Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Home Again, For Better Or Worse

Friday, 29 January 2010

In theory, the travelling poker life should be glamorous and exciting. I suppose it sort of is. But my general, juggly, jack-of-all-trades approach to professional life made for a fairly exhausting January, involving episodes of Only Connect, filmed in a different country from the one I live in, sandwiched between trips to poker tournaments in two other countries where I don’t live. I’m not complaining. I’m grateful for all opportunities. It’s just a bit of a relief to be home at last, for a whole fortnight before disappearing again to… well, to get involved in more ridiculous schemes and wheezes, which I’ll tell you about nearer the time and you can all tell me I’ve gone mad.

  The odd thing about coming “home”, though, is that (having only recently moved house) it still doesn’t quite feel like it. That is thanks partly to the local council, who seem completely unable to figure out that I live here. I have rung them quite a few times to register for council tax. Finally they grasped the point and I have started paying council tax. But I arrived home to find a new council tax bill, in which I appear to have become a married couple with the fellow who now lives in my old flat, and the council is determined to charge us together at the new place. The next morning, I was woken up at 8am by a representative from the council, hammering on the door to find out why there appeared to be people in the property when they have it listed as completely empty. Odd. They think that nobody’s living here (which is why they came round), that I am living here (which is why they’ve accepted my payments so far), and also that several other people are living here, some of whom I’ve never met (which is why they are being billed at this address). In official terms, I seem to be the proprietor of a ghostly squat.

  Always nice to be reunited with the British papers though. I love newspapers; they, and tea, are what I miss most when I’m away. On the train back from Paris, I treated myself to a cover-to-cover reading of a day old Guardian, sections 1 and 2.

  I particularly enjoyed the G2 cover interview with Natasha Walter, promoting her new book about the return of sexism. But I will say this. If I were a notable feminist author, giving an interview about my new book in which I revealed my concerns about pornography’s recent “unbelievable obsession with extreme anal sex”, I perhaps would not say, “While I don’t really think that sexism ever went away, it’s stronger than it was. It’s as though something crept in by the back door.”



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Ginger Pogue at 12:58 pm on January 29th, 2010

Welcome back Vicky!  Sounds like our good old local Councils are as efficient as ever.  Definitely living proof that evolution can acually work in reverse!  Looking forward to the next Only Connect.  Hope you have a good fortnight off.

All the best.

Royston Lurch at 1:30 pm on January 29th, 2010

Re: Will next year see the death of British poker?

Sorry, but let’s not feel sorry for a major London casino earning £1m less than they might have for the “service” they so kindly offer poker players. Poker players whom they would gladly fleece on the gaming tables downstairs. Equally let’s not feel sorry for those poor (usually smug) poker professionals with deep pockets who will gladly clean out amateurs…I have a feeling that the Vic will manage to struggle through. Whilst, in principle, your gripe against the taxation is reasonable, I simply don’t care or feel a jot of sympathy for a casino / The Rank Group whose whole business model is based upon their customers losing money to them.

Poor them.

Perry at 5:30 pm on January 29th, 2010

You should post every imaginary member of the family they include to your council tax on this blog, the same thing goes on with my girlfriend, or mistress depending on if this mystery “significant other” of hers actually existed.

It’s a strange subject to get into for feminism, porn. I mean, I am aware it’s a little….demeaning to women. But when you consider it, the women involved are professionals and are aware of what happens, the only people who’ll watch it are people who are fine with it, and it’s one of the only professions where females on average make more than males…..but yeah….she could have used a better choice of words.

Mike at 9:09 pm on January 29th, 2010

I’m just home again too from a week in Las Vegas.  I took your book (having failed to win a free copy by several routes, I was reduced to buying a copy ;-).  It was well worth the discounted £6.98 price tag from Amazon which you plugged in a previous blog.
I loved it.

Andrew at 9:31 pm on January 29th, 2010

I’m just waiting for the ‘Poker Babe Announces Secret Marriage Shocker’ headlines in the Telegraph tomorrow….

Phil at 12:24 pm on January 30th, 2010

I’ve just moved myself, though have had a fairly uneventful transition thankfully. That said, on my second day I got an Emergency Evacuation Plan through the post (it amused me that the acronym is Eep!) and am now suffering slightly from terror anxiety…which to be honest seems reasonable.

Loving the new OC series. Even my granddad likes it and he is notoriously hard to please

“more ridiculous schemes and wheezes” - Any clues? I am intrigued

Colin at 9:28 am on January 31st, 2010

Miss Coren, I have just finished your book “For Richer for Poorer” and I am very, very, disappointed - I didn’t want it to end! It was so refreshing to read the “warts and all” story and I was touched by the genuineness and sincerity of its theme. If you ever lower your sights (that means buy ins!) on Poker Stars or Full Tilt to the $1-2 games watch out for TwinTwins2 (A long story). It would be an honour to play against you (notice how I carefully avoided the word with!)

GarySmith at 11:34 am on January 31st, 2010

I’m sorry Victoria but I really do have to link this to you.

C Scott at 1:56 pm on January 31st, 2010

Am I the only person who paid the full price for the book and bought it from an actual bookshop? Feeling particularly jaded, I broke my boycott of Borders (re. their union-busting activities). For all the good either my purchase or their dodgy practices did - within weeks the shop shut down.

Gary at 6:39 pm on February 1st, 2010


I followed your link and now feel as though I’ve been privy to some seedy internet-forum circle jerk. Cheers for that.

And, C Scott, I bought my copy from Borders for less than the Amazon price. . . ah, closing down sales. Sweet.

John at 7:58 pm on February 4th, 2010

I’d imagine the council heard about you ringing a locksmith to let you out of your own home and sent round a rep to ensure you’re not a nutter.

Watching the HU grandslam the other evening - wtf has devilfish got on his head? Look like he’s wearing a wig insideout.

Ben Brenan at 11:42 pm on February 5th, 2010

Hello Victoria

Having watched ‘Only Connect’, I am now in a position where I can ‘only connect’ with you. I love you.

Yours Sincerely

Ben Brenan

Keith Buckel at 4:02 pm on February 6th, 2010

In reply to Roystons speculation that this could be the year of the death of British Poker, I would point him in the direction of Manchester where the UKIPT tournament has sold out well in advance. I often wonder why people seem to revel in the (perceived imminent) destruction of something, which others enjoy.
Of course Casino proprietors make money from gambling, we live in a capitalist society where money is made from every arising opportunity, it’s hardly immoral. Crikey I get charged a thousand pounds a year to have my bins emptied in a seemingly totally random pattern by some inept beaurocratic society who seem to spend an extortionate amount of money on fireworks every year yet can’t seem to be able to grit my road after 2 weeks of Baltic conditions. Now THAT is extortion.

trevor75 at 7:06 pm on January 10th, 2011

I particularly enjoyed the G2 cover interview with Natasha Walter, promoting her new book about the return of sexism. But I will say this.
great essays

Victoria Coren

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