Author will perform True Tales Of Sex, Success And Sex And The City in February 2024 for one night
BY JESS MADDISON
Are you a true Sex And The City fan?
Ever wondered how it all started?
Now’s your chance to find out. Carrie Bradshaw is coming to the UK. Not Sarah Jessica Parker, but author Candace Bushnell.
Candace published Sex And The City – a book of of her newspaper columns from The New York Observer – in 1996, which went on to inspire the TV series of the same name.
More recently, spin-off series And Just Like That has been hitting the headlines, with Parker’s Carrie once more at the heart of the action.
Candace, however, is set to bring one-woman-show, True Tales Of Sex, Success And Sex And The City to London on February 7 and I, for one, cannot wait.
Candace is based in New York (of course) so we meet via Zoom when, even at 9am, she looks fabulous – all perfect hair and freshly applied makeup.
I’m so excited that I’m wearing high heel shoes in my living room for a video call.
“In a lot of ways, the show is the origin story of Sex And The City,” she said.
“It’s about how I wrote the columns, how hard I worked to get there, why I invented Carrie Bradshaw and what happened to me after.
“I also answer some people’s burning questions like: ‘Was there a real Mr Big?’ and: ‘Do I really have a shoe fetish like Carrie Bradshaw?’
“I also talk about my Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha – we play a little game, Real Or Not Real, because there’s so much that happened in the TV show that’s better or worse than my actual life.
“It’s true stories of sex, success and Sex And The City. So it’s mixed in with my life story – how I came to New York – plus a couple of little naughty sex stories.”
The show will be on tour in the UK in February 2024, with one night at The London Palladium – a short hop from Canary Wharf on the Elizabeth Line via Tottenham Court Road.
“In some ways performing is easier than writing novels, which is probably one of the hardest things that anybody can do,” said Candace, who has published nine books.
“Writing is something you have to do on your own – you’ve got to come up with something new every day to keep the story moving.
“You have different characters, the story and the dialogue – you have to know what’s going to happen at the end and what’s happened at the beginning.
“Performing is very physical. You’re doing the same thing, pretty much every time. It’s choreographed in some ways and you’re interacting with the audience and bouncing off them.
“I’m always trying to improve a little – deliver that line a bit better.
“This means sometimes you get the laugh and sometimes you don’t – sometimes you mess up a little bit.
“But it’s a pretty exciting thing to do – it really is – and people are really complimentary afterwards, which is nice.
“I love doing it and I’m so excited to bring the show to the UK.”
At this point Candace’s poodle wakes up from where she has been sleeping on the bed and starts barking, momentarily interrupting the interview.
“She’s such a sweet little girl,” said Candace, returning to her thought with barely a breath.
“I love England. I’ve come to the UK so many times, on every book tour, and I have friends who live there.
“I had a boyfriend there, so I used to go back and forth a lot really and I love it.”
If you are unfamiliar with Candace’s work outside of Sex And The City, it includes Lipstick Jungle and The Carrie Diaries, both of which had their own TV adaptations.
“I really felt like Lipstick Jungle was the next phase of women that I observed” she said.
“Sex And The City was all about being in your 30s, Lipstick Jungle is about being in your 40s, starting a family and really working on your business.
“New York City is a place where there are a lot of successful women and it’s a place where women really can have a big career.
“One of the things that I noticed was how women bond together and have each other’s backs in business.
“I absolutely loved the TV version, which ran for two seasons.”
So what advice would she have for women looking to make their way in the world today?
“The advice I would give is that it’s really important for women to have careers – to work hard, it’s like: ‘Make the money’.” said Candace.
“That’s something that’s really important because money matters – a lot.
“The older you get the more important it is.
“When you’re in your 20s you’re like: ‘Oh money it’s not so important’. When you get older, it’s really important.
“That’s something I would really encourage in women – to think about their finances and to put money into a retirement fund.
“You know, maybe don’t buy that really expensive handbag.”
Candace pauses, but only momentarily. “Shoes,” she said.
“It’s okay to buy them. They’re not as expensive as handbags.”
Candace’s books always feature New York and often address the theme of feminism, whether this is women and their relationships with men, women in marriage or women in business.
“I get asked about feminism quite a bit,” she said.
“I talk about it a little bit in my show and I am a feminist. That seems to be in some ways sort of a dirty word.
“I don’t think people really understand what it’s about.
“But I think it’s really about being a self-actualised person, not being dependent on a man and being able to think outside of the box, where the patriarchy is concerned.
“So I think it’s incredibly important for women to have their own money and make their own living and not just have to access to an income stream through a man, which is traditionally how we have gotten money for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years.
“It’s about education, the ability to earn your own money, to make your own life and to be able to say no.”
On the front page of my own battered copy of Sex And The City, there is a quote from Bridget Jones’ Diary author, Helen Fielding, branding it “Intriguing and highly entertaining”.
Does Candace think Carrie Bradshaw would have gotten along well with Fielding’s central character?
“I don’t know why not,” she said. “It’s interesting because I think Bridget Jones is pretty much from the same time I was writing Sex And The City.
“I remember when I came to England – I guess it was 1996 or maybe 1997 – I was flying back to the States and my publisher gave me Helen’s book to read on the plane from London to New York.
“I thought it was just terrific. It really captured what life was like at that moment for women – the stresses and the pressures – how we’re all trying to be perfect, to be better and to control our weight, our drinking and our love lives.
“But really, we have no control.”
Candace began performing her one-woman-show in 2021, in her 60s, and has played dates at dozens of venues with a run of 13 in the UK for this tour. But where does she see herself in the next five or 10 years?
“I might do another show,” she said.
“But you know, at my age, who knows? Who knows if I’ll still be here?
“I’m 65 and, when you get to be my age, you see that people age in very different ways, so I don’t know.
“I have friends who are 70, who work and they have really vibrant lives.
“But there are other people who are 70 and it’s like they’re 80 – so you just don’t know.
“Unfortunately, my mother got cancer and died by the time she was 70.
“So you can make the 10-year-plan but the reality is that you really don’t know what’s going to happen and that’s why it’s so important for young women to take action now.
“It’s like: ‘Make the money, get that money’. That’s the most important thing, I’m telling you.”
- Candace’s Bushnell’s True Tales Of Sex, Success And Sex And The City is set to be performed at The London Palladium at 7.30pm on February 7.
Tickets range from £38 to £113, which includes a meet-and-greet with the woman herself.
- Jess Maddison is co-founder of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via firstname.lastname@example.org