Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dr Who from bard to worse

Filming of the new series of Doctor Who has brought the centre of Warwick to a standstill this week as the town was transformed into Elizabethan London.
David Tennant and new side-kick Freema Agyeman spent two nights filming at the Lord Leycester Hospital which doubles as Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
In the episode the Doctor will meet Shakespeare but chief writer Russell T Davies is tightlipped about the plot.
BBC bosses had hoped to film scenes for the new series of Doctor Who at London's Globe Theatre but the area around it wasn't historic enough.
Gerald Lesinksi of Warwick's Lord Leychester Hospital which doubles as Shakespeare's Globe, said: "Last year the BBC filmed scenes for Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen.
"The Doctor Who location manager fell in love with the place. Filming was done at night to avoid traffic noise."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Diana didn't die

German director Christoph Schlingensief has probably found his perfect material in the death of Diana, Princess of Wales - he's making a movie about her last hours - given his notoriety for blurring fact and fiction. Thanks to the likes of the Daily Express no explanation of her passing will ever be credible: just back your whim.
"Diana is a legend," says Schlingensief. "The most abstruse conspiracy theories have grown up around her death. It can probably never be exactly clarified what happened in that hour of her death. Art has the freedom to interpret this."
Schlingensief's artistic stunts include a pretend Big Brother street show in Vienna featuring asylum seekers competing for a residence permit (passers-by were fooled) and a staging of Hamlet in Zurich for which he recruited neo-Nazis.
His intention is to question certainty: yet in Diana we have little but uncertainty -unless he sneakily proposes to suggest that she survived the car crash. It's an entirely credible notion that Charles and Camilla were privy to a conspiracy to smuggle Diana out of public life via Paris and settle her in happy obscurity on, say, the charming island of Thudufushi in the Maldives - where Brigitte Nielsen used to holiday regularly. Schlingensief should look into this.

Douglas on a movie racket

Interesting insight into Michael Douglas' attitude to the movie trade. A friend interviewed him lately for his new film The Sentinel and he was asked if he'd ever hire out his voice for an animation:
He laughs: “Are you kidding? For a start, it doesn’t PAY so much as real acting, and you are never offered a profit share, and then I think that the animation companies are taking the Mick when they ask you if you can loan your physical movements to an animated character…and it’s not even you up there. It’s – to me – a racket. So yes, I would LOVE to do it for the kids, for my children, but NOT for the studio. And they put you through the emotional wringer when they say ‘OH, Michael, please do it for us, Cerys and Dylan will LOVE it’. That’s just blackmail!”

The Simpsons forever

UK Teletext has some exclusive stuff on The Simpsons TV series and movie:
TV series
The producers of The Simpsons plan to make it the longest-running prime-time entertainment show in US TV history.
Actress Marcia Wallace, who plays teacher Edna Krabappel on the animated comedy said: "It would be fitting for us to hold that record."
The series begins its 18th season in the US next month. The current record holder is Gunsmoke, the western which ran for 20 years until 1975.
Animated comedy The Simpsons has definitely been renewed until its 19th season, but Marcia Wallace believes the end is not in sight for the show.
"There was talk the show was going to end a few years ago, but I don't hear that any more," the actress, who plays teacher Edna Krabappel, said.
"Everyone is just as enthusiastic now as they were when it started. It is part of popular culture, so we all want to do 20 years at least... and more."
The movie
The movie version of TV's The Simpsons is shrouded in such secrecy that much of its cast don't know what it's about.
Marcia Wallace, who plays teacher Edna Krabappel, revealed: "I've only seen bits of the script that have Edna in it - nothing else. I've never known the producers to be so secretive."
Wallace revealed the movie features songs, but not from Edna. "I recorded one, but it's just been cut," she said.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Beyonce gets chewed

One of the world’s foremost authorities on reptile biology Clifford Warwick is snapping back at Beyoncé following her recent remarks about taping a baby alligator’s mouth shut at the photo shoot for her new album, B’Day. The former Destiny’s Child singer — whose record drops on September 5, the day after her 25th birthday — told the September issue of Arena magazine, "There was a shot where I held an alligator. [He] had [his] mouth taped—that was my bright idea. … He was really cute, but since his mouth was taped, he didn’t have any way to defend himself. He was upset, so he peed on me. That was an experience!"

Here's the letter:

Beyoncé Knowles
c/o Yvette Noel-Schure
Sony Music
550 Madison Ave., 26th floor
New York, NY 10022

