Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Daniel Radcliffe: One for the size queens

Alfie Allen's cock, click here
We all know Daniel Radcliffe can act but the only question on people's minds this morning is: How big is it? You will be pleased to learn that Madame Arcati was resplendent at the Gielgud for the first night of Peter Shaffer's Equus. All the queens (OK, critics) were in the front rows with programmes over their laps and their binocular lorgnettes primed for the nudity. I can report that Daniel's dick is of average proportion (about 3.5" in flaccid state) but inclined sometimes to 4" after he gives it a tug or two while his back is turned (sneaky!) to the audience. More impressive, if these things impress you, were his testicles which brought to my mind the query: Anyone for tennis? They rather swayed about to an alarming degree as he threw his person hither and thither the stage. So my theatrical advice to Dan is: prior to the disrobing scene snuggle your sac in ice for that tighter look. You don't want to frighten the horses, after all.

Daniel Radcliffe posterior shot, click here.

Read what it's like at 73 to have sex with a 23-year-old man

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Guardian rewards my unkindness

Despite my rudeness about The Guardian, the newspaper rewards me with a deluge of new visitors from its book blog by Sarah Crown, the editor of Guardian Unlimited Books. She quoted from my piece on Costa winner Stef Penney and how you don't have to leave a carbon trail the length of Hale-Bopp to inspire the literary imagination. [Click here] Sarah also writes about their recent blog talking point on literary pet hates. I suppose I'd have to say John Updike exercises an irrational influence on me - entire newspapers have been discarded unread at the very sight of his name in a banner, bookshops vacated at the very mention of his name. It maybe the Rabbit books and a stupid and literal association with bunnies - Updike looks like one, incidentally. Rabbits have always unnerved me for some reason. And yet I like the line from his (otherwise unread) memoirs Self-Consciousness: "Fame is a mask that eats into the face."

Fallowell: 'Neither Nancy nor tosser'

Dear Madame Arcati,

Since Susan Hill is continuing the Nancy photo business on her blog, and using the "It was all just a joke" defence for her error, I think it's time for a general statement of internet ethics. If you publicly call someone a tosser, then discover that your facts were wrong, an apology should be forthcoming - unprompted and unqualified. I recall one of our Latin masters who was caught out making a mistake on the blackboard by one of his pupils. He couldn't admit it and moved the goalposts by pretending he was just testing us. Susan is trying to move the goalposts by saying I've got no sense of humour.

With best wishes, Duncan Fallowell

Monday, February 26, 2007

Whores, psychics and the Duke of Westminster

Lots of media grey pubes tut-tutted at the news last week that back in 2002 the Ministry of Defence spent £18,000 on psychics in an attempt to locate Osama bin Laden. It was reported that defence chiefs had concluded that there was "little value" in what is known as remote viewing after testing 12 novices on identifying, by psychic means, the contents of sealed envelopes. The success rate was 28%.

It's odd that the MoD went to this bother when there's already a man in their employ who does know where Osama hangs out ... step forward the UK's wealthiest man, the Duke of Westminster. For it was he who, prior to penetrative sex with prostitute Zana Brazdek, 26, with or without a condom (for a rather exorbitant £2,000), told her that he knew that the mastermind of 9/11 was loafing about in a village in Pakistan. Quite frankly, no psychic could compete with an Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Reserves and Cadets).

But back to the MoD. Is 28% a poor result for psychics? As regular readers know, I scarcely believe anything I read in the newspapers. So, I asked my pal psychic Michelle Knight for her view. She says:

"This would not be considered a scientific test but the fact that the MOD got 'novices' and still had a 28% hit rate is actually rather good. The CIA did a 20-year investigation and Jessica Utts professor of statistics, University of California, Davis, and one of two experts commissioned by the CIA concluded that:

'Detailed analysis of the complete collection of experiments on this type of phenomenon shows that what holds, despite changes in equipment, experimenter, subjects, judges, targets and laboratories, is far greater consistency with the 1 in 3 success rate already mentioned than with the 1 in 5 chance expectation rate. Such consistency is the hallmark of a genuine effect, and this, together with the very low probability of the overall success rate observed occurring by chance, argues strongly for the phenomena being real and not artifactual.'

"That was actually based on the CIA experiments having a 27% hit rate rather than 28% that was in the UK experiment with 'novices'."

The Duke of Westminster's Osama hit rate is 0% as I write but that could change when he's quite finished bedding - as "Gerald Westminster" - the escorts of the Emperors Club VIP.

My grateful thanks to the News of the World for the insider whoring info

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Duncan Fallowell: 'I am not Nancy!'

Dear Madame Arcati
I'm turning to you in desperation. My book To Noto on the Amazon website is accompanied by black and white photographs of a woman in various postures including getting married to Peter Rodd in a long floaty lacey thing. [Click here] It's giving customers quite the wrong impression of what I'm really like. Honestly I was never photographed by Cecil Beaton in an off-the-shoulder organdie number and never stood beside a lamp post in the Dior New Look. They've got me muddled up with Nancy Mitford. One customer has expressed considerable annoyance that I'm not a chick with a dick. I've tried to contact Amazon and so has the publisher, Martin Rynja of Gibson Square, but those piccies carry on up there - look for yourself. I'm just trying to live a simple life. Can you help?

