Saturday, May 31, 2008

Susan Hill buys up Duncan Fallowell's 'Peepshow'

Well I never! Two of my favourite writers - and they are friends of Madame Arcati - are getting married! In a manner of speaking, of course. Susan Hill's publishing company Long Barn Books has bought up Duncan Fallowell's book Platinum Peepshow, Scenes from Art, Fashion and Entertainment 1979-2009 for publication in March 2009. A more fascinating union I could not have imagined and all done behind my back.

As I have said before - see my interview with DF via labels - and I'll say it again: Duncan Fallowell is one of the world's best writer interviewers. He applies his own customised rohypnol to his celebrity subjects - teasing out the most extraordinary revelations and indiscretions - and recreates them in splendid pieces of entertainment and acute and glamorous insight. My congratulations to Susan Hill on a bold and imaginative acquisition.

The book is a collection of his star interviews - a good omen is that in the week of this development, Tina Turner has announced she'll be in the UK for her Euro tour in March (the month of the 'Peepshow' publication) - and she's one of his subjects. There's synchronicity for you. Other huge names he's encountered include Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Tony Snowdon, Valentino, Peter O'Toole, Eartha Kitt, Judi Dench, Gilbert & George, Johnny Rotten and many many more. Why, even Sam Fox gets a look in.

Be sure there'll be further news ...

Any ideas who else Duncan should interview? See his note in comments.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Dima Bilan - the penis (almost)

Is this why Russia won Eurovision? Get with it Sir Terry and the BBC - this is what you're up against, you sardonic fossils.

Allison Pearson - once wife of Simon? Ooh, spooky!

An Arcatiste writes of my current favourite Glenda Slagg - Allison Pearson - of the ever-readable Daily Mail, and claims that Allison was once indeed a wife.

Intrigued by the results of my séance with Vera, my anonymous contributor conducted his or her own investigation and discovered that one of the few Lobbetts to be married in the 80's/90's was a Judith A Lobbett in Lincoln in 1988. Allison went to school in Lincoln for a time.

Judith A Lobbett was born in 1960, birth registered in Carmarthen in Wales during May-July. Allison was born in that region at that time.

Judith A Lobbett married a Simon W Pearson in 1988. They divorced sometime before the mid-90s. He then married again in 1996. Are Allison Pearson/Judith Lobbett one and the same?

It's hard to know what to believe in these days of reinvention and media masks ...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Is Eurovision winner Believe a copyCat?

Having praised Dima Bilan’s Eurovision winner Believe I am now persuaded that it resembles Cat Stevens’ Wild World. Whaddya think?

Allison Pearson/Lobbett: Here comes the bride?

The new Private Eye applies its forensic mind to Allison Pearson's recent Mail response to Duchess Fergie's counter-attacks over the Princess Bea "fatso" saga. Mmm, interesting. No wonder the piece is titled "Porkies & Yorkies". Is there any particular point to the mag calling her "Allison Pearson (née Allison Lobbett)"? And a blog by Jonathan Calder (he also has a column in the New Statesman) recollects happy school days with one Allison Lobbett, her maiden name, click here. At a séance the other night I asked Vera - my guide in the next world: Will Allison ever marry (perhaps her partner Anthony Lane)? And Vera replied, cryptically: "But Allison knows already what it is to be married." What can she mean? Wikipedia, typically, fails to shed light on a Pearson "marriage". I can only assume that Vera is deluded. Or that "marriage" means something else in the spirit world. Truly Allison Pearson is the most intriguing of persons - Mata Hari-ish almost - which itself is unusual in a mere journalist.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mark Borkowski: 'Wogan's a curmudgeon!'

The world's wisest and most effective PR, Mark Borkowski - in a previous life he was a philosopher; I'm certain of it - has been twittering about me, I'm informed (I don't know what twittering means but it sounds fun). Now I see he has embraced the Eurovision row and echoed some of my thoughts on cunting Wogan, click here.

"I can’t believe the furore over the Eurovision song contest results and the ensuing curmudgeonly comments from the British public and Terry Wogan himself," he writes. This is on the news that the UK could lose its right of automatic entry to the final because of the controversy. It's time Wogan and the BBC fucked off and let the professionals make the Euro music. Mark rightly foresees a "PR disaster".

And while I'm thinking of Borkowski, check out his upcoming book, The Fame Formula, about the Hollywood fame machine. Toby Young writes of it: "Most people think of Andy Warhol as having the last word on celebrity culture, but he played John the Baptist to Mark Borkowski's Jesus. In this book, Borkowski tells you how to parlay 15 minute of fame into a lifetime of pampered luxury." It's out on August 1, click here to order.

A star encounter at the US Embassy in London

If you plan to visit the US for professional purposes you have to get yourself an I-Visa. That costs $131. Then to apply you have to queue up outside the US Embassy at 24 Grosvenor Square, even in “inclement weather”, as it says on the forms. It’s far too much trouble to construct a nice little al fresco shelter in the event of a hail storm. Force 8 gale, madam? Just stand over there under those trees so the leaves fall like confetti on your hairstyle. I imagine I’m at a forest wedding, a sylvan union after Robin Hood. The fantasy gets me through the moments. Never mind.