Dear Ms. Knowles,

As a specialist in reptile biology and welfare I’m concerned about your posing with a terrified baby alligator for your new album cover. Humans and alligators are not natural bedfellows, and the two should not mix at events such as photo-shoots. In my view, doing so is arguably abusive to an animal.
According to reports, the animal had his mouth taped shut, and you noted that he was so frightened and defenceless that he relieved himself all over the set. Any restraint at all inherently deprives the animal of instinctual means of avoiding unwanted attention. By taping his mouth closed, this alligator was very exposed to his captor (you) and other surrounding threats with no way of evading the predicament.
I can understand why, despite assurances from animal handlers, you would be concerned about being in close proximity to a wild animal. Even a young alligator can bite when provoked. Few people realise that even holding a wild animal (whether captive-bred or wild-caught) is often a major stressor for them. In nature, an animal will be pursued and quickly caught or escape. Animals won’t be held in their predators’ arms for protracted periods of time while being stripped of all defenses. There is no scientific question as to whether alligators are capable of feeling pain and sensitivity to stress—they are, just as you are.
Alligators are rarely aggressive to people unless they are forced to be. They do, however, carry bacteria that can cause serious infection in humans. This is yet another reason for not using them for photo-shoots. Humans have historically treated alligators badly. Skin and meat traders in the US continue to do so by ranching them and slaughtering them via slices through their spinal cords or bludgeoning them with hammers. The ‘lucky’ ones get shot. The alligator you handled probably faces this same end, after a life of confinement in captivity. It seems a great pity that this animal’s problems should be added to in the course of promoting your own work.
I should hope that, on reflection and consideration of these wild animals’ natural needs, you would opt from now on to leave wild animals in the wild.


Clifford Warwick, PGDipPHC(Med), FIBiol
Institute of Biology

Jodie wants sausage

The delightful Jodie Marsh is back blogging again after an over-long summer hiatus and has lost none of her jawahh der vivererrr. My latest favourite item of hers, extracted from one of her 1000-word pars, is this revelation:

Gone are the days of playing men and getting exactly what I want out of them. Gone are the days of feeling so powerful I can take on the world (no, actually they're not gone, I still can take on the world!). All I want now is a half decent bloke with a working sausage to keep his mouth shut and service this old banger twice a week. Ha ha.

All a Blur book

Blur bassist Alex James is writing his autobiography, I can reveal. Due out next year, it's so far 75% finished.
"It's about as much of the '90s as I can remember," James told my talented source. "It's been good, looking through my accounts. Looking back, things I thought were important at the time really weren't."
He added: "I've been going through '90s music magazines and, well, I remember things differently than they reported."

Bingo for Vic Reeves

I understand Vic Reeves is working on Big Screen Bingo for Endemol - it will be shown in cinemas across the country - supposedly UCI and most of the other big cinema groups have signed up to it. You're given a few numbers on your cinema ticket and before each movie Reeves will read out random numbers on pre-recorded footage to win a large cash prize.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Robert Tewdwr Moss: 10 years on

In earlier posts in July I reminded those who care that Aug 26 marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Robert Tewdwr Moss. And here we are now.

I tried recently to buy a copy of his fantastic travel book about Syria, Cleopatra's Wedding Present, but it's out of print, more's the pity. I'm tempted to re-print it myself. It's a book of timeless worth both for its writing and its sensibility: a book only Robert could have written - a funny, gay picaresque odyssey-cum-love story in a fundamentalist Moslem country.

I had thought to re-read his many obits that improbably appeared in the nationals back in '96. I say improbably because he was not famous, known only to a small circle of journalists. Many of the obit editors hadn’t heard of him but were persuaded by the likes of Peter Parker and Philip Hoare to run pieces: they and many others had sensed in Robert the potential for tremendous achievement and had already witnessed his genius for affecting so many people through his personality and voracious interest.

Cleopatra was a promise that tragedy made a memento. I say this not to glamorise him, he had many faults like everyone else, but to acknowledge a general impression of him by all or most who encountered him.

I planned to re-read his obits to say more about his life but I now think I prefer just to remember him and some reactions to his death. One that sticks particularly in mind was a news feature on Robert written by one of the Duncan Campbells on the Guardian.

Even now it seems astonishing that this paper commissioned and ran the piece. It told the story of a murder mystery in high society, the death of a man who wrote for Tatler and other posh periodicals, who was gay. It was written in a semi-amused way as if Hercule Poirot had been hired to script a voiceover for yet another homicide on the Nile. Because the victim was (wrongly) perceived as part of a privileged world, because he was a man who was homosexual, the writer imagined that he could write a piece of emotional indifference for the entertainment of his audience. This hideous article alerted me to a streak of viciousness that runs through the Guardian to this day – at its worst it makes the Daily Mail look as benign as a village newsletter.

Aside from the obits, newspaper coverage of Robert’s death was thin – ironic given the fact he’d written for most of them. His passing coincided with the awful murder of a child (I forget the facts) – the subject of pages and pages of fact and speculation mixed with the usual exploitative emotionalism. Child murders sell newspapers. Gay male murders don’t.

An obvious point to make but one worth repeating.

Robert’s obits were inevitably eccentric and colourful: a little too colourful for the likes of the priggish Ian Hislop who at the time despaired at the odd subjects of obits these days: he was plainly referring to Robert’s. Hoare’s obit in the Independent recalled how an editor at the now defunct IPC fashion glossy Woman’s Journal first “discovered” Robert. He had written to the editor on coloured notepaper and enclosed cuts from some obscure West African magazine. He was invited to the soulless glass tower near Blackfriars. The editor recalled a beautiful pony-tailed man with droopy wing collars and a baroque waistcoat gliding into his office and exuding a carnation scent. The camp exterior belied a serious and determined temperament – later demonstrated in many high comic celebrity pieces that were marked by great attention to telling detail.

