Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mel Gibson: His S&M Christ and drag act Satan

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ reaches UK TV screens this Easter. And celluloid-loving Christians raised on a cocktail of sugary Robert Powell soured with a dash of Scorsese's Temptation are in for a surprise .... Mel's movie, a brutal depiction of the last 12 hours of Jesus' life this side of hell, is two unrelenting hours of floggings, flayings, scourgings and bloody crucifixion; a drawn out epiphany via S&M. Perverts should dump a cushion over their laps in anticipation.

The (UK) 18 certificate puts The Passion in the good company of, say, Last Tango In Paris and Emmanuelle — both in their time stretchers of mainstream taste boundaries in movie entertainment. And without the antecedent likes of Tarantino's stylishly vicious Pulp Fiction (1994), or even Spielberg's blood-soaked opening scenes in Saving Private Ryan (1998), to soften up our moral tolerance thresholds, Gibson would never have got away with the unbelievable depictions of violence on display here.

Gibson purports to tell the literal story of Christ's suffering — skin and blood fly forth as hooks on lashes do their worst — yet can only do so on the back of many distinctly heathen and un-Christian movies that have already paved the way with their own freshly-minted iconography of psyche-shattering, violent images. The Passion should carry a big thank you to the movies that once turned our stomachs but now warm our hearts as we look back on these (already) quaint golden oldies.

This is not the only irony of Gibson's movie. It's soon apparent that The Passion is a very "painterly" movie: there are stunning tableaux redolent of Caravaggio's realistic works of Christ's Passion — Gibson admitted as much in interviews. Of Caravaggio's style, Gibson said: "It's violent, it's dark, it's spiritual."

It's also an accepted view that a great deal of rascally Caravaggio's work is homo-erotic. As the painter and novelist John Berger once wrote: "Almost every act of touching which Caravaggio painted has a sexual charge." Gibson has taken from Caravaggio what he wants to see — the pious suffering, the "realism" — and ignored (or is oblivious of) the sensual, gay subtext (which doubtless Mel would deprecate as a fervent Roman Catholic).

This blindness to the sexual inspiration of Caravaggio is doubly fascinating when you consider the one true success in Gibson's film — his modern take on Satan. Satan appears to be a pretty man, cowled in black like the model in the Scottish Widows TV ads, spectating at Christ's interminable abuse, sometimes morphing into a snake or parody Madonna, manly voiced. Then you read the credits and see that Satan is played by Italian actress Rosalinda Celantano. Satan is a he/she/it. The voice is a dub.

How very clever and intriguing. The incarnation of evil is an androgyne, a blurrer of sexual identity. "Evil is alluring, attractive," said Gibson. "That's what evil is about: taking something good and twisting it a little."

This tells us a lot about what Gibson regards as evil — the "twisting" of sexual identity, among other things. When you consider that many of the film's images, originally, were frankly gay you have to wonder whether Mel's got his moral head screwed on.

But no matter, it's only a movie. And what a movie. Not since Pasolini's Nazi porn film Salo (an endless parade of pederastic physical abuse and coprophilia) has a film so ruthlessly hammered the eye and shattered the soul.

People will take many different things away from it, but personally I was left depressed, disheartened. What laid me low was the sheer contradictory stupidity underpinning this movie — the exploitative violence, the sexual naivety, the moral hypocrisy. Is it anti-Semitic? I would say not. The Jewish people are seen at odds with each other over Christ's fate — this film is not about a race against its own; even the priestly pharisees bicker over the legality of Christ's arrest. A Jewish man carries Christ's cross.

Is there humour? Yes, on one occasion, when Mel credits the carpenter Christ with inventing the modern dinner table. "It will never take off," remarks the woman now known as the Virgin Mary, refashioned in Linda Barker's image.

But see the movie this Easter, have your moral innards bashed about. The decent will shut their eyes, the wise will channel hop after five minutes. The truly saintly will watch American Idol for tortured passions of a different order.

