Costume drama

A set of armour, a pair of red shoes, a charcoal dressing-gown: my cultural week has been spent crouched inside a wardrobe, hangers clacking with memory and desire. Giving up shopping since Christmas has been a welcome release, allowing me to appreciate beautiful clothes without constantly holding the mental template of my ass against their weave; but I knew the backlash was due.

First there was Burton's Alice, a strangely underpowered affair for all its rich sepia strangeness. Despite the 3D, it's flat. Good old H-B-C does her best to get everyone else to come out and play, but most of the other characters, including Aussie Alice and Mad Depp, seem locked behind their own eyes, inward-acting, possibly trying to mine some well of internal atmosphere in the face of the omnipresent blue screen.

Much more vivid are Alice's oversized, undersized, shoulder-slipping, back-baring dresses. I could feel and hear every silk and chiffon shift of those delicious, half-undone things. And when she came on for the climax in full Jabberwocky-slaying kit - a ringer for the knight in Dicksee's La Belle Dame sans Merci - I turned to the Yank and told him that that was what I was going to get married in.

It was an interesting tube journey home.

Next came Promises, Promises, the new ninety-minute monologue from Douglas Maxwell playing at the Soho, and a pair of scarlet patent heels.

Now red shoes have long been a theatrical symbol of menace and sex - it's no wonder that clever Louboutin trademarked that bloody flash of sole, as if to half-promise, half-threaten our transformation into a Dorothy or a Vicky in his wares - but you will rarely see them used with such ambiguous power as they are by Joanna Tope.

As Maggie, a primary school supply teacher asked to tolerate the exorcism of a mute Somali girl in her class, Tope puts in an immaculately paced performance. This  middle-aged, middle-class Scot sways her way through life in ruby heels, her sexual 'holsters' brandished, but gradually fails to mask her inner morass of pride, fear, alcohol and dangerous rage.

That, I thought, was a look crying out for my Hackney local on a Tuesday night.

And finally, last night, I got round to watching A Single Man. Was there ever such a paean to the scratch-soft caress of rigid wool? Those suits; those specs; those windsor knots: this was cinema 4D, full of the dog smell of damp upholstery, the depth of light in a  silver cufflink and the origami physics of a great white shirt.

But it was the dressing gown Firth which wears at the end (and his end) that got me: from the moment he made a tiny, gleeful, self-chastising adjustment to the belt in anticipation of a freshly showered, besotted Nicholas Hoult, I felt a physical hunger for that weighty robe: a heavy-soft marl membrane between self and others, day and night, sex and shame.

So far, on all counts, Asos isn't really coming up trumps. Step up, Ms Atwood; Monsieur Louboutin; Mister Ford. I await your call.