Monday, June 30, 2008

British Bastard Corporation is most disappointing

Further to the Patricia Routledge posting below and the BBC's inconsiderate treatment of her after delivering hit shows over the years, Private Eye and Popbitch writer Adam Macqueen writes ...

"It sounds very typical BBC. I once told a friend how much I'd enjoyed his programme on Radio 4 the previous day, only for him to look completely blank - turned out no one had bothered to let him know when it was being transmitted.

"And a few years later they rang him as a last-minute afterthought to let him know they were settling a potentially career-destroying libel claim against something he'd written, against his wishes, and without consulting him.

"They're not big on courtesy to those who appear in their shows: Libby Purves also records in one of her books how she made sure she got her own press release out announcing her decision not to renew her contract on the Today programme because she knew otherwise it would be spun as her being sacked: twenty years later the BBC press office was forced to apologise for fabricating a load of quotes about Christopher Eccleston's reasons for leaving Doctor Who."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Actor or Actress? That is the question

So, in my poll on whether a female actor should be a called an actor or actress, 70% of you voted for actress. I only asked because the word is going out of fashion fast as you scour the smarter showbiz pages - the assumption must be that any noun that ends in "ess" is somehow inferior to the masculine and that, in any case, the job word should not be gender-specific.

Personally, I do not think that "actress" is derogatory at all. But "poetess" does sound more than faintly ridiculous. Would I call, say, Ms Baroque, a "poetess"? If I did it would sound as if I were making some other point, such as about her poetry or her standing as a poet, or about women poets. Thanks to our partial education system and a million legs-wide-apart scrotes in the media, we still think of poets as men. Was Sylvia Plath a poetess? Yet so many job words are neuters: teacher, pilot, doctor, writer, journalist, politician, artist, executioner.

What words connote in the first place must account for these irrational ideas. If I think "surgeon" as masculine it is because I unthinkingly associate the job with men. If "actress" strikes me as acceptable it is perhaps because the worlds of stage, screen and TV have major stars of either sex in about equal proportion (irrespective of sub-sexist considerations such as pay or ageism) of dramatic necessity. The power of women in this profession is established so the feminine word is not tarnished. I have never warmed to "comedienne" - it sounds a faintly desperate exercise to distinguish from the orthodoxy of comic cockers - but empress seems quite OK to me, as does queen. The good King Elizabeth does sound not quite right at all.

But are we to be consistent? If poetess is not all right, nor can actress be. It would of course be most refreshing to default to the feminine noun without fear of causing offence. "Pierce Brosnan is a marvellous actress, he bowed to Princess Charles at the end of the show as if his rumoured damehood depended on it." Say it long enough and it starts to catch.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Patricia Routledge: How she savaged the BBC

The Mail today reports Patricia Routledge's fury at the BBC over its decision some time ago to cancel her hit shows Hetty Wainthrop Investigates and Keeping Up Appearances. Only a couple of lines are quoted - but accurately. I have now been sent the full text of what said: “We were betrayed by the BBC. Completely and utterly. We finished series four of Hetty Wainthrop, and we were told that there was definitely going to be a series five. The ratings were excellent.

"And so we waited and waited. Everyone in the cast and crew had lots of offers to do other things. But we were loyal to the BBC … everyone wanted to know, ‘When do we start filming again?’ But you know, they never sent a word to anyone. How rude. I worried for the youngsters in the cast – they were turning down opportunities so that they could be free to make another Hetty series. That’s appalling.

“There was a regime change at Television Centre, and the drama department ended up being run, as far as I can see, by a lot of ten-year-old children with absolutely no manners. So it never happened. That’s the way that they do things these days. How I yearn for the times when you had a handshake, or a phone call, and a sense of honesty and commitment.”

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Leona Lewis: The 'missing' album ...

What’s this I hear of Leona Lewis recording an album before she won The X Factor, and Simon Cowell trying to buy it up from its producer for about a £1m? If Simon's not careful this album could find its public sooner than anyone thinks ...

PS: Further to the above, a well-informed person called Chris B writes (apropos a rumour that a newspaper wishes to give away a Leona Lewis album recorded before she won The X Factor. Chris has also left an explanatory comment) ...