The Dame Edna Treatment: RIP

Once the funniest act on the planet, now the Vesuvius of comedy, with tourists gawping at a dead-looking heap as they channel hop, Dame Edna Everage is a sad Saturday spectacle. Regrettably, the tabloids haven't cottoned-on yet because TV journalists rarely watch telly beyond the video previews, they just drink and plan their get-outs and scroll Nexis for a quote. The cutting edge passed with mute Madge, the all-purpose possums are legs up. The gay glads - nah, they wilted long ago. Norm - we... - no, I can't go on, I loved Edna too much. Her daughter Valmai is no substitute. The celebrity guests, like the tabloid hacks, are in a cultural lag, still thinking of the glory days when just sitting there as Edna's stooge could revive a career or launder out the stain of self-importance. Now, to be at Edna's spa, is a sure sign that agents must be sacked and careers re-appraised. If Madonna ever appears on the show be certain she's finally lost it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Elton John's 60th birthday show: Ridicule required

I hadn’t quite understood why Simon Cowell let go of Kate Thornton on The X Factor till I saw her last night presenting ITV1’s coverage of Elton John’s 60th birthday concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The dress sense was the usual execrable – as a prop in a Cleopatra biopic Kate would be the rolled-up rug in which the Egyptian tart presents herself to Caesar – but it soon became apparent that she cannot do irony or humour, especially for the celeb interview show inserts. And what ITV1’s presentation desperately required was a distancing light touch to counter-balance the industrial levels of A-list fawning bull that steamed through the 90 minute edit.

When Clinton said of Elton: "Every time he sings, it reminds me we have a little juice left in us," she should have turned to camera with a knowing smirk as if to say: “You need reminding, you adulterous old goat, who came all over your intern’s dress?”

There are ways of doing this sort of thing without the celebrity subject realising it till they read the TV review, or their mother phones up to complain. TV presenting these days must factor in so many 21st Century audience realities: total loathing of self-congratulatory stars, a seething knowingness of celebs playing up to camera to dodge cutting room floor humiliation, near-narcoleptic boredom with showbiz set-piece events that don’t mock their dramatis personae (Wogan narrating Eurovision is innovatory in this respect), post-abolition-of-slavery modern servitude that leaves most people alcohol-stupored by mid-evening (alternatively, retirees suffer near-narcoleptic insensibility due to prescription drugs), homicidal envy of rich people looking happy (ie the cover mag rictus) – and the total contempt for Liz Hurley even if she's the numero uno Body Idol.

So, the challenge to the TV presenter is to keep the audience going, keep ‘em engaged. Honky tonky piano plonky Elton didn’t do it for me. After 15 minutes of him belting it out at his stand-up in profile – with camera cuts to his self-aware choir brats - every new tune sounded like the last, as his tragic starry pals out in the stalls showed off like banshees and lip sang the lyrics.

Was Demi Moore really dancing or was she struggling to pull a stiletto heel out of the floor? I couldn’t tell. And dear Emma Thompson, your new glam look is good; but work on the crazy eyes. Hollywood doesn't do crazy eyes.

Elton kept a school masterly eye on them all over his snazzy jewelled specs, worn a little way down the bridge of his nose – serving as an improvised bunker “spy hole” on potential persons found wanting - so that his gaze could freely flit here and there while seeming, at a distance, glued to the keys: one true measure of his accomplishment as a versatile performing artist. Elt is always sensitive to the smallest slight, as we all know, even at worshipful moments (day-to-day life, then).

David Furnish danced with a pretty young man in the audience, Sharon Stone did her barmy notice-me on the red carpet. Billy Connolly looked like he’d emerged from a chalk mine fall. Matt Lucas and David Walliams betrayed further signs of desperately seeking a knighthood. Yes, Kate had much material to play with. Instead – to paraphrase the song - she was (just) still standing.

Prince William: How Charles and Diana made him

Artist Mark McGowan is to re-enact the moment Prince William, the future King of England, was conceived by his parents Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

The event/performance is to take place at the Guy Hilton Gallery in East London at 5pm on Saturday 28th April 2007. The entire walls of the venue are to be painted with murals of Buckingham Palace, royal insignia, the Union Jack and the National Anthem will be played.

The matrimonial bed will be re-constructed and placed in the centre of the gallery with visitors and guests surrounding it. During the one hour ticketed event/performance two actors, one with a Prince Charles mask on, the other with a Lady Diana mask, will re-enact the conception and is to include what might have been said and how the conception would have taken place, the performance will also be x-rated as it will have adult material.

McGowan says: "This is an historical piece, it is a moment in our history few people ever thought they would or could see. It is at times like this that art shows its true power by making things appear real, it would have been easy to paint a picture or create a sculpture of the conception, but I hope by using actors it will bring a sense of authenticity to the piece. I believe this is probably one of my most important works, the gallery only holds a certain amount of people, we will however be making a DVD of the performance so a wider audience can enjoy this fantastic art event."