Then once inside and three hours later (if you’re lucky) you get a blue form which you take to the SMS courier desk where prices to return your passport and forms and dispatch your visa start at £14. Ah, how I love the land of the Fee. A man behind me starts making rooster noises. He's playing with his tot-brat, but the girl dealing with my courier order thinks there's a rooster on the premises and asks how did that get in. I explain to her what's making the rooster sound - oh, and by the way, you've misspelt my name. I ask: "Do roosters need a visa, too?"

(Incidentally, although you’re told not to bring mobiles to the embassy – your interview will be cancelled if you do, that’s what it says on the forms – when you get there transparent bags are provided for your mobiles which you can carry about as you might a lipstick or dildo. These small bureaucratic inconsistencies have a disproportionate effect on my temper: I simply go crazy. Inwardly.)

As the hours snail by in the visa section, as you await your call to interview with a consular official, your eye may alight on Warhol’s Monroe prints on the walls: take one sleb photo, daub with colour. $70m please, ta. Actually, my attention is soon caught by a somebody in the visa section waiting room. At first I’m not sure. Were it not for the heavy black shades I wouldn’t take a second glance. But who would wear sunglasses under the gentle fluorescence? Only a sleb. Then I take in the bald head and its tattoos: what looks like a Star of David over his crown and black squiggly things running down his neck. No, it can’t be Boy George! But it is.

He looks grumpy, morose even. The all-black ensemble doesn’t help; nor does the little hood at the back. He yawns a lot, stretches, looks about, rolls his head, rolls his shoulders, hours snailing by. I recall he wants to get back to the US for a concert this year. Can’t think getting a visa can be that easy for him with his record - has the trial over the tied-up male escort finished? Can't be bothered to check. He gets up and pads over to the café, and that’s the last I see of him. Perhaps as I write this he’s still pleading with an official to give him a visa. I wish him luck.

I was tempted to say something before he disappeared but I remembered a friend saying hello to him outside a club recently. He just looked vacantly at her then tightened his countenance somewhat for a minor withering gaze: I’m told at that moment his lips resembled a recently unfucked arsehole. An unhappy thought to end on.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jason Cowley: Any pics of him in mum's make-up?

Jason's former cultural pin-up, the exquisitely heterosexual David Sylvian

Where are my manners? Madame Arcati extends her belated congratulations to Jason Cowley, the newly appointed editor of the New Statesman, the current editor of Granta.

He is a man of Renaissance interests – accommodating high literature (provided that it’s published by mainstream publishers), pop music, politics and sport in his learned fixations. The last is most unfortunate but makes him acceptable for the purposes of mainstream and senior editorial appointments. It indicates, um, robustness. I understand he moves to the Staggers in September.

I don’t know much about him except that he was once an “intensely active teenager”, one of Peter York's "neurotic boy outsiders", who calmed down a bit to the mordant strains of Japan (the band). “It was a time [sometime in the ‘80s I guess] when we all liked to dress up with arch ostentation and steal our mothers' make-up. But it was a superficial time, and no one wishes to be reminded of the excesses of their youth,” he writes prettily in a 2005 essay on (and interview with) Japan’s improbably - yet resolutely - straight David Sylvian.

If anyone has a photograph of the teenage Mr Cowley wearing his mother’s lip gloss, eyeliner and/or other decorative pop accoutrements (high heels especially welcome) - perhaps his arms aloft in a group sway to Japan's Adolescent Sex - do not hesitate to email me. Discretion assured.

A collection of Mr Cowley’s distinguished and stimulating journalism is to be found at his website, click here.

Jonathan King: 'Buggering boys' on La Croisette

I asked Jonathan King how the Cannes Film Fest was for him - he took his movie Vile Pervert: The Musical out there. He replies ...

"Well Madame, Cannes was horrid - dreadful weather, awful traffic and packed with people I didn't know (I know everyone at Midem, the music convention). But I was interviewed a lot (once next to Omar Sharif and another time within yards of Harrison Ford) and the crowds looked bemused but amused as I swept up and down Le Croisette in my red Rolls Royce blasting "there's nothing wrong with buggering boys" at maximum volume to the assembled film queens!The movie has had over 18,000 full length online views in the 3 weeks since your kind review. "

Madame Arcati's review of Vile Pervert (and an excerpt with JK as Oscar Wilde in full singing voice), click here

Monday, May 26, 2008

Jonathan King: 'Wogan never understood Eurovision music'

Jonathan King - who once was Mr Eurovision - writes ...

"I thought it was a brilliant Eurovision and delicious Dima who should have beaten Lordi 2 years ago deserved to win though no songs entered were real hits this year.

"Political voting? Bollocks. When we entered a REAL hit in 1997 (my era in control) we won by the biggest margin ever.Wogan never understood the MUSIC side of it and still doesn't. A hit song by a great performer (and Dima is a special star) will win if entered."

