Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nicholas de Jongh and his Standard departure

It is tragic news that Nicholas de Jongh, theatre critic of the little-read regional newspaper, the London Evening Standard for 17 years, is leaving the paper to spend more time with the film script of his John Gielgud cottaging cock-pulling stage play Plague Over England (see my incomparable review of the play via labels, you idle glancing bitches).

I must have imagined that Geordie Grieg or is it Grieg? (who knows or cares?), doomed and über-pompous editor of same (he loves his über), had generously offered to cut his fee prior to this announcement. De Jongh was most gracious about über-Grieg/Greig, alluding to his courtier quality inherited from a relative who grovelled before a king a long time ago and beyond first-hand memory. Amazing what passes down via the DNA and is then edged with the gilt of eugenics puffery, even if light-heartedly.

The Standard has now lost Brian Sewell, its arts editor and others of seniority and talent. I do hope film critic Derek Malcolm is safe. It doesn't pay to have talent or longevity at the Daily Über right now.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kevin Spacey and his five mile high business class experience - carbon x 2?

The ad would appear to suggest Kev has booked two seats for himself - look how he places his tickets to his left where someone else might be expected to sit. Would someone work out his carbon footprint, please.

President Obama and the Russian ice cream whores

Odd that a Russian ice cream company didn't realise its ad is racist. The central image is a caricature of Barack Obama set against Capitol Hill and the slogan of the chocolate-in-vanilla ice cream, Duet, reads: “The Flavor of the Week! Black in White!”

Pravda notes: "It is not the first time Russian advertisers have used the image of Barack Obama since he took office as the US President. For example, the image of the black president was used in Moscow to advertise tanning salons and a chain of dental clinics. In Rostov, the image of a black man, who looks like Obama, is used to advertise men’s shoes."

I wonder what Carol Thatcher would make of all this.

Friday, March 27, 2009

London G20: Bloody riots as art for the super pink trooper

As London is immersed in G20 tumult next week, with 100,000 demonstrators expected and all police leave cancelled, the artist Ben Moore will manfully vogue through the riots in his pink Star Wars-like trooper suit. Confrontation will serve as aesthetic backdrop to an artistic experience.

A spokesman tells me: "Ben wants to capture images of the pink trooper standing still amid a chaotic and violent environment - like a statue. This piece of work is about armour and uniform - the pink trooper was once white and automical. By becoming pink it has changed sides - gone from the side of the police onto the side of freedom and freedom of expression." I just hope a bodyguard of France's Dior-clad Première Dame, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, doesn't shoot him on sight - what an unfortunate diplomatic mishap that would be.

Ironically, I understand London mayor Boris Johnson is rather fond of Ben's work as one of the artist's subjects. I shall expect to see him at the subsequent G20 Art Wars exhibition. Click here for more details of the pink trooper.

Carla can do pink, too. But whose side's she on?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Would you like to be Madame Arcati's guest-cunty?

Ever a slave to fashion, and what with Steven Spielberg guest-editing Empire next month and Alastair Campbell guest-godding at the New Statesman, I think it is time that this blog had its own guest-cunty to run things for a week. Here's my wish list (but feel free to apply for consideration of this prestigious placement via comments with your thematic proposals):

Sandi Toksvig: I think she should be everything really: Doctor Who, Fern Britton's replacement, even the next Superman. There is nothing this woman cannot do, and certainly Madame Arcati would be the beneficiary of her all-knowingness, her all-talentedness.
Sandi is my candy

Katie Price: She's great value because of her genius for feuds. Despite her best endeavours to fail, she succeeds at everything she tackles, even humbling the likes of the egregious Julie Myerson with her books sales. Plus she looks moist.

Jason Cowley: He'd be great because the first thing he'd do is find a guest-guest-cunty. This way Alastair Campbell might get his mitts on Madame Arcati and call for a new war against someone.