For more info/tickets click on

The Guy Hilton Gallery 07958595033

Mark McGowan 07944533010

Thursday, March 29, 2007

McDonald's: Ejaculate in granny's milkshake?

One of the weirder questions the McDonald’s Make Up Your Own Mind website asks itself – hoping to allay our fears over the food chain’s manna and its sources – is this one: “Why did your emplyees (sic) ejactulate (sic) into my grandmother’s milkshake?”

The lack of sub editing aside, I should report in the interests of balance that McDonald’s replies (to itself) that claims of this sort have been never found to be true (did they take a sample from granny’s tummy then in search of McSemen?) and if bodily fluids were found in the milkshake the discharger would be fired. Just fired? Not a police matter then, no possible assault issues?

Anyhow, all this corporate intercourse with the public reminds me of something I read in PR Week last week. McDonald’s UK PR chief Nick Hindle announced that in future the company would put its faith in the staff as the “brand voice” – and encourage staff blogging.

I wonder what he thinks these McBloggers will have to write about and who will read them. Who’s screwing whom over the Chicken McNuggets? Perhaps they will follow the example of McDonald’s Open For Discussion blog reflecting the “personal perspectives” of McDonald’s staffers Bob Langert, Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility, and Catherine Adams, Corporate Vice President for Worldwide Quality, Food Safety and Nutrition. There are other contributors, too.

The few reader comments first alert one to the charisma-free zone of Bob and Cath. “CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] is multi-dimensional,” writes Bob, “and we break it down into five key areas: balanced active lifestyles, responsible purchasing, people, environment, and community. We’ll be talking about all these areas. I’m very passionate about them all.” Already I want to self-immolate in the fat fryer. But let’s soldier on. “We [McDonald’s] are a continuous improvement company. We tinker with every little detail in our business to do better. It could be redesigning a package to keep the food 1 degree warmer or making service 1 second faster.”

Someone called Rich Floersch - Chief Human Resources Officer for McDonald's – blogs on January 31: “I consider it my responsibility to be in a constant state of learning and personal development that can help me identify and use new and better ways of leading and developing people. It's not only part of my job but a passion of mine as well.” Such is Rich’s passion he’s not blogged since. And no wonder. He probably fell into the coleslaw after writing this shit.

Free advice: the spunk-in-granny’s-milkshake approach is probably the way to go for blogosphere engagement.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Status Quo: Rick Parfitt's ex selling up

I’m looking for a new place and as luck would have it Status Quo Rick Parfitt’s ex-wife Patty is selling up two London apartments – one in Teddington, a penthouse overlooking the Thames which has an asking price of £1.35m – not unreasonable I suppose. Then there’s the other property, also riverside, in Hampton Wick, priced at £750,000.

Patty tells me the latter’s currently used by eldest son Richard, or Rick Parfitt Jr – from Rick’s first marriage - and his girlfriend Emma Noble, the strange creature once married to ex-PM John Major’s son James.

Patty’s quite chatty. Her birth son Harrison with Rick wants to try his luck at Sir Paul McCartney’s School of Music in Liverpool – I daren’t ask whether he might turn into a hereditary Status Quo-er, Patty might misunderstand me. Anyway, she's off to Dubai shortly for a well-earned break.

Here's some views of the Teddington pad ....

Heather Mills: Victoria Newton wrong (again)

Once again, The Sun's Victoria Newton displays her total inability to read the runes, surf the zeitgeist etc by tragically attempting to play to the lynch mob gallery and tricoteuses and getting it totally wrong.

So on March 21 the jet-dyed dolt wrote this of Heather Mills on Dancing With The Stars:

American viewers have told HEATHER MILLS to Foxtrot Oscar after her first appearance on a celebrity ballroom TV show.

Heather agreed to appear on Dancing With The Stars in a bid to win over the US public after becoming one of Britain's most hated women following her split from SIR PAUL McCARTNEY.

But the plan has backfired already.

Oh really. Now, contrast with the reality - a report from PA, March 27:

Heather Mills won rave reviews from the judges on US TV show Dancing With The Stars on Tuesday after stunning them with a backwards walk over as part of a hip-wiggling mambo.

Sir Paul McCartney's estranged wife, wearing a green sequinned catsuit, left the panel temporarily speechless by successfully completing the tricky move despite having only one leg.

They awarded her an impressive 24 out of 30. Combined with her score from last week, that means she is now in fifth place, ahead of the first elimination.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

In search of ghosts with Rupert Everett

Bliss this week was a haunted castle near the England/Scotland border in the company of Rupert Everett. Well, even a scandal-soaked media practitioner requires a break; but I can't speak for Rupie.