Robert had an unusual talent to befriend his interview subjects. Beryl Bainbridge adored him as did the curious and late Master of the Queen’s Music, Malcolm Williamson, who would phone the offices of The People in attempts to contact Robert – he was shifting at the paper along with Hoare back in the early ‘90s.

For some reason the actress Joely Richardson became one of his best friends and exotics such as Lady Colin “Georgie” Campbell doted on him. John Major’s biographer Nesta Wyn Ellis was also a close pal: on one occasion she asked him to house-sit her duplex in Montagu Square while she was away. This became an opportunity for a debauch with one of his lovers and both delighted in disporting in her expensive lingerie before the many mirrors in her boudoir.

Even Lord Snowden was the subject of an anecdote. Robert encountered him at a London party and recalled how on leaving the venue all he could hear was the rapid thud of Snowden’s walking stick on the ground as the viscount seemed to hurry after his new young friend. At the other end of the starry spectrum was his encounter with Lionel Blair at yet another party – a chaste encounter it should be said though not for want of Blair’s obvious enthusiasm.

Had Robert lived he would have written more travel books of innovation and controversy, travel books comparable with or better than Bruce Chatwin's. He would have written comic romans a clef based on his unique journeys through London society and would have himself become the subject of media interest – somewhere in a TV vault there’s a documentary in which he took part, on the subject of … handbags.

Instead, his journey on this planet was brief but rich in incident. Too brief.

PS A reader asks how do you pronounce Tewdwr. Answer Tudor.

Goddess and Coke cock

"The Disappearing Goddess" is Alison Boshoff's latest excuse in the Mail to rummage through the Nexis electronic cuts service in her PAYE mission to tell yet another sad tale of a fallen celebrity - in this incidental instance, Nigella Lawson.
The object of the exercise is to somehow relish in schadenfreude (for Success Must Have A Price) while both shedding a crocodile tear and name-checking lots of other celebs for a confected ambience of haut-monde. I particularly adore Boshoff's little glitzy tautologies such as her description of Lawson's "cultured and epicurean existence" with husband Charles Saatchi - "There are blissful lunches a deux ...." she writes. The "a deux" bit is italicised for the posh gloss effect even though any lunch of two people would be "a deux". The sentence was written just for the italicisation.
I had the opportunity to watch Boshoff in action at a Cannes Film Festival a few years back. She didn't have a clue how to work the event. She hung out with some PA cheena and together they loitered around DDA's and other PR offices hoping for a 5* celeb to 'chute onto their laps. It didn't occur to Boshoff that no stars or their agents would dream of a 1-2-1 with a proven libeller. So off she tottered back to Nice Airport and Derry Street to write a piece about how Cannes was a faded thing - all to justify the expense of sending her in the first place.
As for Lawson there's much more that could be said - how she had started her affair with Saatchi long before husband John Diamond snuffed it of throat cancer. Not that he was perfect. The night before their wedding he had sex with a person who'll remain nameless - "He was desperate for sex," she reports. Another of his earlier lays reports he had a cock shaped like a Coke can. Gawd bless 'im.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Robbie in Barcelona

Hello dearies, back from Barcelona. Rudebox everywhere - Robbie Williams on the cab radio to Gatwick, Rob-bloody-ster in some "duty-free" shop after the security farce (no, charade), Rude-fucking-box in the hire car from Barcelona Airport up the C32 to the Meridiana, Robbie on some TV screen in the Cortes Ingles dept store in the Catalunya square whatsit, then more Rudebox in the hotel - lovely hotel actually in Barbera del Valles, since you ask - lots of marble - yes, more Rudebox while this Catalan cleaner waltzed with her mops and hoover over rink-shiny floors - it was like Holiday On Ice - Rudebox everywhere in Barcelona and I don't think the single's out yet, not that I care. Robbie reminded me that I was still in UK Popland which is just about anywhere but the USA. Picked up the Sun (2 Euro!) and here's the Robster claiming he fancies Madonna while making the foul allegation that Louis Walsh wants him as his lover. Didn't Victoria Newton say Rudebox is the worst single in history? Actually it nags its way into your head and after a while it's fit for the iPod. It was Gaudi Vs Robbie Williams in Barthelona, and if that reference makes no sense to you then take the next flight out to Barcelona even if the Spanish can’t do maps.
(Message to Conde Nast Traveller: the above will cost you £578.00 + VAT).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Madame Arcati is on holiday

Yes, the withered but sharp-eyed Madame is away now and back Aug 26. But send her your emails and stories and she will employ some form of divination to assess veracity on her return.
Meanwhile say a prayer for the poor fellow withered old stick Kelvin Mackenzie. He thinks George Michael should be served an ASBUM (a homo ASBO - joke! How I laughed!) and made to clear up Hampstead Heath after polluting it with his vile practices, a proposal inspired by Boy George's NY sweep up.
This is a most uncharacteristically restrained expression of wit by Mackenzie. Surely George should wear a Pink Triangle as he serves his ASBUM and plucks condoms off London trees. I can't imagine why Mackenzie holds back. He really should just give full and uncensored vent to his ancient prejudices and thereby make it easier for the authorities to clap him up in some secure unit.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Roy's kwalla-tay problem