Thank you, Jonathan. I think you should be back running Eurovision - of course, in my view, the BBC is part of the problem because it wants phonelines involved ie public voting ie shite like this year's entry. When you have a moment let us know how Vile Pervert did at Cannes.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eurovision 2008: Execute Sir Terry Wogan

Well, the old burbling fool had a hand in selecting the pathetic '70s-style karaoke UK entry. Now he's calling for a Western Eurovision Song Contest judging by his comments tonight - even hinting he may not commentate on another Eurovision. Make way, Sir Tel, make way. Ironically, Russia won with a plausible homage (but minus falsetto) to that well known East European ... Justin "hard beats" Timberlake (just as Greece did well by ripping off that notorious Balkan lovely ... Britney Spears). Judge for yourselves ...

Justin ...

And Britney ...

Andrew Wylie: 'In inininininin Lit-land she was 19'

Asked this week how a novelist can sell him a novel, the literary super agent Andrew Wylie advises: "Write a good cover letter and place it on top of a good manuscript. Zadie Smith wrote a cover letter ending, 'I'm six foot tall, I'm 19 years old, and I don't exactly look like the back end of a bus.' I thought: 'Nice cover letter ... '" He adds that he was taken with her phrasing ... "I didn't give a shit what she looked like. That's how we got White Teeth."

Naturally I go to his website for its submissions policy and am greeted by the grim reality: "The Wylie Agency does not currently accept unsolicited submissions."

Lateralising irrelevantly (a chemical inducement), my mind turns to that great Paul Hardcastle song Nineteen at the mention of Zadie's then young age - adapt the lyrics to this posting as you see fit.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Liz Hurley - now SHE wants to write a cookbook

Liz Hurley is planning to write a cookbook. Just what the world needs, another fucking cookbook. She tells her adoring friend William Cash in ES magazine that she has 35 piglets, 18 adolescent pigs, four sows, two boars, 40 cattle, 80 sheep and many other beasties on her Gloucestershire farm. Perhaps her cookbook could feature gorgeous, cute photos of these animals – she’s bottle-feeding three lambs – on the left-hand pages and more gorgeous photos of the self-same animals turned into delicious meals with recipes on the right-hand pages - a before and after concept. I happily offer this idea for nothing, she is free to use.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sharon Stone - how to lose $1 million +

Yum yum - home of the Beverly Hills silly billy

While the gorgeous 50-year-old Sharon Stone shows off her new hairstyle on Cannes’ red carpet – the Palais des Festivals really ought to bill her for her annual self-advertisements on their premises – and strikes faintly sexual poses with film auteur Madonna – I hear that she has put one of her properties back on the market.

Back in December 2006 she asked for $12.5m for her five-acre Mediterranean-style estate (which she has never lived in) in North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, having bought it for $11m in March of that year. In a matter of months the property had increased in value by $1.5m, a view not shared by any prospective purchaser – despite the underground 15-car garage, meditation garden, French country-style guest house and tennis court with a $70,000 surface. She then withdrew it from sale.

Now she wants to flog it for $10m – and suffer a $1m loss even before adjustment for inflation and other made up financial factors. Let us pray that the deficit causes not too much of a dent to her value and that she finally finds a buyer.

Vulture's view of Shazza's unlived-in shelter

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

'Allison Pearson makes the cynical best call'

Hugh Grant's unauthorised biographer Jody Tresidder writes in of my last Allison Pearson post ...

You write: "I think she has missed a great opportunity".

Possibly, but not without calculation? I've always thought that personal contact with an easy target of stinky ink is absolutely deadly for columnists like Pearson.

Fergie, I've noticed, can actually radiate charm one-on-one, and she's been surprisingly effective here in the US, and with isolated UK hacks as well (A A Gill, I recall). But who wants to read nuanced fluff?

Of course, Pearson's claim that she was really getting snippy about Fergie's witless exposure of her own daughter is self-serving bull. But I imagine Pearson rather coldly totted up which Fergie would prove most useful to her in the long run. I think she has weighed one chance (and it would only be one) of an intimate portrait ("Tears spilled from her enormous blue eyes as the Duchess fiddled with her fork and whispered: 'Allison, finally you understand..!'") against yards and yards of future gleeful bitching about a total stranger.

Cynically, I think Pearson has made the best call.

Gore Vidal predicts an Obama shooting

Gore Vidal's in the UK for the lit fest season. And last night he was at the Intelligence 2 event at the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington for a public conversation with Melvyn Bragg (who has also dedicated another South Bank Show to the 82-year-old former rampant homo [he used to like rubbing tummies with pick-ups] and near-master author). Asked what Barack Obama must do to make him feel less sad to be an American, Vidal replied: "I'll be very sad when he's shot; I'd say he was in considerable danger." Perhaps Vidal's awful sciatica added lemon to his sharp tongue.

I notice that the Standard's Londoner's Diary, in its report on the chit-chat, describes Vidal as Jackie Kennedy's "cousin". In fact he and Jackie shared a stepfather through different mothers.

Allison Pearson replies to The Ferg

The Mail’s highly-paid Glenda, Allison Pearson, has finally responded to Fergiana in today's paper. Alas, the poppet’s heart’s not really in it. “Thank goodness we no longer live in a world where the likes of me [y’know, a right commoner] has to defer to the likes of her,” she writes of the Ferg’s luncheon invitation. The matter of her rudeness about Princess Bea’s Prince Andrew-like proportion is swept under the polypropylene. Instead, she gives the Ferg a kicking over her recent TV show in which she stayed with a Hull family of toothless chavs with weight issues – is it acceptable, she asks, “for a former royal to be given a family of poor people to use as props in the drama of her own re-invention? Me neither.” I said nothing, chuck.