Yours gin & tonically, Duncan Fallowell

Dear Duncan
This is truly appalling, that you should in any shape or form be confused with someone called Nancy. You do realise that you may have a case in law against Amazon? This is a libel though perhaps of a sort not yet properly tested in the courts. I would strongly urge you to post something in the Amazon review section of To Noto asap, something to the effect that you are not Nancy Mitford and that you are not having, nor have you ever had, Cecil Beaton. Then proceed to a good lawyer to bring suit (as the Americans put it). I hope Madame Arcati has been helpful.

Yours (beam me up) scotch & tonically

MA x

Peter Owen: 'Yoko Ono was rubbish'

Peter Owen - the man and his avant garde publishing company (est 1951) - is one of the debutants of the blogosphere - and his/(their?) site is worth a visit (click here). It burst into life only last month and I think I may get addicted.

In the past few days or so, for instance, there has been much excitement about an interview with Peter Owen himself due to be published in the Daily Telegraph. Apprehension might have been more appropriate given that Mr Owen's griller was Duncan Fallowell no less, a man practised in the art of teasing out all manner of secrets and hitherto unsaid detail.

On February 19 the blog announces: "There will be an interview published in Saturday's Telegraph to mark his [Peter Owen's] 80th birthday and we need a recent photo except that the most recent one we have is Peter sitting with Jane Bowles in Tangier circa 1967."

Then on the 23rd there's an amusing launch party report. Attendees include such "eminent folk as Christopher Priest, Bidisha and Duncan Fallowell who teased us mercilessly about what he had written in an interview with Peter."

As well he might. The interview appears today (sadly I can find no online link to it as I write) and is gloriously indiscreet, illustrated with a very recent photograph. I'm only sorry the Telegraph couldn't have given it a spread. But I hope Duncan will write a much longer, definitive piece for one of his collections.

Hesse, Yoko Ono, Dali, Bowles, Gide, Mervyn Peake, Lawrence Durrell: these are just a few of the authors Owen has published. Bravely he confesses to have passed on Beckett. He couldn't stand Ono ("She sat eating caviar and didn't offer me any," he moans, and her book Grapefruit was "rubbish") and recalls Dali's "cheapest fizzy Spanish wine". One of his first editors was Muriel Spark but "she became too big for her boots" when she started "cavorting" with the likes of royalty and Evelyn Waugh. A memory as long as Owen's and a temperament so attuned to insult or boorishness demand some sort of time capsule.

Not all that I have heard about Owen over the years has been complimentary. Certain people once in his employ complain of his tight-fistedness. Yet in the interview he reveals he doesn't take a salary and that he gives a house to his company rent-free. One suspects that shrewdness, rather than (or not only) meanness, accounts for his business longevity.

So, happy birthday, Peter Owen! I hope this enthralling interview makes it onto the Telegraph website.

PS - Duncan sends me a note: "Tell your Owen readers that though they have the meat the sauce is yet to come." I can't imagine what he means.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Oscars! Arcati exclusives!

Alas, I can't be at the Oscars this year but my reporter slave Nikita Tiggy-Haslam has filed something for general usage:

Thank you thank you, frocks, Clooney, Mirren, regal, And the winner is ..., Academy, Posh, thin, Size Zero, Swank, Clint, I kinda, anti-war films, Little Miss Sunshine, dark horse, paparazzi, This way Posh, Crowe, asshole, Babel, Dame Judi, Dame Helen, Peter O'Toole!, At his age!, Leo Leo Leo (I'm not disappointed), The Queen, statuettes, Amin the mood, Amin the cannibal, I kinda, Amin the Forest Whitaker, Dreamgirls, Miss Ross, I wanted to explore, Cruz can act (at last), This is for, Hudson, who?, Simon Cowell's reject, United 93, gruelling, over-long, crowds gathered, like, like, like, long speech, short speech, boo-hoo, Scorsese, short arse, Wahlberg, flashlight, My Mother!, red carpet, Tinseltown, Frears, CIA, 24 categories, Turning Japanese, blood diamonds, Britney, drug residue in hair, so shaved head, no diamonds this year, Valentino, Oh thank you, Oh my god, I'm not prepared, Fuck Bush, Posh, thin, Size Zero, Vanity Fair party, Elton John's party, clipboard nazis, Posh styles TomKat, I made this for ...., dead cert, I did this for my country and my Queen, blood diamonds, conflict diamonds, the glitz, I am so honoured, thank you thank you ...

No copyright.

A Baroque love letter ...

The delicious Katy Evans-Bush who writes the Baroque In Hackney site has been kind enough to name Madame Arcati as one of her favourite blogs on Normblog. She has evinced unfailing good taste and judgement throughout the time I have read her and this latest development maybe regarded as confirmation. Why she hasn't a newspaper or magazine column yet (I presume) is a sad commentary on the state of mainstream media where the hereditary or cocksucking principle appears to be regnant. Nonetheless, even remunerated editors experience the odd moment of eureka!, so watch that Baroque.

Nicky Haslam at the Oscars!


My friend and artist Fish tells me Nicky Haslam is wearing the only King Nicky t-shirt in the world for and at the Oscars. I nominate him for the Best Party-Goer Award ...

Meanwhile, Nicky's ... likeness ... by Fish.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Guardian! The new starfuckers' bible!

Once a graveyard of earnest polemic, The Guardian is now fast becoming the Hello! and OK! of national newspapers, rivalling perhaps only the Daily Star in the vulgar pursuit of celebrity. This can only be for the good.