Whenever I read media guru Roy Greenslade's stuff I am reminded of Mrs Heidelberg - as played by Joan Collins in the movie The Clandestine Marriage. The old Restoration broad is prone to the over-use of the word quality - or "Kwalla-tay" as she pronounces it, in an attempt to add airs and graces to the very word itself. Everything must have kwalla-tay.
Roy is a great one for kwalla-tay even if he doesn't much use the word - today in his Evening Standard Media column he attributes the decline of the red-tops to a lack of aspiration in the editorial: readers are simply not "stretched to better themselves" but are put off by a "relentless diet of celebrity". Where's the kwalla-tay, dear?
This is an odd view for two reasons. First, newspapers (even the tabs) are chock-full with travel pieces about expensive holidays, advertorials for the latest technology and extensive health and beauty pages and supplements. The qualities and the quali-pops groan with high-lifestyle pieces written by a variety of sub-Sloanes, often the spawn of journos made good, who worship wealth.
Second, on the matter of celebrity, Roy should take a look at the last story in the In The Air column, about five inches right of his lead piece. It's a story about rocketing celebrity magazines - Heat and Closer are due to take over OK! in the weekly market. Perhaps the real message of this is that there's not enough celebrity in the papers and too many kwalla-tay columnists like Roy stuffing up the white space.
When a website like can beat the red-tops at their own game, with the Mel Gibson story, or when something like the Guido Fawkes site takes the lead on, say, the Prescott affair (prepare for ITV1's movie Prezza, by the way), then you don't have to be too clever about diagnosing the problems in the nationals.

Danny Dyer takes it E-asy

British star Danny Dyer has warned that his new Nick Love film Outlaw will offend and upset a lot of film fans.
It's a vigilante tale set in contemporary Britain and Dyer said: "We live in a messed up world. Paedophiles are being let out of jail and allowed to live opposite a school. This film tackles all that stuff - it's very dark but it's also very apt about the world we live in now."
Severance star Danny Dyer admitted he has made films while on drugs in the past but says he's sober now.
The Business and Football Factory star said: "I've made one or two films where I've been on Es the whole time. Human Traffic was one - I decided to do a bit of method acting and that involved taking Es. I thought I'll have a go at that to improve my acting."
Brit director Chris Smith said he was warned his horror film Severance would be impossible to sell in the US after 9/11 because of an aircraft scene.
The horror drama features a scene of violence involving a passing plane and Smith said: "We were told it wouldn't sell in the US because of that part. Actually we had three companies competing for the film, all of whom said that was their favourite scene."
Severance director Christopher Smith has told the British Film industry why he had to take his horror comedy film abroad to get it made. The film is set somewhere in eastern Europe and Smith explained: "You could in theory have made it in England.
The trouble is making films in this country is a nightmare. Every time you set up a shot you discover a Tesco Metro has appeared in the camera."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sun boobs again

Readers of the Sun should demand their money back today if they bought the paper on the strength of the splash - a pic of Prince Harry groping a girl's boob. The paper claimed it was taken recently while he was dating Chelsy Davy.
In fact the pic is three years old and was taken before he met her.

Moyles travels a la royals

Four listeners of Chris Moyles' Radio 1 show won the exciting prize of spending a weekend in Newquay with the self-proclaimed saviour of his station. But I hear that Vic and her three friends had to sit apart in the crammed standard carriages, while the master relaxed in first class, with his own bodyguard. Aled Jones, who works on the breakfast show, was overheard whispering, "Chris just doesn't do standard".

Timberlake drowned in humility

Humility is a rare quality at the best of times - and in celebs it's scarce indeed. So let's hear it for Justin Timberlake who's just returned from "doing charity work" in Tanzania. He and girlfriend Cameron Diaz arrived "in this village" (he can't recall the name) and people were celebrating. He assumed because they recognised him. Oops! In fact they didn't know him from Adam. They were celebrating the arrival of a new well and the supply of fresh water.
Justin felt "humbled".

Eamonn is a sheet

It's pleasing that Eamonn Holmes has signed up as patron of The Bubble Foundation - a charity dedicated to finding ways of curing kids born without an immune system. However the cause has elevated his sights beyond trash TV and makes him "despair of a world where everyone wants to be Posh Spice," demanding the media spend more time lauding heroes like doctors and medical researchers.
Indeed. Yet which Sky TV star lately interviewed cosmetic gargoyle Priscilla Presley on the important topic of her ... new bed-linen line? Step forward Eamonn Holmes!

Pammie's phwoar gras rant

Pamela Anderson is throwing a hissy fit on her blog - against the Hollywood restaurant she helped fund. She writes that she gave $25,000 to Blacksteel's chef provided he never served foie gras - "If he has broken his promise, I've asked him to donate the 25 grand to PETA," she writes. Clearly she thinks he is serving foie gras, yet a perusal of the menu reveals veggie-only.
Her marriage to Kid Rock will last six months.