Kevin Spacey: A man of kwalli-tay for sure, as his current ad for American Airlines confirms. What that man doesn't know about the poshest seats isn't worth knowing, and of course he's a connoisseur of dynastic genius as well as of rich women with sexy chauffeurs. Him as guest-cunty would be like a delightful sip of absinthe over a leather bound copy of Debrett's. Keyser Saucy!

Sebastian Horsley: Readers would soon be up there on Seb's Best Brothels Guide and his etiquette rules on asking a prostitute for a 3 squirts for 2 discount. He's most amusing, most inflammatory.
Sebastian, my whore

Sharon Stone: A personal fave, she'd fill the blog with extracts from her unpublished short stories and red carpet pics of herself from the world's major film festivals - attendance of which being her principal career right now. But could I afford her and would she make special demands (such as daily deliveries of scented Interflora bouquets to her Madame Arcati Prose Suite at Claridge's)?

Verne Troyer: A wit, an observer, a philosopher. A naked pic would be compulsory. Erect.

Christopher Lee: A fund of thespian anecdotes, but never mind. This would be an opportunity for him to respond to the scandal of his missing knighthood and slag off the Queen and PM.
"Sir" Christopher

Will Self: Enlarge your vocabulary with one of the wisest men on the planet. And like Katie Price, he's quite carnivorous and gets into feuds. Will I ever forget what he once said about one of Julie Burchill's exes, the gun-loving he-man, Tony Parsons?

Julie Burchill: Speaking of whom, can you imagine? I can only dream....

Duncan all over

Duncan Fallowell: My darling would expose you to polymathy with comic edging. His would be a mystery tour of music, mayhem, literature, obscure art exhibitions in Auckland and torrid encounters with intense, attractive persons (in Russia).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pet Shop Boys: I recommend an All Over The World

Love this track, All Over The World, on the Pet Shop Boys' new album Yes. Perfection.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Alastair Campbell hits back at Suzanne Moore on blog

Alastair Campbell has responded on his blog to the Suzanne Moore/New Statesman saga I wrote about yesterday. After giggling over the Guardian's correction (that she wasn't on the magazine's staff) he writes: "So she fills a page in The Mail on Sunday, fee doubtless well into four figures, to say she was sacked from a magazine for which she didn't work. Can't wait for the correction in the Mail on Scumday. I'm sure given her self-styled claim to principled journalism, she will want to correct any false impression she and Obergruppenfuhrer Dacre may have allowed to be created. " His blog.

Ex-Steps' Lee Latchford-Evans strangled to death.

If you hated cheesy pop group Steps, then delight in this still from new British action thriller Ten Dead Men (out on DVD on May 25) which features the strangulation of Lee Latchford-Evans.

As director Ross Boyask says: “People who hated Steps will probably enjoy the film even more because they can watch him [Lee] getting killed.” That's one way to promote a movie, I guess. Knowing PRs please note. Nic Cage's neck looks fragile.

From the New Statesman to Steps. Only on Madame Arcati.

Those were the days. Of hell. (Lee's the str8-looking one)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Suzanne Moore, New Statesman and Campbell's 'lies'

Suzanne Moore responds to Alastair Campbell via Madame Arcati

Fancy the New Statesman ridding itself of the utterly enchanting writer Suzanne Moore - and not even bothering to tell her. She'd written for the publication for 20 years, then last week it was guest-edited by the hideous bully and Iraq War apologist Alastair Campbell. This was the last straw for Suzanne who volubly recalled, unlike its useless, hapless and pompous editor Jason Cowley, that the mag had opposed the Iraq invasion. She opened her copy of the mag and saw her name had been dropped from the masthead.

She told all in the Mail on Sunday yesterday, click here. She writes: "I know it is now possible to get fired by text or email but have I been fired without even realising it? Quite a feat, even by my amateurish standards. Also, have I been fired from a nominal position for which I didn’t get paid?"

Suzanne got in touch with me this morning about the matter, and in particular, in response to a long page 3 report in today's Guardian. She is incensed by Campbell who's quoted as saying in an email to the paper: "I had no idea she worked for the New Statesman. I don't read the Mail on Sunday. But professing commitment to leftwing values in that rightwing rag lends a somewhat weakened credibility to anything she says."