Today, in his Guardian blog, the well-known cultural critic and polymath Graham Norton expounds on celebrity culture and how he hopes it eats up the world. Apercus include: “Our obsession with celebrity just proves that we’re Village Britain”; and “The trashier and more aggressive celebrity culture gets, the more people want to be famous”; and “I can’t see celebrity culture slowing down.”

Nostradamus - if not Madame Arcati - would have been proud. As if to prove Norton’s points, the front page of the Guardian’s G2 Arts section today is dominated by a painting of Paris Hilton – ostensibly to illustrate a piece on painter Karen Milimnik but really just to fill a page with the pretty lingua franca of Hilton’s low-slung visage. Another piece, this on photographer Gered Mankowitz, is overwhelmed by a snap of the Rolling Stones. If it’s not celebrity that obsesses then it’s the artists and artisans of celebrity that will do.

I noted only a few months ago that MediaGuardian was now the Hello! of the journalist trades with names, names, names everywhere: even some lowly half educated 23-year-old hack who gets the chop on The Sun is likely to get a name-check simply because of association with The Sun. Dumped hacks from outside Fleet Street can fuck off. A star must be allowed to dazzle and the Guardian certainly knows how to shimmy. Lest we forget, the Guardian dedicated more column inches to Celebrity Big Brother than either the Mail or the Sun.

Those who decry the Guardian’s star struck swooniness should first read some of the comments on Norton’s blog – here is the authentic voice of an enfranchised readership who populate an upmarket ABC1 profile:

“I think it’s sad we don’t have any heroes anymore,” why-oh-whys MissLouise

Heat can be an artform …” salivates ArmchairPundit

“What does prurient mean?” begs Katewashere

True, of the 88 comments posted so far, many are a tad cynical of Norton, reviling celebrity for its own sake and noting that he has a new chat show to promote - but Comment Is Free, as they say at the Guardian, which is probably why it's largely ignored by the editorial starfuckers.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bloggers inherit the Earth

Two bloggers have just been hoisted out of the torrid obscurity of the blogosphere and presented with fat publishers’ cheques.

Today, in the Independent, we learn that Catherine Sanderson, on the strength of her blog La Petite Anglaise, has landed a six-figure two-book deal. There’s even talk of a movie-of-the-blog starring Kate Winslet.

Ms Sanderson had already come to public attention last April when she was fired from her job because of her internet site – in one entry she writes disparagingly of her boss’ “braces and sock suspenders … when I speak to him, I can’t prevent myself from mirroring his plummy accent.” She is currently suing her former employer for wrongful dismissal and is claiming £50,000.

The other star-is-born is Judith O’Reilly who has just picked up a £70,000 deal with Viking Penguin after her blog Wife In The North impressed a number of notables including journalist Andrew Sullivan and Tom Watson MP. After exiting the Sunday Times as education correspondent and downshifting to darkest Northumberland, because of some romantic notion of her husband, she retained her sanity by writing a public diary.

The churlish will say that her Sunday Times connection won’t have hurt her. But the blog does have a must-read pull, thanks to Ms O’Reilly’s facility for soliciting our pity as her metropolitan spirit struggles in the northern heartlands, all rendered in a velvety prose style. Remarkably she only started blogging in earnest in January.

Both sites strike me as reality blogo-soaps – the way forward with publishers, plainly. And but for the blogs it is highly unlikely that these two fortunate people would now be contemplating a life of recognition and perhaps the odd guest spot on Radio 4's Start The Week.

You maybe assured that Madame Arcati shall resist any temptation to start her own reality blogo-soap ....

Monday, February 19, 2007

Monocle: The carbonistas are watching

The exotic dessert of international magazine publishing and Wallpaper* founder, Tyler Brule, has produced the first edition of his new monthly publication, Monocle; its title an unintentional anagram of “cool men.”

It describes itself as “a briefing on global affairs, business, culture & design,” and is aimed at ever-mobile sophisticates who shop and drop in different time zones. It "speaks to consumers who are locals no matter where they land - they live on long-haul carriers, have multiple residences, cross borders daily and crave a world-view rather than a domestic rendition…."

It boasts no celebrities … ah, promises, promises.

Monocle actually features a few celebrities but has them confined to their natural place – to the ads. There’s pretty Jonathan Rhys Meyers showing-off Versace; there’s John Travolta in his pilot clobber whoring himself for Breitling; oh, and there’s Kylie’s ex Olivier Martinez flogging Yves Saint-Laurent’s Sheer Magnetism.

The ads sell top-end glamour in a magazine that is decidedly anti-glamour: so much so that it may yet become a totem for a dullist movement in journalism whose daily is the Independent. Why, even some writers are only identified by initials just in case the glamour of their names sullies the ambient nunnishness. The writing is uniformly flat - as flat as most of the pages are matt - as if translated from many different languages: Monocle’s chief triumph is to rob internationalism of any residual glitz, though the EC, the UN and Conde Nast Traveller may also take some credit.

If an interview with Chile’s Andres Velasco or a profile of a Northumberland bookshop or a history of anti-freeze (did I just make that up?) or Tyler Brule’s (full name) Q&A with the boss of Lego is what hardens your tits then Monocle is for you.