Her more interesting point is that until 11.26am yesterday she had not heard from Fergiana despite claims on TV and radio that Ferg’s PR had left a message on Allison’s answer service. However, she does reveal that last year the Duchess had summoned the hack to a meeting over something else – an invitation ignored. You have to be someone really hot (and useful?) to draw out grand Allison’s civility. Or perhaps her form of journalism is best practised entirely remotely.

I think she has missed a great opportunity. She could have recorded the encounter, employed her sharp observational skills to advantage – her big problem is that she’s too bright to be a Glenda, hence the mishaps of tone and taste - engaged in a blazing row over all the things she tries to warm up in her long-winded reply and written up a piece of Grand Guignol starring two rich power-persons neither of whom is very good at deferring to anyone but the personally useful.

Read Pearson

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Boris Johnson and the bandstands

Comic writer Kathy Lette and husband Geoffrey Robertson QC attended the recent Spectator party for new London mayor Boris Johnson. Robertson had noticed all the empty bandstands in London so offered advice to Blondie – “I told him to fill the empty bandstands with brass bands and steel bands,” relates Robertson in an interview with The Argus. “Boris was quite excited with that idea.” However Lette was within earshot and crashed the conversation. “Kathy came up and said: ‘I can’t imagine you as a mayor. I think of you more as a stallion.” Robertson sighs: “His interest in the bandstands suddenly diminished.”

Notwithstanding that, get ready for Boris’ initiative on bandstands …

Monday, May 19, 2008

David Bowie - Sun story is 'absolute toss'

Gordon Smart’s Bizarre column in The Sun is all the better for his new-ish picture byline, now we're spared the sight of his over-long cuffs. But he must try to do better than his predecessor, the flinty-hearted Victoria Newton.

The other day Young Gord claimed that a David Bowie stage musical was in the making based on The Man Who Fell To Earth, to be directed by someone called Peter Schaufuss. For a moment I got quite excited at the prospect until I remembered the news source. Now Bowie has issued a response: "Absolute toss. I have no idea who Peter Schaufuss is either."

For more Bowie-wowie, click here

Fergiana - 'Allison Pearson's a coward!'

The Duchess Fergiana of the Kingdom of WeightWatcher has not once, not twice, but three times this morning savaged Allison Pearson over the Mail writer’s rude remarks about Princess Bea. “Does she want my daughter to be an anorexic?” asked the Ferg on GMTV.

Then on Lorraine Kelly’s show 10 minutes later she called Pearson a coward for failing to respond to her luncheon invitation (delivered via PR to phone message service). LK milked it well: “Maybe she’s feeling ashamed,” she ventured of Pearson, trying to be helpful. “Poor lady,” said Fergiana with sarcastic brevity.

On This Morning about half-an-hour later she attacked Pearson for “trying to sabotage a person’s confidence.” On this occasion Fern Britton put things in some context: “All newspapers employ female columnists to attack and ridicule people.” Female columnists like Lorraine Kelly on The Sun? Fern is quite formidable.

But anyway I’m surprised Pearson has not displayed savviness here – it’s not every day an ex-member of the royal family pleads to talk to a journo – think of the copy potential Allison! My own fantasy is The Ferg and Bea belly-flopping the hapless hackette in a public restaurant. My only fear is that the mother-daughter duo would bounce off Alison’s mattress-tum and out through a window pane, causing themselves and innocent bystanders damage. But it would make wonderful copy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

And my thanks to ...

... Gareth for the redesign of Arcati - he can always be relied upon to give a good header. For more of his genius design and art work, visit two of his websites, Alvaro Bautista and Pere Tutusaus.

Alvaro Bautista:
a celebrated straddler
of motorcycles

Carole Malone - screwing Cherie Blair

The News of the World's front-loading frother Carole Malone - her picture byline alone is an inspiration to gender realignment aspirants (either which way) - savages Cherie Blair over her "trashy memoirs" in the most ferocious terms, in a piece headlined "Cherie hasn't got a leg to stand on".* Another writ for libel must surely be headed towards the Screws from Mrs Booth QC.

The highly-paid Glenda writes: "How dignified was it to regale us with smutty details about her [Cherie's] sex life - how and where her children were conceived?" Indeed. But Carole won't really need reminding that two other newspapers in particluar did very well this week out of Cherie's undignified "smut", heaping a fortune on her for highly marketable serialisation rights - the Screws' own ugly sister papers, The Sun and The Times.

Carole must walk about with a nosegay before her tranned-up fizzog to avoid the noxious scent of these relatives.

* Should you be wondering about the leg reference - Carole likens Cherie to Heather Mills, widely mocked in the media for the misfortune of losing a leg. Carole is happy to persecute those with a disability in this fashion.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Amy Winehouse advertises goddaughter's talent

Amy Winehouse (and/or Pete Doherty?) has just posted this video showcasing the vocal talents of her 12-year-old god-daughter Dionne. Could she be Amy's answer to Lena Zavaroni? Someone call Simon Cowell ...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tim Bentinck writes to Madame Arcati

The Archers' star Tim Bentinck has written to Madame Arcati following my piece on Wyndham Richardson's short movie (see labels) starring the actor ...