I flew up to Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, the property of Sir Humphrey and the Honourable Lady Wakefield - whose family, the Greys, has owned it since the 13th Century. Aside from the several marketed ghosts - recently investigated by Living TV's Most Haunted frauds, among others - its chief virtue is its rented apartments: logs and kindling are supplied for an evening's crackling heat should the electric blankets compromise your appreciation of the mixed period decor of a mediaeval fortress.

Certainly I regarded it as a good omen when I learnt that I'd just missed the Diabetes UK Fright Night event.

I stayed in the Pink Room with Rupie - I should explain, before gossips get carried away, that he wasn't with me in person: his memoirs Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins proved to be an excellent counterfeit - and I was warned that the afterlife would attend to my social needs. One of Sir Humphrey's scullions - given to breaking noxious wind - gave me a scripted account of the Blue Boy ghost said to haunt this room: periodically, a blue haze emanates from the fireplace to various disembodied cries. A face is occasionally discerned in a superimposition over flickering flame. He told me about other ghosts in the castle and the netherworld sprites and goblin-like abominations said to scuttle up and down the quadrangle's stonework at night. To my surprise, photos - of the Wakefields and related, and of some royals - stared up at me in standing frames on the old woods. That's trusting.

Don't imagine I was here for the ghosties. The experience I sought - apart from respite from the pesky living and their neuroses - was temporal alienation: and I have found castles to be perfect to this end. Mere hotels, mere inns (even themed ones), subvert their vows of time travel with lobby muzak, looped video porn and staff with TV soap-shaped behaviours and hairstyles. An authentic castle, on the other hand, is a still Tardis: its slate or granite stonework, its cawing unpaid rooks or ravens, its feudal karmic crimes - all these suffice to suggest a pretend- time refuge. And once pretend-alienated, how perfect to find the company of a trivially intelligent person, someone whose actual presence and temperament might be intolerable, but whose sieved, distilled, edited persona (in a book, say) serves a need of entertainment. A pretend companion. Enter Rupie.

His autobiography is one of the best of a showbiz kind: unlike most other actors, Everett writes very well. He understands that discriminated detail is the mother of evocation so by the time I'd finished his St Tropez chapter I swear I had a tan. Thanks to his impulse for indiscretion we learn that Roddy McDowall was hung like a donkey and that Joan Collins dumped a long-term lover simply because he refused to be her social crutch at parties. Orson Welles' last months were a distraction of aborted movie ideas. Warhol's manager Fred Hughes died a long, lonely death of MS. And just when you try to be clever and dismiss Rupie as a lazy gadfly and a roving dilettante - a pity we can't inoculate against the superior urge to be reductive - he devastates the celebrity-media-charity racket in a tell-all chronicle of his fiasco visit to Ethiopia for Oxfam and The Sunday Times. Only a grown-up soul with a light-steely touch could have seen what he allows us to see.

Ah, Rupert, perhaps you frightened Chillingham's ghoulies away. "Did you see a ghost?" Sir Humphrey asked me before I left. "No," I replied. "In fact I've never slept better. It's a very peaceful room. I found the whole castle to be at rest." Sir H smiled bravely, even though I'd just torched his paranormal trade myth. "That's interesting," he said. "We don't tell people but in fact we took away the bones of a baby boy from the fireplace a few years back and gave them a Christian burial. Since then the room has been at peace. We catch out a few people who claim to have seen something."

Mmm, interesting. The last line in Rupie's book came to mind: "Suddenly, and with total clarity, I knew it was time to leave."

For more on Chillingham Castle click here

Victor Zammit: Advice on mediums

Dear Madame Arcati

“But I was taken for a mug, by a fraudulent medium and her 3,000-year-old "spirit guide", and left £45 the poorer.”

So the report says. Psychic quacks, fraudulent mediums you find in every country. Con-men and women suck dry the energies and cash of those silly and stupid enough to give money to anyone pretending to be a medium.

I warn my followers regularly NOT to visit a medium UNLESS that medium has accreditation or have at least three objective referees that the medium is accurate. Quacks you find everywhere even in the medical profession, psychiatry profession and every profession.

One has to be highly discriminating.

Go to the police if you’ve been conned. But don’t say it’s a conspiracy by a ‘Spiritualist’ to rob you of your money – whoever it was.

