Sunday, May 31, 2009

Michael Gross: Only 'spectacularly minor' changes made to Rogues' Gallery

The US writer Michael Gross has asked me to put up this clarification on reported changes he is making to future editions (and perhaps the UK edition?) of his new book Rogues' Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Museum which has apparently so upset New York social swan Annette de la Renta. The Independent's follow-up to my interview with Michael may have led some to think that he is making substantive alterations, but that's not the case:

"Just to clear this up - if such is possible - I have made precisely one change in future editions -and I think it "spectacularly minor" in the extreme. An objection was made to my description of an obituary that was missing mention of four accomplishments by the deceased. Future editions will be corrected to say the obituary was missing two accomplishments. And as a courtesy, I have added a footnote stating that a certain party who ignored six separate requests for comment before publication denies one contention made in the dozens of pages of text about said party and her family. I also intend to correct some equally spectacularly minor spelling errors and a slight misstatement of Hermann Goering's multitude of titles. Wouldn't want to offend a Nazi, would we?"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Anna Wintour and the curious case of the exorcism

Can it be true that US Vogue editor Anna Wintour wanted to have an exorcism conducted in her office after seeing The Devil Wears Prada? This is what one well-informed Arcatiste tells me. The "exorcism took the form of a fumigation and redecoration. And she asked her friend, the photographer Eric Boman (Blahnik by Boman) to hang some of his tastefully bland photos on the walls.

"Anna thought Eric's photos were very soothing and hoped they would change the decor a la blamange. She told Eric she wanted all traces of 'that bitch' exorcised for an eternity!" This is thought to be a reference to the infamous Miranda Priestley character played in the pic by Meryl Streep, plainly modelled on Wintour.

However, novelist and famed gosser Frances Lynn has something further to add: "I hear Anna Wintour asked Eric Boman to hang his soothing snaps on her office walls AFTER the exorcism ... she wanted a complete New Look."

Can anyone shed further light on the precise nature of the exorcism? Was it anything like this:?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Vanessa Neumann: MPs' expenses "source" named?

Someone on Twitter asked me the other day about Arcati's dear friend William Cash: I hadn't written about him for some time, I was reminded, and what was the fellow up to. I haven't the foggiest: still writing about the rich, I guess - and comforting his MP dad Bill Cash and sister Laetitia after this morning's news in the Telegraph, I suppose. Fancy getting the taxpayer to bankroll his rent for Laetitia's flat when he owned another flat already in London. Oh well. I've heard worse.

It is William's wife Dr Vanessa Neumann - the Venezuelan intellectual and so-called "Cracker from Caracas" after her Mick Jagger fling - who interests me more, to be honest. She and William parted a while ago. Vanessa now writes a blog on her elegant website, click here. I see in her bio she makes no mention of William: we learn of her four degrees, the six languages she can speak or read. Among other things she's editor-at-large of something called Diplomat magazine. Here she is rubbishing Hugo Chavez.

Happily, we learn that the pair (Vanessa and William, that is) are still on speaks. On May 17, 2009, she quotes William's good advice about attending a society birthday party in London: "'You must be prepared; that’s the key to these things,' said my husband, who is highly perspicacious but rarely prepared for anything." Such are the perils of intimacy: familiarity. See Katie and Peter, too.

The May 23 posting - on my birthday - grips the eye: she appears to name the "source" in the MPs' expenses scandal: one Heather Brooke, an investigative journalist. But hold on, not quite. Later in the piece, we learn that Vanessa is still unsure of the identity of the whistleblower despite this claim in her opening par: "The identity of the source remains a mystery. No longer."

Then again, in her last par she comments of the Telegraph: "[They] have reinvented themselves as the clever kids on Fleet Street and are the real winners in the scandal - except for maybe Ms Brooke, whose journalism career will now be assured." I'm confused. We can agree Brooke started the litigation ball rolling on MPs' expenses transparency in 2005, but does that justify Vanessa's headline: "Anonymous No More: Meet the UK’s Deep Throat"? Click here and tell me what Vanessa's saying. I haven't a clue.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Michael Gross: National UK newspaper picks up the story

Yes. Isn't that good? Which UK national newspaper? Oh, the title quite escapes me. But I'm delighted that Madame Arcati has played her part in drawing this matter to public attention.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Molly's House: Bring your tight botties every Tuesday

Molly Parkin and her own painting of an erotic encounter with a 23-year-old surfer boy when she was 73 (Photo: Tommy Candler: website click here)

My Eternal Fiancee Molly Parkin has great news - after a short interregnum she is to return to hosting a weekly gig at the Green Carnation gay club at London's 5 Greek Street.