Dear Madame Arcati,

What a charming fellow that Wyndham is. It was a joy working with him and his crew, extremely professional, very patient, but knew exactly what he wanted. He'll go far!

Funny to think that anyone should imagine I was taking the rise out of the Archers. As WR mentioned, we tried a few characters out before arriving at Dorset. It's probably more Bristol to a local ear - my wife Judy and I bought a house in Totterdown after I left the Bristol Old Vic School and we lived in the city for over five years, so Don [the character he plays in the film] is based on Bristolian mates.

The Archers is just one of my jobs, I do loads of voice work of all different types, commercials, narratives, animation, cartoons, dubbing, re-voicing (recently replaced all of Gerard Depardieu's dialogue in a movie). Check out my website at for examples. Recently went Through The Keyhole with David Frost and will be appearing in Jack Dee's 'Lead Balloon' in the summer.

Thanks for the heads up Madame! xxxTim

The Real Hay Fest for Fallowell: Where to book

Readers have asked how do they get a ticket to The Real Hay Festival on May 25, to see Duncan Fallowell rather than President Jimmy Carter (at the inferior Hay Fest) that same day. The Real Hay - which runs for the rest of that week - is being co-ordinated by Pat Daley, tel number 01497 820503, the venue Hay Castle number. Andrew Logan and Arnold Wesker have now joined The Real Hay, "plus a lot of Mongolian yurts". Fallowell groupies should be advised that he will be staying at a hotel six miles out of town.

Nuala O'Faolain - 'Truly a grown man's woman'

Hullo, again, Madame Arcati,

You may remember that I wrote to you some time ago with some memories of my old university pal Nesta Wyn Ellis.

I'm a keen fan of your blog, and, knowing your broad interest in the arts - and in particular in writers/celebrities/theatrical folk and the like - I'm surprised to see that you haven't written anything (yet) in your blog about the life and death of the truly gifted intellectual, writer, broadcaster, film maker, thinker and all-round very interesting person Nuala O'Faolain.

Sadly, Nuala died in Ireland earlier this month. I consider that Nuala was one of the most intelligent women I've ever heard speak (in radio interviews including her last only a few weeks ago - see Google and ). Her writing is inspiring and thought provoking. She was ruthless in her frankness and honesty - particulaly concerning her own life and loves. She constantly underrated herself and in many ways had a sad and unfulfilled life - in all probability because she didn't find and settle down with a good, garrulous southern Welsh guy. Contrary to her opinion of herself I found her to be a very attractive woman possessing a devastating combination of great intelligence, wit and charming personality. What shining, mischievous eyes she had. She was truly a grown man's woman - and I'll bet she terrified the life out of the standard issue bland English male.

I'm sure that you know of the work and character of Nuala and I look forward to the possibility of reading your thoughts of her. What a great loss she is to the the world of literature. What a loss she is to the World in general.

Looking forward to reading all your blogs,

Yours sincerely,

Eric J. Thomas


In October 2007, Madame Arcati published an article in which Channel 5 presenter, Matthew Wright, was named as the person referred to in a “blind” story about a popular day-time television presenter that was published on the Holy Moly! website. Madame Arcati wishes to make clear that it accepts unreservedly that none of the allegations which were made in either the “blind” story or the article are or were true of Matthew. Madame Arcati therefore wishes to apologise publicly and sincerely to Matthew for any distress and embarrassment that the article may have caused him.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

'Embezzlement of whale meat uncovered in Japan'

"Greenpeace presented evidence today in Tokyo of decades-old, widespread embezzlement of whale meat occuring under the noses of the public officials who run the whaling programme in Japan.

"The best cuts of whale meat, used to make whale bacon, are smuggled into crew cabins, preserved in salt, and then shipped home in boxes marked 'cardboard' or 'salted stuff' to be sold on the black market. We intercepted one such box -- worth up to US$3,000 -- and presented it to the Tokyo Prosecutor's office as evidence this morning.

"We have evidence that more than a ton of such whale meat was snuck from the whaling ship this year. One of our informants claims to have heard a crew member boast of building a house on the proceeds from his illegal take." Click here for more.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Allison Pearson: Please call Fergie now!

Allison Pearson! I'm talking to you! Last time you starred on this site it was over that non-marriage of yours - though perhaps you have tied the knot since. But you did then have the good grace to send me a note confirming your (non-) marital status - well, I assume it was you. Now you've called Princess Beatrice a fatso in your Mail column and incurred the flame-haired wrath of her mummy, Duchess Fergie, who says you haven't returned her phone messages and not even RSVP'd her yummy lunch invites to discuss your offence. This is graceless.

As I write, there are 102 pages-worth of comments on the Sky News site in response to this major developing story. Here's a sample:

"Anyone actually put the two pictures together? That of Allison Pearson and Princess Bea ? Whereas one is quite slim, sophisticated looking and attractive the other is not - easy choice but make your own mind up ... "

"Now I think of it, is the Daily Mail not the paper Keira Knightley sued because one of their editorials blamed her for being too thin and causing some teenager's anorexia?"