Be careful, be discriminating, be sharp, highly selective and be intelligent when you part with your money – whether you go to a doctor, medium, headshrinker, priest, parson, rabbi or anybody else. The world is full of charlatans – and only if you are naïve you will lose your hard earned cash.

Victor Zammit

Monday, March 19, 2007

Daniel Radcliffe: 'Is he circumcised?'

Dear Madame Arcati,

I stumbled on your site entry on seeing "all of" Daniel Radcliffe in Equus.

About two months ago, Daniel gave an interview to an Australian early morning news and "chat" program - and he said that his mother is Jewish (father not) - and that he is not religious at all. The interview, by the way, is on youtube (

American Jewish newspapers reported this and the London Jewish Chronicle soon caught up with the same news - and noted that Daniel's mother had appeared, as a schoolgirl, in the pages of the Chronicle (for winning a dance award) and the Chronicle reached Daniel's Jewish grandma who said he was "just lovely."

I gather you are saying that Daniel is circumcised - which, I gather, is not the norm for non-Jewish or non-Muslim English men these days - although there are numerous exceptions.

I am correct - he is circumcised?

One would guess that Daniel's circumcision was "influenced" by his mother's Jewish background - it is something that even very assimilated Jews "do."

An American Fan

Dear American Fan

Daniel appeared circumcised to me at the Gielgud theatre.

All best, MA x

That picture again ....

Daniel Radcliffe posterior shot, click here.

Byron Rogers and Prince Charles' large hands

Byron Rogers' The Last Human Cannonball: And Other Small Journeys in Search of Great Men was released in 2004, and finally I've found a copy, in a second hand bookshop (reduced from £12.99 to 99p).

Some reviewers have described Rogers as an excavator of odd people and places: this is true enough, but I'd prefer to call him a dowser of peculiarity. He seems magnetically drawn to the eccentric, the monomaniacal, the unsung witness, the fabulous real-life story. Then, after a while, you refine your opinion of him: Rogers could interview the most boring person on this planet and turn him or her into an object of lyrically rendered fascination. He is one of those rare writer-journalist magicians super-alert to the indicators of inner drive, of telling detail: he is a reminder that dullness most often resides in the blinkered viewer not the viewed.

In Human Cannonball - beautifully produced by Aurum - consider a few of Rogers' subjects: Cynthia Payne, Mick Jagger, David Hicks, Burt Lancaster, Claudia Schiffer. Not all his quarry are celebs. The best piece in this collection is titled Mrs Hitler's Diaries - a tale so slyly crafted as to read like an urban myth. And yet there really was a Mrs Brigid Hitler, the Irish-born sister-in-law of the German Fuhrer, sometime wife of Hitler's bigamous brother Alois, resident of Liverpool. She wrote her autobiography (unfinished) and Rogers cherry-picks his way through it, his piece climaxing in a tragic-comic encounter in the early '30s between Adolf himself - before he became Chancellor - and his British nephew William Patrick. Uncle Adolf was most concerned that his promising political career should not be brought down by the embarrassing family in Blighty - it's pure psychotic soap theatre.

Rogers underplays this fantastic tale for the duration: all that's required is a hint of incredulity, a light wry aside. And he delivers.

When he does encounter an authentic bore, Rogers deftly uncoils the rope for the subject's self-hanging. This is done spectacularly with David Hicks, Earl Mountbatten's exquisite son-in-law, who approached Rogers to write his biography. After a short scene-setter, Rogers lets Hicks do all the talking - and what converts the interminable, egotistic ramble into horribly compelling farce is the knowledge that Rogers subsequently sent a transcript of the monologue (insolently unedited) to Hicks as the specimen chapter of the proposed biography. Needless to say, Rogers didn't get the gig.

In Rogers' company familiar faces live again in the mind's eye. On Burt Lancaster: "It is a brutal face ... with Lancaster you feel the energy pounding out of the face, and with age the menace in it has become more pronounced, the pale eyes sunken. In the shadows of the bar the great jaw muscles seemed to belong to some earlier stage in human evolution."

It's a little known fact that Rogers used to be Prince Charles' speechwriter - I once asked him to tell me something about the heir to the throne. "All I can tell you," he replied, "is that Charles has huge hands - massive. That's all I can remember about him."

