If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked writer and illustrator Hugo Guinness about the scented hand wash, linen handkerchiefs, and vintage watch that he can’t live without.
I don’t know what it is I like about this — it’s highly traditional. I suppose it’s highly scented and overpowering to some people, but I still like it. Fragrance is one of those things that if you smell something from a long, long time ago, you have a memory that lingers even after a long time. For me, Cefiro hand wash reminds me of nice bathrooms and fluffy white towels.
I think having a handkerchief is so important. I nearly always have one, and it’s a very useful thing to have. Girls are always impressed when you can produce one that’s clean. It’s like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Linen ones are nice. Sometimes, actually, linen ones are too nice to use, and you end up using a Kleenex, but you have to have a handkerchief at all times anyway.
I know they’re called agendas, but they used to be called diaries. If I didn’t have one, I wouldn’t have any idea what I’m supposed to be doing ever. I have a terrible memory, and I’ve never used an iPhone calendar. To me, if you write it down, then it’s real. I like the Smythson because it’s great-quality leather, and the amount of room it gives you to plan things for each day is nice. I actually have them going back 20 years. If I wanted to, I could find out what I was doing on an exact day 20 years ago, which is why I keep doing it.
So Martin is a neighbor here in Brooklyn, actually, and I think he’s just a fantastic writer. I love any of his early ones: The Rachel Papers, London Fields; I think there’s one called Dead Babies. They’re all so funny, and each has really stood the test of time. How do I like my books? Well, if the book is newly out, then I’ll buy it in hardback, but I do prefer paperbacks for being lighter. I’ve never used a Kindle. It looks great, but I’m not there yet.