How I partied the night away like Posh
Pictures of Victoria and David Beckham sparked frenzied speculation about the state of their marriage again this week.
Nothing new there of course - except this time what's got the grapevine buzzing is the shocking implication that the two are... in love.
We're used to seeing the Beckhams walking side by side with the all-the-ease of Beefeaters on parade, him staring grimly ahead, her pouting fixedly, half a step behind. But the latest pictures of a family break in Santa Monica show them hugging and kissing and exhibiting, for the first time in a long time, an easy affection and intimate closeness.
The pictures didn't surprise me though. They come only a few weeks after Victoria was pictured the morning after her wedding anniversary party looking black-eyed, khaki-skinned and totally knackered.
Some commentators disapproved of the usually poised 'high fashion designer and mum of three' letting herself go to such a degree. But I suspected that a proper party with her real friends and family, throwing caution to the wind, dancing on the tables and getting disgracefully drunk and disorderly would be as good for her marriage as six months of counselling.
I was thinking about this just yesterday, after attending a fantastic wedding party in the awesome setting of the main hall at Stormont which brought together a lot of old friends.
It was an evening do with no children present, so though most of us are now parents and usually only get to chat while sticky-fingered infants pull at our sleeves, this time we were as free and unencumbered as we had been 10 years ago when we regularly went out drinking, partying and falling over together.
And after a few beers had loosened us up and some old memories had been un-boxed, it was as if those 10 years had never happened.
I know I've changed a heck of a lot since my mid-twenties, when I worked in the music industry, went out four of five times a week, barely noticed the hangovers and had the confidence of Beyonce at the Lammas Fair ass shaking contest. I'm a married mum who gave up full-time employment to work around my children, and I'm very contented with my life in a pretty house with a flower-festooned garden, where I'm awoken by bird-song every day.
But my God, it's good to be reminded every now and again that I haven't completely shed my old skin - that there's a part of me that still loves to dress up to the nines, pogo to punk rock in 5in heels and argue with half-cut zealots into the wee small hours about Dylan versus Weller (Dylan, by the way - ludicrous that you should even have to ask).
It wasn't just the old me I remembered. Watching an old friend, a hotshot lawyer with impeccable taste in Ozwald Boateng suits, leap onto the dancefloor and circle the hall doing the funky chicken with more attitude than Mick Jagger in 1967, I remembered all the reasons I fell for this funny, disarming, impetuous Belfast pack in the first place.
And seeing my husband (an original member of said pack) beaming with happiness as he bounced around the room, I remembered lots of other rather lovely things too.
As a tonic for marriage, I can't recommend a boozy, messy wedding enough. And I'm sure David Beckham would agree.