothes or gossipy stuff. I was going to get married. At first I said no. he said he'd make me a party dress instead." and she understands it's important. We're not just people who work on magazines: we've become a bit more than that. It just makes me feel special being with her. you laugh at the same things ² like we're always laughing at stupid people. Being a twin. I've bought this new McQueen thing. "Oh God. We got a taste for what was to come. If I buy something I'll ring her and go. We used to do the collections every season in Paris. LUCY: When we were 17. Twins always stick together in a crisis. but one thing I envy about Lucy is she gets so many freebies. But the older you get. It's hard to explain. she has simpler. pearls and silver shoes. she'd wear a really chic black Calvin Klein thing. our parents thought it would be fun for us to be debs. dyed it black and worn it to the party. I'm a very unjealous person. I'd never do that. married twin and Plum as the crazy. The baby's so adorable. It was very upsetting. If Lucy went to a party. hers are louder party girls. she's much more calm and understanding ² more of a whole woman. who's a friend. they're the really good freebies ² fur-coat freebies. sleeker. wedding-dress-wearing psycho-chick. I do an eclectic. the more simply you dress ² you can't wear frilly. there's this extra bit of fairy dust that's scattered on me too. When Plum's around. but she has more than I do. 45 minutes each time. So I was very lucky to have Plum. So my style's definitely getting more like hers. He doesn't know it's me. girlie-girlie things any more. work. but it's like having a new friend who's always pleased to see you and never has anything bad to say because he can't talk. overlaid with lace. It's really nice to have your twin sister there so you can compare notes and moan and whine. We were in all the newspapers and felt like celebrities. but maybe there's a little bit of mystique about us being twins. like the one about Lucy's wedding. Lucy and I could be on the phone three times a day. and they're not the crap freebies. but we've never competed over a friend. attic-chic thing. very nicely said he'd make my wedding dress. I snogged one of her boyfriends when I was 13. froufrou. We find it really funny. very ambitious. but later I thought: "I'd love another dress from Alexander for Lucy's wedding. I really like them.
She has great resources. I always felt I'd be the first to get married. I was a bit bossy. When we were younger I was definitely the rebel. I know what will push her buttons. We get on now because we accept those things. but Plum can be bossy too. That's really important for me ² all young women need someone who's on the same page and understands their language. there's nothing I don't like about it. But I wouldn't sit there and listen to her: I'd just walk away. I've always been a little bit ahead of the curve ² just as I was in coming to New York and being the first one to work on a magazine. I was born first by half an hour. We help each other. is unbelievably disciplined. And I'm sure there are things about me that annoy Plum.Plum is a lot book-smarter than I am ² she reads books. well. so I don't go there. which I hated. so what? 3 . Writing a book. always. I've never been able to. I'm so proud of her. She has an intellectual side. and I've always been the one that went out on my own before her. the trailblazer. I liked smoking cigarettes. Plum is a good person to talk to about career. It's taken us a while! But the relationship I have today with Plum. I've always done things first. She's done incredibly well. If it wasn't for Plum. but we've grown out of that. the first to have a baby. but we're so close you have to let it go. I wouldn't be so successful. I'm a lot more tolerant of people than she is. Plum is the most organised person you'll ever meet in your life. And if she says something I don't like. it was competitive between us. We've had our run-ins. I read people. which has been very helpful. and that's the only thing that sometimes annoys me. It's inspired me to do better. She gets the American market. That's quite a long time. She always did her homework on time. putting on make-up and kissing boys. She can be very dismissive. She's very respectful of me. but in the best way possible. Yes. getting up by yourself at eight to sit at your desk every morning. Plum loved riding and pony club and all that country stuff. We used to have massive arguments and just scream at each other. Puberty hit me two or three years before her. I have a different kind of intelligence.