"Is it any wonder that so many girls battle eating disorders??? Beatrice is a beautiful NORMAL and HEALTHY girl and is put down for it, girls read that and think they have to look like Nicole Richie or the Olsen twins to be considered 'thin'. Those reporters should be ashamed of themselves."

Allison, stop hiding. See Fergie then write up the encounter as a play or something in the Mail. Oh, and here's your choochy face ...

Would someone buy Danny DeVito's house ...

... in Beverly Hills! It’s a snip at $39,900,000 and boasts not one but two swimming pools. Perhaps if he dropped the price a couple of mill he might sell it – it’s been on the market since early last year. Gotta think of the imminent property crash, darlinks.

Here's the vulture's view.

Leo DiCaprio's The 11th Hour doc - see the trailer

Great news that Channel 4 will screen The 11th Hour on May 25 - the environmental doc fronted by Leonardo DiCaprio. It went down well at Cannes last year ... here's the trailer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Heston Blumenthal: Orangutan-flavoured crisps?

Can it be true that culinary alchemist Heston Blumenthal has been signed up to develop a range of new flavours for Walkers Crisps? Issues of credibility are bound to be raised though we know of his links with Firmenich, a Swiss company that creates flavours (10,000 at the last count) and scents and whose clients include ... Walker's crisps. I quite favour orangutan-flavoured crisps myself, a taste-tribute to an endangered species.

Prince Philip: A remote but testicular life

The Duke: A Portrait of Prince Philip, ITV1

“Don’t be a bloody fool!” This is what I imagine the Duke of Edinburgh might have said to any spook proposing to murder Diana.

The TV bio-doc on him last night, in which a coat-swaddled Sir Trevor MacDonald sat sulkily in a 4-wheel drive passenger seat snapping questions - to which Phil barked (close your eyes and think of a kennels) - confirmed the prince as a fairly commonsensical and far-sighted curmudgeon, the plain model for Charles’ broodings on the environment, a born noticer.

He noticed, for instance, that trees lining a road were planted too close together in places. Years ago he noticed the world was going to the dogs (kennels again). Such attention to detail may arise from sitting in carriages or the backs of cars too long and often so that the beady (ie brains in the eye) habit follows him into the driver’s seat. Merely noticing – a life of foreplay – is bound to foment bile, to prompt outbursts of life when all around you want you to act dead-ish, but vertically. No wonder he fucked his way around the world (as Barbara Cartland once didn’t quite put it). What’s a pair of working testicles to do?

Shrewdly, at a do, he eschewed his favourite, huge, gin cocktail because of the cameras; and no matter the attempts to play on his heart strings by injured soldiers and other patriotic central casting types, he greeted all with a cursory cock of the head (listening mode) followed rapidly by a dismissive chuckle or throwaway homily (I’m off mode). Like his wife, he’s not one for nurturing self-pity. Compassion is best handled remotely, via speeches, galas, attendances, glances: this royal template of masculine responsibility understands that everything about him is representative, symbolic. So like a religious icon he must be there and glint, not come to life, as such: the effect of his presence alone should uplift those seeking sympathy, if they have the sense.

Lady Pamela Hicks, nee Mountbatten, testified to the enduring love between Brenda and Stavros – well, someone has to say it. As Pam told state fibs - her hairstyle the lacquered spiral arms of a distant galaxy far, far away - my mind wandered, and it occurred to me that these days the news shows no longer report that the Queen has sent her condolences to leaders of nations beset by earthquake or cyclone. And then I popped off before the end.

Part deux is on tonight, 9pm.

Keith Allen: Diana murdered again in Cannes

A gosser emails me: "Watch out for Keith Allen's mischief in Cannes. He launches a film in the annual rat fuck. British audiences will never get to see it for legal reasons - methinks it might be seen as treason. Never fear - the US distributors are salivating ... "

Mmm, this must be Keith's Diana movie-doc: like Mohamed Al Fayed, the Tesco-hating tart who popped his cherry at 11 and had sex with Janet Street-Porter on a snooker table once ... [that's enough goss, ed] thinks she and Dodi were murdered.

So, with Keith swaggering up and down La Croisette for Diana and Jonathan King there too, singing "There's nothing wrong with buggering boys" in his movie Vile Pervert: The Musical, this could be a most amusing Cannes.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Sean Penn party at Cannes

Only a few months ago big-cocked mummer Sean Penn was denying dating James Blunt's ex Petra Nemkova. Now I see the lovers are hosting the Sean Penn & Petra Nemkova Party at the Cannes Film Fest on Friday - well, he is president of the Palme d'Or jury after all. The bash is sponsored by the Crystal Club. Venue for crashers: The Carlton International Hotel, La Croisette, Cannes, 9-12pm (8pm to 11am BST)

(Or contact Kay Robinson, Crystal Club 020 7307 8481

Flash fiction: Mummy Deadest

Her mother died that night and they removed the Interactive Immortality Chip tucked in her left earlobe and placed it in the Interactive Immortality Set for instant conversation.

“Hi, Carol, I’m back darling,” it said.