"The story which did the rounds about a year and a half back on music industry forums/blogs etc is Spiral came to an agreement with Syco/Sony and received compensation in exchange for ceding the rights to Twilight (the tracks were all credited as having been co-written by Leona and Spiral on her website/myspace). This is a pretty standard deal in the industry in such cases regarding promo material.

"Where this gets slightly complicated is there's another "album" doing the rounds called "Best Kept Secrets" by UEG Music. This is more of a mismatched affair and has six tracks featuring Leona's vocals and four other remixes of those songs. UEG have run a long 'guerilla' campaign to have this released and two of the songs appeared as giveaways in the Mirror in March:

The Mirror/Leona, click here.

"The full slab of ten tracks is available on major music streaming sites such as and rhapsody: Click here.

"But the likes of iTunes have refused to sell it, no doubt under pressure from SonyBMG.

"In my opinion the quality of music and production on this isn't up to much and does a disservice to the vocals. It just comes across as amateurish half-finished demos and nowhere near ready for release.

"Now this may be the 'album' that a newspaper wants to give away so I can understand why Cowell/SonyBMG would want to stop a newspaper giving this away as the quality is poor.

"There are far better quality pre-X Factor songs with Leona vocals doing the rounds on the internet - she had clearly worked with a number of producers in an attempt to get a break in the industry, as is the case with many artists in the urban/RnB genre, the use of guest vocalists being a prevalent feature of many songs."

Many thanks Chris.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mat Collishaw's zebra: One too many cocks?

An anonymous art expert writes ... "I know that all artists have to draw their inspiration from somewhere, and I don't want to dilute Mat Collishaw's reputation for being modern and shocking, but I wonder if anyone else has noticed the similarity of this to one of a series of works by the dusty old expressionist Walter Klemm (1883-1957)?

And Mat Collishaw's version, currently on display at the Royal Academy, selected by Tracey Emin for the summer show ...

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Pink List - good for Radio 4 farties

The Independent on Sunday's Pink List – naming the most influential moving-shaking cock-cockers and cunt-cunters of our island races – lists Duncan Fallowell at No 82 of 100, a woefully low position in my view. At No 1 the farts of the paper have placed Evan Davis – or “crystal tits” as he is known at The Green Carnation, etc – only because they listen to Radio 4’s Today on which he is one of the anchors.

Yet in what way is he more influential than, say, Elton John (at No 6)? Davis' broadcasting role is more functional than people realise, he just follows the news agenda and asks subjects a few questions before handing over to the weather forecaster. And in what way is Tyler Brûlé at 62 influential? – I would wager that no more than 10 people a week complete one of his impenetrably boring pieces on international culture or travel – he simply is crippled by an inability to engage his readers in his craze to board a plane and fart out his carbon all over our lovely green theme parks prior to name-checking the latest gleaming shopping mall in Nova Scotia. If he has influence of a sort it’s in the expansion of prose dullism – but then this sect has many avatars.

The list in general betrays the self-perceived class of its hacks. Why would novelist Charlotte Mandelson be at 44? Talented as an award-winning writer as she is, she’s not known beyond the micro-orbit of the London literary party circuit, and not for want of trying. Rabbi Lionel Blue at 26? – oh yes, another Radio 4 burbler. Sandi Toksvig at 14 – more Radio 4. Johann Hari at 39 – well, he works for the Indy. Otherwise - brutal truth time - unknown outside journalism!

If you want someone infuential think Paul O’Grady (at 77) who draws more audience than Davis. Or Peter Tatchell (at 33). Fallowell is far more influential because of the range of his work: his New Zealand travel book sold internationally and was reviewed very widely. That’s influence.

The most influential queers however are not on the Pink List – that’s another list altogether.

The Pink List

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fuck the young! Welcome to the New Gerontocracy!

Written off in your 40s and 50s are you? Tired of reading coded ageist job ads seeking people with "minimum two years experience"? That must mean you're not a celeb or royalty or a tyrant or rich. Boo hoo! Here are a few stirrers and shakers who in ordinary life would probably now be being patronised, fired, preferred against, on the grounds of age ...

