Friday, August 31, 2007

Madame Arcati - beware cheap imitations

A number of readers have written to me privately asking me if I am one or both of the Madame Arcatis on Facebook and the one on MySpace. Short answer: No. One of the Facebook counterfeit Arcatis approaches people who feature on this blog inviting them to be their friend; that ain't me. These copycat individuals, devoid of a whit of imagination or intelligence, tragically hope to borrow a little bit of my glory by lockstepping with this blog. Doesn't bother me. But I thought you'd like to know.

Alex Peake - the cad that dumped Charlotte!

MediaGuardian's pesky Monkey column today asks: "Which red-top reporter is a little red-faced at writer Charlotte Ward's feature in Grazia magazine? Charlotte has written about how she dated men, gave them a makeover and got them trained - then they left her and married someone else. Oh dear. Most of the article is about a man called "Adam". Funnily enough, Monkey hears that's not his actual name. The real "Adam" is now getting mercilessly-teased by his newsroom colleagues."

The "Adam" is the man named in the headline. He works for The Sun.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Duncan Fallowell: Sensual delights in arcadian places

Acclaimed travel writer, cultural critic, novelist (etc - see his interview via labels below) Duncan Fallowell sends me this stimulating update. He stayed with novelist and publisher Susan Hill (I wonder whether she knows about the opportunistic sex) ... he got a funny mark on his leg ... he recounts being the Poet Laureate of Hay ... and so many, many other things, including the opportunistic sex (except at his mother's) ...:

Dear Mme Arcati - I am back in London after nearly two months in the English countryside and just want to give you a wave. As you know, the first half was spent in the long barn of Susan Hill's farm near Chipping Campden, where inundation was followed by the Dunkirk spirit and sunshine and I could adopt shorts. There is one aspect of Susan's existence which is very odd, so odd indeed that I was in a sort of shock about it, but otherwise I had a heavenly time in a big, high, cream room among orchards, long grass and deer, and successfully launched myself into my fourth novel. The only mishap was that a strange round mark appeared on my leg, the colour of raspberries, the size of a tuppeny piece. But it soon faded into my suntan.

Then I went to Ripe in Sussex to stay with my old friend Elisa Segrave who is writing a book about her mother and another about her dog. She says it's difficult not to muddle the two and such has been her consternation that she's now gone off to recover in the late Lord Lambton's villa in Tuscany. After that it was to Herefordshire, one of my spiritual homes, for a week of paradisal sun. The warmth and clarity were astonishing, like Riviera or Hollywood light but on a landscape more beautiful than either.

Richard Booth, the King of Hay-on-Wye, reminded me that many years ago he made me the Poet Laureate of Hay. I always forget because the great thing about the position is that you don't have to write any poetry. It also confers immunity from ever being invited to participate in the Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival, and indeed I never have been. Richard sounded very upbeat because after two years of dithering he has finally sold his book business. This is to someone called Paul Greatbatch, a Londoner with an American wife. I wonder if they know anything about books. The great thing is that Richard has kept hold of Hay Castle, so we can still look down from the battlements.

Now back in Notting Hill there's not a trace of the carnival or much else - the great thing about the carnival is that it frightens most locals away well beforehand and they don't return until mid September. But last week in my mother's garden in Berkshire my sister said 'What's that funny mark on your leg?' It was hard to make out under normal circumstances, since my thigh is very tanned and covered in golden hair. But on examination I saw that I had a ring rash like a target. I went to my GP in Harley Street. He asked 'Have you been anywhere with long grass and deer?' That raspberry mark - a tick bite from Susan's in the Cotswolds! My GP says that since I haven't had a fever reaction there's nothing to worry about. So if at any point between now and my let's-hope natural death at the age of ninety I should be carted off raving for inexplicable reasons, perhaps you would remember to tell them about my tick. By the way I had some great opportunistic sex in all locations - except at my mother's.

With best wishes, Duncan Fallowell

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Test The Nation - 'My hell on BBC1 TV show'

What's it like appearing on a cheap TV show hosted by Anne Robinson (who secretly loves clairvoyants) and Danny Wallace? On Bank Holiday Monday, BBC1 broadcast Test The Nation: The National IQ Test - unfortunately for them, one of the contestants was someone answering to the name Madame ...

I went along to the studio to have my IQ tested, along with surgeons, removal men, reality TV show participants, people called Wallace and Robinson, many other clairvoyants, and a panel of "real" celebrities most of whom I hadn't heard of once.

Burly security men guarded the doors of the studio - for no reason at all they kept us there at the end of the six or so hours for quite some time - we weren't even allowed to use the loos.

Smokers were told that if they left the building in the hour-long interval between interminable parts I and II they'd never get back in again. And indeed we did practically have to break back in after the interval. I lost count of how many times my companion and I got chased round by burly guards with varying degrees of breeding and politeness, yelling: "Madame, come back here." (At least they knew my title)

By the end of this concentration-camp style farce, the cloakroom people had lost my bag. The organisers had not let me take my very small, discreet handbag into the studio (my passport was in it, as we cannon fodder had to show heavy duty forms of identity before being allowed the dubious distinction of participating in this event.)

We had all received written warnings that “the management takes no responsibility for valuables” [that we didn't keep an eye on]. Then we had everything we owned - mobiles included - removed well away from our hot sweaty grasps. My library book was also in my missing handbag, since they had told us to bring books to read during the very long longeurs in the outing. The advice proved sensible.

After 20 mins, while we all queued up stoically and cosily together, somebody sauntered along with my bag and I was again told I couldn't re-enter the main part of the building to use a lavatory. Everything ended with all hell breaking loose as I tried to charge the barrier formed by the excess of security guards, screeching at them: “Would you like me to drop my knickers and pee in your famous forecourt?” To which the guards replied, “Yes, do, Madame”.

Eventually an organiser pointed out that there was a pub over the road - we could relieve ourselves there.

The IQ questions (apart from being pointless, as that sort of thing usually is) were quite difficult (probably the BBC were trying to resist all those “dumbing down” accusations). The surgeons got the highest scores, the reality TV people one of the next (probably because they're used to being penned into claustrophobic smelly places - the halitosis that came through the air conditioning was Quite Something - and told to do meaningless things.) The clairvoyants came in bottom of the pile - we've more important things to use our brains on.

Compensation for the torture (and the tinned veg we got with our “hot dinner” - our only form of remuneration) was the skinny, leopard skin-clad Anne Robinson, a compere on the show: she is - away from the cameras - really into clairvoyants. Her face-lift has lasted wonderfully. Could have done without her scary purple high-heeled shoes though.

In between the stupid sets of multiple choice questions, a Dale Winton lookalike warm-up man ran round exhorting us to “smile till your jaw hurts and clap until a little bit of wee comes out.”