Suzanne writes to Madame Arcati: "What Campbell says is surprisingly lies. He knows who I write for or he should as his partner Fiona once came round to interview me and my daughter about state education. But perhaps they just don't talk anymore. Who can say?"

Certainly I shall not be reading the Statesman anymore - it requires a change of owners(s), editor as well as culture. You can't have a leftwing magazine run by practising right-wingers.

Meantime my congratulations to Suzanne on her principled stand.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Women's Wear Daily, Veritas and the dead girl at Studio 54

In my recent interview with Veritas (click labels to read), he alluded to a tragic moment at Studio 54 when a girl who sat beside his wife died of an overdose. Women's Wear Daily took a pic (now discovered) and then placed it in their Out column, unaware of the condition of the girl (left).

Relevant extract from the interview: "Peter Allen (Liza Minnelli's ex) was a great friend and took me to a New Year’s Eve party at Studio 54 in New York (he was a huge star in the US). We were sitting in a booth with a group of friends - Andy Warhol, Diana Ross, etc. A girl came up and slumped against my then wife who was applying eyeliner. We were all covered in glitter that was an inch thick on the floor. Suddenly cameras started flashing and Peter said, 'Quick move away.' The poor girl was dead from an overdose (one of 2 that night). 'You don’t want to spend all night at a police station,' said Peter. A month later Women’s Wear Daily did a front page feature on what was In and Out. They said staying home watching telly was in and going out was out! Illustrating this was a big photo of my wife in a hot pink dress putting on make-up whilst slumped on her shoulder is this dead girl. 'Out' was right!"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rochester's Sodom: Have a wank over the Loseley

A "grey pube theatre critic" takes me to task for my porno re-imagining of Plague Over England. Apparently I should be jailed. Then a talented friend who stands head and shoulders above others as an arts and culture writer sends me this gem:

"Play reading in Westminster Arts Library: Rochester's Sodom, Thursday 26th 7 to 9pm. Corsets, humourously [sic] shaped root vegetables, group masturbation, anal sex metaphores [sic]. Audience participation. All fully clothed. Book a seat quick as space is limited: rblack1@westminster.gov.uk or 07 940 146 681."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Plague Over England: Review. Where's the cock?

At long last I got to see Nicholas de Jongh’s Plague Over England last night, his account of Sir John Gielgud’s arrest and conviction for cottaging in the witchhunty 50s. London's Duchess Theatre is a perfect venue since it looks like a mouldering 50s wedding cake itself or something on Miss Havisham’s spider webbed banqueting table, and even as a young child I imagined her hymen as a tatty net curtain in need of laundering. Last night I dreamt of 50s dust motes dancing in my lungs and men’s pee patches left or right of the fly. It’s always best if I keep my fantasies under rein.

The play itself has a fustiness that works well as atmosphere, less so as 21st Century theatre. In its way it’s as prim and proper as its Home Secretary: we see men’s backs at urinals, furtive glances, baggy pressed trousers. Everyone speaks elliptically – a script made up of “…” and “…”: politicians and lawyers allude to grave and unnatural offences, all perfectly realistic I’m sure. What’s never mentioned is the problem here: cock. Clothes and language collude in veiling the thing that is the cause of all the fuss. Where is the cock?

De Jongh would do better to strip all his actors (and Celia Imrie as Sybil Thorndike and another) and have them naked upon the stage. This would import a timeless element in the 50s nonsense and strengthen undermining absurdity. While we do not know precisely what Gielgud got up to in the lav, I would have him stroking the cock of the “pretty policeman” (as a pig agent provocateur was called) and perhaps sucking it too – again, this may not be realistic (because all Gielgud had to do was look invitingly at the copper to get arrested) but it would underline his sexual needs. At the moment he just seems a bit frisky and fancy-free, a bit libido-lite when he’s not quoting Shakespeare or trying to be Oscar and fannying around.

