Who is Magenta De Vine and what was I doing in a jacuzzi with her at midnight on the eve of the twenty-first century? Especially considering I had only met her about five hours before?
Magenta, whose real name is Kim Taylor, was (and as far as I know still is) a journalist and TV presenter. In the 1990s, she fronted a very popular BBC2 youth travel programme called Rough Guide. Before that, she had worked in the music business, amongst other things as a promoter for the cyberpunk band Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
Magenta always wore sunglasses, day or night, indoors or out, including when she was presenting to camera in a TV studio. No one had ever seen her without them, in photos or on TV.
In the jacuzzi she wasn’t wearing sunglasses. I took a photo of her with a pre-digital camera that had a film in it (remember those?) and – surprise, surprise – it didn’t come out. I think she had some kind of magnetic power that destroyed it.
It just occurred to me that ‘Magenta’ and ‘magnetic’ are almost anagrams 😛
So what were we doing in a jacuzzi together? Well, let me first say that Dede and various other people were also in the jacuzzi. We were all guests of a very wealthy magazine publisher at his estate in Warwickshire. The publisher shall remain nameless, but I will refer to him mysteriously as Mr D.
I had met Mr D on several occasions but I didn’t really know him. Dede and I were merely friends with one of his best friends. This tenuous connection had already secured us a week at his villa on the island of Mustique in the Caribbean.
On New Year’s Eve 1999, we were once again free-loading, this time on his sumptuous estate. Apart from the main house, the estate includes several thatched cottages and a field full of bronze statues of Mr D’s heroes.
There’s also a wonderful purpose-built leisure area (dubbed ‘The Fun Palace’ in a salacious article in The Sun newspaper) which contains, amongst other things, a swimming pool with a pool-side Juke box, a library with a Van Gogh painting on the wall, a private cinema … and a jacuzzi.
Mr D wasn’t with us on Millennium Eve. He was in his other house on Mustique, which incidentally he had bought from a famous rock star, who I WILL name as David Bowie. This is what one part of the house looks like:
However, that was when we were free-loading in the mid-1990s. Back to the story of when we were free-loading on Millennium Eve…
Those of you who were using computers in 1999-2000 will remember the millennium bug scare. There was a wild panic-inducing rumour going round that all our computers would seize up at one minute past midnight when the number 2 appeared at the beginning of the year-date for the very first time.
I remember being so worried about this that I got out of the jacuzzi at about five past midnight and went and turned on my laptop. When I saw that it was working, I headed back to Fun Palace, where the party had re-located to the cinema, and Fargo had just started.
So… that’s what I was doing at the start of the Noughties, and here I am at the end of the same decade about to reminisce about my personal stand-out events and experiences of the last ten years.
I’m afraid sitting next to Magenta De Vine in Mr D’s jacuzzi was probably the most exotic thing that happened to me in the entire decade, so there won’t be any more stories like that.
But there will be stories about things that I did or witnessed during this incident-packed decade. Some will be mildly-amusing anecdotes, one or two will be more serious…
In the meantime, another huge thank you to the ten great guest-bloggers who have graced these pages during the last couple of weeks. If you haven’t read what they wrote, scroll down and have a butcher’s.