Grace Jones at Meltdown this week, so lithe - aged 60
Robert Mugabe, fresh-faced Zimbabwe tyrant - aged 84
Doris Lessing, '07 Nobel for literature - aged 88
Molly Parkin, sexy DJ at The Green Carnation - aged 75
New unknown artist at the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore - aged 112
John McCain, US presidential candidate - aged 72 when he wins or loses
Joan Rivers, thrown off Loose Women for calling Russell Crowe a fucking shit - aged 75
Madonna, multi-hyphenate artist, Hard Candy-ing - aged 50 this year
Anna Wintour, US Vogue editor and fetishist for youth and a notorious ageist - aged, er, 60 next year
Rupert Murdoch, media mogul and employer of practising ageists - aged 77
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, mother of Rupe, recent victor of a $85m Australian tax case - aged 99
Harrison Ford, still Indy-ing - aged 66 this year
Tina Turner, back again shortly - aged 68
Barbara Walters, sharp US TV interviewer - aged 80 next year
HM The Queen, self-confessed Abba dancer - aged 82
Andrew Neil, new job as boss of entertainment agency PFD - aged 60 next year
Sumner Redstone, Paramount Pictures boss, inter alia - aged 85
Pope Benedict XVI, jet-setting moralist, Gaia's vicar, good at languages - aged 81

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lisa Duncombe - DJ babe to return to Classic FM?

I understand that Classic FM’s ambitious uber-babe Lisa Duncombe – who toiled in the insomniac hours before her axing earlier this year in the jazzy GCap shake-up – is being enticed back by management to host a prime-time daytime show, much to the chagrin of the DJ old farty soft-speakers. And the bosses think she’s just want they need for its high profile promotions – well, better late than never!

Goodness knows who the station’s Sister George may turn out to be ...

It’s pleasing to me to know that a “prominent” Tory MP is a very BIG, er, fan ...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rebecca Hoffberger: Queen of Plain Weirdos

Rebecca Hoffberger

“I forgot fanny means one thing in the US and another to the English,” says Rebecca Hoffberger, founder and director of the spectacular The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) in Baltimore, Maryland. “I met up with an English guy recently connected to this museum and it was a hot day and I said ‘My fanny’s so big’. He looked a bit astonished.”

AVAM is dedicated to exhibiting the work of untrained artists, and I am in love with the place and with Rebecca. Forget about her fanny (whichever) – it’s her soul that’s big, very big. She is the champion of the ”mystical genius of crackpots, crackheads, and just plain weirdos,” as someone once put it. She loves kitsch, she hates crap. In one part of the museum is Andrew Logan’s giant statue of the late transvestite actor Divine, vastly blonde and glittery as we remember him – “I know his mother, he was her only child, and she loves that model of him. She lives in Florida,” says Rebecca.

Andrew Logan's Divine statue

In the courtyard outside is Logan’s 12 foot high ceramic mosaic and mirrored Cosmic Egg marked with outer space images captured by the Hubble telescope. “Logan created the Alternative Miss World,” reminds Rebecca, “and it was thanks to the young barrister Tony Blair that it could be called that despite the protests of the Miss World people.” We tinkle lightly at fate’s incongruities. We talk of the artist Ben Wilson who painted faces on discarded chewing gum on streets. Didn’t the police – with nothing better to do – try to arrest him? Google! I forget to see the art car called the Geller Effect created by Uri Geller: a 1976 Cadillac covered in 5,000 pieces of contorted cutlery achieved by his psychic power.

On our way to the main building, wrapped in a massive glass mosaic created by young offenders (a glass tree nearby stands sentry), we pass a spooky life-cast on a wall of the late Anita Roddick who helped finance the museum. I shouldn’t feel sad she’s gone but I do. I hate life-casts – little better than corpses. I prefer impressions; hints.

Inside, Rebecca talks me through the Body & Soul exhibition she has curated: “a scientific and an artistic exploration for evidence of spirit.” The range of work is overwhelming. One exhibit is by Dr Andy Newberg whose brain scan pics suggest that orgasm and prayer are very alike as mental activities, a thought that may offend celibates of faith as they conceal their hard-ons and clit-growths. I am astonished to learn that over a long period (since the last war I think) 500 nuns have donated their brains to science to aid dementia research. One wall is given to atheists who explain why God is missing or never was.