An act of cock-mouth sex would also have the effect of upsetting most of the grey pube theatre critics in the audience who are no less homophobic than the grey flannelled fools on the stage. It would flush out the creased and carbuncled swine - and yes, I mean you, cunty of the Sunday Times.

I would have songs and dancing, off-stage videos screening porn – gay and straight – and when Mrs Thatcher is elected Tory leader I would have her emerge naked in a strap-on dildo as a mark of power, her new shadow Cabinet ministers (all wearing Gielgud masks) stroking it half admiringly, half fearfully. In the ignorant world de Jongh focuses on, cock is power. The fuss he dramatises is simply about compromised perceptions of cock and the prevailing fantasies of the time.

Michael Feast makes a pleasing Gielgud in miniature, his voice has something of the “silver trumpet muffled in silk” of the original: he is a surface creature, all whimsy, gaiety, ciggie smoke and signet ring on pinkie. He is not in the least sexual. The multiple roles the actors play confused me a bit: you wonder whether Steve Hansell’s homophobic copper is jail bait when he reappears as a gay opportunist – in fact not. The alternating split stage sequence where Gregory and Terry make love while the Home Sec dreams of a queerless world doesn't work: what we needed was a graphically sexual interlude - real erections, culminating in orgasm - to remind ourselves why we go to such lengths to have sex in the first place. It's all so ordinary and universal. So average.

Worth seeing, however. Click here to book.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Blithe Spirit: Madame Arcati saves Rupert Everett!

Coo-ee, it's me.

I am delighted that Blithe Spirit is such a Broadway triumph. Regular bloggees will know that I have been unstinting in my promotion of Rupert Everett, and naturally I had a fateful hand in pushing this Cowardy production in his direction. His future is now assured. Google will confirm that the names Rupert Everett and Madame Arcati are recurringly intertwined both in life and now in art. This confusion is doing nothing but good for my visitor figures.

Angela Lansbury, 83, is I suppose an adequate substitute for me as Madame Arcati though I can't help but wonder whether she sometimes muddles her lines and thinks she's still in Murder She Wrote. No one can improve on Margaret Rutherford as me: she brought to Arcati that essential ambiguity that runs through her person in all sorts of ways, a woman misunderstood even in these broad-minded times. The turban doesn't help.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Q almost sunk by U2 interview

A spy at Emap tells me that the issue of Q that carried a mega-interview with U2 a couple of months back was the worst-selling in the magazine's history. Time for the Christ in shades to take off the perma-Red Nose.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Calling Russians! Set Duncan Fallowell song to music!

A chance to get famous(er) as Duncan Fallowell's music writer!

I learn that one of Madame Arcati's luminous friends, Duncan Fallowell, is seeking a Russian to set a song of his to music.

The work in question, taken from his St Petersburg travel book, is called Nevsky - these are the lyrics, click here. The first verse goes:

I am a Soviet queen
From behind the Iron Curtain.
Life is pretty obscene
But of one thing I am certain –
When you’re sick of revolution and find Lenin a bore
You can strut your polyester near Gostiny Dvor
And if you want a heavy hooey that is red and erect
Hang around at midnight on the Nevsky Prospekt!

You'll have to click the link to read all the words.

Post your entry on YouTube and the best one will be released as a single - do let us know, of course. You'll find a contact for Duncan on his homepage when you click through if you have any questions.

Do have a listen to his marvellous Le Weekend song on that link (click the muscle man pic there) - with one of Micky Karoli's most blistering guitar solos on it, after a deceptively oompah Kurt Weill beginning (play through real speakers and annoy the bastard neighbours and their howling dogs). It should be a Eurovision song entry - I must mention it to Jonathan King. Go on, get composing!

Oh, and read Pravda.
Oh, and let's not leave darling Dima out ...

Alas, Will.i.am Lewis grows bored with Twitter

Yes, it's true. What a fickle fellow Will.i.am Lewis, editor-in-chief of the Telegraph Media Group, is; though his loyalty to aspiring comic terrorist fiction writer Jasper Gerard is a thing of wonder, despite, well, I don't want to introduce unpleasantness.