Which is not to say that Monocle won’t do a roaring trade. I long ago concluded that I have little affinity with the wealthy Brules of this world who enjoy a literalist-fetishistic relationship with inanimate things. But I’d fight for their right to exist. It’s just Monocle wasn’t designed for me.

But Brule may want to take note of a burgeoning group I call the carbonistas – the moral crusaders who measure and monitor our carbon emission footprints as a reproach. Monocle better beware. Not only does it seek to profit from the strato-gypsies who smear our skies with contrails, but it doesn’t think twice about unleashing 20 writers, photographers, et al on one story: this is carbon indulgence. The carbon-finder generals are watching.

Has Monocle arrived just as the world tentatively starts to question the wisdom of rampant, promiscuous travel and its by-product “sophistication”? Monocle’s success or failure may yet be one of the measures of how seriously we take global warming – if readers don’t fall asleep first.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sheridan Morley's death

I am so sad to hear of the death of Sheridan Morley at the ridiculously young age of 65. He passed quietly in his sleep, according to reports.

There's much I could write about him but I think I'll save it for another time. He was unquestionably one of our best old-school theatre critics - I was personally sorry that he became the butt of so many jokes in his later years: his tendency to fall asleep once the curtain rose being one reason. He'd never really got over his dismissal from Punch.

Most people didn't know that he was diabetic, and I don't think he controlled the condition very well. High blood sugar can be soporific - along with much that passes for West End theatre. When he should have focused more on his health he worked obsessively, but the reviewing gigs began to dry up as he also battled with depression.

The imbecile Boris Johnson replaced him at the Spectator with the utterly inept Toby Young. Morley wrote to Johnson: "My objection is that I might as well have been replaced by Sooty and Sweep or the Beverley Sisters." Of late, he'd been dumped by the Express and replaced by the likes of Paul Callan and other know-nothings-in-particular.

His knowledge of musical theatre was nonpareil and I think he was still the trustee of the Noel Coward estate: he'd told me that his preferred successor would be the Coward biographer Philip Hoare.

Last I'd heard he planned to make a new life in New York. Farewell, Sherry, for now.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Dinner with the Caines and Berezovsky

I pop out for a Chinese - but not any old Chinese. I head for China Tang at the Dorchester and its Art Deco joys. It's run by "flamboyant" David Tang: I approve of his monstrous cigars as an enthusiastic passive smoker myself - and it's such a pleasure to see him again. Tang's loos are an especial reflective delight - hand-towels inscribed with "Kiss Me, I'm Chinese" - and I approbate the cut-glass cruets for soy and chilli sauces in this '20s temple. And then there are mirrors, mirrors on the walls....

David is a perfect host - and what a surprise he has for me tonight! First, Sir Michael and Shakira Caine turn up as fellow guests. Then we are joined by Russian billionaire and renegade oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a former Kremlin insider-turned-opponent who is now in self-imposed exile in London. He was also a best buddy of the recently poisoned Alexander "Sacha" Litvinenko. Czar Putin, it is rumoured, has Berezovsky on a death list ... but tonight I can only think of har gau steamed prawn dumplings.

I'd love to tell you what Boris said to Michael and what Shakira said to Boris' beautiful young female companion but, as you know, I'm not one to gossip. Boris did say at one point, of Sacha's murder, "Russia is blackmailing Scotland Yard in this case," and "We will not allow the investigation to be stopped and we will go to the end to seek out the criminals", but I was lost to the 2003 Garry Crittenden Pinot Noir.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Arcati curse on media thieves

Note how mainstream media happily lift an Arcati story without credit. A terrible curse is now pronounced on Contact Music. Accidents will occur to loved ones of employees. I weep in anticipation.

Link to Contact Music.

(My thanks to Robin Tamblyn as my internet spy)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Project Catwalk: A spit and a tit

Project Catwalk has started on Sky 3. Task: to find the next Yves Saint- Laurent. From what we’ve seen so far I think they may have to settle for the next Bracegirdles – the people responsible for the Margaret Beckett look: nicely colour-coordinated on a foreign secretary but hardly Anna Wintour.

A Project Catwalk fixture is fashion designer judge Julien MacDonald. Many a soul maybe read by its face in repose and if this is the case then would someone find me an exorcist – Julien badly needs one. Rarely have I scanned a facial topography of quite such spite and malice – clementine-hued as it is and framed by a hideous peekaboo hairstyle last seen on Shirley Temple. Those embittered, thinned-out lips; those inverted V-ish Lana Lang (Lois Lane's rival for Superman's cock) eyebrows: a line drawing of such a visage would be dismissed as far too cliched.

The orange face is bad enough. But his put-downs of the young show-offs in contention are pitilessly witless. “Your ego is as big as your bo-dee,” he bellowed at one. When she bravely argued back he reminded her: “I am a successful fashion designer.” Darling Julien: it’s not enough to be big. One has to act big. Wear a magnifying glass or something - the osteoporotic fashion cunties will love the look; just don't be so small.

Animal activists should note that this twerp from Wales, who mastered in knitwear, uses murdered animals for his designs. If he were skinned the resultant hide would end up retailed in a fruit shop.

And then there’s out host Kelly Osbourne who has replaced haughty Liz Hurley. Now, Kelly has something about her it must be said. She’s quite school marmish and may attribute her nascent solo TV career not entirely to Sharon and Ozzy. So instead I shall draw your attention to the recent Elle Style Awards where, I learn, she gobbed in the face of a gossip hack who'd once written untruths about her.