Having extorted, with difficulty, a car from the organisers - to transport us to and from the venue - we were earnestly told: “Don't tell the other guests about your car - or they'll be really jealous.” My suggestion of a fee was met with astonished horror.

Since we felt the surgeons, at the very least, MUST have been paid for appearing in this circus (clairvoyants are one of the most ripped-off sections of society) I was surprised to find, after many enquiries in the canteen-stable - populated by Nicky and Shamoli from Big Brother, and suchlike - that indeed NOBODY amongst the groups got paid more than expenses.

Some got a £10 note in an envelope. Cheap TV indeed (what was it Paxman and Humphreys were debating recently?) Quite what highly-paid surgeons were doing spending their hard-won free time cooped up in this melee I do not know. But there they were, dressed up in the pale blue uniforms of drabs (drab being the word) provided by the studio all sitting there laughing and stamping their feet while the Dale Winton lookalike shook his fist, hallooing: “We're one big happy family here.”

One surgeon said, “It would be against my professionalism to get paid.” How the other half live and think, eh? Anyway, as I said, the surgeons won (IQ tests are a bonanza for their types of brains - us psychics use the other side) and some surgeons avowed to me that they'd been last year and would be back next year, for more similar fun.

We all eventually escaped with our full bladders to the sound of the Dale Winton-style man bellowing: “I've seen better smiles on roadkill than I have on you lot.”

Enid Blyton: A gay sign to simple Peter McKay

The deranged, alcohol-sozzled homophobe Peter McKay – masquerading as the Mail’s Ephraim Hardcastle (banned in Irish editions on the grounds of irrelevance) – casts an aspersion on Radio 4's Today host James Naughtie for admitting to reading Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books as a boy. McKay writes that Naughtie’s co-host Ed Stourton affected “astonishment” at the revelation – “Being posh, class-conscious Ed will have remembered they were once considered ‘common’ by grand families.” He then adds that perhaps Ed thinks Jim’s literary tastes were once “effete”.

I don’t think so. Why, only yesterday - as chance would have it - I was reading an Orion interview with one of Stourton’s close friends, Nicholas Coleridge – MD of Conde Nast and the world’s worst novelist – who confesses to reading “200 Enid Blytons” as a brat. You don’t get much posher than Coleridge this side of the royal enclosure - and as we all know, birds of a feather flock together. And while Coleridge maybe a little effete for party posing purposes (makes one seem ageless) he is a confirmed cock-cunter. So, I suggest McKay finds another superstition in his gentle vendetta against "posh Ed".

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Simon Cowell - hands up for waxing!

I am intrigued to see that Simon Cowell has had the hair on his hands removed by waxing. Now it will be hard for contestants on his TV talent shows to call him a wanker.

Zara Phillips bio - I can't believe I read this shite

I have just speed-read one of the dullest books of the year – Brian Hoey’s Zara Phillips, a biography of Princess Anne's horse-loving daughter. Written in the style of lackey TV voiceovers on royal or state occasions, we are informed that Zara is a “serious tea drinker”. Oh hang on a minute, she likes tea and red wine, separately presumably. But she also likes a pint of beer with her pals down the boozer – and oh my goodness, she may also imbibe a “glass or two of vintage champagne,” for official toasts, unlike her puritan mother the Princess Royal who’s teetotal and goes through the charade of raising a glass of whatever to her pursed lips – “but no one has seen her actually drink the champagne or drain the glass.” It’s a wonder she doesn’t have a spittoon or a bucket nearby for the ejection of the psychotropic liquid – never mind the splashes, dearie, she’s royal!

Another heavy-on-the eyelids aspect of this book is its assumption that no one actually knows anything about the Windsors. Of Diana, Hoey writes: “She died in the most tragic circumstances in an incident that is still clouded in mystery." Really? Was anyone else killed? He then adds: “Eight years later, [Charles] married his mistress and in what was said to be a cynical public relations damage limitation exercise, gave her the use of one of his subsidiary titles, Duchess of Cornwall …” Mummy, who was that? Who was that nasty bitch who broke up the marriage? I can’t find her name! Oh mummmmmeeeeeeee!

The narrative hiccups along in an oops-a-daisy of quote marks to distance the author and the royal family from anything remotely modish or new-fangled – “Zara loves watching ‘soaps’ on television [as opposed to the ‘wireless’], with EastEnders being her current favourite,” we are informed. "Zara is down-to-earth, with a salty sense of humour and a smattering of ‘stable’ language that is common among equestrian folk.” Anthony Burgess would have boldly furnished us with a glossary of the stable, but Hoey moves on faster than a horse's eruction.

If you’ve got a really bad case of constipation as you strain on your throne and leaf through this crud - don’t strain too hard, now – then delight in a lengthy description of one of Philip’s compulsory picnics at Balmoral. It’s quite hard-core - the site must first be made the subject of a recce by servants, sandwiches must have their crusts sliced off, bone china must be preferred to plastic plates, the barbecue must be lit by Philip himself: relish the tantrum he once threw when he forgot to bring matches for culinary ignition – he dispatched a footman a mile back to fetch some. What a cunt.

Zara Phillips by Brian Hoey, Virgin, £18.99 (or 50p in a few weeks’ time at your local bring ‘n’ buy)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Carmen Callil's married lover named

A charming person has written to me apropos Carmen Callil, founder of feminist publishers Virago:

Dear Madame

Something that might be of interest to you.

From today's Guardian: "Her mother couldn't quite work out what she'd produced in Callil. She despaired of her daughter's relationship with the married man, whose identity Callil has never revealed beyond his initials; Bad Faith is dedicated to him, PBH. Did he know how unhappy he'd made her? "Yes. And when he did, he made up for it. He was a good man. Lovely man. Usual human flaws."

Guardian Books interview [click here].

Paul Hamlyn (12 February 1926 – 31 August 2001) was a German-born British publisher and philanthropist. He was born Paul Bertrand Wolfgang Hamburger in Berlin in 1926 and moved to London with his Jewish emigré family in 1933.

Best wishes

(I shall add the writer's name if he wishes me to - just email me privately.)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Amy Winehouse - lying low-life handles PR with Perez

Interesting that the one person Amy Winehouse turns to after assaulting her husband Blake Fielder-Civil at London's Sanderson hotel - Tina Brown stayed there recently for the UK promotion of her Diana book - is Perez Hilton. After all the hysteria she has the nous to check out the blogosphere for the public relations damage - and Perez at that stage is just peddling the idea that she's been beaten up by her good-for-nothing temp hubby. So she sends him a bunch of texts selling a line - she's got presence of mind even when she loses it. In fact she's been caught by husband shooting up with a call girl. What actually happened after that no one really knows though both appeared battered - just remember Winehouse is a sick, pathetic, alcoholic little low-life with a voice, but above all, she's a liar. Read the texts to Perez verbatim for yourself:

Amy Winehouse: “Blake is the best man in the world. We would never ever harm each other. Take back what you said on the blog. I thought you was my girl. I was cutting myself after he found me in our room about to do drugs with a call girl and rightly said I wasn’t good enough for him. I lost it and he saved my life.”