You learn that all the great religions, though male oriented, celebrate the feminine principle and that “mercy” and “womb” are linked in etymology. Statues and other artworks on the feminine divine span different ages and beliefs. 13th Century Rumi’s work is showcased: his call for religious tolerance so timeless and futile.

There’s so much more to say but this will suffice for now. Rebecca tells me she will be exhibiting the work of a 112-year old man still alive, “a mathematical savant”. She adds: “Before I met him I expected someone completely withered, but I was wrong. He has a full head of hair.” Apparently Alan Rickman made a movie here some time recent. He should be plonked in flavoured dry ice and hanged on a wall for licking – celebs generally should be dry iced for a most amusing show. I’d call it Star Lollies.

For more on AVAM click here

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Molly Parkin - DJ'ing at The Green Carnation

Flew back from Washington last night (or was it morning?) and am too exchausted to tell you about Baltimore's HonFest, a most astonishing Baltimore post-Warhol-like museum and segging along Washington walkways (and an accidental visit to Washington Pride). You'll have to wait a bit, perhaps till tomorrow.

Meantime my darling friend Molly Parkin has written about her new gig as DJ at London gay club The Green Carnation ... (I haven't time to lower-case the caps or cap the lower-cases ...)

DARLING MA, THE TIMES NEWSPAPER is running a piece today, which they commisioned from Sophie, about my latest venture as DJ every Tuesday, 9pm -1am, at THE GREEN CARNATION (gay club), 5 GREEK STREET, IN SOHO.






Saturday, June 14, 2008

HonFest: Madame Arcati in Baltimore - hi, hons!

When I arrive at Washington Dulles (how suddenly polite airport security seem to be: what a contrast to past experiences at US airports: and the staff have lost weight ...) I take the scenic route by road to Baltimore for a whistle-stop tour of the city and its Inner Harbor.

I am talked into "riding the ducks" aboard some WW2-built truck that doubles as a boat and our guide/driver is Captain Crackerjack . The tourist custom is to wave at passing native pedestrians and shout hello while blowing a yellow duck decoy whistle at them. People wave back. Captain Crackerjack plays Village People's YMCA for some reason and blows his duck whistle hard to the beat and I notice he has a bushy 'tache. Already I have connected with the spirit of Baltimore.

Capt Crackerjack would appear to be complementary to HonFest - the event dedicated to Hairspray and which I am attending today in my feather boa, Edna Everage-ish specs and heavy gem ring. All part of the city's innocent celebration of cockless camp. You have to wonder about Baltimore. Anyway if there's time this weekend, I'll fill you in on HonFest ...

(Did you know half a bottle of cognac and three red roses are left on Edgar Allen Poe's Baltimore gravestone every year? No, nor did I)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Madame Arcati invades America

So, I'm in Heathrow's Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge having just had a facial (receiving) in its spa. Onwards to Washington to give Hillary Clinton her astrological analysis, or may be not. Whether I get round to posting anything remains to be seen. I'll certainly have something to say about Honfest in Baltimore, dedicated to Hairspray. Oh dear it's Friday 13th ...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

'G on G' action - imagine Widdy and Platell

The Sun’s Glenda, Jane Moore, fakes a moan in July GQ about “g on g” action, about how hetero men love watching hetero girls cunt-cunting in porn movies. She explains that it’s the absence of a penis in the encounter that turns the men on – the thought that the girls need a big man like the watching wanker to provide real satisfaction is the cause of arousal. Well, in the land of cod psychology anything’s possible, I suppose. Why not?

My own personal fantasy is another kind of “g on g” action – Glenda on Glenda. Can you imagine Jane Moore and the Mail's Alison Pearson at it? Or the Mail's Amanda Platell getting hot with the Express’ Ann Widdecombe. Oooh, yeah baby, I’m drooling already ....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Incredible Hulk - slow it down, dearies

Went to my first movie preview in ages the other day to see Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk that’s out this week in the UK. Critical lore requires one to pass slighting reference to Ang Lee’s dismally soapy Hulk of 2003 before pronouncing this latest as at least true to the Marvel comic spirit. Which is about right. And Ed Norton is suitably anonymous – he’s like a cock version of Tilda Swinton, tall, thin, faceless – and William Hurt is drolly unsympathetic as the general who would turn Hulk into a super-soldier if he had his way. A nice anti-militaire feel there.