Emma. Pop Idol was a great diversion. where we were in the same class. And I¶d turn up at his gigs drunk and behave like a child. Later the papers had a report on celebrities and their evil twins ² and there I was. Rupert Will Young. and the audience was applauding. as usual. His twin brother. it all got too much and I cut my wrists. which was really hard for him. has become one of the UK¶s top pop acts since winning Pop Idol in 2002. and there was a barn with hay for throwing around. William had a lot of ³Where¶s your brother? Why¶s he late?´ He¶d say: ³I¶m not my brother¶s keeper. When we were about 24 I remember lying on a bed. beer cans and takeaway food around me. He lives in west London. he wasn¶t educated about it. when we were both 20. After we left school my depression got worse. I¶d spent the night before trying to convince these tramps in a station to come back to my flat and carry on drinking there. I was so grateful to him for coming ² it was an almost childish relief. but they¶d said no. But outside school. and we played basketball every day. I carried on all week. like most people. Let It Go.´ He had a good sense of self. His new album. It was difficult for William to handle because. Rupert. And I was very clever at hiding things like my drinking. But I couldn¶t see the point of anything. I¶d keep the bottles under the bed. is out tomorrow. watching William on TV giving this amazing performance. 4 . William and I had great fun. I remember being in hospital at about five in the morning and William turning up. As a child I believed that and I internalised it. But while everyone else sobered up and went back to work. a condition he himself has suffered from. ready to deal with everything. I was jealous about a girl and another guy or something ridiculous. I was horribly hung over but I¶d carried on drinking. is founder of the Mood Foundation (www. 33 RUPERT: When Will and I were at boarding school my identity was ³the bad one´. and there¶s a history on that side of the family of drinking and depression.com). 29.moodfoundation. But then. But at prep school. and they have a sister. a charity that helps those with depression. I could watch William get through each round of the show on Saturday nights and have a party. William always had a way of falling into things like ponds or streams. You can have two people in the same environment with two different takes on what¶s happening around them. We were very good with bows and arrows. I was doing things like smashing jam jars on my head and saying I¶d fallen over. We¶d play in the woods near our home. He was more of a parent to me then. and I was constantly in a party mood. And that continued until I was 25. My parents were away. I¶ve got more of my father in me than Will has. I was so proud. We¶ve only become proper brothers again since I sobered up.From The Sunday Times September 28. He lives alone in west London. with sheets that hadn¶t been changed in months. We found an old moped that we fixed up. The brothers grew up in Hungerford in Berkshire. 2008 Relative Values: Will Young and his twin brother. and he starts a UK tour on November 16. I would wind up the teachers and I was told in return that I was not a good person. I didn¶t know what time of day it was. impeccably dressed. and at 15 I was already self-harming.
I went with him. I turn up at his home and I¶ve got my own key. In our first year at Wellington we kept to ourselves. Rupert was more of a tearaway than I was at school. to kiss each other good night. the charity I¶ve set up. when he gets back. I¶d get annoyed with teachers who tried to make me responsible for him. so I gently lifted his hand up to make it more macho. especially our sense of humour. We¶d gone from being at the top of prep school to being at the very bottom. which were next to each other. He¶s the best friend you could possibly have ² it¶s just heavenly. but it was William who pointed out that perhaps this condition could be treated. and one twin can suffer. We don¶t have to speak to find each other amusing ² it¶s just there. of course. William is very supportive of my charity and he¶s incredibly supportive of my personal journey. but he never got upset ² he just seemed very relaxed with girls. I remember feeling relieved that there could be a way to get rid of these feelings of guilt and shame. looking back. WILL: The nature of being twins is that you constantly get compared. so it was decided that I was the clever one and Rupert was the sporty one. everyone I knew was having problems with relationships and girls. We have a huge amount in common again now.´ It was amazing. I asked him to cut my hair recently and while he was doing it I noticed his wrist had gone just slightly limp. and later he used to have these terrible fits of temper that. I starting thinking that maybe there was something wrong with me. I knew people could be gay. There were no words spoken but we both fell about laughing. I think he gave up a bit because of the comparison. 5 . but even when things were difficult I never wished he was somewhere else. when I was drinking. were brought on by alcohol. But this time he sent me a text afterwards saying: ³It¶s so much fun having you on the bus. I¶ll sit on the sofa and read a book while he¶s getting ready. I think I would have found school harder without Rupert. I¶d hurt so many people but I really believed that I could change ² and I have. We¶ve talked about how sad it is that even if you¶re not famous you can¶t walk down the street holding your boyfriend¶s hand. that wouldn¶t have been possible. so I¶ll let myself in and just barge into his room and wake him up. I¶ll still be there reading or working on my laptop for the Mood Foundation.After that I thought about the difference between us and I began to realise this situation was just not right. When he played the V Festival a few weeks ago. But we had the same Common Entrance exam results and not wildly dissimilar GCSEs. I remember when we went to school there were two sets. but I didn¶t think my brother could be. I listen to all his music and give him feedback. and I was in the higher set. Am I prepared to trade this friendship for booze now? The answer is no. When we were growing up I just thought he was sensible. William told me once that he had walked through Shepherd¶s Bush hand in hand with his boyfriend. Four years ago. We see each other every day now. I¶d hate that ² I can do that any time with a girlfriend. You just get labelled and it takes time to get away from that ² he¶s just as clever as me and I¶m just as sporty as him. At prep school we used to sneak out of our dorms. The only time I¶ve ever seen William struggle with his identity was when he was about 26 and he was asking: ³What is it to become a gay man?´ I think he really struggled with it. and I was so proud of him.