“God, hi mum, it really works. How does it feel?”

“Oh, wonderful. But you’re not going out tonight, are you?”

Carol’s heart sank.

(By Madame Arcati. Film rights available)

Other examples of flash fiction, click here

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tim Bentinck stars in plastic toys moc-doc

The actor Tim Bentinck - otherwise the 12th Earl of Portland but best known as David Archer in Radio 4's long-running radio soap The Archers - is the star of Wyndham Richardson's latest moc-doc, titled Don - Major Project. Tim plays the ghastly proprietor of "Dorset's 14th biggest import/export business of Chinese plastic toys", such as plastic farm animals, looking to hire a No 2.

I asked Wyndham - who's Duncan Fallowell's godson and director of the Duncan Fallowell movie (see labels) - what Don's all about ...

How did you get hold of Tim?

Tim has a personal website. I sent him a message through that with a link to Duncan's film. I explained this project and he kindly agreed to play the part of Don.

What have you got against plastic farm animals?

On the whole plastic animals are great actually, but not the ones in the film. I still can't believe I managed to find those terrible toys on eBay and had to pay £5 for them, they don't even stand up?! I wanted to play on the issue that there is so much useless rubbish around, yet people are able to make a living on it, or not, as in Don's case.

Is he sending up the Archers role a bit?

I wouldn't say so, no. Tim actually spends most of his time doing voice-over work for television commercials. He can do every accent in the book. We went through loads of different roles, all of which were great fun. Eventually we settled on Dorset which I think worked quite well.

What inspired your movie?

I'm a huge fan of Armando Iannucci who directed The Thick of It in which Tim also stars. I love the confrontations that take place in that series. People are always screwing each other. I wanted Don to get screwed over by someone who didn't even realise he was screwing him.

Was Tim in any way diva-ish? He's a star after all ...

Not for a second. He's a very down-to-earth and friendly bloke. He always offered advice and created a great atmosphere on set.

How goes with your course ... and career ambition ... ?

My course is over, Don was my graduation film. I now hope to concentrate on creating a body of work that can some day hit TV. Me and Duncan will most definitely be doing some more projects so look out for that! Duncan has some ideas up his sleeve which will make very interesting viewing.

Excellent. Keep in touch with Arcati. MAx

Tim Bentinck's website, click here

Friday, May 09, 2008

Will Self - 'Tony Parsons focus-groups his novels'

Will Self

Novelist Will Self gives Tony Parsons (“you know, Julie Burchill’s old [ex-] husband”) a good slagging in a highly revealing interview with Rob McGibbon on the Access Interviews website. Says literary Self of schlocky Parsons’ fictive methodology: “He focus-groups the plots of his books to discover if they’ll play with his target audience and he writes accordingly, like New Labour ... If I did that I wouldn’t be a writer, I’d be making disposable razors.”

In a wide-ranging conversation, touching on subjects as diverse as drug porn and his new novel The Butt, Self also lacerates the Observer over the time in 1997 he was caught snorting heroin on Prime Minister John Major’s election campaign jet. The Observer fired him for this outrage but he nonetheless describes it (and The Guardian) as “hypocritical" because the paper had “marketed me as a drug user … as a latter-day Hunter S Thompson.” Of that time he admits, “I was mentally ill.”

To see the interview click here

Who is Georgia Coleridge married to?

Dear Madame Arcati,

Are you interested to see that Georgia Coleridge, wife of Nicholas, is about to publish a book? Presumably the Seven Secrets for Successful Parenting does not include "Marry a mega-rich man who can own two properties and employ a nanny and afford to send children to posh boarding school" - since unlike her colleague, who is married to a financier, Georgia is only married to "the writer Nicholas Coleridge" and not the Managing Director of Conde Nast!

Pip, pip!
All about Georgia, here


Dear Anon

Thank you for drawing this to my attention. Actually, and quite accidentally, I was invited to Georgia's book party, which required the bringing along of one's child(ren) for tea, cake and a natter. As I am presently without issue (I call my womb "Appendix 2") I was tempted to borrow a few brats from friends but then thought better of the idea ... blogging has matured me a little and I have thrown away childish whims. I am happy to take it on trust that the Coleridges are highly desirable parents and that they set a fine example to us all, should we be interested in the expensive consequences of cock-cunting.

Best, MA x

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Webbys and your toenail clippings

I’d never heard of the Webbys before this morning – the website “Oscars” – whose 2008 winners in 119 categories have just been announced, as chosen by something called the Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Ooh, I say, Richard Branson is among the judiciary.

The personal blog victors include one dedicated to confessions on postcards, another to skulls. So for a chance to win a Webby it’s best to think up a harmless novelty theme and do as little writing as possible. The Academy adores funny pictures: it's best to know your place in the scheme of things, as a blogger. I knew I’d gone wrong somewhere.

Still, there’s hope for me yet. I have thought up three news themes for Madame Arcati – take your pick and look forward to her picking up a Webby next year.

Toenails: Send me your photos of your clippings, all shapes and sizes but espesh anything that resembles something, like the Eiffel Tower, Gordon Brown or Flipper. Tarts’ acrylic claws – espesh the rainbow variety - not accepted.