Her Tuesday nighters, starting June 2, are called Aubrey Presents ... Molly's House. Free entry from 9pm. She has instructed me to say (in her customary capitals): "BRING YOUR TIGHT BOTTIES, BIG BOSOMS, SWEET BREATH, SMOOTH SHAVES, SCENTED ARMPITS, SEXUAL APPETITES. IF YOU HAVEN'T GOT THOSE, JUST COME AS YOU ARE. EVERYONE ELSE WELCOME! "

Aubrey is Aubrey Dobson, lately of Salon at the Shadow Lounge club around the corner. He is rated one of London's top movers and shakers by Time Out. "Dobson specialises in dressier events where people tend to keep their shirts on," the magazine reports. Aubrey reveals: "It was never my intention to take this career path. I really did fall into clubs, and I’m still doing so – with the bruises to prove it."

A "molly" was originally a prostitute but "in London in the early eighteenth century groups of men, noted for their effeminacy and sexual interest in each other, began to call themselves mollies and gather in semi-private venues called molly houses." (I cut and paste that in as I can't be bothered to rearrange the words). So Molly's House is a frightfully clever pun doncha think? In addition, Molly won't be playing the Beatles or Petula fucking Clark. Housy housy housy!

In honour of Boy George's recent release, I hope Moll plays this:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Michael Gross and the furious Social Empress of New York

Is it the case that the uncrowned "Social Empress of New York" has waved her sceptre and decreed that a book she finds either embarrassing or inaccurate or both should be ignored by Anyone Who Cares What She Thinks? That it should in effect be allowed to die by ordained silence? Who knows?

The Empress in question is Annette de la Renta, the book, Rogues' Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Museum, and its author the legendary, the inescapable, Michael Gross. His oeuvre includes non-fiction bestsellers Model and 740 Park.

Mrs de la Renta is the wife of the - omg!, gimme the grandest-sounding adjectival phrase, please - multiversal fashion designer Oscar. They are among the society Caesars and Cleos of America (NY in particular) - with the tragic ends missing, respectively. Apparently. They're so huuuuuge that even American Vogue editor Anna Wintour over-arches her back into an ageing stoop as she scrapes about in their presence. Not even the newly refurbished Hubble telescope can fully capture their social enormity. There isn't a lens big enough!

So, when this goddam writer Gross produced his sensational NY museum history book, which does not portray Annette (the sometime guardian of the late Social Empress of New York Brooke Astor's estate, and a trustees board member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) in an entirely approved light, all hell broke loose. Museum types raged for and against Gross' book: indisputably, Gross had hit a raw nerve about a national institution. And Annette threatened legal action - she could sue yet in the US or turn libel tourist.

Suddenly, promised book reviews did not run, scheduled interviews did not appear. All this in the Land of the Free. No writ has been served as I write.

Was she offended by the stories about her and her late, wealthy philanthropist mother Jane Engelhard or was she aggrieved by Gross' impertinence in delving into Oscar's well-known sexual past? Or all of the above?

Annette de la Renta is rich enough and powerful enough to hire the best lawyers to speak on her behalf. I spoke with Michael Gross about the affair. (If you want more background, read Jesse Kornbluth's excellent report, click here)

Michael, my dear. You're imagining that sections of the US media have banned coverage of your book, aren't you? You've got sensitive?

"No. I did a fascinating interview with Daphne Merkin, a celebrated writer, for a publication-day story on The Daily Beast, Tina Brown's web site, that has still never appeared. I also know of at least one reporter who has received a warning letter from Mrs de la Renta's lawyers saying the book is 'full of misinformation' and another, at another newspaper, whose story on the book was killed by an editor who said that they would cause the book to be withdrawn and/or corrected and the newspaper would be left 'holding the bag.' I also know of several reviews that were scheduled and then mysteriously postponed. I hesitate to be more specific since I fear that the reporters and editors who have filled me and my publisher in on what's been happening (or more precisely, not happening) might themselves be at risk of retaliation."