You see, Byron has a mind only for the interesting detail.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Duncan Fallowell: Postcard from Paris

Dear Madame Arcati,

A few nights ago I went to dinner on the Ile Saint Louis and our host proudly threw open his bedroom door to display a charming scene, painted above the bed, of a window overlooking the Riviera. He claimed it was done by 'Monsieur Noel Coward' when staying on the Quai d'Orléans in the 1950s. It's true that among a certain class of person it's hardly possible to enter any room which wasn't splashed at some time either by Coward or Cocteau, but I can find no reference in Philip Hoare's Coward biography to back up this particular trompe l'oeil. Can you throw further light on the matter or was I just being had?

With best wishes, Duncan Fallowell

Dear Duncan,

A most fascinating question and certainly this purported work is news to me. But Arcati prides herself on the illuminati drawn to her site, so she happily throws open the question to them.

Love is a many squandered thing

MA x

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Jeffree Star: Queen of the Beautifuls

Jeffree Star - Madame Arcati loves you already. "Half super bitch and half mega cunt. He is a self admitted boyfriend thief and makeup addict, he is a photo junkie and designer clothes slut, he is brazenly sexual and openly subversive; he has become a role model for the new post 911 America." You have mega-stardom and premature death written all over you - but don't worry about the latter, it's just a style thing. I will trumpet you, I will glory your name, I wouldn't specialise if I were you.

Introduce yourself to Jeffree Star.

My thanks to Fish for the introduction

'The Beckhams to split' - psychic

Distressing news from the psychic medium Sally Morgan - whose new ITV2 show Extreme Psychic starts later this month. She conveys the news from the future that though Victoria Beckham will bear a new daughter next year, she and David are destined to split. Apparently, Posh has vacated the driver's seat to hubby. Yet I now begin to understand Posh's enthusiasm for life in Los Angeles and perhaps the strict wife-friendly approach of the Americans in the matter of divorce settlements. Go, girlfriend!

Jasper Gerard - a 'literary god'

Someone on the last Jasper Gerard post has described him as a "literary god". Many of the messages in his defence share Jasper's tenuous intimacy with language and logic (and humour), so I have put in this reply for all to see ....

A literary god? Goodness. Well, I suppose he is if you're still in kindergarten - everything's relative, I guess.

But Jasper, sweetie, if you're going to leave messages after the third tumbler of scotch, put your name to them at least. Meantime, get acquainted with some grown-up essayists and opinionists - Germaine Greer is a good starting point - this may have a favourable knock-on effect on the foetal displays of talent currently showcased in your Observer column. You never know. Keep positive.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Elton John at 60

Such joy as I extend my congratulations to Sir Elton John on his 60th. It was witty of him to turn up at his birthday party at the Shoreditch Town Hall in Russian military uniform hand-in-hand with David Furnish in his winning US warrior clobber – no Cold War there then: and as I say to those who listen to my infernal chatter, the longevity of their union owes much to love and a reasonably open arrangement.

Compton Miller brushes down

I am delighted to see that the London Evening Standard's jagged property gossip Compton Miller has listened to Madame Arcati and done something about his hair, to judge by his new picture byline. Previously it so frizzily sprang from his head in all directions that it resembled a nimbus against a backlight, such as one might find in mediaeval art to represent the Logos of Christ. Happily, Compton listens more to me than upstart spiritual claimants and has now taken a brush and some lacquer to his locks so that raffish natal handsomeness is restored. He really looks quite dashing, and I am only sorry that the upmarket bimbos he hangs out with couldn’t have delivered him style instruction. People ignore my well-intentioned advice at their peril.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Molly Parkin poem on a sexual encounter




Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Molly Parkin: Doc about her paedophile father

Portrait by Tommy Candler [click here for more info on Tommy's work]

If you worship at the feet of the great style icon Molly Parkin - she has insisted I remove the pic I put up the other day ("It was taken by some cunt obviously, 'off the telly', and sent into BBC WALES") - then catch her at Inn On The Green, London, on March 14.

She is presenting a documentary called Moll - "It was made by the first of 9 fiances, this one from when we were art students together in Brighton 50 years ago," she tells me. The film was a big hit at last year's Portobello Film Festival.

She presents this documentary on her life and early abuse at the hands of her father that she hopes will help others who have been in the same position. She says:

"The paedophile stuff about my father, which we cover in the film, is the very first time I have spoken of it in public, though the secret has dominated my entire life. I could only have been so honest, painful though it still was, because Malcolm Hart knew my family, and my father. Now I've moved on and let it all go and feel utterly released and able to hurl myself into love and life and letting go. That's how important the film has been for me."