Text #2: “I’ll be alright. I need to fight my man’s corner for him though. x”

Text #3: “For the last time he did not and never has hurt me. Say I told you what happened on your blog. He has such a hard time and he so supportive. Please make amends. Kiss. Amy x”

A while later, Text #4: “Please can you put up the truthful version straight away? It’s bad enough that it’s been there that long. I know you love me but he deserves the truth, he is an amazing man who saved my life again and got cut badly for his troubles. All he get is horrible stories printed about him and he just keeps quiet, but this i too much. Thanks girl. Amy”

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Penis size and the dickheads of TV

Having a penis is the height of fashion right now. In the same week as BBC3 announces new show My Penis and Everyone Else’s – which asks why more men aren't talking about their penises when there is a growing industry devoted to increasing penis size (I thought they talked about nothing but) - comes the news that Virgin 1 will make The Great British Penis: Penis Envy that will set out to answer the question: What is the average British willy size? "According to statistics, given the chance, 98% of men would increase the size of their penis, so size clearly matters," said director of programming for Virgin 1 Celia Taylor. "It's going to be intriguing to see what the average man is so unhappy about in our own survey." I can’t imagine why men are so hung about their dick size …

Sploshing - Speccie is the place to be

Clive Davis - the Spectator blogger, inter alia - asked me recently to explain sploshing, so I did. He writes to acknowledge my efforts ...

"Wot me, cerebral, Madame A? You'll have to come up and view my collection of Norman Wisdom DVDs one of these evenings.

"If I was based at the Speccie office, I'd probably be better informed about sploshing and its many spin-offs. Ah well... "

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Katie Price - who is she precisely?

Anxious to discover what perfumistas think of Katie Price’s new scent Stunning, I go to one of my favourite websites Now Smell This, and am shocked to read the following of Katie – “UK readers will have to help out those of us in the US: does this person actually qualify as a celebrity? I've never heard of her.” Can this be right? According to the UK tabs, she and Peter are upstaging Posh and Becks in the US with their TV reality show – plainly lies, all lies.

So, some UK-sters try to educate Now Smell This on Katie Price/Jordan/ whatever. “She's famous for her prodigious chestage,” writes one. Another: “She married the perfect match - Peter Andre famously had a 'muscly' chest generated by transplanting fat from his legs into his pecs! I imagine her to smell of rubber.” “She and Peter recently had their second child together (Princess Tiaamii) and the pregnancy was filmed and broadcast as a series. Here's their website,” writes a third.

The Now Smell This person is unimpressed: “Thanks for the scoop! We have plenty of trashy celebs here, but ‘topless model in the daily newspapers’ is not a phrase that resonates in the US. And I could be wrong, but don't think the Beckhams are having much success capturing attention here yet? Some celeb watcher in the US will need to comment if I'm entirely mistaken."

And yet the Sun reports today “Becks is a US TV hit”. Not another exaggeration, surely? Still, when Katie has her vagina-tightening procedure on TV - post the five or six more kids promised - that should awaken Now Smell This to this unstoppable phenomenon (who's planning a breast reduction for later this year, I hear).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Love Art Lab: Annie gets her sexy dyke playboy

The Spectator made a gift of itself to me the other day – how sweet – and now Scarlet donates itself to my comprehension.

To be honest sex mags don’t much interest me – why read about what you do or have done in just about every conceivable situation within legal limits? Chicken shouldn't be re-heated, as a rule. Glossy mags exist to whet one’s aspirations – ie to make you feel like shit – but my aspirations were neither whetted nor wetted by Scarlet, not until, that is, I had cruised my way past the slurping tongues of troilists, the Cliterature section (the editor of that looks like someone out of the Carpenters or Waco - kinky!), the sex ads (I particularly liked the ad for the Adults Only Show scheduled for The NIA Birmingham October 5-7 at which one will have the opportunity to “ride the rodeo penis” and meet movie sex stars – “Oh, hi Jodie!”) and arrived at the last page and discovered someone quite fascinating: former porn star Annie Sprinkle.

Annie has had sex – or “slept” – with 3,500 men. Now, considering that Joan Collins “dated” twelve men in one night in her younger years, according to Graham Lord’s new biography of the neo-rejuvenated-quasi-intellectual who’s going to appear in Doctor Who, apparently, I don’t think 3,500 excessive. Probably most of these fucks were for movie purposes so they don’t really count, so let’s say she’s had sex properly with about 10 men in her whole life – I made that figure up, but I’m quite intuitive – so she’s a virtual virgo intacta case. But 10 fucks is 10 fucks and they were sufficient to send her in another direction – into the arms of a woman called Elizabeth Stephens, once known as Don Juanita and the “sexy dyke playboy”. They are very much in love. If my eyes could well with tears they would do a Trevi Fountain job, but as it is they don’t; but it’s the thought that counts, innit?

Beth and Annie’s life is so gloriously singular, so counter-cultural in just about every way, and yet so terribly suburban in its mainstream expectations (love 'n' security etc), that one spectates at them, mouth open - don’t stare, bitch! Annie relates how they met and then she gets to the topic of their Love Art Lab, “a seven- year project in which we explore love as art”. In their current show they have sex on stage – and if you want to watch, see them at the Chelsea Theatre, London (Sept 19-22. Bookings: 020 7091 9666).

Interested to know more I visited their website at I won’t spoil your enjoyment by reporting too much, but I just love how they get married every 12 months – you can read the vows per year (each year has its own colour). “In the academic world the brightest intellectuals are fetishized in a manner that bears certain similarities to the ways in which porn fans adore their stars. Both are sexy, powerful and compelling”: isn’t that a wonderful observation? – and soooooo true. Just ask Christopher Hitchens who has gone one stage further and fetishised himself as a clever bisexual Word God.

The Lab offers all sorts of things – Cuddle Performances (something that the NHS should consider for old dears abandoned by their selfish cunting PAYE progeny), Extreme Kissing Workshops (I crave a good snog sometimes; and I’m sooooo good at it), Free Sidewalk Sex Clinics, and many other things besides. I’m most interested in the Porn Star/Academic Collection – “Stephens gathered the pairs of panties from various well-known porn stars and academics and bronzed them using the ancient lost wax process. She then juxtaposed them together, with the name identifying the original wearers.” Most original. The Tate will come a-callin' any minute now.

So I am most grateful to the minxes of Scarlet for bringing Beth and Annie into my life – I may ask them for an interview. Or I may not.