Jordan caught short

Mixed fortunes for Jordan (alias Katie Price) what with the very sad loss of a baby while her debut novel Angel cleans up in the book shops - without sending out an assistant to buy up copies to influence sales charts (see Coleridge posting below).
Now I hear that her literary ambitions are about to take a turn to children's fiction. Is this because she wants to create the next Potter or Pooh Bear? Nope. She says: "Kids' books are a lot easier because they're only 700 words long."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Nicholas Coleridge: Vanity Unfair

A Much Married Man by Nicholas Coleridge
I was tempted to kill myself rather than finish this dreadful novel but I have my duty to my readers and so here's my review (or rather, "spiritual response"). I understand from Private Eye that Mr Coleridge sent out an assistant to buy up copies of his own novel from London bookshops in order to cheat his way into the city sales charts, thereby creating the illusion of a bestseller. The worst case of vanity publishing I have ever heard.

No one can fault Nicholas Coleridge for not remaining true to the old maxim dished out to aspiring writers that you should write about what you know. As a man (and MD of Conde Nast) he has come to make a very considerable living from worshipping the wealthy and their ways, through the glossy magazines he presides over and the novels he composes every Saturday morning - and this thought needs to be borne in mind when procrastinating one's way towards his oeuvre.
A Much Married Man is a Jilly Cooperish romp in a rich man's arcadia. A certain poverty of soul is more than compensated for by a trove of surface detail about people who get featured in Tatler or Vanity Fair (the UK edition) - and if this branch of eugenics fascinates you, it is hard to see how you could be bored.
A novel doesn't have to be profound, of course, to be of value or of a time-filling utility, but even in comedies (or light, frothy reads) one longs for just one respite sentence that may hold out the hope that the author is not entirely in thrall to a world whose worth is only calibrated by money, family or marriage.
It may not be enough simply to set dialogue to what could pass for a long style piece in a magazine. The unwary wealth-worshipper with literary longings may need to dig deeper into his psyche to produce something more than an apologia for snobbery and avarice and glibness. But it's pointless being too hard on a frail social creature as Coleridge whose golden life to date has given him no cause to wonder beyond the tinkle of parties or formula of success.
This novel should be enjoyed as a charming throwback to a time of privilege and inflexible castes - as if Proust, Trollope, Waugh (or even Jilly Cooper for that matter) had never been born.
Enjoy the dream, but mind the traffic as you go.

Did Vanity Fair fact-check Moss homage?

AA Gill downloads a thousand misused adjectives on the subject of Kate Moss in the latest, gorgeous, edition of Vanity Fair: what a master of prose souffle he is. He seeks to explain Kate's resurgence in the wake of Hurricane Cocaine and concludes that, well, savour it for yourself:

"She said nothing. She did nothing. There was no contrite press release ... There is an old, stiff-lipped, patrician motto that could be stitched onto her pillow: NEVER EXPLAIN, NEVER COMPLAIN..."

Really? Adrian must have been in Albania when Kate issued this public statement, following splash tales of her powdery sniffings (not snortings!) on September 22, 2005:

"I take full responsibility for my actions, I also accept that there are various personal issues that I need to address and have started taking the difficult, yet necessary, steps to resolve them. I want to apologise to all of the people I have let down because of my behaviour, which has reflected badly on my family, friends, co-workers, business associates and others." She added she was trying to "stay positive" with the "invaluable support and love I have received." BBC News report

Sounds like a bit of strategic contrition to me, though I'm open to other constructions. But I think this rather knocks Adrian's theory on the head.
I wonder whether editor Graydon Carter will be demanding the return of the four-figure fee. Or maybe he promised Kate a mythologising history rewrite, from the hands of a compliant top-sterling hack, in return for her blinding September cover pic.

Savile defends "dog" Jodie!

From the Jersey Evening Post Aug 12:
FORMER Bergerac star John Nettles has told the JEP that he would have been delighted to appear at the Battle of Flowers if he had been asked. And veteran DJ Sir Jimmy Savile, a former Mr Battle, says that he would have done it for free.
'I would have been enormously flattered to be asked, and, if available, I would have been very happy to do it,' said actor John Nettles, who is again one of Britain's favourite TV detectives thanks to the hugely popular Midsomer Murders. And he added: 'I would have given any fee to charity.'

The decision by the Battle of Flowers Association at the last minute to spend £22,000 of their extra States grant of £90,000 on Jodie Marsh and X-Factor runner-up Andy Abraham has been widely criticised, but Sir Jimmy has leapt to Jodie's defence after hearing that she had been booed by the crowd.
'It's not the Jode's fault,' he said. 'She can't help being what she is. If someone is going to offer you £22,000 or whatever it was, you are not going to turn it down. The Jersey organisers should not have put her in a position where she was going to get booed at the Battle of Flowers. Is Jersey the right sort of Island for somebody like the Jode? I've met her, and she's a nice girl, but whoever asked for Jodie to come to Jersey did not make a good move.
'If you get bitten by a rottweiler you can't blame the dog. You know what they're like. You shouldn't be in a position where you get bitten.'