Sting, Trudie Styler and those fucking truffles

Like an astronomer who thinks he’s detected a new distant galaxy far far away, Madame Arcati’s own eye is drawn increasingly to the supernova of a new Monster Couple and the burgeoning number of stories that suggest Trudie Styler and her husband Sting might benefit from a stint as street sweeps (preferably in a crime-ridden downtown district).

Styler is in the news today. She’s been taken to an employment tribunal by a former chef for unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination: the panel has already upheld Jane Martin’s former claim and will rule on the latter.

Martin’s account of working for the Stylers (or the Stings or the Sumners – I love multi-branding) is delightfully harrowing: any minute now Bette Davis will be disinterred for a comeback performance as the bitch chatelaine. Samples: “Staff are terrified of wife’s temper”; and: Styler “subjects staff to gratuitous abuse to make her feel royal”.

Perhaps my favourite: “Martin regularly ordered truffles by motorcycle dispatch from France and travelled 100 miles just to make soup for Miss Styler."

Did I imagine that she and Sting founded the Rainforest Foundation which, inter alia, “runs campaigns that seek to address the underlying causes of the destruction of tropical rainforests.”? I should think that sending out for truffles by motorcycle is most definitely a pre-environmentalism behaviour – just think of the size of those truffles’ carbon footprints alone.

Of course, Martin could be making all this up. But I doubt it. She was in Styler’s employ for 8 years and cooked for the likes of Madonna and Elton John – so she’s no obvious fly-by opportunist. And having observed Styler on Lorraine Kelly’s TV show the other day and scanned that surgically re-upholstered pretty face of hers – with one wrinkle cosmetically etched in for age-related credibility – I would say this is a face used to control, from the blocking false smiles and insolent legs-wide-apart pose to the repeated slow half-blinks to signal: “Don’t go there, Lorraine!”

And then there’s Sting himself, a taller variant on Bono as a bringer of peace (non-Pope division). Back In January it was reported that he had ordered the demolition of a distant fishing hut on the neighbouring Great Durnford Manor because it tarnished his view from a bedroom window on his 800-acre Lake House in Wiltshire. It then emerged he had built a barn that turned out to be considerably larger than that indicated in plans submitted to the local council.

Of course Sting is a tax exile and not at his UK estate very often – his summer residence is in Tuscany, the massive Pallagio estate, a few miles south of Florence, “where staff produce his own brands of olive oil and wine - products which also feature in their organic Christmas hampers.”

That at least helps to reduce his wife’s incontinent carbon heft.

Monday, March 05, 2007

'Nancy Mitford comes again'

Dear Madame Arcati,

You are so influential. We tried for years but as a result of that little spat recently on your site [with Susan Hill], the photographs of Nancy Mitford have now been removed from the To Noto page on Amazon's UK site. My compensation? To have the cover of To Noto on Amazon's general dotcom site be replaced by a full face portrait of - yes - Nancy Mitford!

Duncan Fallowell

Molly Parkin: A Goddess writes ....

As some of you may know, Madame Arcati sprang first from the imagination of Noel Coward for Blithe Spirit and then took possession of the person of Margaret Rutherford whose movie and stage rendition has never been bettered (same with Miss Marple, by the way). Now, style icon, writer, poet and GODDESS, Molly Parkin, has written to Arcati - savour her words, delight in her precedence, and damn well behave yourselves before you visit her excellent site ...





Sunday, March 04, 2007

Jasper Gerard: Simply and utterly useless

So embarrassing is The Observer's Jasper Gerard - lame doesn't even begin to describe his weekly column - that the paper appears to have removed the reader comment facility. Perhaps it's a technical fault or wishful thinking on my part, let me know: but I see fellow columnists Mary Riddell and Andrew Rawnsley have provoked published intelligent responses this wet, windy morning.

It's one thing to be witty but foolish (eg the late Auberon Waugh), or eloquently provocative but wrong-headed (eg Christopher Hitchens). One can write like an angel and yet be fundamentally clownish (eg AA Gill, et many al). But it's entirely another matter when a writer is incapable not only of forming intelligible ideas but also of finding the appropriate tone and correct arrangement of words through which to express his mental slurry. Jasper simply has nothing to say and can't even find the words to say he has nothing to say.

Today he confects an anti-monarchist burble out of Helen Mirren's whimsical and graceful Oscar thankyou speech in which she jokily suggested that the Academy's judges had voted for "Brenda" rather than the Dame. Why shouldn't the British people have a similar vote to decide the monarchy's future? he asks, seriously. This could work as absurdist humour if he struck the right satirical note: but satire is quite beyond the skills of Jasper's sausage-fingers. He employs words such as "paradox", "oleaginous" and "resonates" to hit his target audience self-estimation, but forgets to employ an argument that is not essentially non sequiturial. It's as if Gerard thinks he can turn crinoline into silk by sewing word pearls into the fabric.