Katie Price - nonscents from Jordan

Katie Price - Jordan - has launched her new scent Stunning.

LBC asked her yesterday: "What does your perfume scent conjure up in your mind, what associations."

"I don't know, I just like perfume."

Journalist, 94, dead

PA headline last weekend.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cisco Adler's unfeasibly large testicles

Hey, Cisco, I saw your balls on Perez!" comes the throaty voice of Courtney Love across the crowded bar at the Chateau Marmont.

Cisco Adler nods, waves, laughs. "My balls are more famous than I am, how crazy is that?" he calls.

For those who have better things to do than know what all this means: "Cisco" is rock royalty (his dad is legendary music producer Lou Adler) as well as the former fiancé of Kimberly Stewart and boyfriend of Mischa Barton.

Words: Vanity Fair (September), in a piece on the rich-born male trash who prey on the Paris/Nicole/Lindsay/Kimberley/et al crowd to push their businesses in the tabloids and blogs.

The balls pic is not in the magazine (I can't think why, unless advertisers of expensive baubles might have tut-tutted), so I thought I'd take a look and see what the fuss is about. I'm glad to see that VF is as tasteful as Arcati.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Joan Collins: She gave neck skin for a lampshade?

Naughty Lavinia writes, in rapid response to my posting below:

"Is Joan Collins still alive? I was at dear old Zazou de Madrazo Fortuny's villa last week, on that shadowy bit of Cap Ferrat, and Zazou said she had a small lampshade made from the trimmings of Joan Collins's neck. I thought she was joking but Zazou said no, the actress had donated it to the Surrealist Jumble Sale in aid of the roof of St Paul's Monte Carlo. They did quite well apparently and the roof is now in excellent condition. Must go next time in down there. Haven't been on my knees once this year."

Madame Arcati - drowning in honours

My thanks to the Spectator blogger Clive Davis for including Madame Arcati in a list of his favourite top 20 blogs. I think it's for Iain Dale's blogging guide, or something - click here for details. First I've heard of it. For Clive's list click here, August 15.

Joan Collins, The Spectator and ... Dubravka Ugrešić

The Spectator makes a gift of itself to me and I'm not entirely sure why. An accompanying letter with the free copy thanks me for my generosity - apparently I funded over 400 subscriptions in its Spectator for Schools scheme last year - which is news to me but I'm always happy to take the credit. However, the magazine informs me that there are still 400 schools that wanted a sub but didn't get it - presumably that, too, is down to me. The law of karma is a relentless one, n'est-ce pas?

I open the magazine and fate takes me immediately to Joan Collins' Riviera Notebook - goodness knows what your average school child would make of this. In one entry she finds herself in a St Tropez "dive" where a jeroboam of Cristal may set you back €10,000 - think of the number of Spectator subscriptions that would bankroll. She lunches with "witty" Rupert Everett who suggests she consider whoring herself out to Coronation Street while another time she dons a Muslim-style burka to escape the attention of paparazzi. Alas, "billowing folds of black schmutter became caught between my legs," she records.

Collins has been an improbable Spectator sweet-heart since Boris Johnson edited the rag, and I'm glad successor Matthew d'Ancona has retained her. She is, as Gore Vidal says of her, funny. She also writes very well - wittily and pellucidly. Critics wonder aloud about the actual parentage of her prose - imagining some bearded scholar ventriloquist scripting her journalism - but I think not. Her use of certain words - such as "dive" for a five-star louche venue - is characteristic of her conversation; and in person she easily segues from faintly outrageous detail of her spending and social habits to highly political and eloquent attacks on her latest hate targets, as she does in the Spectator. She's as camp as camp can be. She is the very antithesis of Linda Evans.

Collins' reinvention as a quasi-literary-lite darling of the British right triggers a recollection of someone you probably won't have heard of, the Yugoslavian/Croatian writer Dubravka Ugrešić. Four years ago she brought out a marvellous book of essays on writers and writing called Thank You for Not Reading. Ugrešić has never quite got over the burgeoning impurity of British literary life - the dominance of celebrity, hype, marketing, etc, over the written word. This thought cystallised when in the mid-'90s she attended a London Book Fair that was opened by ... Joan Collins. The star appeared "dressed like a quotation: in a little pink Chanel suit, with a pink pillbox hat on her head and a coquettish veil over her eyes ... What does all this have to do with literature?" asks Ugrešić.

I should point out that Thank You For Not Reading is very funny, very sharp, in places. It's not the work of a dreary grey-pube lost in academe. Ugrešić's book registers the cultural shock of a serious eastern European aesthetic colliding with the Tesco-soul of our own bright Blighty.

Yet here we are now, with Joan Collins making a coverline on the Spectator, honoured presence in all the salons - literary, hair and beauty. I'm not sure Ugrešić would be impressed. But I may yet fund Spectator subscriptions for those other 400 schools.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Esquire's Jeremy prays for wibbly wobbly action

New editor of British Esquire, Jeremy Langmead, is terribly excited about the re-styling of his magazine – perhaps a little too excited judging by his amusing diary in Press Gazette this week.

First he reveals that when the first issue arrived at the office he zipped off to the loo to go through it. I had a vision of his testes dangling into the bowl as he leafed through his glossy creation which is for “men who mean business” – not a sight likely to end up in a Gucci ad.

Then we are given an insight into the kind of male who reads Esquire – not necessarily the smart, mature sophisticate of marketing lore. One letter writer asks his sex advice columnist how “grown-ups should refer to their sexual organs so that their young children” will be none the wiser. Apparently this reader’s wife calls her breasts "blobby wobbles" and his penis a "wibbly wobbly".

Jeremy shares that he’s off to a friend's party where he hopes to drink too much vodka. “Who knows,” he writes, “if I’m lucky, I might get some wibbly wobbly action.” Arcati would be most interested to know where his wibbly wobbly ended up.

PS What's Langmead like to work with/for? He sounds all right. Email me privately so I know you're for real. Anons will be deleted. Confidentiality assured if asked for.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rupert Murdoch is a genocidal tyrant - poll

Yes, it's official - 56% of you think Rupes is a genocidal tyrant! Rupes complained recently that the international media wrote of him as if he were a "genocidal tyrant" as he besieged the Wall Street Journal. Naturally, Arcati polled her people. And 21% of you think he is Madame Arcati (sooooooooo foolish) while only 1% of you think he is Lord Lucan - very sensible.

I'm wondering whether to ask what he comes when he's humping Wendi:
- Dust
- Acid
- Shampoo

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

William Cash - Spear's gets a bit bigged up?

The wealth-worshipping William Cash recently told Independent readers how he’d sold his Spear’s Wealth Management Survey magazine (aimed at High-Net-Worth individuals – ie the filthy rich) for a “seven figure plus” sum (just over £1m in fact) to Luxury Publishing Ltd. Conscious perhaps of the modesty of the price he added that the “deal allowed me to keep 30 per cent of the title.”