Jodie in Jersey

Jodie Marsh exercises a fascination over the Brits quite out of proportion to her celeb wattage though in keeping with the luminosity of her grouted fangs. Now an honoured fan of this embryonic site sends me this item. My thanks.

Hi Madame A,
I don't think Mizz Marsh's lawyers will be in touch any time soon. There's a bit more to this story than I first thought. Before Jodes was booed off the parade, the organisers tried to cancel her appearance at the island's top fun event according to the Jersey Evening Post but her management (gosh, I bet they're not overworked) refused.
To make it up to Jodes, the island's Economic Development Minister Philip Ozouf stepped into try to limit the damage by organising a programme of events including a visit to the Women's Refuge. He had to beg islanders to restore Jersey's reputation for a warm welcome. Not surprisingly, her diary of public appearances on is empty for the rest of the year.

I shall be sending my link to the Jersey tourist board and demanding an apology for this insult to our Jodes.

Rav does a Winona

Glad to see the Screws' Rav Singh reads this site - yesterday he was quick off the mark to pinch my Prestelle contraction for Preston and Chantelle (see below). No credit, mind.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Don't tell Lily ...

Lily Allen's starting to get on my still pert tits - especially after the whinger knocked Her Madgesty lately - so here's a little tale about her rapscallion actor daddy Keith. Sometime back, at the London media Rover's Return, The Groucho, the married scamp was having an "affair" with a laydee novelist of a certain accomplishment - I say "affair": what it amounted to was copious nightly drinking followed by wall-banging sex upstairs in one of the clubs guest rooms which you can book for about £120 a night. No flowers; no diurnal, breathless love chat between fucks. But my writer reports that his libido had become so jaded by boozing and drugging with the likes of Damien Hirst et al that the only way he could get it up was with the aid of charlie blown full up his anal passage through a straw - the laydee novelist providing the blow, so to speak.
The effect, I am told, is exquisite; though I hope the straw was safely disposed of after use.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Olde Queer attacks Tame Queer

It’s odd how the London Evening Standard’s gay theatre critic Nicholas de Jongh has to resort to writing to his own paper’s Readers’ Views page in order to express his disapproval of the London Evening Standard’s gay resident columnist Johann Hari. You might think the paper would give de Jongh comparable space given his veteran status, but then the subject of the row is sex, or specifically, homosex.
The ishoo is Hari’s recent piece on George Michael. The Kathy Bates lookalike is under the impression that the superstar-singer is representative of Olde Queer, with his sordid and immature cruisin’ and a-juicin’ on Hampstead Heath, while Tame Queer Hari is a paragon of young, enlightened, mature homos who are nicely futon’d each night with a partner in their Wallpaper-inspired homes. The only cruisin’ Tame Queer gets up to is on his TV remote as he channel-hops from one soap to another.
“As for Hari’s assertion that young gay men of his morally improved generation do not go in for anonymous sex or cruising, I can only deduce he’s living with the fairies in Never-Never land,” writes de Jongh.
Very nicely put.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sunday Mirror buys phone bills

As The News Of The World implodes, other nationals and even Press Gazette focus on the journalistic racket of accessing people's voice mail messages. But nobody is talking about another illegal practice - the buying of celebrity phone bills.
Take the Sunday Mirror for today's example. To get their hands on a bill, certain of their more foxy hacks phone a company called ELI (tel: 0208 544 0054) and just give the celeb name and address, all for about £800 a pop.
Remember the Rio Ferdinand splash where they had "evidence" about what time he called to prove he lied over the drug test? They simply pulled his phone bill. Or Zoe Ball's affair with the DJ Dan Peppe: all they did was pull her mobile phone bill and see who she was calling teary-eyed after midnight.
It wasn't her husband ... it was this bloke and hey presto: evidence of an affair (all they then did was follow her).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Woody Allen - memoirs?

Woody Allen can't be enjoying his press right now what with the critics being horrible about his latest film Scoop. And what of his delayed memoirs? As far back as 2003 he said he might write them if the price was right - for about £2m then. At a HarperCollins party this week I asked for an update. My source reported: "He wrote a great proposal, it's graphic about the Mia Farrow stuff, but he wants £3m. With the Scoop turkey he may sign now."

World awaits Prestelle

Watch out Posh and Becks. Madame Arcati hears that not-so-Ordinary Boy Preston has ditched his publicist of four years in a bid to cash in on his new-found fame. The ex-Big Brother star has hired top PR guru Sundraj Sreenivasan, who looks after Girls Aloud and the Scissor Sisters. With their upcoming nuptials, sources say the singer and his ever-so shrewd fiancee Chantelle hope to rebrand themselves as a top celebrity couple.

Good advice to McCartneys

Heather Mills' decision to engage the lawyers Mishcon de Reya in her bitter divorce from Macca is surely wise. And both should read the firm's website. For there they'll find a canny media guide for those stars being pursued by journalists. One piece of advice is never say "No comment" - it suggests there's something being hidden. So what did the McCartneys say back in May about divorce rumours - "We have absolutely no comment to make."