Or put in stark terms, what exactly is the connection between a royalist jest in LA, an Academy vote for a movie performance and a non-issue in the UK about the future of the monarchy via a movie called The Queen? Only possible answer - personal. Rupert Murdoch, Jasper's last employer, is a republican: is Jasper's Observer column some sad extended job application to return to Wapping now that the current gig is such a transparent disaster?

Read him for yourself - click here.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The married Murdoch editor and the married Freud PR

I understand that one of Rupert Murdoch’s Europe-based married newspaper editors is having an affair with a married female at Freud Communications. The relationship started in September and the two, I learn, are now living together, having left their respective families (five children in toto are involved).

My advice to both is that they go public as soon as possible for all sorts of reasons – not least to avoid any mischievous suspicion of professional misconduct – though none is alleged or suggested. The intimate inter-linkage between those who pay their bills raises possible conflict of interest issues – though not necessarily in substance.

Freud Communications – one of the world’s most powerful public relations firms – boasts innumerable major clients, including London mayor, Ken Livingstone, and London 2012. Murdoch himself is already personally linked to Freud boss Matthew Freud as his father-in-law. I wonder whether Murdoch knows of this other new connection? Like Caesar’s wife, an editor must be above suspicion as we all know – and one way to ensure this is to keep everything above board, given the imagined perils of pillow talk.

Other information is in my possession – I have, for instance, evidence that the couple stayed at an expensive hotel only recently. And why not? What fun it must be to fuck in transient luxury!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sir Paul McCartney: When Linda tired of him

Just caught up with record producer Tony Visconti’s autobiography Tony Visconti: Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy, published about a month ago. Great life, dull book. As flat as roadkill, though Morrissey’s foreword fizzes with synaptic energy. Visconti, in contrast, resolutely sedates every promise of excitement by withholding killer detail. Perhaps Harper Collins’ editors and lawyers processed his words into this homogenised drone.

Happily, one anecdote rivets one’s attention thanks to unfolding events external to the book. Visconti tells how back in 1983 he worked with Linda McCartney: she wanted him to produce a love song she’d written because Paul was busy recording music for the movie Give My Regards to Broad Street.

“I was more than happy to work with Linda because I felt it was a great song that deserved recognition,” writes Visconti. “There was one difficult aspect of the recording in that Paul was half a mile down the road in AIR studios … every couple of hours he’d phone Linda to see how she was doing. Virtually everyday, around 4pm, and sometimes earlier, he’d call and say he was finished for the day and wanted to go home; Linda was expected to drop everything and join him in the limo ride.

“Linda regretted that she wasn’t able to stay for the backing vocal session, and gave vent to her resentment."

Called “Love’s Full Glory” the song impressed Paul enough to say that it might feature in his new film. Visconti writes: "Linda told me that Paul had suggested that if the single did come out she should release it under a pseudonym; he argued it would be too easy to get a hit with the McCartney surname.” Ultimately the song didn’t make the film but was included in her album Wild Prairies much later in 1998, the year of her death.

How I wish Visconti could have recalled precisely what Linda said when she vented at him about Paul – a common weakness in non-writers (and many writers) is the repackaging of life into elliptical precis. I sense in this story something of the meanness and self-centredness Heather Mills-McCartney has complained of in Macca - reported from her pre-divorce briefings to the media via various factors.

But, hey, who’s perfect?

To buy Tony Visconti: Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy click here

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Daniel Radcliffe: The penis

The truth

Justin Bieber's penis [click here]
Now see Ewan McGregor's penis [click here]
Now see Jonathan Rhys Meyers' penis [click here]

This is not what Madame Arcati saw at the Gielgud but I thought I'd put it up for all the queens who filled the front row on opening night. As for Stephen Fry sniffing about the preoccupation with the nudity, why was he there? Last I heard all he was interested in doing was running out of theatres when he's not piling on the cash and pounds TV advertising a certain brand of tea. Just because you're about 50, you don't have to let yourself go, dearie.

The Radcliffe piece yesterday broke all Arcati records for unique visits - over 3,000 in one day.

Daniel Craig - see his penis, too [click here]

Daniel Radcliffe posterior shot, click here.