However, you wouldn't guess from his piece that Luxury Publishing Ltd has actually bought Cash's whole company Spear Media – not just the super-rich mag - for a “seven figure plus” sum. Spear’s Wealth Management Survey is just one asset among a number of magazines which include contract titles Annabel’s Wine & Cellar and Aspinall’s. The Observer reports that Cash retains a “30% stake in the company” - I assume this is a mistake because Cash says his stake's in the Spear's title.

I am sure that Cash’s Independent piece unintentionally left one with the impression that he'd flogged Spear’s Wealth Management Survey alone for over a million quid. Its actual sale price must be considerably lower than that if it was part of a job lot. Half a million? A quarter? But, of course, it does not harm Cash's interests for people to think the title alone worth a “seven figure plus” sum - though still chicken feed in reality. And it’s hard to tell which interested Luxury Publishing more – Spear’s itself or its useful contract magazine deals.

What we do know is that Cash's sell-off makes Luxury Publishing the UK’s largest magazine publisher for High-Net-Worth sector titles.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tina Brown - 'Arcati, you're wrong ....'

Anon writes: "Oooh, Madame - may I humbly suggest an alternative interpretation for Conde Nast's corporate hailing of 1986 as a high point in Tatler's creativity? The fact is that it WAS a high point, given that this was the period of the late, great Mark Boxer's editorship. If anything, focussing on that period is not so much a criticism of his predecessor, Tina Brown, as of his successor, Emma Soames. She was the first editor to be fired by Nicholas Coleridge, then Editorial Director and now MD of Conde Nast, and who presumably still wishes to justify her termination."

Dear Anon,
Thank you - yes, all that's possible. But I favour my anti-Brown theory because the Vanity Fair piece on Murdoch is so sniffy about its former editor - failing to so describe her and implying some aspersion on her journalistic virtue. I also understand that Graydon Carter cares little for his predecessor, and I believe Coleridge didn't have a happy time at Tatler under Brown. And while he's on my mind, and if you're in a happy position at Vogue House, please do the world a favour and ask Coleridge to desist from writing novels. He's a gifted journalist, and a titan of editorial management, and his worship of India is almost Forsterian, but he has no voice for fiction beyond attaching recalled dialogue to what I may politely term a wafer thin interest in the complex topic of human motivation. Like his friend William Cash, and distant acquaintance Tina Brown, his preoccupations are cash and cachet - and who's made it - topics well covered by his gooooooooooooooorgeous magazines.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stefano Hatfield: When's he going to clean up?

London Mayor Ken Livingstone was recently asked [Freesheet litter, Question No: 1562/2007] by a Mike Tuffrey: "When you met with Stefano Hatfield, editor of [Murdoch-owned] The London Paper [they had lunch], on June 14, what commitments did you obtain in relation to the paper paying the full cost of cleaning up the litter it creates on London’s streets and transport network, or are you happy that News International continues to profit from pollution?"

While we await an answer, I just love the Sky dp spread ad in Vanity Fair with the word "eco-warrior" emblazoned over a pic of a sleeping man. It's promoting the commendable environmental friendliness of Murdoch's Sky+ and HD boxes. Let us hope that Livingstone can turn Hatfield into a Murdoch-approved eco-warrior who does not add to the suffocation of the metropolis with his tons of unread and unnecessary freebie newspaper litter.

Paul Spike - now he's in Palma!

Further to the news that Paul Spike was last seen running a bar in Deia (selling yummy bagels), I now learn from an anonymous contributor (my thanks btw): "Sophia [Hesselgren] left Paul about 2 years ago and is now very happy in London, Spike lasted a little longer in Deia but, not suited to being mine host, left his bar for Palma about six months ago." What an interesting board game Spike's life would make. It might feature a map of the world with hot and cold spots, rather like his career.

Is Vanity Fair browned off with Tina?

You would never guess that Tina Brown once edited (ie saved/reinvented, etc) Vanity Fair magazine, judging by the September issue.

First, in Michael Wolff's lengthy job application to Rupert Murdoch – well, Wolff's daughter does work for the Murdoch-owned The New York Post – he refers slightingly to Brown as merely a “biographer” for her offence in calling a Murdochised Wall Street Journal a “horror show”. No mention is made of her past association with VF. Sarcastically he describes her as “that paragon of journalistic virtue”. How Graydon must have chuckled over the proofs as he threw back a wave of dislodged hair with one of his head tosses, when a good barber could save him the trouble.

Then we have Edward Helmore’s fascinating piece on the late fashion stylist Isabella Blow who killed herself earlier this year by drinking weed killer. We are told that she joined Tatler in 1986 “during a creative high point there” – was this because Tina Brown had departed as editor in 1983? It seems odd that a Conde Nast mag would pick out one period in the history of another Conde Nast mag as particularly anything given that everything Conde Nast mags do is a high point, darling.

(Blow fans will be reassured that the tragic fashionista is happy now in the spirit world … after her death fashion lord Alexander McQueen consulted a Madame Arcati-ish medium who reported: “Isabella is with her grandmother.")

And while I have VF in front of me, I must applaud Dominick Dunne for botoxing his otherwise usually flaccid, meandering prose. On Paris Hilton he avers, in a moment of pure bitchery, after attending a party given by Hilton's grasping parents: “Half the men in America have seen Paris with a penis in her mouth.”

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Harry Thompson: The Lisa and Daisy chain

Harry Thompson's cruel and premature death at age 45 in 2005 was a great loss to TV satire - he was the producer/writer behind Ali G, Have I Got News For You, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and so many other great comic TV shows. He was the man who dreamt up the tub of lard as a stand-in for Roy Hattersley on HIGNFY - such lèse majesté would be unthinkable nowadays beyond the repeats.

Many a slower-witted celeb - such as Paula Yates - found themselves at the butt end of Thompson's hyper-vicious sense of humour - but were savvy enough to keep quiet lest they appeared even more ridiculous. The fascism of cool is a brutal (but short-lived) one. Thompson crested yet another generation of Oxbridge sharpies in entertainment - how those Oxbridge cultural waves keep on rolling in mediating response to underlying prole tectonic plate movements! Anyone would think it fated.

Shortly before his death Thompson co-founded with Daisy Goodwin TV indie company Silver River Productions - and I hadn't quite realised until recently how close Thompson and Goodwin were, even during his two-year relationship with Lisa Whadcock whom he married just hours before he died. The Guardian's Thompson obit reported that "Goodwin describes Thompson as 'incorruptible', meaning that he always told the truth, saying what he thought, not what you might want to be told." I am sure that was true after a fashion.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fleet Steet editor's racist missus

The wife of a major quality UK national newspaper editor routinely refers to black people as "niggers"? Who could it be?