We both had a brilliant time when we first got to London.´ Afterwards all the band members and crew told me: ³Your brother¶s amazing. I was used to his tempers. He had a drunken fight once and suddenly it exploded into the papers ² because of me. We¶ll meet someone and afterwards I¶ll say. I knew I had to get on with this. But they¶re right. when I was going to an awards ceremony. After school it was time to move away and find our own identities. doesn¶t he?´ And he does. I also have to watch what I drink.We were absolutely terrified of the older boys to start with. When I arrived in the hospital and saw the blood all over his clothes. I¶d have found it impossible. He was seeing lots of girls and was very handsome and I just wasn¶t. I think he found my being gay hard because we¶re so similar. but I do remember him going for a year without drinking. Recently he asked if he could come to the V Festival. then I realised that I didn¶t have to do that any more.´ I think it¶s because a lot of music people tend towards melancholy and have had similar experiences. At 17 or 18 I wished I was as good at parties as he was. Rupert and I are very similar now ² we have great conversations. Rupert is amazing. I¶m just so proud of him. But by the time we got to 25 I¶d had enough. I was all dressed up in the back of this smart car and we had to drive past Paddington station. and now three. I never used to want him to come to work with me. but this came as a total shock. I remember someone saying: ³It¶s because you¶re famous«´ But what could I do? I can¶t remember exactly when Rupert got his life back together. 6 . The whole family had to distance themselves. and had been all day. because I¶d have to look after him. then it was two. and when it happens I don¶t feel as if I¶m falling into that deep. too. To be like that for almost 10 years and then to come back from the abyss ² and he¶s done it all on his own. It was making us all so unhappy. My immediate reaction was to try and put him off. As we moved up the school. I still find it very upsetting now. A friend said to me: ³Rupert just sees things. the organisers sent a Rolls-Royce to pick me up. It must be hard to have everyone saying to you ³Isn¶t your brother doing so well?´ all the time. He¶d get on the dance floor. Once. so I said: ³Yes. drinking. His charity has given him a focus. whereas I was very self-conscious. It¶s made me speak more openly about my own experience with depression. But it was horrific. which is funny. So I couldn¶t believe it when I got a phone call saying that Rupert had cut his wrists. it was a survival technique on my part and also for his benefit to be very organised and calm. I knew that Rupert was in there. I have linchpins I can hang on to and climb out again with. because that runs in the family too. sure. But now I know more about it. Rupert was more sociable than me. black pool.´ It made him question his own sexuality for a while. He said: ³I don¶t understand ² we¶re the same and yet you¶re gay. I think he was feeling like this«´ We both have these insights now. Now I¶m the performer. ³Why do you think he did that?´ and Rupert will say: ³Well.
