O U T S I D E L E F T   stay i n d e p e n d e n t

Michael Caine Goes Shopping

get the weekly Outsideleft newsletter
by Joe Ambrose, Literary Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: July, 2005
Despite advancing years, party nights were not entirely off the agenda
by Joe Ambrose, Literary Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: July, 2005
Despite advancing years, party nights were not entirely off the agenda
I was walking down Regent Street in London minding my own business, when I saw, lying on the ground, what looked to be a bank statement. Naturally, being a good citizen, I picked this up. It was Michael Caine's Gold Card Statement for March/April. Caine banks at Coutts, the rich people's bank where the Queen also keeps her money.

The month started kind of low key for Michael. He spent £25 ($43) in the Books Etc. shop in Leatherhead, the town closest to his country pile. He also visited the Leatherhead Sainsburys supermarket where he splashed out £65 ($113). Boots the Chemists got £25. He paid Onetel, providers of reduced rate phonecalls to stingy suburbanites everywhere, the princely sum of £11 ($19). All in all, he seemed to working on the basis that that if he looked after the pennies, the Pounds would look after themselves.

Caine is now a relatively vigorous 72 so it comes as no surprise to learn that he passes his days - when not making occasionally great but frequently abominable movies - wandering between the supermarket, the pharmacy, and the middlebrow book shop.

Back in the Sixties he was part of a gang of hard living thespian hellraisers along with Peter O'Toole, Richard Harris, and Richard Burton (Caine Jewish, the others Celts of one sort or another). Nightclubbing, lavish meals in celeb restaurants like Langan's Brassiere, fancy cars, and fancier women were the norm.

On March 21st he showed that, despite advancing years, party nights were not entirely off the agenda. He spent £7706 ($13,428) at Annabell's, a glitzy Mayfair club and restaurant. This seemed like remarkably good going until I found out that his birthday falls on March 14th. Maybe he threw a birthday party.

Things calmed down after that until April 7th when he undertook a frenzy of London shopping, the movie star way.

First he visited Green and Stone on the Kings Road, Chelsea's Swinging Sixties hangout. Green and Stone style themselves, "Suppliers of specialist Art Materials and Picture Framing." Then he was off to Richard Ward, the British Hairdresser of the Year who runs a "pampering hot spot" which offers makeovers and hair dying services.

Allens, the Mayfair butchers who've provided "upmarket Londoners with scotch beef and quality game for over 170 years," were the next port of call. They got £48 ($83), which probably paid for two lamb chops. Jo Malone who's "greatest challenge is changing the way we look at skin care and how we use fragrance," was also patronised, as was Chelsea Health Food.

Two days later it was back to dreary old Leatherhead and inevitable visits to Texaco, Sainsburys, and Boots.

The account was settled by Direct Debit on April 25th or soon after. Michael Caine has 36,583 Air Miles.

see more stories from outsideleft's Screen archive »»

Joe Ambrose
Literary Editor

Joe Ambrose has written 14 books, including Chelsea Hotel Manhattan and The Fenian Reader. Joe is currently working on his next book, Look at Us Now - The Life and Death of Muammar Ghadaffi, which is an expanded version of a story first published in the anthology CUT UP! Visit Joe's website for all the latest info: JoeAmbrose.co.uk.

more stories you really could read...


thumb through the ancient archives:

search for something you might like...


sign up for the outsideleft weekly. a selection of new and archived stories every week. Or less.

View previous campaigns.

Everybody Needs Their Own... Audio Engineer
In the first of an occasional series, Simon Reeves from Framework Studios explains why everyone can benefit from having their own personal audio engineer...
Genesis Breyer p-Orridge: Destroying Culture One Boob Job at a Time
Genesis Breyer p-Orridge may not be the spring chicken of the industrial damned he once was, but recent reformations of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV proves that he might still have some slug bait up his sleeves
How Many Special People Change? Oasis, Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Greta the Great
Imagine Outsideleft fab favorite Greta Alfaro + 1500 litres of wine + 300 glasses + erm, handguns. It's a mess to love.
Yes I Am Blind, No I Can't See - 300 Words From London
Another 300 words from the London art scene and news of the most expensive biscuit in Regent's Park.
The Violinist and the Doll Collector
Tony Conrad and Charlemagne Palestine, two of the giants of minimalism, cross the beams and destroy the universe, only to rebuild it anew.
Some of our favorite things...