Certainly worth seeing, but its one major flaw is the CGI. Hulk and his fellow gamma rayed foe The Abomination (Tim Roth) move far too fast, blurring in the fight sequences, seeming not to belong to the film at all. I was left nostalgic for Lou Ferrigno, who played the Hulk monster in the ‘70s TV series (and has a joke cameo in this film). He was forever getting through (I think) plaid shirts when his alter ego Dr Bruce Banner threw a wobbler before launching forth in slow-mo. Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man is similarly blighted by crazy-speed animation, with our comic book hero bouncing off buildings like hail stones. It just undermines the desire to suspend disbelief.

Judging by the terse ending a sequel must already be in the works with the same cast, I’d have thought. One nice touch. When Banner is getting an unseen erection prior to hoped for penetrative sex with Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) he has to stop for fear of invoking his inner green giant. I had often wondered how Banner copes with sex and now I know. It’s most important he doesn’t get het up.

I think I may have developed a taste for movie previews. Perhaps I’ll turn Arcati into a movie site. When you’ve seen one celebrity cock you’ve seen them all, doncha think?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Rupert Everett: Will Simon Napier-Bell name The Tooth?

The person who claims Rupert Everett's cock ring broke his or her tooth writes again: Simon Napier-Bell may reveal more apparently ....

"Just a further note from the one with the "Rupert" tooth. If anyone had the good fortune, like me, to see Rupert in the stage version of Another Country they would have realised what a wonderful acting talent he was.

"Truth be told - Everett is one of those lucky people who looked better at 40 then he did at 20 (not that it stopped me). The media were pretty vicious about Rupert's decision to stay in the closet when he was young - squiring young upper class gels around town. He really got a pasting he never deserved (considering the sexual shenanigans of the acting world). I think they basically had a go at him because he always gave off a bit of a 'snobbish' air (he says in his autobiog that he was a snob when young). I think that's why he moved to Europe where such things didn't matter.

"NB: the tale and my real name I expect may appear in the next book being written by Simon Napier-Bell - who once managed Rupert. He is writing a series of anecdotes about the music, film and fashion world."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

William Cash marries another rich woman

It's not every day someone is given the opportunity to write about his forthcoming nuptials twice in the same edition of a newspaper. Yesterday the London Evening Standard permitted its wealth-worshipping correspondent William Cash to regale the few dozen people who know (of) him with a blow-by-blow account of his engagement to Mick Jagger's ex, "Venezuelan-born writer and academic Vanessa Neumann" (who wrote me a little while back about William's journalistic output) and planned wedding. If you missed the double-page spread in the paper itself, the magazine supplement offered a reprise and more name-dropping. Cash appears to have a Jasper Gerard-like hold on editors.

Regrettably, the two pieces could not quite agree on the precise day of the ceremony or ceremonies. The paper suggested Saturday while the magazine offered "11am" Friday. I had soooooo wanted to toast them at the right moment, but was thwarted! Perhaps the magazine piece is the accurate one: they married yesterday at the Chelsea Register Office but then had their Mass of Celebration at the Palace of Westminster and then the dinner dance at the Carlton Club (phew!) today ... it's all so confusing.

But if all went well at the register office (let's say yesterday), the pair will have been greeted outside by the "surprise" Edwardian horse and carriage William "splashed out" on. Sipping chilled champagne, they will have clip-clopped about the gates of Buckingham Palace (a nice aspirational touch that) prior to lunch at Mark's Club in Mayfair. Both bride and groom can boast beau monde wedding guests: she, Topper and Tinsley Mortimer, "the ultimate WASP Manhattan socialite couple"; he, er, Piers Morgan. Toby Young was banned by Vanessa because of his false claim he shared her with Jagger, William gallantly repeats. William's ex-wife is Ilaria Bulgari, "of the jewellery family". She will not have been welcome at the wedding(s) either.

One really would have to have a heart of stone not to wish Vanessa and William all the luck that money can buy and brand celebs can vouchsafe.

A horoscopic glimpse of Dr Vanessa Neumann, click here.