You're saying the New York elite have closed ranks against you in defence of their Empress?

"I know that the New York elite - call them the 4,000 - love to know and discuss things no one else (ie, the public, the great unwashed, the NOCD types) knows. Much of what is in my book is no surprise to them. Many of them were my sources.

"That said, I suspect that the core issue here is not this or that nugget of revealing information but rather something larger and perhaps more threatening, my exposure of two things: the way things really work behind-the-scenes in a great American cultural institution - which no one involved wants revealed - and the picaresque saga of Jane Engelhard, whose riveting life story still has holes in it, despite my attempts to fill them, but which is nonetheless told in full for the first time in Rogues' Gallery. Both she and her daughter have battled every attempt to shed light on this saga - battles referred to in the book."

Is this just about the de la Rentas - or have you also upset the cultural snobs by telling the unauthorised and all-too-human story behind a national treasure, the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

"The sad fact is that the sort of people who create and sustain historical repositories like the Metropolitan do not want their own histories, or those of the institutions, revealed. Otherwise, why would they repeatedly obstruct researchers and make a mere book like mine into an object lesson, a warning to any who might think of following a similar path of crumbs?"

I understand the de la Rentas' friend Anna Wintour made her feelings known ....

"I ran into Anna Wintour at Graydon Carter's Monkey Bar shortly before the book came out. We have 'crossed swords' before, beginning when she was the editor of British Vogue and began an interview by instructing me in no uncertain terms that I was not to refer to her as Nuclear Wintour, so I was not surprised when she gave me a look I can only describe (by paraphrasing a designer) as 'standing in a strapless dress next to an open icebox.'"

As Kornbluth writes of the matter: "A rich woman has used a two-ton gorilla to threaten a writer, and, for whatever reason, silence has descended." If Annette de la Renta's legal threats are intended to chill interest in Gross' book, then they may well have succeeded for now.

But would it not make more sense, and be more in keeping with the freedom-loving spirit of the US, if she published a statement of rebuttal for all to see? What is unacceptable is the suspected exercise of informal social power to, in effect, banish a book to obscurity, and with the acquiescence of a generally gutless American media. Tina Brown - when will you become the mouse that roared?

For a great read, order a copy here.
Michael Gross website

Friday, May 22, 2009

Madame Arcati buys herself a birthday present: Lumley

Yes, a Venus fly trap (Dionaea muscipula). I couldn't resist it. I have called her - her - Lumley. The instructions say I should feed her "minor" insects - so what are "major" insects? Perhaps Lumley can be won round to tofu. We shall see. I will naturally keep you updated on Lumley's progress: she looked rather limp and neglected in the garden centre but revived when I set her pot in a saucer of rain water from the butt. Isn't this a more edifying posting than all those pieces on cock, Lycra, slebs and Jasper Gerard?

Along with Joan Collins', my birthday is tomorrow, May 23. Any advice on nurturing Lumley into an atheist-eating triffid will count as a prez.

Lumley aside, I asked Mr Styx a question. You can ask him one too. Click here

Telegraph paid £90,000 for MPs' expenses terabyte

Other papers are pretending not to know the precise figure, guestimating between £70-300k. The Telegraph will clean up in the awards department and rightly, too. Who could have imagined that the dinosaur of national newspapers would reinvent itself as an engine of revolution and renew interest in ducks and moats? Editor Will Lewis must surely be in line to take over the Sunday Times.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Duncan Fallowell: Footballers must strip off their Lycra!

Dear Madame Arcati

I don't want to overplay my welcome on your website but I wonder if, on a quiet day, you might find a space to air this issue - which has been provoked by your recent rugby posts. It's this: I think the time has come to ban the hideous long Lycra underwear increasingly worn by footballers underneath their shorts. These items of dress come way below the level of the shorts and look disgusting. They are fine in athletics where they originated (with Linford Christie) and look appropriate, but if 'the beautiful game' wishes to adopt them I think managers must insist that football shorts are NOT also worn over the top. Since this ugly practice is now spreading from football to rugby, it is time to call a halt and stop the rot.

