Dame Joan Collins was twelve when she first became a diarist, hand-writing the ups and downs of her teenage years in London in a “tiny five-year diary of the kind you’d find at Smythson’s.” Decades later, as her award-winning, eight-year stint as Alexis Colby on Dynasty came to an end, Collins swapped pen for microphone and began to document her days using the voice recorder she had been using to learn her lines, a practice she continued until the 2000s. Below is just one entry, recorded on Mother’s Day in 1997, a day on which she had offered some fashion advice to the UK Prime Minister.
The Diary Entry
Sunday, 9 March 1997
Today is Mother’s Day in England. Katy and Tara brought me lovely flowers last night, and Sacha and Erin bring me lilies today. I take Sacha to Moss Brothers in Regent Street to order his morning suit for next week. He looks completely dashing and I’m very proud of him. Then off to Daphne’s for lunch. In the evening Lily Mahtani picks me up and we go to The Ivy’s upstairs restaurant for a party for John Major given by Tim Rice. Lots of showbiz Tory supporters there: Barbara Windsor, Lorraine Chase, Frederick Forsyth. We all mill around doing our cocktail party talk. Mr Major is over an hour late. After talking to the Lloyd Webbers and Virginia Bell, Lily and I have to go because we’re meeting friends at the Caprice. Then Hywel, Mr Major’s right-hand man, begs me to stay. ‘John will be so disappointed. He was so looking forward to seeing you,’ he says. Why, I wonder. ‘What advice can you give to Mr Major?’ asks Hywel. ‘Well, the first thing I think he should do is get smaller glasses,’ I say. ‘Those glasses are very seventies and overpower his face.’ ‘Why don’t you tell him?’ says Hywel eagerly. ‘Maybe I will,’ I say. A flurry of activity and our prime minister himself is in our midst. Tim Bell drags me over to meet and greet. Mr Major is utterly charming. It’s a pity that charm, niceness and a certain kind of sex appeal doesn’t come through to the voters. I don’t think he’s got much of a hope in the coming election. Boldly I ask, ‘Mr Major, may I make a suggestion?’ ‘Of course,’ he says. ‘Why don’t you get smaller glasses? You are so attractive I think that you would look far better with a smaller pair.’ He grins and says, ‘I’ll think about it.’ Snap, snap, go the snappers and then Lily and I head off to the Caprice.
In 2021, a selection of Collins’ taped diary entries were published in the book, My Unapologetic Diaries, which covers her life from 1989 until 2009.
Diary entry excerpted from My Unapologetic Diaries by Joan Collins. Copyright © Gibson Girl UK Ltd 2021. Reproduced with permission of the Licensor through PLSclear