Oliver Duff - and it's fuck off from Blair, Burchill, et al

The Independent's gosser Oliver Duff is relinquishing the Pandora diary page to become deputy home news editor - I can't imagine anything more boring. Monday's his last day and sweetly he informs all that he has no decent story yet for his swan song. His email contains an entertaining litany of encounters with foul-mouthed celebs ...

"I've told you it's not true and yet you continue to write it."
- Matthew Doyle, official spokesman for Tony Blair

"Are you following me? Fuck off."
- Alastair Campbell, following a chance encounter at the urinals in The Arts Club

"I didn't fucking come here to be interviewed by you! Now don't fucking cry about it! Just fuck off!"
Ewan McGregor

"What are you leaving her a message for? Why are you asking? Why do you want to know? Perhaps you should email Julie to apologise. You are an absolute prick .... asshole ... Why don't you fuck off and get an actual story. Moron."
Julie Burchill's assistant

"You have got about as much chance of seeing him as me growing a penis by tomorrow morning. And if you tell anyone what I just said I'll break your bloody legs."
Spokeswoman for Her Majesty's Prison Service says that Pandora must cancel plans to hold a birthday party for Ronnie Biggs

"The article in The Independent said we were merry - a terrible euphemism - when we'd hardly had a glass. That journalist obviously has no stamina himself."
Christine Hamilton, on stage at the Edinburgh Festival

"Ga!! Diarists!" [Phone: click]
Rt Hon John Prescott

"Great to meet you."
Lord Levy

Friday, June 06, 2008

Lily Allen: Her Glamour drink WAS spiked

"Lily Allen has said her drink may have been spiked at this week's Glamour Awards," it was reported. People giggled sceptically but I happen to know she's right. The culprit was one of her friends (known) and my spy tells me: "The record company PR folk were gloating the next day how they had kept the truth out of the media. But it's impossible to keep juicy titbits under wraps when the artist shoots from the hip the next evening." Poor Lily, the poppet. But what's this about Special K ... ?

Rupert Everett: 'I broke tooth on his cock ring'

I have no way of knowing whether this suck 'n' tell on Rupert Everett is true, but read it and decide for yourselves. It's just too delicious to bury in comments. And if it's not true perhaps Rupie will get in touch ...

"I recently ran into Rupert Everett at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras where he was guest of honour. I asked him if he remembered our encounter when I picked him up outside the Embassy Club eons ago. I broke a precious front tooth on a steel cock ring he wore at the time - I'd never seen a contraption like this before. After he booted me out in the morning to go off to fencing lessons I had to resume my waiting job and it took six weeks' wages to get a shiny new crown to return my gorgeous smile - I named the tooth 'Rupert' in his honour. Recounting this tale to him last year he looked very serious and simply said 'how amusing' before walking of! Perhaps he was taking it all in for the next edition of his memoirs."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mat Collishaw: Cock-up could be the making of him

This porno image that popped up accidentally on a BBC1 lunchtime news item on the Royal Academy certainly tickled the Guardian’s Media Monkey. But they didn’t say that it’s the work of the artist Mat Collishaw, a former lover of Tracey Emin who selected his work among others for the Summer Exhibition. Titled In “The Old Fashioned Way, 1992” it’s a Victorian-flavoured giant automated black and white image of a zebra having sex with a blonde woman. Mat is not a household name like Emin or his friend Damien Hirst but I suspect that’s about to change.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Warren Beatty tries to direct own tribute show

Hollywood King of the Cock-Cunters (retd) Warren Beatty is keeping the worthies of the American Film Institute busy.

On June 12 he receives its 36th Life Achievement Awards at a gala tribute show in LA – and I hear that, in contrast to past winners such as Sir Sean Connery, Meryl Streep, Harrison Ford and others on the Tinseltown Buggins’ turn carousel, Beatty has been doing his bit for micro-management. “He’s on the phone constantly calling for meetings, making suggestions who should be on the show,” I am told. “He’s driven one or two people slightly around the bend – but then it makes a change to have such a winner so proactively engaged. I have never known anything like it.”