With best wishes, Duncan Fallowell

Dear Duncan

You are always welcome. I must say that but for your observation I would not have noticed these Lycra corsets that footballers have taken to wearing - perhaps because I very rarely watch the game. I assume they're worn to avoid damage. But I also suspect shyness lies behind this fashion development. Certain types of person have taken to posting "boner" videos on YouTube for aficionados of sporty bouncing bulges: I can well imagine that subjects of this craze - started by the "lunchbox"-obsessed Kelvin MacKenzie when he edited the Sun - despair at the trivialisation of their sporting prowess and, inspired by the Victorian tablecloth, have donned Lycra for its disguising effect. Lycra does at least avoid embarrassments such as this.... MA x

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kathy Kirby: Nothing to say so over to you, dearie

Dusty, Cilla, Petula, Sandie... Kathy Kirby. Got pissed with Kathy one night with the astrologer Eva Petulengro. Bit out of it even then, Kathy. 1965 Eurovision, I Belong. We lost, another stitch-up. Kirby's website. Can't the Pet Shop Boys do something with her?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Katie and Peter: Aunty Madame Arcati offers her unparalleled advice

I am rarely tempted to comment on marital or other types of relationship breakup. Frankly, I couldn't care less. Couples are bad enough together, all smug and cummed up, posing about arm-in-arm like a body parts graft gone wrong. Such persons are scarcely deserving of further consideration when through their own immaturity, egotism, selfishness, treachery or whatever they split up and then demand yet more attention separately. It's too much.

These are my thoughts as I turn to the topic du jour, Katie Price and Peter Andre. My understanding is that as a result of Katie sticking her tongue down the throat of a gay equestrian in a Bristol nightclub, Peter swanned off somewhere warm in a strop. His brothers then cooked up a barbie as he pulled saaaad, unshaven faces for the paps. Meantime, Katie swanned off to the Maldives - where you find those gorgeous beach houses on stilts; and, btw, I can highly recommend the island of Thudufushi. Yum yum. She then posed for tabloid pics while feeding her brats their Weetabix. That Princess is a handful.

So, what's the problem? Instead of bickering in the hell of wedded togetherness, and having to dream up various stressful notice-me stunts for their ITV2 fly-on-the-wall show, they can each now, singly, luxuriate in ambient climatic warmth and oceanic tranquility, free of strife, free of the impulse to fill the silences with their idiotic chatter (which so often leads to discord), with time to think about really important things, like the improved Hubble Telescope whose new lens will advance our deep space gawp to within 600,000,000 light years of creation.

Katie and Peter should use this time apart to ponder on the infantilising effect of coupledom, and relish the liberation that arises from permanent separation. With sufficient dedication to this end, each individuality will ripen in the sun of uplifting aloneness, unfettered by the noise of another child-adult. I cannot think of one single advantage in their reunion: only the rows, more tiresome fly-on-the-walls, walkings-out, the he-said-she-saids in the tabloids and shit weekly sleb mags for girlies, all the stuff that turns people into crutches. The singleton is the sage of this age. Set an example to the kids and give a fellow adult a break. Doublebeds should be banned.

Only if Katie and Peter promise to bring back their TV talk show will I consider countenancing a reunion - more about which clear here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Peter Tatchell - and his Russian OMOH police friends

Peter Tatchell arrested in Moscow for being noisily gay prior to the camp Eurovision won by a hetero folk balladeer. But wait. Look carefully at the word on the breast labels of the burly Moscow police and what do you read? "HOMO" in reverse. What's that all about? (My thanks to the keen-eyed Arcatiste who brought this to my attention)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Duncan Fallowell: 'My Russian Eurovision failure'

Dear Madame Arcati
Alas my attempts - with your help - to give the queens of Russia a jokey anthem in time for the Eurovision Song Contest have failed. In the event not one of the Russians who contacted me dared set those lyrics to music, not even for a laugh. In the light of current events one can see why and the lyrics remain as relevant as ever.
With best wishes, Duncan Fallowell

Dear Duncan
This is sad news to be sure. With Putin (or the Puta as I prefer to call him) around, is it any wonder? Consider yourself lucky that he didn't kiss you on the tum or burn your house down. My success in ridding Eurovision of Terry Wogan was some kind of service to humanity. But the installation of Graham Norton was the last straw: plainly the BBC still fails to invest sufficient seriousness in its coverage: we must prepare ourselves for a drone of witticisms as the Gin Sours take effect. The UK/Lloyd-Webber entry is beyond pathetic. Long live Russia!
Love MA x

Moscow riot police breakup gay demo prior to Eurovision, click here

Francis Wheen shock - 'Meditation is good for you!'

