November 19, 2014

Made in Chelsea’s Mark-Francis has the last word on books



Patron of the arts

On Monday night books found their very own patron in the form of ‘Made in Chelsea’s’ Mark-Francis Vandelli. For the uninitiated, Mark-Francis is the most entertaining cast member of the structured-reality show set in the always-sunny, always-the-weekend borough of West London that I’ve never been able to locate myself.

I had been led to believe that if I watched ‘Made in Chelsea’, I would encounter bitching, backstabbing, painfully awkward moments and the cruellest of comments exchanged between the closest of friends—and that was just the boys.

So imagine my surprise when I watched the show on Monday night and Mark-Francis appeared in an antiquarian bookshop and devoted an entire scene to discussing his love for books with his equally posh, equally double-barrelled friend Victoria Baker-Harber. Now one told me this show was about books! No one mentioned that the show was on the side of readers! I was thoroughly delighted.

As well as lamenting the fact that some people don’t know the unique pleasures of reading (a fact never usually dwelled upon in popular culture) Mark-Francis made a convincing and heartfelt plea that people chose to install libraries in their homes, instead of the recent craze for gyms. Exercise the mind, he counselled, you’ll have better things to say at dinner parties.

In a major new blow to Amazon, Mark-Francis revealed that he didn’t even know what an e-reader was. Coming from the man who has delivered indisputably wise statements such as “Unless you have a family tiara, you don’t wear one” and “Your early twenties really are the best time to get your first bronze bust”, his pronouncements have sparked new hope for the future of the book.

If Mark-Francis was a book, he says he would be The Bible. This is because he speaks The Truth:

M-FV: I feel so sorry for people who don’t read. It’s one of the few moments when one can immerse oneself —in oneself. Not a concept that’s at all foreign to me. I always find I’m most inspired around books.

VB-H: It beats the tablets that people read on public transport.

M-FV: I’m afraid I haven’t come across those.

VB-H: I think its so much nicer having a book with like paper.

M-FV: Reading on something that’s rechargeable, it’s almost like telling people right there: I don’t have room for a library in my house.

VB-H: Not a lot of people have libraries actually, it’s sad

M-FV: It’s sad; they’d rather have a gym than a library.

VB-H: It’s a very common mistake Mark.

M-FV: A very common one indeed.

(Knowing laughter)

What are they going to learn from a gym? They’re just going to sort of pound and sweat and look vile.

VB-H: No but they’ll probably look better for it.

M-FV: That’s hardly the point. They won’t sound better at dinner will they?

VB-H: You prefer reading to the gym.

M-FV: It’s an exercise of sorts, I mean, if my eyes could have biceps; well I say!

I have to say I judge people on what they read.

VB-H: If you were a book what do you think you would be?

(Moment of long and intense thought)

M-FV: I think I’d probably be The Bible.


Zeljka Marosevic is the managing director of Melville House UK.