Just another Hollywood cock-cocker

Which male, supposedly heterosexual, A-list Hollywood star - who is sooooo gorgeous - is the boyfriend of an Italian-sounding movie make-up artist?

Lord Lucan's heir, the hood and felo-de-se

The wonderful nsfl has this to say of Lord Lucan and his heir:

"His heir (I forget whether he took the title or not), George Bingham, often writes his father's name down when playing that game in which people pair off and one contestant has to describe a famous person to the other. He, the heir, is a charming fellow (despite this habit) but a bit too keen on the internet perhaps. But who am I to talk?

"(He thinks his father sent a hood into the flat that night to steal some heirlooms that he might not have won in a divorce... And that his father committed felo-de-se in the Channel.)"

Paul Spike is undead in Deia

The well-informed nsfl has located Paul Spike for me (see labels for previous posting) - my thanks:

"Mr Spike and Sophia Hesselgren are in Deia. They always used to spend half the year there anyway. Last time I saw him he was going to write a book about the Great War. He knew Robert Graves. Graves knew everyone. My parents spent three days of their honeymoon with Graves in Deia.

I hope you are well, Madame. x"

Share the experience of Deia.

Paula Hamilton strips and fucks up

"Former supermodel" Paula Hamilton made a wonderful fool of herself on This Morning today. After telling viewers she had "fucked up" her life in the past - ("I am sorry for my profanities," she said at the end of the interview) she proceeded to tell her public that she is a "brilliant actress" and would be a "fantastic model" again if only she could get a body transplant.

She claimed to suffer from dyspraxia, which has something to do with learning difficulties, and this she thinks may account for "why my brain is different ... creative people, entrepreneurs, geniuses, can have this problem." She's such a genius that she had to go all the way to New Zealand to study entrepreneurship - something that may interest Duncan Fallowell whose book on the country is out next year. Is boasting a symptom of dyspraxia?

Then a clip was shown of her stripping naked as a judge on Living's Britain's Next Top Model - it was so unrehearsed the cameraman didn't know where to turn except linger his lens on her arse. She claims she did this for the benefit of a tyro female model. "No, you didn't," said the youngster. "You did it for you." An excellent piece of insight into a troubled, booze-addled egotist, and not what you expect to find on an otherwise inane TV show.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Lord Lucan - not under a council estate then?

I shall be most disappointed if Lord Lucan has been found living as Roger Woodgate in New Zealand for 30-odd years - along with his cat and possum for company, as reported today. The self-styled "psychic cop" Keith Charles assured me years ago that the allegedly homicidal peer was dead and buried under a council estate someplace - he sensed this as a clairvoyant. More on Charles here. First, The Sun's great white shark. Now this.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sploshing! - Spectator expresses an interest

The Spectator's otherwise cerebral and tasteful blogger Clive Davis asks Madame Arcati what is "sploshing" - he is under the impression that I would know about such things. If I do, then it is thanks in part to the BBC's Graham Norton Show which recently ran an item on sploshing, featuring a load of tarts covering themselves (and some near-nude mug male from the audience) in glutinous Heinz beans and other edibles. And that's basically sploshing. For more on this sexually arousing activity, visit the Splosh! website - full of family fun. Anything else I can do to widen the experience of Spectator contributors? ...

This DVD cover is reproduced here without permission and those who would threaten suit for copyright breach are welcome to dip themselves in treacle - at my expense, natch.

The Sun - duped by Jaws man

"A photograph appearing to confirm that a great white shark was lurking in waters just off Britain was today exposed as a fake," reports the Guardian. "The man who took the picture, which was featured prominently in the Sun, admitted he had snapped the creature during a fishing trip in South Africa rather than off Newquay, northern Cornwall." The man works for a Cornwall nightclub, for heaven's sake - low life, low life.

As I revealed the other day - I'm surprised Rebekah Wade didn't phone me for a quote herself - the sea god Poseidon told me that the great white the Sun has championed for sales purposes is nothing more than a basking shark. The paper should offer to reimburse anyone who was duped into buying a copy of the paper because of the "Jaws" fiction.

Alexandra Shulman, Paul Spike and ... revenge

The UK Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman has moved her jowly chops an' size 14+ an' all into a swanky – what a ghastly word! – £2.5+m four-bedroom property in Kingswood Avenue, London. The Evening Standard's property goss Compton Miller reports that she will share the house with son Sam from ex-husband Paul Spike.

Ah, yes, Spike. His last career high was as editor of Punch back in '97. Regrettably, it fell to Madame Arcati – or her like – to end his career there when he purloined some ideas from her/him/it for the Mohamed Al-Fayed-owned satirical magazine and used them without proper credit.

Arcati took instant revenge and wrote up a fascinating lunch she/he/it had with Spike at an Italian restaurant just across the road from Harrods, during which the editor foolishly rubbished various of his colleagues such as Peter McKay (now on the Mail as Ephraim Hardcastle) and Al-Fayed himself – and even admitted he (Spike) was uncertain of the English sense of humour as a New Yorker; a somewhat terminal confession. A few days later he was fired, in the same week Diana died. He subsequently challenged the journalist Tim Satchell to a fight in the Groucho after falsely accusing him of being the author of the assassination piece – the boggled twat plainly had no recollection of his conversation with Arcati.

Some may know Spike as "Ralph Hoover", author of an appreciated novelisation of Terry Gilliam’s long-forgotten debut movie Jabberwocky. I have no idea where Spike is now though someone suggested he was running a bar on some hot island with a girlfriend. Perhaps one of my foot soldiers could enlighten me as Alexandra settles into her micro-palace.

Nesta Wyn Ellis - savour her website

A mystery fan sends me a link to the website of the fabulous Nesta Wyn Ellis. Mmm, ain’t she great – she brings out my inner lesbian. [Click here]

Chrissy Iley and a crucial misspelling

Prolific celebrity interviewer Chrissy Iley will be most displeased: the Conde Nast press office has put out a press release for Glamour’s September issue and misspelt its star writer's name as "Chrissey". Oops. Iley is very sensitive about the spelling of her name and has been known to render her mobile phone inoperative as spittle bungs up the mouthpiece during punitive rants at incompetents. Her Jessica Biel interview in Glamour is a bit of a simpering non-event, alas, and hardly warrants any attention. She can’t even get the actress to talk about boyfriend Justin Timberlake, so she irrelevantly inserts his name here and there in the way potpourri, strategically placed, is intended to sweetly scent the stale. On the other hand, Biel admits she thinks that gawping at the universe from an observatory in Las Vegas most romantic – she has a fondness for “huge telescopes”. I shall look for a naked Justin pic to see what the fuss is all about.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bill Clinton - money money yum yum

Two tickets to listen to Bill Clinton’s lecture "Embracing our Common Humanity” at The 02 on August 14 - £1,785.78 inclusive of VAT. Cheap seats for two - £500.