Julia and I were very close and liked rebelling against our parents. because she says it's not the whole picture. 46. My mother didn't want me to go. She's very nice to the world. HUGO: I was the only boy in the family. 22. He and his wife. She is also a founder patron of the Child Bereavement Trust. It was a struggle to keep up ² girls behave so differently! There were moments when I longed for a brother. 3. 5. 49. Julia Samuel. His twin sister. At nursery school I was the naughty one and Julia was well behaved. 20. live in Brooklyn with their daughters. I'd been told from an early age that I'd be a banker. They have four children: Natasha. but she hates it when I say this. Isabella. the man she married. Michael Samuel.From The Sunday Times May 16. like my father. 18 and Benjamin. the painter Elliott Puckette. Emily. if Julia and my other sisters came to visit. Perhaps we were extra-close because we had another set of twins to compete with. Julia moved in with Michael. For all that. counsellor By Angela Neustatter Hugo and Julia were born in 1959 into the banking side of the Guinness dynasty. so the idea of me as the evil one and her as such a good person took root. When I was nearly eight I was sent away to prep school. They were an embarrassment! But later I developed passions for Julia's friends and wrote them love letters. and Violet. he was upset that I wouldn't stick at it. artist. I still see her that way. I found that difficult. She lives in London with her husband. Julia ² born two minutes after him ² is a counsellor at St Mary's hospital. Sophie. Hugo and Julia have twin siblings. At the time I had no real sense of who I was. I moved from the family home. Miranda and Sabrina. I don't think anyone was interested. showing in London and New York. but still it happened. Julia Hugo Guinness. I was aware of my father's disappointment ² although he'd done this work for 40 years and didn't like it. At school I felt I had to conquer my sadness at being parted from Julia ² we never talked about how it felt to be separated. potter and printmaker. where his father was chairman. doing things like smoking behind the shed when we were six. 2004 Relative Values: Hugo Guinness and his twin sister. I hated it. where she works with parents whose babies have died. I'm aware of her being a virtuous person with all the charity work she's done. I'd make them hide in the car so no other boys would see them. and his twin sister. When we were 16. And soon after. When I was 18. If Julia had been a less honest person. she might have tried to reassure me that he wasn't 7 . then quit. so my world was dominated by women. But it's not surprising we didn't have a language for discussing feelings: I don't recall ever being asked by adults how I felt about anything. Julia went to live in Paris and we drifted apart. and a sister Anita. London. I did two years out of a sense of duty. 15. Hugo worked as an advertising copywriter and then at Guinness Mahon. At prep school. He is now a painter.
Life feels very good. But because there were no expectations put on me. Every day I feel pleasure in my family. 8 . I was very aware. Two years ago I went to Narcotics Anonymous. but she agreed he was. Our parents loved us and I think we had as good an upbringing as we could get in the circumstances. Hugo. I feel sad that we were separated so young. I know she's always there for me but sometimes I feel guilty because I take it for granted. But things inside me got worse. My life didn't fall to pieces. I was aware of him toughening up and remember him pushing me off when I was saying goodbye. I reached this point where it seemed the world was dark and unchanging. and with hindsight I'm grateful for that. I began to be frightened about how little I felt for anyone. while going to NA. but there was a philosophy in our family that you just got on with things. By the time I was 24 I had become very self-destructive with drink and drugs. Things changed inside me and I realised so clearly how just a bit of pot and alcohol detaches you from reality and brings in the negative thinking. asking why I wasn't fulfilled. Elliott. Things changed when Hugo went away to school. And I know now how unhappy he was going away. but that's not how I'd describe it. I'm painting. but I didn't want to face how I was dealing with my problems and trashed what she said. I never told her how I felt. it's a tricky time for twins. which I did. She was kind. she'd say sorry. because she was working in counselling. I've been asked if I had a less destructive upbringing than Hugo. I went into copywriting. Then things changed with Elliott and the kids. Looking back. including my family. she was busy doing something with Michael. as I'd always done. I liked the fact that the more vulnerable you show yourself to be. It seemed she was being taken away from me. I see it as a result of having bottled up all my feelings. I've been off everything for two years and I don't feel any need for drugs any longer. and we had two beautiful girls. I had the sense of a void I couldn't fill. I felt I was alive with them. didn't perform so well. of my being a kind of mirror to Julia. I felt rejected when she got married. It didn't feel good. but she seemed very grown up and sorted out. Julia saw how lost I was. I worked hard and was determined to do well. But it's a good thing I did. My parents had different expectations for Hugo as the boy in the family. I had friends. and although I live in America I feel close to Julia. Being a boy and a girl. it really engaged me. I was seen as good fun. but I managed to function well on the outside. I think I'd have preferred to have been brought up more as twins. having exhibitions. I was 20 when I became overwhelmed with negative feelings about myself. and invited me to stay with her family. Then I moved to New York and got married to a wonderful woman. we were separated. selling my work. and that worked in a contradictory way. put under pressure. I wasn't forced to do anything about the state I was in. girlfriends. but we did different things with it. the more people respond to you. I was sure if I asked her to lunch. I shared a room with my sister and Hugo had his own room. JULIA: Hugo is two minutes older than me but he's never pulled rank! We were brought up in a traditional way. which I didn't feel at all. She tried to talk to me. It made me happy but it didn't mean anything to my father. At this time I looked to Julia to be there for me. She had her first child at 21. then studied ceramics at Harrow art school.disappointed. To my amazement. but not indulgent.