Francis Wheen: Anti-mumbo jumbo guru recommends meditation for its benefits - halting the interior dialogue through what some have described as the use of "magical passes"

In a shock development, Francis Wheen - author of the bestselling anti-new age How Mumbo-jumbo Conquered the World: A Short History of Modern Delusions - has admitted that meditation is "good for you". This will surprise many of his followers who delighted in his mockery of Transcendental Meditation self-help gurus such as Deepak Chopra.

Wheen recanted in response to a Madame Arcati meditation science report which concluded that the new age practice helps keep the brain young. To read his letter and Madame Arcati's reply click here and then go to comments.

Those whose minds are still keen may also notice how Wheen's view has been somewhat exaggerated by this report without being entirely misrepresented.

Eurovision 2009: Another pretty boy for the Euro-tarts

Norway's Alexander Rybak is the worthy winner with Fairytale - a catchy, fiddle-driven pop ballad. The UK did better than I expected - pity about Jade colliding with the violinist. My second favourite mishap was last year Euro-victor Dima Bilan's flailing annoyance when his jacket got caught up in his hoist rope. He's not so pretty now, especially with the hideous dyed brown hair and cascade raggedy cut. Norton got sharper as the evening progressed even if he mocked a fatso: Sandi Toksvig would have been better as commentator. At least he didn't sound bitter. The fab high-tech stage was overall winner. The Moscow riot police overall loser for their homophobia.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sandbach Rugby Team - 'I'm not gay but I appreciate men'

An Arcatiste has drawn this ITV2 doc to my attention - all about the Sandbach Rugby Team and their homoerotic drinking sessions: there is an uncensored version about but I've opted for this tasteful excerpt which features boy-on-boy nipple-sucking and other male bonding practices. One imagines an ancient Spartan soldier would feel at home among this lot.

Francis Wheen: Wrong on mumbo jumbo meditation

Five or six years ago, Francis Wheen's How Mumbo-jumbo Conquered the World: A Short History of Modern Delusions had a giggle at the influence of the new age industry and its mystical ideas and practices. He was particularly scornful of the Hollywood "self-help guru" Deepak Chopra and the $20m he earns pa peddling spiritual advice to the likes of Demi Moore and Bill Clinton. Once a respectable "Harvard-trained endocrinologist", Chopra lost his way - as Wheen saw it - when he turned to transcendental meditation (among other things) in the early 80s: mumbo jumbo silliness had turned the head of an enlightened scientist - what a waste!

But a new study on meditation by researchers from Yale, Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, may even cause Wheen to think again. They have discovered that meditation increases grey matter in the brain (related to "sensory, auditory, visual and internal perception, such as heart rate or breathing") and that "regular meditation practice may slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex," reports Science Daily (click here).

I trust Wheen will include this research should his know-all book ever be updated.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Duncan Fallowell: The (weeping) tears and erections query

Dear Madame Arcati

I've just returned from the south of France to discover this warm-hearted posting [just below]. Many thanks. A friend and I, half an hour ago, were discussing whether it's possible to weep tears and have an erection at the same time. I said it had never happened to me - and I don't think it could. He said it had happened to him several times. Feedback from your readers on this interesting question would be welcome.

With best wishes, Duncan Fallowell

Sam Leith: 'I suffer from shrinkage!'

Yes, further to my posting on the London Evening Standard yesterday, I had Twitter intercourse with the paper's new Monday columnist Sam Leith. To the claim of some of my ribald readers that he possesses an enormous manhood, I suggested he post a pic of it on xtube. He replied: "I'm afraid it shrinks when I get shy. Xtube will have to make do with Duncan [Fallowell] for the moment." Does he mean this pic? ...
Duncan all over

What's the paper like today? I'm out of the city.

Ooh, I hate all this white space, seems such a waste. It's like the re-designed ES. White space brings out my readerly agoraphobia. Let's fill it up with something. Sam, how big it is again? I've nearly filled all the white space, awful weather today innit?, and those MPs' expenses, dreadful, and Speaker Martin - what a nasty brute. There, space filled.

Monday, May 11, 2009

London Evening Standard relaunched: 78 year-old man in rescue mission

As a celebrant of elderliness, Madame Arcati has decided to reverse her previous toxic opinion of editor Geordie Greig in the light of his new London Evening Standard relaunched today.