"She thought she was unleashing her spittle at a News Of The World reporter but got a Sun journalist instead," I am informed. "The reporter looked like she didn't know whether to scream or vomit.”

My reaction precisely to Julien.

Blocked: Martin Amis & M Night Shyamalan

On this day two artists draw themselves to my attention: novelist Martin Amis, 57, and film director M Night Shyamalan, coming up to 37. Both are seeking. Both in a sense are in a limbo, one creative, the other commercial. Both know extraordinary success; now both have hit a brick wall. The collision process is fascinating. Neither is over, that’s for sure. Both are fighting forward. It’s an inspiring spectacle to watch two stars searching for the road north of inertia (theirs or others').

The Guardian reports today that Amis is to become a professor of creative writing at Manchester University. He explains why: “I'm 57 and there comes a point when, my father [author Kingsley Amis] put it very well, he said: 'There comes a point where you think, it's not like that any more.' A social change in the collective consciousness has happened and you feel you are not seeing it….

"I have a lot of children, but children only give you a very partial view of what is going on. They are quite secretive and edit what they tell you. I want to get out there and take my own reading of what young people are like now; it's very hard to tell. They don't interact with you at all, the young. They hardly see you [and] they don't show themselves to you. I have a lot of curiosity about that and maybe, when these strange experiences are out of the way, when it's over, it might form itself into a novel."

M Night Shyamalan can’t find a studio to pick up his spec for "The Green Effect". His three big paranormal movies (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs) alone have made in excess of US$1.3bn. Then he made one turkey in 2006, Lady In The Water, and the suits sought refuge in their Excel sheets. "The Green Effect" is as now as Madonna's latest turn: Mother Nature gets pissed off with carbon-farting mankind and decides to kill us off. Think of the (special) effects, the sights! It’s a neo-pagan-Gaia spin-off but all good ideas should replicate. The apocalypse is no longer nuclear, it’s natural (a clue there, Martin).

Someone who’s read the script at Latino Review has awarded it a B+ - but who knows? The point is, Hollywood doesn’t want to know, just as Amis feels blind to the “collective consciousness”.

Success, and then life goes on.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

'Daniel Craig - astonishingly good nude or clothed'

Dear Madame Arcati - can I put you right on Daniel Craig who you say has done nothing to interest you in the slightest? I haven't seen the new James Bond and am unlikely to, but Daniel Craig played Francis Bacon's criminal boyfriend in John Maybury's 'Love Is The Devil' and, like everyone else connected with that film, Craig is astonishingly good, both with and without his clothes on. The two neglected, eccentric masterpieces of recent British cinema are 'Love is The Devil' and 'The Life and Death of Peter Sellers'. With best wishes, Duncan Fallowell

PS - Also - in 'Love Is The Devil' he can be seen completely naked soaking in the
bath, a beautifully made man, a charismatic 'weight' on screen.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Daniel Craig: Better from the Spanish

With the exception of Roger Moore, 007 tends to incarnate in actors with a mighty high opinion of themselves - so Daniel Craig's boorish conduct at the tiresome Baftas last night was no great surprise. I shall confess that if the Kathy Bates lookalike Johann Hari had come up to me and complimented me on my lunchbox I, too, may have been irritated - one hopes that one's admirers are at least fuckable - but to be churlish with the darling Dame Judi Dench - who offered commiseration in their joint failure to win an award - was most ungracious.

Craig has yet to say or do anything that interests me in the slightest: a taut sphincter is a very common attribute in English actors and really ought not to be encouraged. I have neither read nor heard anything that could possibly raise him in my opinion. But I shall say this: if you auto-translate part of his Wikipedia entry from the Spanish, the result is fascinating:

Craig, of 38 years and first 007 agent blonde, managed to defy to the critical and more traditional fanatics of Bond than him considered somewhat coarse for the personage, and was able to be praised by their protagónico roll in “Royale Casino”, where he appears very in a fit suit of bath and showing a worked body in the gymnasium.

According to a survey, commissioner by the company of Profhylactics Durex Play, that entrevistó to 4,000 British, Craig is the man more “sexy of the world”.
By his interpretation of James Bond at the beginning of 2007 he was name to prize BAFTA, equivalent Briton of the Oscar, in the category of better actor in a protagónico paper. He obtained that no of the actors who have incarnated to the personage in the 44 years of history of the tax exemption, had obtained.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Jilly Cooper: Tell us about Julian

A Sunday Times interview with Jilly Cooper informs me she's about to hit 70 - in another age her ST columns dominated the latter half of weekends: a forerunner of Bridget Jones; but a married, upper middleclass variant. Celebrity columnhood segued effortlessly into equestrian blockbusterdom and now all she must do is live as long and productively as Barbara Cartland in her Gloucestershire pile that overlooks the sheep.

I shall never forget being at one of her book dos with a friend, the late interiors writer June Ducas (aka Magdalen Jane Ruth Ducas, an ex-wife of one of the Ogilvys). Jilly was working the room like the good professional self-publicist she is and June - very much a Jilly mate - made an approach to her mid-chatter, mistiming it admittedly. Jilly turned on her like a maddened cat - "June! Not now! Can't you see I'm talking!" More shocking than the face contorted with fury or the shrieking voice was the violence and speed of the mood switch. After that, whenever I saw Jilly on TV parading her familiar gap-toothed and breathless amiability, I had to smile a little.