We girls were dressed the same until we were six. then I had my first child. when I arrived. I spent weeks deciding what to wear. I coped by being the opposite of Hugo. It's never too late. I wasn't aware how Hugo felt about this. very beautiful. I became aware of Hugo's self-harming behaviour at this time. Hugo and I became more separate and had different friends. but I remember once going to visit him at Eton for some celebration. I occasionally saw Hugo during term time. there was an extra layer of sibling competitiveness. as we did. I did my best to yank him out of his drink and drugs. He responded well to the group: he chose to give up the substances. He always chooses women who are great: loving. and we communicate in a way that wasn't possible before. and I was good. Hugo took me to his bedroom on the sixth floor and locked me in for the whole day. 9 . built barriers and caused difficulty. even though I was very young. thinking it was a great chance to meet some boys. Then. because alcohol has played a big part in our family and I didn't want that. He was always so funny and witty. He was labelled the naughty one at nursery. even though I have as much potential to be bad as he does to be good. He completely blew my chances. it was hard to talk about the horrors of drinking. It is still irritating to hear Hugo say: "I'm the evil one and she's such a good person. I gave up in my twenties. Today I feel excited that Hugo and I have a chance to be real twins. I went too because I wanted a deeper understanding of what someone drinking as he was goes through. so there was a real sense of power. And he never had destructive relationships. Natasha. It was then I met Michael and followed my instinct that marrying him was the right thing to do. but it's also a competitive relationship. Much as you love your twin. I had him over or visited him and nagged him like a 105-year-old maiden aunt. We are much closer now that I feel as though he's alive. the greater instinct is to survive. so it was difficult to see that underlying it all were conflicting painful feelings. It can be difficult if you feel the other is getting more attention. I was very involved in getting married. It's been a big bonus for our relationship. When I went to live in Paris at 16. When he decided to go to Narcotics Anonymous. because I don't drink.There is a special. reliable. complex bond between twins. But. Nevertheless." With two lots of twins in the family. I wish we'd understood earlier that our learned "stiff upper lip" was necessary to allow us to go about our business and to function ² but that taking it into our own family. I think that's what kept him going. where it was hard to heal by communicating fully.
I¶m very traditional. Single. I¶d come across Georgiana. It was all very heavy and learned. Johnny said: ³Amanda. So the family dynamic was: ³Johnny is brilliant. You couldn¶t miss it. When Johnny was at Cambridge. 10 . is out now. So our relationship was on the telephone. But the dynamic between Johnny and myself was that he always saw me as his equal. is the author of the bestselling biography Georgiana. loss of speech. was extraordinary. his belief that I could and would do it. and lives in New York and London. this is amazing ² you should turn this into a book. whatever. Duchess of Devonshire. and they¶d have this wonderful cousinhood. Jonathan Barton. 42. Their father was the screenwriter and film producer Carl Foreman AMANDA: Well. is a founder of the political magazine Standpoint. a former lawyer and war correspondent. I was doing a PhD on ³attitudes to race and colour in 18th-century England´. She is married to a banker. Jonathan Copyright© 2008 The Times Amanda Foreman. loss of mobility. And it sustained me when everyone around me had kind of written me off as a low achiever. It was a terrible illness: loss of faculties. but the fact that we were physically separate from each other helped to prevent it. We had. I can¶t help it. he lives in west London. That¶s not going to happen now. The Duchess. even if nobody else around us did. and we¶d see each other during holidays. Then he went to law school in America and became a lawyer. and he developed a really explosive hairtrigger temper. I was at boarding school. and I went to graduate school at Oxford. And then he had a really profound effect on my life.´ And he really encouraged me. from which I was excluded. and so I¶m happy in my marriage. with brain cancer. the oldest of whom is six. Duchess of Devonshire. a film based on her book starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes. So there might have been a possibility for tremendous conflict. because I¶m younger.´ My father poured a great deal of his energy into him ² whether Johnny wanted it or not. I¶m a girl. this seminal dinner one New Year¶s Eve. which makes me really sad. and as much as I try to think outside my little box. The medication produced incoherent thoughts and temper changes. so I was sheltered from a lot of it. and he experienced a profound agony from which it took him years to recover. Our father¶s death also gave him a sense of anger. but Johnny was at home in his gap year and saw it all. His confidence in me. My father was taken in an untimely way. They would have intellectual discussions all the time. my brother was born absolutely brilliant. my yearning for Johnny is that he gets married and has children. which was also shattering. I was at school. and I was fascinated by her. She has five children. for me. All my life I thought we¶d have children at the same time. He was ill for six to nine months. He died when Johnny was 18. 40. Jonathan. plus a very undignified end.Relative Values: Amanda Foreman and her brother.
