I was sitting at my desk the other day feeling dejected and impotent – sad that the highlight of my morning, (an almond milk flat white VOMIT), was now over – when my phone rang.
It actually RANG, ladies. It RANG!!!
It wasn’t the ping of a Whatsapp *ANYONE KNOW WHEN YR1 CANCER RESEARCH BAKESALE IS??* / *FOUND THIS PHOTO OF MUM FROM 1976 ANYONE KNOW WHERE THAT DRESS SHE’S WEARING IS?* / *MORNING GORGEOUS KISS KISS [NAKED SELFIE]* (I wish my dentist would stop doing this).
It wasn’t one of my beloved Insta followers sending me a furious message about something rotten their husband had done, it wasn’t my local NHS surgery telling me by text that it has been FOURTEEN THOUSAND YEARS since my last smear for the love of GOD could I just fucking come in and have one?!?!?
It was an actual phone call. And it was Annabel Rivkin from The Midult. Annabel is like a phantom in journalism. She is the idea of an idea – like the mathematical notion of “infinity”. A phone call from her is a bit like finding the the last purple one in a box of Cadbury’s Roses.
“Listen,” she said, as I tucked my shirt in and took my hands out of my pockets, “You know that bit at yoga, the end bit where you just lie down in the dark and no-one is bothering you?”
“Yes,” I said. “It’s the only reason I would ever go, if I ever went.”
“Well, we’re doing a thing with John Lewis. We’re turning it into an actual thing. At John Lewis.”
“It’s going to be a thing?”
“Yes,” she said, “it’s going to be a thing.”
“Fuck,” I said. “This sounds serious.”
And she invited me along to a preview of this thing, which is called The Lying Down Club.
The premise is mad, but simple. On the 28th and 29th of November this year, the newly refurbished bed department at John Lewis on Oxford Street is going to be transformed into a magical, cosy dormitory, where you can book yourself in for a 2-hr “lying down” session between 6-8pm.
It’s not a massage or a spa (though you can have a foot massage if you want) or a yoga session. It’s just lying down, in dim lighting, for a few hours.
The idea is that you arrive at John Lewis, exhausted from your day of work and/or kids, (or work AND kids if you are a paediatrician), to find that you have rented a double bed in a beautiful dormitory, decked out in John Lewis finest linen with little bedside tables and lamps and everything.
You can either come alone or with a friend(s). You can help yourself to a VR headset or a meditation app or not. Just two hours of not being bothered. Of lying. Fucking. Down. Then you get up, refreshed and go about your evening.
Tickets will be £15 and are not available until November 8th (I will remind you) and can be bought online at The Lying Down Club. NOT YET DON’T TRY TO BUY THEM YET.
I know it sounds a bit of an odd concept so please join me on Instagram (I am @esthermcoren) where I will be showing you this thing in more detail tomorrow night.
I know it’s a bit annoying when people write about stuff happening in London when you don’t live there, but I really think that this might start being a wider social movement. Of what precisely I’m not sure… but it’s something to do with those nightmarish hours in the working day between about 5 and about 8 where all you most want to do is sit down in a dark room and just exist for a minute. Having first muted all your damn Whatsapp groups of course.
When I was a child it was my fantasy to get locked in a department store overnight (a good one, with hats, wedding dresses and afternoon tea place – even pets like Harrods years ago).
This is moving closer to my dream.
Years ago in the fog of two small children I thought of this concept. Only it was at the gym. I thought – I’m booking them into the crèche for an hour for my *insert class here* but really all I want to do is curl up in a treatment room and sleeeeeeep. Glad it’s now a proper Thing
Ant I really honestly think this is going to turn into a proper thing
AND has the added bonus of getting you out of bathtime
So funny today (sorry that sounds really patronising and like you’re not funny usually, but I’m incapable of writing lol or saying I spat my tea out or whatever so that’s what you’ve got.)