Part of the Cooper story of course is husband Leo's transgression with a Jilly lookalike years back - he is now sadly ill with Parkinson's. But Jilly herself - though she is remembered as the betrayed wife - is not above suspicion. In the ST interview, there's an allusion to her odd "transgression" during the fabled days of wife-swapping (surely not over).

But there's no mention of the late crime writer and literary critic Julian Symons with whom she enjoyed a tender friendship. Time to come clean Jilly.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Stef Penney - carbon neutral winner

Much niggly bitching in the wake of Stef Penney winning the Costa book of the year award and its £25,000 cheque for The Tenderness of Wolves. The Times' half-baked gossip writer Hugo Rifkind seems particularly narked in a Jasper Gerard sort of way - a pointless auto-moaner who's neither angry nor pleased by anything.

The central niggle is that Penney's novel successfully evokes the barren tundra of northern Canada even though she's never visited the country. Her starting point for "colour" was the library not the airport: oh woe! At least one can say that her novel is, from a mileage perspective, carbon neutral. Agoraphobia might yet be the salvation of the global environment. Think on.

Too many people are impressed by the epic research boasts of popular writers: Jilly Cooper plies her shovel for up to three years before she puts pen to paper for a nano-six months. But this kind of stupidity - that writers must only write about what they know personally - is not confined to tinny scribblers on fading papers of record.

By coincidence I bought a copy of London Magazine (Aug/Sept 1994) in a Charing Cross secondhand bookshop the other day. I was drawn to Elaine Dundy's engaging piece on Ernest Hemingway (Hem) and Tennessee Williams (Tenn), comparing and contrasting the works and personalities of "the Yang and Yin of American letters."

She recalls how Hemingway was a ruthless eviscerator of his contemporaries, and one evening in Havana, Papa H spat his green-eyed vitriol on ... Graham Greene: "He was going pretty good there for a while but now he's a whore with a crucifix over his bed." Dundy reports further: "Then he fired off another salvo at Greene for only spending 10 days in Havana before writing a book about it, getting everything wrong - mixing up all the street names and buildings ....

"The hilarious, hugely successful Our Man in Havana, was the novel in question. And the fact that it was being made into a major movie right then and there in Havana - even as we were eating our dinner - with Alec Guinness, Ernie Kovacs and Noel Coward ... may not have improved Hemingway's temper."

Let us, then, celebrate the sinew and pliability of the remote (or even cursorily familiar) creative imagination to evoke other places. After all, if literary credibility is contingent on number of air miles then why isn't Alan Whicker a celebrated novelist?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Duchess of York + Scorsese + Queen Victoria

The news that Fergie, Duchess of York is "co-writing" an historical novel with a woman who used to write Dallas books was splendid enough. Now I learn that Fergie is going to produce a movie about the young Queen Victoria - and her director is ... Martin Scorsese. Yes, he's been signed up by Initial Entertainment Group.

Apparently, Fergie talked IEG boss Graham King (great name in the circs) into the project, shedding light on the youthful Vic who was crowned at a mere 18.

The film's working title is The Young Victoria - hopefully The Ferg will sex that up at some point, though the use of the definite article may resonate with fans of Helen Mirren's The Queen - which is picking up awards aplenty.

"We all think we know Queen Victoria from the latter part of her life, but in fact she was an amazing, dynamic, romantic personality from a very early age that is largely unknown," King told Variety. "I had been searching for a British project for many years, so I am just thrilled to bring her story to life."

So, the woman who brought us Budgie the Helicopter partners the man who made Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and The Last Temptation of Christ. Perhaps Queen Victoria will get to say motherfucker at some point. And who can say that Fergie herself won't appear in a dream sequence cameo as the young Victoria has a premonitory vision of the future of the Royal Family? I mean, anything's possible.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Celia Walden: trifles in the past tense

Celia Walden writes the gossip page Spy in the Daily Telegraph. Nigel Dempster she painfully ain’t. Take today, for instance, and her five tales.

She leads on Yvonne Ridley and her absence from the Islam Channel. “I now hear that the show [The Agenda] has been taken off air,” she writes with urgency. Yes, but the show was axed in the first week of January, dear. Still, Celia caught up in the end.

Her second story tells us that Prince William told Bertie Ahern that he supports Aston Villa. This tragic allegiance is common knowledge and the addition of Ahern fails to refresh our interest. Had he said "Manchester United" or some such, then she'd have a story.

Still on footie, she bumps into Teddy Sheringham at a new poker club in the City of London. From the auguries of his gnomic utterances she deduces that he’ll be retiring at the end of the season. This is a generally held view and scarcely a secret. Incidentally, she forgets to mention that he plays for West Ham United (tsk) but does manage to ask the great man if his romance with Celebrity Big Brother clot Danielle Lloyd may yet revive. His response, though completely unrevealing, is reported.

Next Celia reminds her readers that she was the one who reported Jeremy Paxman’s attack on the BBC last week. Sadly, she undermines herself with the additional reminder that she came across this scoop in the BBC’s mag Ariel – not quite Woodward and Bernstein, sugar.

Celia’s last story is about someone called Charlotte Wheeler, 22, who stuns with the confession that she once played something in Vegas (the editing makes her game of choice ambiguous). Her daddy gives money to the Tories so I guess this expose is at least in the right paper.