traumatic break from our previous life. but she is also a free spirit ² she likes to go off for months to India.Johnny and his girls« I used to call him John Giovanni. We didn¶t know the TV programmes. doing these incredibly uncomfortable. physically demanding things ² which is anathema to me. as I¶m such a physical coward. perilous. My parents decided to move to California. and we upped sticks completely. I feel as if he¶s my twin brother. With the benefit of hindsight and therapy. and then an arduous trip in Pakistan. rather than my older brother. or any of the social references that are so important to small children. He did a horrendous journey through Chad. I¶ve always been mopping up after him. Johnny has this wanderlust. she sang. and wrote music. JONATHAN: Our parents had a very close. It wasn¶t. and one in Afghanistan. That suits him. and the kids made fun of our English accents. Being a couple of years older than Amanda. but he was also very difficult to stand up to. although as a result I was under constant pressure from my father to succeed academically. But it made Amanda and me bond more. there were discussions I could have with my father that she couldn¶t. I was nine and Amanda was seven. But she was also amazingly creative at school. and she had a particularly tough time. and she¶d provoke me. We were having a happy life in London. and the two of us came second. very intense relationship. Suddenly we were going to schools in Los Angeles. and it was a big. this desire to experience the world. maybe. as and when needed or required. She was teased for her accent again ² by then she¶d picked up an American one ² and our parents were miles away in California. if. difficult. which may be why it¶s working. But she toughed it out. That¶s where his heart is. Because we¶re so close. a huge respect. and to some extent that became true in later life. whom he loves very much. although unfortunately 11 . But the experience brought Amanda and I together more than anything else. but then at quite an early age. I was the academic. everything got disrupted. little-professor person. Amanda is very brave. she was full of dreams that it would be wonderful. like in the Enid Blyton books. We did fight and argue. and a profound hope and belief that good things will happen to the other person. We were set in roles quite young. She painted really well. consoling some girl ² ³I know he meant to call you«´ He has a girlfriend now. and they¶re very connected. whatever it takes. I think she resented that much more attention had gone to me. and very kind. I would do anything for Johnny. and that¶s when we became the greatest friends. He¶s done two tours of Iraq as a foreign correspondent. Amanda was regarded as the practical one. And I think he feels the same way towards me. their relationship came first. When Amanda was finally sent back to boarding school in England. Amanda was quite shy. and we¶d tell on each other. Amanda carved her own niche. We are close under all the traditional criteria of closeness: we have a total unquestioning trust. always involved in conversations at dinner with the grown-ups. My father was wonderfully charming. and I¶d tease her. but we were quite a strong unit from a very early age. and carved her own non-academic role. she was very musical. and that was not an easy thing to do in our family. Then she started going through a rebellious stage. great enjoyment in each other¶s company. It took a long time for my parents to notice we were unhappy ² two or three years. We were both very unhappy there.
and has always been there for me. Having five children is obviously a decision she made with her husband. having just two children. Amanda is much more conventional than I am. I¶ve spent a lot of time in South Asia and India. and I¶m single and childless ² but we approach things differently. which was awful. because you don¶t ever then get to the other side. Amanda¶s a little lion. We¶d been confidants for such a long time. but the basic bond is so strong. 12 . but she and I used to talk about it well before she married. She says to me: ³You should be married and have children and lead a stable. traditional life. it was a big shock when she got married. completely loyal. which is kind of wonderful.she was in the middle of it when our father died. her marriage meant I was genuinely losing someone. and it means you live life in a different way. We don¶t talk as often as we did. and it¶s not that I¶m advertising my own life as so wonderful ² I¶m my age. and the domestic sphere has given her far more pleasure than she expected. and we envied our friends from big families. We both thought our household was very intense. The parents aren¶t investing all their hopes and dreams in one or two of their children. and the yoga and philosophy behind it is increasingly important to me as I get older. She didn¶t think of herself as a very maternal person. But this whole other side of her emerged when she started having children. I gave a speech at her wedding saying that. Amanda always saw her life as being about work and career. they seemed to have an easier time. though for the greater good. She¶s been an amazing support to me.´ I think she has a wonderful married life. for me.
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