On March 1 he announced on Twitter: "Talking about twitter at a lunch party and showing people how it works." And that's the last we've heard from him (as I write). How did the lunch party go? Or were soup bowls filled with insensate heads as the Twitterer tweeted?

How far away now are the days of his early bright enthusiasm.

Why, back on January 31, 2009 (but AD) he wrote not one, not five, not seven, not even 11 messages to his public, but 14! The poppet's priapic Twitter digit must have grown raw with it all that prodding. Before March 1, there was a rush of excitement on Valentine's Day as he pursued his heart's desire in Paris, President Sarkozy. And then on February 28 he signalled his transit status between Paris and London, not of course just to make us jealous.

I had grown alarmed by Will.i.am's tendency to trail off when he started Twittering the results from the Baftas a few hours ahead of the media embargo. Then about halfway through the awards ceremony he seemed to go silent - I had hoped for further colour and perhaps after-show party goss which I could then lift as my own work, as certain Twitter diarists are wont to do. I felt cruelly tossed away, like any old veteran Telegraph hack.

How quickly these modern communications novelties pass away. Next.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Joan Rivers and Madame Arcati have a hate-in

Let it not be said that Madame Arcati doesn't get about despite extreme old age, debilitating illnesses (some of them infectious) and suicidal tendencies (am I selling myself to you pervs? There's someone for everyone, y'know)).

At the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney I met up with my old friend Joan Rivers, and sat with her manager (who reps Cher too) all night and his Cuban boyfriend. Suddenly a man aimed his video camera at Joan and she screamed at its lens: "MADAME ARCATI, YOUR'E A BITCH, GET A LIFE!" Isn't that shocking, to say that about someone old enough to be her mother? She added she was expecting to see Tom Cruise at the Mardi Gras. He didn't turn up.

Later, Joan mounted a Mardi Gras truck and hollered messages to the crowd who didn't seem to know who she was - "They think I'm just some old retired hairdresser!" she shouted at me.

In the pics - Joan of course, oh and there's that monster-sized drag queen Mitzi McIntosh, and Pam Ann's somewhere there, Ruby Rose - the MTV hostess who has just come out as a dyke, what a cutie - I can't be bothered with pointing them all out for fuck's sake.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Watchmen: Dr Manhattan's glowing blue penis! The review

Yes! See this fascist, graphic novel adaptation at a cinema near you! And Dr M's schlong. (Click image for enhanced experience)

Watchmen review: Dr Manhattan's cock
It is soon apparent that quasi-CGI superhero Dr Manhattan's blue appendage serves no purpose other than to underscore his awesome masculinity. It will pass no urine or jizz, it will never rise to attention: it is just there, an emblem of Dr M's unearthly mightiness, a sentinel of manly authority. When one of his doppelgangers makes love to his loyal assistant and girlfriend, Laurie Jupiter, he does so not through the agency of his glowing schlong but by stimulating her with electrical charges from his hands. It's as if he is pressing her with an iron that's prone to cutting out in a shower of sparks. The camera shyly averts its gaze from his groin area, one that requires no showering or waxing incidentally; but you may be assured that there can be no tumescence, which is just as well because even the space of an Odeon big screen is finite.

Nor does Dr M's cock sway pendulously as a trunk of its proportion would do during movement, such as walking: rather it just hangs down like one of those oblong bird feeders one finds in the better maintained garden, rather inertly. Happily, no blue tit or other feathered friend is ever likely to be drawn to Dr M's ambiguous, rather screwed-up nuts.

Filmgoers who are not fanboys/girls of Alan Moore's creation may wonder why Dr M does not simply wear a loincloth or a fetching thong. This is a good question. After all, he does put on a suit for a talk show. So he is cognisant of human decency. One can only conclude that though Dr M sees no difference between a live or a dead person, and meditates on Mars, he is a naturist at best or a filthy exhibitionist and flashing perv at worst. If the latter, saddos who cream themselves on comic novels should be treated with especial caution.