Humanity fans who attend this performance in blather about globalisation, etc, should be reminded that Bill earned $10.2m from his speeches alone in 2006 and $7.5m in 2005. He made a staggering $450,000 for a single September speech in London, at a Fortune Forum event.

From 2001 to 2005 he made about $30m from his speeches. He does contribute to the $60m pa running costs of his charitable William J Clinton Foundation dedicated to fighting Aids and world hunger – exactly how much he refuses to disclose, but the annual figure is said to be “several millions”.

Meanwhile – how not to blog at the Hillary Clinton site.

More about Bill’s charitable work at his foundation.

Michael Coveney gives Quentin Letts a lashing

One of my favourite bloggers, Michael Coveney – who should be reinstated as the Mail theatre critic in my view (but would he have them?) – thanks Madame Arcati for naming the Mail’s right-wing all-rounder Quentin Letts as the creep who has been writing horrid things about him in Private Eye.

“It seems rather a grubby way of earning a few extra quid,” Coveney writes before noting Letts' Carmen Jones interval chit-chat with the Standard editor Veronica Wadley. “Let's hope she had a jolly good laugh at Master Letts's peevish skewering of her irritable theatre critic Nicholas de Jongh in the latest Eye. De Jongh's 'crime' was to stretch his legs during the technical hiccup at the Joseph first night and inform a security guard (or possibly Bill Kenwright) that he was a "f---ing theatre critic."

He then goes onto deprecate Lett’s “graceless” and “unfunny” comments about Thelma Holt and David Liddiment. It is no secret, of course, that Letts - or "the owlish sneak" as Coveney calls him - supplements his considerable six-figure Mail fee with a steady stream of £50 tip-offs to Fleet Street gossips.

On another matter, I have not forgotten Letts’ recent brutal assault on our new PM on Sky News, insinuating that Brown was only visiting flood victims for PR reasons. This hardly accords with the unwell Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre’s view of the No 1 Broonite whose workaholism, water-sign sulkiness and rages are the staples of a worthy life.

For Coveney's excellent blog, click here.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Julian Clary ... fucked a woman shock horror!

Julian Clary's novel Murder Most Fab is out on the 16th, so cue interview in the Evening Standard. Tucked away deep in the copy is this nugget - "Later, he says he got a girl pregnant when he was 21." He wonders "what that child" would be doing now had it been kept. Clary airily dreams: "It would be 27, wouldn't it? Probably working in the city and playing rugby." But what if it had been a boy?

The writer Alison Roberts notes: "It's strange, of course, to think of Clary indulging in heterosexual behaviour at all." Only if you don't get out much, poppet. I could spend the rest of the day listing contemporary cock-cockers and cunt-cunters who indulge/have indulged in heterosexual behaviour, if only to produce yet more unnecessary spawn, or just because. Still, we mustn't get ahead of perceived readership tolerances ...

The Guardian and its ads-on

It's Monday so the media supplements are out. The independent's still has scarcely any ads - though it does have one big gorgeous colour one on its inside cover ... for itself, promoting its pointless Shakespeare dead tree posters and booklets. Instant binliner material. A total waste of natural resources.

The Guardian carries more media employment ad freight, but a great deal for itself in its brand background pastels. Editorial pages 6, 7 and 8 carry only Guardian-linked ads. Then in its 14-page ads section proper it has 24 more ads for Guardian media companies and its own ad team. Some of these ads are huge: the one for the "Group human resources executive" takes up about a third of the page. On page 16, of nine ads, six are for Guardian-related posts, taking up about 75+% of the sheet. I guess the Scott Trust pays out to itself.

At the bottom of these ads is the message: "We welcome applications from any individual regardless of ethnic origin, gender, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation or age." Really? So how many black paraplegics over the age of 50 work on the MediaGuardian section? I can't see them for the white clever under-30s males who are, er, "en route".

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Reverend H. Goatboy has died: Who?

"Sadly, Goatboy was never able to regale the Popbitch crowd with his story of Jimmy Savile - largely because of restraint ... imposed by those pesky libel laws." Politicalhackuk.

"[I] would like to pay tribute to a gossip legend and habitual resident of, who died this week. The name Goatboy will mean little to most, but plenty to many. Suddenly, there is less in this world that makes us go 'arf'." Hugo Rifkind, The Times

Somebody big in the media died this week - and lachrymosity is rife. No, not the former Mirror and People editor Richard Stott. I mean, Alastair Campbell and a few other cunts besides, who gives a shit? He was just another lump of compromised tabloid cliche. No, I'm talking of another passing. That of The Reverend H Goatboy - mega-gossip sites Popbitch and Holy Moly are in mourning. No, I'd never heard of him either. So, let's see what the fuss is about.

"A Popbitch legend has passed to the great bin shouting contest in the sky," someone announces. I like Popbitch, can be too cute on furry animals, but it's fun and well written. Don't recall Rev Goatboy. An obit elsewhere says he was "larger than life" - click here. But this still doesn't explain who he was or what he did.

Holy Moly tells a story about one of Thatcher's cabinet ministers having sex with the 12-year-old son of an aristocrat. It is to be inferred from context that the Rev Goatboy supplied and wrote the story. In the second story, the same Tory high-up features in photos showing him messing around with young boys. Why is this politician not named? Arcati is mystified.

Holy Moly recounts: "On Monday we heard that Paul, a dear friend of Holy Moly!, and Popbitch too, had died in his sleep. Known to many simply as The Reverend Goatboy, he was, among many things, a wonderful raconteur, a true gentleman and always entertaining company. Like the consummate rock 'n' roller he was, the Reverend believed life was something best lived at 100mph and soundtracked by Motorhead. We will miss him."

Here's the important bit: "Even if you've only ever laughed once at the Holy Moly! mailout, we can guarantee it was one of Paul's stories that cracked that smile. Without Paul there would have never been a Holy Moly." Now I begin to understand ... Go here for more ... and his importance to Popbitch. Someone there recalls: "What an excellent chap - the night he rescued me from a whores' hostel in Leeds will always be a fond memory. He wouldn't want you to know but he was a soft bugger at heart, even if he DID drive a hairdresser's car... he'll be missed. jedibitch".

Lots of Goatboy postings here. But they could be in Aramaic for all the sense they make to me.

He was Paul Hadwen. More here. He died in his 50s - click here. He was cremated today at the Lawnswood Crematorium, Leeds, at 3.40pm. He liked his drugs. So do most journalists I know.