This sounds amazing actually. The thing I don’t like about spas – apart from all the touching – (actually I don’t like anything about spas. I once went with a relative and just made her have the worst time, I approached it like a driving test and she was constantly having to ask if I was ok) is all the shuffling about in a dressing gown or paper pants you have to do and it’s all a bit One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Can you just come in your regular stuff and lie down like you’re in that Radiohead video and have just had enough of life?
My local bookshop is doing a thing where they open up for a bit longer on one day so you can just come in and read in peace and quiet and I’ve been tempted to do that. Especially because I’m currently trying to read I Love Dick and it’s difficult around inquisitive children.
Am I going to have to join Instagram? I feel like every one is hanging out without me!!
You need to try a normal, everyday Continental spa. Lots of old people taking it all Very Seriously because it’s their Health. I would not be caught dead in a swanky wankfest spa but I love the briskness of thrice round the water jets and off to the icy walking pool, repeat every ten minutes, drink a glass of stinky water and voila! You’ve taken the cure.
That is such a kind reply, but you don’t know the levels of unsophistication you are dealing with here. “Thrice round the water jets and off to the icy walking pool” – I have no frame of reference for this, it sounds like The Crystal Maze. There was stinky water at the one I went to, it was administered in a dark silent room which I wasn’t sure how to leave. Least relaxing thing EVER. But I will look out for one.(brave smile) Xx
(Can’t work out how to reply to your reply) Please abandon brave smile and return to bug-eyed disbelief! I had no frame of reference either until I went. Your comment struck me as so exactly how I feel about spas, and then I was like, hang on, I’ve just been to one and enjoyed it. So retain your horror, but remember, if someone holds a gun to your head and says ‘pick a spa’, your best bet is Abroad. xx
I don’t know where this reply is going to appear, but thank you Sophie, you seem lovely and I feel much less weird in how I feel about spas X
Yes we are all hanging out without you and you can also see little videos of me prattling on about stuff which will make you lol and spit your tea out x
I knew it! x
Since I ‘work’ at home and have no children I find it’s possible to do the lying down almost any time my husband isn’t here. My mother was an ace napper; 12.30 -3.30 every day without fail, 30 mins with a book and then zonk. Sparko. We were not allowed upstairs after the first half hour because no matter how quiet one tiptoed she would always wake. It was tyranny of a sort, but at the weekends my father and I would cook to keep ourselves amused. I made all sorts of things from a very early age and could bake long before I could cook.
Sophie this sounds terrific.
“Soundo” was used a lot in my childhood. Not so much now because my kids rarely are. My dad used to fall asleep every night for a couple of hours after dinner. If my husband pulled that before bath time he wouldn’t have to worry about waking up.
LOL SO HARD
Hm. Couple of issues – don’t live in London. Am often still at work btw 5-8. Also, isn’t there a cool French concept of using the same time for seeing one’s mistress ( or mister, I guess…). Are we sure about the purpose of lying down? As you can see – confusion reigns.
Anna you are overthinking this
Thank you for entertaining us Esther x
THANK YOU FOR READING ROS
I live the in the US (Ohio) and love reading about what’s going on in London. It’s a tiny vacation, and I feel so worldly when I can enlighten my friends as to what you’re reading, watching or wearing there.
Our local* cinema does it. Swear to God. Weekday lunchtime. $12 for 90 mins in their gold class rooms (like first class on a plane, all comfy beds and warm blankies, and eye masks). Mind you, at lunchtime you could probably just go to bed at home for free and save yourself the bother of losing your car in their giant underground car park. (*Local being Singapore. So not terribly local to Londoners really.)
always good to know what other countries are doing though
Happy for John Lewis to use London as a testing ground so they can then bring it to the rest of the country, it sounds like bliss. Clean sheets, no crumbs/tonka cars/Play Doh/annoying husband and peace. Looking forward to your updates Esther x
I kind of do this when I get in from work, I’m lucky (?) that I don’t have children/partner, so a nap is always possible………probably not the same when you DO have children/partner, fully understood.
Thank you for the link to Midulthood………….down the rabbit hole for a few hours!