Oh, and then there's the movie ...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Michael Jackson 02 concerts the last ever - IN LONDON!

BBC news thinks he said "last concerts ever". No. In fact I hear he's planning a world tour, London being a testing ground for stamina and appeal. His statement was pointed about a London finale: so he could return to Manchester or even Little Poynings in the future.

I notice his hands look very 50.

Attitude's Matthew Todd seeks Cheese Scones

I assume that Matthew Todd, editor of Attitude since last year, placed this entry on MySpace before his giddy ascension:

"Who I'd like to meet: Someone to start a band with. I know a trillion and one muso industry people through work including a couple of very famous producers who said they'd be interested to hear anything I come up with. Wanna start an electro dance pop thang - kinda Pet Shop Boys meets Goldfrapp meets KLF. I sing and write lyrics so looking for a keyboardist/programmer/melody person. Get in touch. Or someone to be my boyfriend, move me to Cornwall/New York and feed me Cheese Scones all day long. Fuck off anyone from Attitude. (Xxxxx) "

Not exactly Anna Wintour, is it?

(My thanks to the naughty boy who drew this to my attention)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Jemima Kiss defends herself against a brutal Madame Arcati attack

I recently bitched about snobbish Twitterers who show off by maintaining a low Following figure despite a huge Followers value - implying a galaxy whose star ego is at the core of the spiral flailing arms of frickin fans. One such I named is Jemima Kiss, a busy and gifted writer on The Guardian who has quite a following among the young intelligentsia, and Girls Aloud. She has replied...

Dear Madame,
Darling ... love your work, etc. I follow 282 people because that's roughly as many as I can realistically read and respond to. I've tried more, but it makes Twitter unusable. I regularly ditch some and follow others, so there's a steady churn. More importantly, my Twitter client shows me every @ message sent my way, even if I don't follow that person, so I always listen when people talk to me. I can promise you I've spent quite some time working out exactly how to manage my Twitter account. It's not realistic to follow 8,700 people - if I could, I would, believe me.
Jemima Kiss, The Guardian
Jemima's website

Dear Jemima,
Thank you poppet - but what torture. How I wonder does Stephen Fry follow over 50,000-plus supplicants on Twitter? Or is he just being polite? And how fickle and brutal of you to drop members of your Followed tribe - do you imagine people take offence when they see a luminary such as yourself withdraw behind a cloud, perhaps yawning? Febrile stalking may be activated by much less. But anyway, you're forgiven.
MA x

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

William Cash: Has Vanessa buggered orf?

Is it true that Dr Vanessa Neumann has taken her leave of her husband William Cash's society? An Arcatiste makes this claim, but since I have stopped reading publications that deify the rich or run anecdotes about dull people who happen to be loaded, I do not know if this true or public knowledge.

In one of the last pieces that I read of William's in ES, he had revealed tensions in his marriage, one brought on by his blowing up his vintage car by failing to replenish it with oil or petrol. He also appeared to have seen the light on wealth, eschewing his once infamous craven fascination for the glamour of money; though whether this was empathetically precipitated by the fashionable credit crunch and the new unemployment of his many friends is hard to say.

It's always difficult to know whether people mean what they write.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Cherie Blair hasn't a clue about Christianity's decline

Cherie Blair tried to explain why Catholicism/Christianity is on the wane in Channel 4's Christianity: A History – The Future of Christianity last night. She managed not to mention the religion of science once as a major cause, so the programme was a waste of time. Feminism, old churches, the Holocaust, old men in frocks - she tackled these. But science - not a peep.

Nor was her forensic skill in evidence. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, conceded that women should be allowed to "excel" in the Catholic Church "in their own way". In other words, he was politely saying women should continue to know their place which is not the men's place. At this point she should have ululated in fury - as a feminist. Instead she smiled and nodded (as you do on TV). So middle class.