Not everyone loved him. On one messageboard I read this: "You know what else is evil - the internet. Therefore by using it we are effectively playing with the Devil’s tool! You should add the creator and inventor of this wicked tool, the self-styled Reverend Goatboy (currently in hiding in The North in the godless European state of United Kingdom) to your list ... Love and kisses to Georgie. x x". This is quite sexy.

Back to Popbitch: "Goatboy, aka Rev_Rickenbacker, aka Horace, remains the heart and soul of this community. Until this week, when we got the sad news of our friend's sudden death from pneumonia. We came to love this mischievous, shady, wickedly funny, warm-hearted internet legend. From extraordinary tales from his own life, to his strong political beliefs - anti-authority, anti-Thatcher, don't let the bastards get you down - to the most jaw-dropping pieces of gossip (including two scandalous stories about an 80s Conservative Cabinet Minister), tens of thousands of us got to know Goatboy." Read much much more at Popbitch.

Did he once cock-cunt Tara Palmer-Tompkinson? "After he left me disheveled and glowing, I realised the stories were true, he really is God's Gift to women!" she's quoted somewhere.

Hardly anyone met him yet they weep - "Is it strange to cry for someone you have never met outside the confines of a computer screen?", writes a blogger, eloquent on virtual bereavement. "The internet is a strange old place. Meeting people seems to matter little when you spend years reading each other’s thoughts on the most trivial of subjects." Read the piece - it's great.

He sounds like the net's Robin Hood, or the net's useful alternative Gatsby. I sense the big bang of a great legend; stories will be told of his derring-do; there will be exaggeration - essential to legend. I wonder if publishers are clued-up? SCOTT PACK, ARE YOU READING THIS? Richard Stott died rich from the media; Goatboy sounds like he died poor yet exercised a great deal of influence on the media.

Nope, never heard of him.

This could be relevant.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Susan Hill plights her troth to Madame Arcati

Literary star Susan Hill - oh, OK, I sound like Perez - announced yesterday on her blog that she's scaling down her inessential reading load (Facebook, YouTube, most blogs, etc) and I naturally assumed that Madame Arcati had been chucked in her word-candy skip. But she has rushed to assure me otherwise ...

"No, I said I was going to stop reading random blogs apart from the 5 ones I read regularly - and you, MA, are one of the five. I`ve got to have some fun.
Duncan is fine and working hard. I met him coming out of the village library yesterday wearing a rather natty pair of shorts. He had been to pick up his e-mails and doing so had made the library computer explode. Makes you wonder what was in them."

Nesta Wyn Ellis: 'Hey, forget Madonna ...'

Exactly a year ago (check labels) I wrote a little piece about former PM John Major biographer, the extraordinary and exotic Nesta Wyn Ellis ... and now I receive this charming memoir from one of her university contemporaries. If you've never heard of Nesta, check your pulse. She currently lives in Paris, but the UK will be hearing of her again soon, oh yes...

Hullo, Madame Arcati
As us macho Welshmen like to say, you sound like you are a bit of a bugger - and THAT's a compliment. Takes one to know one.

I recently stumbled across your blog site and was amazed when three little words leapt off the screen - Nesta Wyn Ellis. What a woman she is. Why does that old creep Madonna get so much credit for reinventing herself when Nesta has to be THE reinventor's reinventor? There is no justice.

Thousands of years ago I knew Nesta when at the University of Liverpool in the early 1960s. We were part of a gang of like-minded students who somehow by way of fate became friends - can't remember how we all met because we were from different faculties and social backgrounds. I used to specialise in a morose Welshman act - I found it attracted a better class of woman at that time. I was a sort of 'Look back in Anger' kind of guy which was very fashionable at the time. Always a hint of violence lurking behind the morose exterior. Worked every time.

Nesta and some of her female hall of residence pals used to invite us around to her room in Hall every Wednesday evening. They used to serve all of us baked beans on toast. But we had to be out of the room by 6.30 p.m. Those were the hall of residence rules at that time.

Christ, but there's a great quantum leap from serving up beans on toast - wearing black tights as I recall - and morphing into the alluring Chanteur Isabelle. What a gal is our Nesta. But, how about this for classy eccentricity - can you imagine Nesta turning up to University lectures wearing a fox fur stole? She did - I was there and witnessed this act. No one else would have had the courage and class to wear one of those - no one else could have got away with it. Nesta was, and still is, it appears, ahead of her time.

Eat your heart out Madonna, you are a mere amateur when compared to Chanteur Isabelle.

Best Wishes,
Eric Thomas

PS: I read somewhere that Nesta 'busked' - or used to busk - underground in the Paris Metro. She apparently did this for 'pennies' so that she could pay her apartment cleaner's wages. Is there no limit to Nesta's versatility and ingenuity? Christ! What in hell will she get up to next? Will she end up as the first yodelling astronaut, perhaps?

Can't ever forget her turning up on Wogan in the lowest cut dress ever devised by a demented designer. A perfect piece of engineering! (Hey, Nesta, when you've got it, flaunt it!) I'll always remember Nesta as a very classy girl, superbly well dressed and groomed and great company - a really nice person beneath all the show-biz glitz ...

Nesta with former PM John Major

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mmm Danone ... Mmm Danone ... Mmm Danone

Julius Caesar: "Vene Vedi Vici" ... mmm Danone

Churchill: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few" ... mmm Danone

Marquis de Sade: "Lust's passion will be served; it demands, it militates, it tyrannizes" ... mmm Danone

Bill Clinton: "I did not have sex with that woman" ... mmm Danone

Germaine Greer: "Freud is the father of psychoanalysis. It has no mother" ... mmm Danone

Jesus Christ: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven" ... mmm Danone

Clue: Mmm Danone

Nicky Haslam: One too many redeeming features?

Not sure about the title - Redeeming Features: A Memoir. That's what Nicky Haslam is calling the first part of his life story, now due out November 1, described as "The fascinating childhood memoirs of Britain's best-known interior designer." I hope this isn't a hint he's going to hold back - memories of Answered Prayers and what happened to Capote post-publication acting as restraint on indiscretion. The follow-up, Writing on the Wall, is set for October 9, 2008 - another subdued sort of title. Given what's promised - breathless but well-written gossip about high-ups here and gone (I suspect the latter book is the one to read) - I would have expected more provocative titles. Still, I'm sure he won't disappoint - and I'm delighted to see him up to his old mischief, sending a Jane Fonda/Linda Loudermilk item to Private Eye's Pseuds Corner in the latest edition.

PS I trust he's forgiven Susan Hill for wondering aloud on Arcati what he's for. He was very annoyed about that, but I'm sure he's not one to bear a grudge.

Perez Hilton - in green flip-flops. Omg!

Some bitch tried to block these pics, but Arcati has magical powers and curses to follow ...

And is that the smallest lunchbox I ever did see? No wonder he's such a bitch.