Pray for the Screws

Should you find a moment in your day for prayer, than radiate your thoughts to the embattled News Of The World.
Finally the curses of its many victims have hit home. The hexes have delivered.
The Fake Sheikh entirely discredited and exposed as a criminal agent provocateur, Tommy Sheridan triumphant, Rav Singh a proven showbiz fabricator, circulation in freefall - and now the arrest of royal editor Clive Goodman over alleged "intercepted" phonecalls to the royal family (in an investigation involving anti-terrorist officers).
Perhaps he's innocent, probably not.
Poor editor Andy Coulson must wonder at his karma - what has he done to deserve all this? After all, someone has to do his job - to preside over prurient celebrity sex stories for Sunday masturbation while attempting to launder the tacky operation with crypto-police work. Yet it would appear that the entire paper is a criminal organisation, what with cops rifling through its shredder bins. Let's hope Murdoch doesn't keel over and die what with the shock and all.
Could it be all the work of Max Clifford, Coulson's once great ally-turned-nemesis? No Sun editorship for Coulson. But then if you construct a working environment based on fear and loathing, where hacks are compelled in effect to falsify, what can you expect but ruin?
The Screws. RIP.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

MediaGuardian: The Hello! for media types

How do you break a habit? There I go, every Monday morning, buying a copy of the Guardian just for its media section. Just like I buy Private Eye every other Tuesday evening for no better reason than I have for years.
So far as the old MediaGuardian was concerned it was the job ads that once really interested. Pages and pages of them -IPC's particularly until some bright spark at King's Reach Tower realised that ads in the Guardian attract left-ish trouble-makers, so the company took its custom for the most part elsewhere.
The current paper MediaGuardian is an etiolated version of its old self, thin indeed, though not as thin as the Indy's media bit which has not taken off as a significant revenue stream and never will. Its letters page alone is so squashed you'd think the Jolly Green Giant had sat on it.
MG's sickliness is due to many things - a robust, parallel MediaGuardian website that updates news through the day but rests at weekends (so there are fewer stories to stuff into a specialist once-a-week section); a greater number of ad rivals (paper and net); and finally an altered editorial policy that has substituted a preoccupation with major media players for a catholic and slightly irreverent view of all media and their many personalities.
Take any Monday edition and most probably its lead will be a Murdoch, BBC or ITV analysis piece. Inside, interviews with BBC corporates, perhaps a CV of the latest radio signing. MediaGuardian has turned into the Hello! for media types - except it has defined its constituency very narrowly so that most readers (ie journalists) must feel they've wandered into a party uninvited. Very Hello!
There is on display a faintly nauseous veneration for personality hacks and star company suits - some of the interviews read like extended job applications by young ambitious post-grad hacks: certainly the spirit of Nicholas Coleridge fills MG - the man who went to the trouble of writing an entire book of interviews with major newspaper proprietors for career ladder elevation.
The oddity is finding all this in the Guardian. If you want to know what's going on in the world of magazines - all the thousands of them - don't trouble yourself with MG. Regional newspapers? Only if there's bad news. The hundreds of digital TV channels? Far too tacky.
Yet the comings and goings of half-educated half-wits are recorded if in the employ of national newspapers. Why not revive Jennifer's Diary and have done with it. The sense of a club (both established and aspired to) is a little too apparent. The paper MG is becoming an irrelevance as it morphs into a vanity showcase for those who think they've made it.
MG needs to take a closer look at its raison d'etre before it starts to resemble its weakling Indy "rival".

Jodie: Platell would be proud

Jodie Marsh, anti-bullying campaigner par excellence, rather undermines her cause with her fantastically vicious and abusive blog (see below). As a script for bullies it is nonpareil and Amanda Platell must surely approve (see below also).
A few examples, supplied by a friend of Madame Arcati:

Jan 30
On Carole Malone, columnist:
“Very nasty old journalist. Famous for being fat". “Silly old mare”

On George Galloway:
“A two faced lying twat”. “A vile little man”

On Michael Barrymore:
“A weird, twisted and nasty old man”. “Scum of the earth”

“The ugliest thing, inside and out”. “Bitter, jealous old trannie”

Rula Lenska:
“A two-faced bitter old woman”

“An annoying dumb un-caring bimbo”

“Sly, shifty, unintelligent”

Said she would like to smash a magazine writer’s head through their computer screen.

Feb 1:
On Jordan:
“She slates my nose but hers is hooked like a witch’s from the side”

On Rebekah Wade, Sun editor:
“A feminist ginger bitch, ugly as sin”

On Barrymore:
“A insane twittering old man”

Compassionate elephants

The Popbitch crew - currently on holiday - love animal tales so here's one hot off the PA wires. I don't know why compassion is described as a "human-like" attribute in the report below: you have only to watch a great number of species with their young to recognise compassion - which I define as the ability to be aware of pain in others coupled with a desire to relieve it.
But is Anna Wintour compassionate? Does she sense the imprinted pain in the creatures whose skins adorn her skeletal body? Or should Ms Wintour be shot?
Where's my compassion?