I understand from my sources (actually, Celia’s bio on her Society blog) that she speaks French and Italian. Surely she could do better as an airline trolley dolly or one of those polyglot station announcers at Waterloo.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Elton, Hollywood, porn and the drag queens

In conversation the other day with gay “power bottom” porn star Dean Monroe (whose oeuvre includes such delights as The Raspberry Reich and Black Balled 5: Star Fucker, according to movie database site imdb.com), he mentions one of his films in particular, Heaven To Hell, made in 2005 and directed by the gay hardcore porn helms-person and infamous drag queen, Chi Chi LaRue (born Larry David Paciotti).

Anyway, the cineastes among you will be spared a deconstruction of Heaven To Hell, save to say it features an angel de-flowered and de-feathered by demon studs. What actually interested me was Dean’s little slip: “The guy who did the sets [for the movie] does Elton John’s sets for his Oscars annual party ….”

This is the exotic event designer Bradley Picklesimer. And he did indeed help create the spectacle that was Elton's 14th Academy Awards party last February at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood: high wattage guests such as George Lucas, the Osbournes, Donatella Versace and Prince were treated to a mise-en-scene of Bradley's black and white brought to a climax by touches of fuchsia here and there. It certainly upstaged the rival Vanity Fair Oscars do.

Like Chi Chi, Bradley is a professional drag queen and a well-known sight at Hollywood A-list parties: the pair turn up together in their spangly frocks and mountainous wigs and 8" spikes and milk the photo ops. Chi Chi recently wrote on her blog:

Hey everybody, how was your week? Oh mine was great, thanks for asking!! It started kinda slow, I took in a couple of movies with my pal Bradley Picklesimer. I saw The Devil Wears Prada for the 2nd time, Pirates of the Caribbean and Strangers with Candy. They were all good. Monday, my gal pal CoCo LaChine came to town with Her Pal Christina and the 3 of us went to dinner and chatted about drag, pageants and piss, yes I said piss!!

How delightful. Anyway, the point of all this is of a personal kind: I am always fascinated by connections and it tickles me that Hollywood high style is currently presided over by the aesthetics of hardcore gay porn.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Lord Black joke

A site that thinks Lord Black is the Jesus of capitalism has popped up (click this link). It requests the support of all those who (though they may think him a corrupt, grandiloquent fool whose over-active cock led him to the grasping, acquisitive Barbara Amiel) think he should be exonerated.

The odd people behind this campaign wish to express their "grateful and long overdue acknowledgement of His Lordship's life's struggle to confront, with unflagging courage, the Brobdingnagian forces of Canadian small-mindedness, parochialism, mediocrity and failure." This leads me to think that these crusaders are far-right losers who have in various RSVP'd ways succumbed to Black's pungent VIP ass gas. They've even chartered an aircraft to Toronto to attend his "show trial" in March. I hope someone's calculating the Black carbon trail.

Madame Arcati has of course sent this heart-warming message to the site:

It will be most unfortunate if Lord Black goes down because of the circumstances behind the purchase and installation of a very expensive loo on his company jet. What a sad thing to be remembered for. His contribution to the sales of dictionaries alone should be regarded at the very least as a mitigating factor.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fergie and her Southyork Southfork pardner

Rejoice x 3! Fergie, the Duchess of York, has sold her historical novel Hartmoor to St Martin’s Press for 2008 publication. She is writing it with someone called Laura Van Wormer, described by one critic as a “master of romantic suspense”. As Grumpyoldbookman says, this is a very good thing for publishing – or at least for publicity about publishing. There is a whole literary industry dedicated to lifting the careers of publishers and agents who rep the creative mega-famous, based entirely on deals. Subsequent sales performance is another matter.

As for Van Wormer, she is much much more than a mere master of romance. She is also the master of Dallas, the famous ‘80s TV glamour soap. Van Wormer’s written a novel of the same name and a guide to the Ewing clan – oh, you know, Miss Ellie, JR and his bitter alcoholic wife.

This writer partnership has an unwitting comic antecedents. The Ewings lived on a ranch called Southfork; and years ago, before she divorced Prince Andrew, Fergie lived in a vulgar royal house that invited comparison with the parvenu Dallas property and was dubbed Southyork by the media.

I wonder whether Fergie and the Worm giggle over this possibly fatalistic early association via mockery.

Tom Utley: A red-blooded Mail

Tom Utley is a fine, upstanding hero of the Daily Mail - his hymns to nicotine redolent of absinthe celebration in another age - so I refuse to believe for one moment that it was he observed at the top of Shaftesbury Avenue (near Spamalot and the cinema), about 10.30pm, Friday before last, with a blonde of about 30 (or she may have been 50, who knows under artificial light). Hands were seen down the back of each other's trousers. There was drunken argument followed by kissing. Then the pair waited for a bus - irrelevently, Utley's wife is a bus driver (perhaps she is the blonde or was the blonde?) - near the fire station. No, it couldn't have been utterly Utley unless he was out with the missus.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Most Haunted: Was Derek Acorah stitched up?

I am most impressed that Radio 4's religious affairs show, Sunday, this morning got through an item on Living TV's Most Haunted without mentioning the name Derek Acorah. This is the series that sees its presenter/producer Yvette Fielding screaming her way through spooky castles and inns, and Acorah was its resident Spiritualist medium, who turned the show into such a hit with his hysterical "channellings", but who was exposed as a charlatan in 2005 and fired.