Ashes of loved ones: Send me pix of the remains of your dead mum, pet or granny in inventively shaped heaps; or with weird drawings or messages scrawled in the death dust.

Wall holes: We all have them, they come in all shapes and sizes, send me your pix. Holes are caused by different things – screwdrivers, nails, hurled household objects, heads. Every hole tells a story and you can tell me that story if you like: embark on a soapy semiotic journey of holes, on Madame Arcati , Webby winner-presumptive. If you haven't holes in your walls then send me pix of the indentations you've left in your sofas after a night of loafing in front of the TV. I'm fascinated!

Click here for those Webby winners.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"Save the Colony Room Club"

Molly Parkin's daughter Sophie is fighting to save the old Colony Room Club in London. She writes on "Please join together to save this historic and culturally artistic drinking den of inequity [iniquity? - MA]. We want it to remain open and become a listed building. Sx". The Colony's website, click here.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Jonathan King - Vile Pervert: The Musical

Jonathan King as Oscar Wilde, from Vile Pervert: The Musical: "There's nothing wrong with buggering boys ... "

I hadn’t ever expected to have sight of Jonathan King’s cock, but life’s full of little – or not so little – surprises. In his Vile Pervert: The Musical movie he parts his flasher’s mackintosh to reveal all (contemptuously mocking and flaunting his own notoriety), an unveiling to 90 minutes of mischief and mayhem from the currently disgraced monarch of misrule.

The greatest compliment I can pay him is that he is authentically and spectacularly shocking. There’s no question in my mind that this show should premiere on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe – provided that audiences agree to be tied and gagged to prevent disruption.

King has set to music his decline and fall (and furious afterlife) precipitated by sex with under-age teenage boys, crimes for which he was convicted and jailed, with a libretto part-inspired by tabloid mock-horrors and King's own impenitence. He makes his case for innocence and in the process lampoons and scandalises his enemies – such as PR Max Clifford (comically reinvented here as Waxie Maxie, the smarmy, money-grubbing “silver stoat”) and Sun editor Rebekah Wade (reborn by King as Flame Mitchell in drag and long red wig, whose mantra is: “Two tits good, two balls bad”).

King has two principal arguments in his defence: evidence against him is unreliable (and I think there's a case to answer, at least); in many other countries, he would not have been prosecuted in the first place. He won’t win new friends; he may even alienate a few. He will disgust further his critics. But what of the show?

I would place it up there with Tracey Emin’s soiled bed or Damien Hirst’s pickled carcasses or one of Mark McGowan’s demo stunts: events of pre-meditated lunacy that must be marvelled at because no one thought to do the like before. Who would think to dress up as Oscar Wilde (I like the attention to sartorial detail) and sing “There’s nothing wrong with buggering boys”, or show a cartoon of the silver stoat cock-arsing his clients, but King?

Among the permutations of the unthinkable Vile Pervert is certainly one. It should be staged at the Tate Modern as a living art exhibit, as King - or his looped hologram - serenades against "professional victims" (his accusers) and reminds uncomprehending tourists that he once wrote a weekly column for The Sun and earned thousands of pounds a week from it – “I saw the hardcore porn on journalists’ computer screens, there for ‘research’ … the bestiality, necrophilia … I know where the bodies are buried,” he informs/threatens.

Vile Pervert works for me as a storm of raging energy and transcends the personal issue by its disgraceful assault on media and PR power - on the lies, the bullshit. In that sense I think King has done something here that’s better than he could have hoped. The Wades, the Cliffords, and so many others, need major trashing: we need to see these people scurrilously mocked just for the hell of it - to put them in their place. So we can see them and keep our eye on them. They have real, unaccountable power - more real power than most politicians.

The King is certainly not dead - news that won't please everyone.

To see the complete movie, Vile Pervert: The Musical, click here

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Facial discrimination? Get an op or the chop

Are you a victim of facial discrimination and want to sue? It’s an interesting question not posed in the latest edition of Director Magazine. Instead it tells us that 40% of members of the Institute of Directors admitted that they would consider a facial op to get a job or avoid the chop. I know I was once hired by a glossy mainly because of my (then) extraordinary pulchritude (and modesty).

But what if you’re an ugly cunt with a low-slung gob and a wonky eye, or just age-related wrinkles and a chin wattle? Well, perhaps the piece that’s drawn my attention is for you.

"There is no question that in the workplace, as everywhere else in society, facial discrimination exists," Rajiv Grover, Harley Street surgeon and secretary of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), tells the mag, presumably concealing a gleeful smirk. "Once, age and experience were considered the most important attributes when considering the right candidate for a job. Now, potential and stamina are equally important. So being young, or at least looking young, is essential for success."

In other words, despite age discrimination laws in the UK, we are gradually structuring our lives for ageism – something rampant we know, because young bosses want younger underlings over whom to cast a thin and inexperienced authority. So more and more youth conformists are opting for cosmetic enhancement, the sad mortgaged Stepford serfs that they are.

The piece is really a big ad for face-lifts – glossies are truly the whores of journalism – because at no point is this trend questioned or criticised.

Are you a victim of age discrimination? Click here on the law.

To read the Director piece, click here.