Elephants pay their respects to lost loved ones and venerated leaders in a way that suggests a human-like capacity for compassion, scientists said today.
They came to the conclusion after watching how elephants on a Kenyan game reserve behaved towards a matriarch who fell ill and died.
The dying elephant, named Eleanor by the researchers, was first assisted by an unrelated matriarch from another family.
At one point the helper, called Grace, was observed lifting the collapsed animal to her feet using her tusks.
When Eleanor fell again, Grace tried again to lift her up, this time without success.
Eleanor died where she fell, and was subsequently visited by elephants from her own and four other families.
The animals showed a distinct interest in the body, sniffing it with their trunks, hovering a foot over it, or nudging it with their tusks.
Some of the visiting elephants had previously had no association with Eleanor, said the scientists.
Elephants appeared to be interested in sick, dying or dead members of their community even when they were unrelated.
"It leads to the conclusion that elephants have a generalised response to suffering and death of con-specifics and that this is not restricted to kin," the scientists wrote in a paper to be published in the August issue of the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.
The research was led by Dr Iain Douglas-Hamilton, from the Zoology Department at Oxford University, who founded the charity Save the Elephants.
With US colleagues from the University of California, his team monitored members of a population of 900 individually known animals on the Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya.
Movements of 50 of this group are constantly tracked using global positioning satellite (GPS) collars.
The researchers also took automatically dated and timed photographs to record elephants visiting the dead matriarch.
Most animals apart from humans seem to show little interest in the dead bodies of their own species.
However chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants are all known to show concern for the sick and dead.
Dr Douglas-Hamilton said: "This behaviour in an animal species can be compared to human behaviour, and indicates that such feelings as compassion may not be restricted to our species alone."

Jodie - call Arcati!

Further to my story the other day about glamour model Jodie Marsh not updating her priceless blog since July 6 - I may know now why she's "disappeared". My pals at Digital Spy tell me that a "Jodie Marsh haters" forum was created which has to date attracted over 212,000 views - by far the lead item of interest in their showbiz section.
Is it possible that sensitive Jodie has taken offence and is sulking in her Essex homestead with her doggies?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Platell - a victim of bullying

In the Mail today Amanda Platell turns her attention glitter ball to Helen Green, the company secretary awarded £800,000 by the High Court as compensation for a four-year campaign of bullying by four female colleagues at Deutsche Bank. Amanda is appalled that such a victim should have recourse to law - "Hers [Green's] is a hideously distorted world where self-styled victims reign supreme..." blah blah bah.
Apparently, Amanda can't see what the fuss is about: she is unable to find one incident of bullying in this case that most of us would not have "shrugged off as petty offfice politics". So what if colleagues blow mocking raspberries at you or tell you to your face that you smell - welcome to the world of work, children!
Actually, this pile of nonsense - supported by an approving adjacent editorial - is only explicable in context. For Amanda herself is a victim of bullying. Victims sometimes fall for their persecutors, we know the phenomenon: Amanda's is a classic case.
We have to return to the mid-'90s for the full story. She was made editor of the Sunday Mirror but under the terrible and dysfunctional aegis of the sad and mad managing director Bridget Rowe - a woman Amanda would come to describe as a member of the tribe of she-men.
The two women were at odds from the start. Bridget subjected Amanda to a grotesque reign of terror - on one occasion a row on the car phone with her boss grew so violent that Amanda had to tell her driver to stop so she could spew in the gutter. Fortunately for her, the Asbo had yet to be unleashed on anti-social behaviour.
Sometime after she left Canary Wharf, Amanda was traumatised or angry enough to write a readable pulp fiction about some bitch newspaper editor which hopefully was cathartic. Whether it earned her £800,000 is not known.
Yet what psychic injury may this experience have done to Amanda? Nurtured by the arch-bully of them all David Montgomery, then herself a victim while her erstwhile mentor stood by doing nothing to help her, she doubtless came to the painful realisation that behaving like a total shit is the only way to get by in the antediluvian world of national popular journalism.
What a sad but well remunerated world Amanda inhabits.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Nesta the movie star!

How's my darling friend Nesta Wyn Ellis, the girl from Llanrwst, doing in Paris these days? The highpoint of her literary career was her outrageous biography of John Major when he was PM back in the '90s. It was she who persuaded poor old Norma to confess to marital rows and to her crockery bombardments, and it all culminated in Nesta calling John "flaky" on Wogan.

Now she is a resident of Paris and known as nocturnal song bird Chanteur Isabelle, a reinvention all the more remarkable for its genesis in her seventh decade.
Then last night, with a glass of absinthe in hand, I popped in a DVD of a fascinating little movie called Bolsa de huesos y recuerdos starring, among others, someone called Yzabel and it's all about an old singer, Alicia, preparing herself for her last show.

Suddenly my torpid mind stirs awake as I recognise those familiar long blonde locks - for it is none other than Nesta! And such a sad ending, as Alicia is revealed as a tragic old soak drinking whisky from a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag!
How many other John Major biographers can also claim to be Chanteur Isabelle, the movie actress Yzabel and the one-time Liberal parliamentary candidate for Brighton?

Surely a biopic of this extraordinary woman must be in the offing.