One or two others at the AFI, I learn, have flirted with regret at adding him to the eternity roster. But what do they know? Beatty’s produced-directed-starred in at least 15 classic movies. We allow gods to be control freaks. Or to quote Goldie Hawn: “Warren by nature is a caretaker. Yes, he's maddening. Yes, he's stubborn. But the bottom line is the nature of that animal is good. His intentions are pure." Yes.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Jason Cowley: 'He likes them big'

Dearest Madame,

Is it common knowledge that Louis Amis, scion of Martin Amis, now Manchester University's most controversial professor, has joined the world of hackdom and is now answering the phones at Spectator upstart, Standpoint magazine? I've just pitched an idea at him.

Incidentally, the course that Martin Amis now 'teaches' on at Manchester Uni was one that I completed myself several years ago, when it was taught by the inimitable Suzannah Dunn and the charming Martyn Beford, both of whom deserve to sell far more books than they do.

During the course we had Jason Cowley, the newly installed editor of the New Statesman, up for a visit to talk to us about literary journalism. There he made a marvellously sweeping point about how 'young writers nowadays don't want to write on big themes or big books' (this is in between zoning most of his conversation in on one of my fellow student's cleavage). I didn't have the heart to tell him that with tuition fees, zilch contact time, part-time jobs and the incessant milkround of work experience expected of most undergraduates nowadays it's a miracle they come out of university with enough energy left to write a haiku.

The young write small books
Because their overdrafts are large.
Eliot's ghost weeps

Best regards as ever,

Chris Klee

Dear Chris,

Thank you for your delightfully informative letter, especially on Jason Cowley, who only reads books by tastefully appointed publishers, and appears the very model of catalogue-driven orthodoxy in all matters. I shall examine his horoscope. You don't happen to have a photo of him looking like David Sylvian do you, in make-up? I had heard that Louis was gainfully employed at a tastefully appointed magazine in keeping with his father's good name: the glamour of heredity is a hard one to beat. But that's not to deny Louis' independent talents, assumed.

Love, light and other New Age bullshit words


Rupert Everett: Isherwood-y and his mummy cunt

Rupert Everett is writing a sequel to his indiscreet autobiography Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins. He tells the Radio Times - when he's not slagging off Americans as "whiny complainers" and describing them as "blobby" - that "since no one famous is talking to me any more [he revealed, for instance, that he had cock-cunted Susan Sarandon], I've had to leave famous people out of it and just write about other things in my life."

My heart sinks at this news. But then he adds, helping me to rally: "This one will be more Christopher Isherwood-y." My hope is that the emphasis will be on the wood-y rather than the Isher. Was it not Isherwood who once said of his dreaded mother: "Just think of her! Sitting in front of a fire in Kensington warming her cunt!"

If Rupie proposes to emulate old Ish (in spirit, at least) then we must look forward to the result. I wonder whether Justine Picardie will tidy it up (again).

Monday, June 02, 2008

Duncan Fallowell, Hay and a Dracula's attic happening

Hay Castle: The flat there is available at £25 a night, click here. You too could live like Edward II

It's a mark of Madame Arcati's selfless philosophy that she happily cannot resist another Duncan Fallowell epistle, in response to a reader's suggestion that he interview someone connected with poor old Diana for his Peepshow book. This thought then associates with his recent performance at Hay Castle at the Real Hay Fest and its contrasting advantages to the wretched Hay Fest ...

"I agree about Diana but I have already written a piece on her which forms the last chapter of ANOTHER book which I've almost completed called The Ones That Got Away.

"I performed - yes, that is the word - a shortened version of the Diana piece at Hay Castle recently and I think it worked fantastically well. It was pouring with rain. The official festival site out of town was tented and a wash-out - firemen were called to pump it out. But I was in the huge, dry State Room which was up a narrow staircase, with three great windows overlooking the castle lawns. It's often used for storage and there was extraordinary lumber everywhere - old gilt mirrors, decaying cabinets, Raj Gopal's Indian dancing costumes, a French bed, frayed Turkey carpets. Dracula's attic!

"I had the room blacked out, a big log fire blazed at one end, flamelight flickering on the ceiling. I was at the other end beside an urn-shaped lamp. Creepy electronic music played as people filed in and sat themselves in the dark intervening space. In fact it was a happening."

Keep your ideas coming for other sleb stars for Duncan's Peepshow book - see posting below and send comments there. Publisher Susan Hill is keeping an eye on proceedings which is just as well ...