Why would Sunday's Roger Bolton choose to ignore the fact of Acorah and the implication of his exposure that Most Haunted was and is predicated on fraudulence? Why draft in the statutory sceptics (psychologists, clergy) to balance the show's claims (that famous BBC fair play thing) and not mention the potential coup de grace in Acorah?

Curiously, Acorah was exposed as a faker by Most Haunted's resident parapsychologist Dr Ciaran O’Keeffe (who's still with the show). He set Acorah up by giving him made-up names of characters whom the medium then purported to communicate with in trance. One of these characters was Rik Eedles, a fictional highwayman - a name which turned out to be an anagram of Derek Lies.

Why would the show decide to test its famous medium when anyone with an ounce of sense could see from the word go that he was just acting? Put another way: Why would the show look a gift horse in the mouth? At the heart of all this is ego. It had become an open secret that Fielding and Acorah couldn't stand each other - Fielding, a talented TV performer, leaves no one in any doubt that she's the star of the show. By 2005 Acorah was The Star. If you look at DVD copies of the show, the mugs of Acorah and Fielding share the covers. Then at some point around 2005, there's just the one mug - Fielding's, with her sexy neo-blonde look and those great infra red-friendly boggle eyes staring out in studied apprehension.

My own information leads me to believe that Acorah was stitched-up to get shot of him - Fielding and the entire crew knew he was just delivering an entertainment - and he was cramping her style. Dr O'Keeffe acted honestly in testing the clairvoyant, but what other result could there be once you apply a bit of scientific methodology to a hoax? Would any of Fielding's mediums pass the O'Keeffe test? Come on, sue me and we'll test them all in court.

Fielding's on the publicity trail at the moment to promote a new Acorah-less series. One journalist I know asked her about Acorah and she simply said she wasn't talking about him. Odd that. What an opportunity for her to say something along the lines: "We are an authentic paranormal show - look, we got rid of Derek!" Instead, she was happy to reveal that she planned a Most Haunted special with the Dingles from the TV soap, Emmerdale - "It'll be in a really spooky place somewhere in Europe and it'll be so camp," she said. Ah, yes: camp. That sums the show up really. That's showbiz!

PS For more on Yvette Fielding and her fakery see Bad Psychics.

Friday, February 02, 2007

WH Auden: Bye, then

Further to the WH Auden debate taking place on the Susan Hill and Grumpyoldbookman blogs - in reaction to Duncan Fallowell's complaint in The First Post that there's no new critical book from Auden's publisher Faber to mark the centenary of the poet's birth (Feb 21, 1907) - Duncan sends me this amusing follow-up note:

"I sent the Auden page to a friend of mine who teaches English at a Californian university, asking him if the USA was celebrating the centenary in any way - as you know Auden went to live there in 1939 and became a US citizen. My friend replied (ironically) - 'Of course they aren't doing anything. Who'd want to celebrate a commie faggot yellow-belly?'"

Click this link to read his Auden piece.

Lord Snowdon: Many cock tales

Such good news that my good friend Anne de Courcy is to write the authorised Lord Snowdon biography. One can only hope that it will deal frankly with his sex life.

Like the gruesome husband-beater Liza Minnelli, Princess Margaret had a penchant for gay and bisexual men. Kitty Kelley relates in The Royals (which I had to smuggle into the UK from the States – I wrapped it in embossed wallpaper) that at a society party in New York the hostess asked Margaret: "How is the Queen?" and she replied: "Which one? my sister, my mother or my husband?" Before they married she heard him call a male servant “darling” (or some such endearment) when he failed to see her in the room, and she cross-examined him as to his meaning. Well, I call my brother’s cat “darling” and I wish to state here and now that I am not having, nor have I ever had, a relationship with pussy.

I do hope that Anne will put flesh on the bones of one of my favourite Snowdon stories. As his marriage to Margaret disintegrated like cow dung in a squall, they attended a dinner together. At table he placed a paper bag over his head without a word. For several minutes other guests tried to ignore him until Margaret asked him matter-of-factly why he had placed a bag over his head. He replied: “Because I don’t want to see your fucking face”. I do hope this is true. But I wonder where he got the paper bag? Was it stuffed in his pocket in a premeditated act of marital hostility? Or perhaps he found it at his feet in the dining room and improvised a plea for help. And did he take the bag off before he replied to his wife? Otherwise, as he inhaled to speak, did he suck in the paper, causing muffled speech? Maybe, with each exhaled insult, he blew out a side of the bag? For me anecdotes stand or fall on such causal details. Perhaps Anne will furnish us with the facts. She is, after all, the mistress of etiquette.

Or else Nicky Haslam will enlighten us. The first of his memoirs is out in a few months time and he knows Snowdon very well. Haslam also shared a property with Margaret’s bisexual pal Roddy Llewellyn before he became a media gardener in one of the leisure sections of a national newspaper that promotes family values. Both Haslam and Anne are being published by Weidenfeld: one does hope that the former doesn't in anyway cause Snowdon to throw a strop to the latter's loss.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Who's the racist newspaper editor?

Racism and bullying are so very now, aren't they? So which national newspaper editor of some vintage has been known to rip up and throw back proof graphics into the face of cowering designers? But worse, the same editor on another occasion was heard saying, as he loomed over a picture of a group of black youths: "Which of these will be robbing my house in ten years' time?"