For at the apex of the neo-goodies on display is Tom Wolfe, 78, messiah of the not-so-New Journalism, and author of a lengthy "world exclusive" for the paper titled The rich have feelings too... - a showcase of Wolfe's schtick - the italics, the capitals, the pastiche demotic, the love letter dressed up as satire - which doubtless has made many other fossils nostalgic for his brand of literary nattering on. The work, comic in intention if not effect, is all about fallen super-wealthy cunts divested of their private Lear Jets, now forced to use the Gatwicks and Heathrows of the world and queue with us commoners. Not quite Swiftian is all I'll say. But nice to see the old boy still in his white suit.

Complementing this heavy-weight contribution from Gotham is... Sam Leith in his Monday debut as a weekly columnist. I was recently less than impressed by his gossy colleague Sebastian Shakespeare. I now have reason to revise this opinion. Sam today loses his ES columnal cherry with this opening original piece of writing: "The devil, as a wise man said, is in the detail." I wonder how long it took him to think that one up. Shakespeare, you're rehired!

I thought the front page splash quite original: a news story all about a very rich man with a "secret common-law wife and child" reluctant to give his betrayed ex-wife £11m. While the rest of the UK media froth about MPs' expenses and other trifles, Mr Greig betrays his true love: the rich and their doings. Expect more long-winded soap on the loaded. What's Lord Linley up to these days ever since that other matter got covered up?

In other news, I learn that the let-go theatre critic Nicholas de Jongh was on a £120k contract and has a £38k pension pot. That's an extraordinary amount of money, all deserved I'm sure. A new theatre reviewer is sought. One can only hope that Sam Leith is on nothing like that amount, if only for the sake of the paper. Though I'm sure Wolfe's piece was VERY EXPENSIVE.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Our Lady J to star in Jackson's transexual movie

Our Lady J is following her close friend Daniel Radcliffe into the movies - "Excited about film I signed on to be in Being T, exec produced by Janet Jackson, " she writes on Twitter. "It'll be a world-educating documentary on trans issues!" I wonder whether Michael will be in it, too.

Andy Coulson and bullying: Time for a Number 10 petition

I know most of you are not interested - sedated on porn and Ikea as you are - but I have applied to start a petition on the Number 10 website, calling on the government to demand that the Tories comment on the findings of the Stratford Industrial Tribunal of last December, namely that the Tories' director of communications, Andy Coulson, presided over a culture of workplace bullying as editor of the News of the World.

More details on the case can be read here.

Silence is the enemy. Not one anti-bullying organisation that I know of has taken an interest in this case - it's simpler to confine their concern to the playground. Guido Fawkes made light of it when I drew it to his attention. Even Richard Madeley wrote to me asking about the case, then cracked a deflective joke when I explained the known facts. Bit too serious for the TV fluff-meister. He's not alone.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Our Lady J: Daniel Radcliffe and what the J stands for

Daniel Radcliffe's new friend Our Lady J is heading for the UK later this month with gigs at the Purcell Room and in Manchester - the latter headlined "Our Lady J’s Gospel for the Godless With the Cocquettes and friends". Her recent tabloid ascendancy will not have harmed ticket sales and I notice that she's selective in her media responses: Perez Hilton earned a tweet and a "statement" in which she managed to confirm that she and Daniel "support each other as artists." Conversationally or in other ways? The statement begs the question, dearie. Such starry pickiness I tend to associate with showbiz savviness, if you get my meaning. Dietrich would be proud.

She also claims to be a witch with powers to punish warped messengers: that makes two of us then.

I note that on her website she slips into the almighty first person plural (thank you for the correction, Anon) to announce: "We’re sorry to remove the Our Lady J blog, but it’s in the process of being edited for publication. Her transition from male to female is just too juicy to have floating around the internet for all to see!!" Ah, yes. A publishing deal. Juicy. Now I know what the J stands for.

Meanwhile, on Twitter she writes: "Enjoying the death threats. Reminds me of my childhood. Kind of like my baby-blanket!"

Friday, May 08, 2009

Joanna Lumley and AOL: Put a fucking sock in it

Now that Joanna Lumley has single-handedly all but brought down the government and transmogrified herself into a 21st Century Vera Lynn on behalf of the Gurkhas, she can do me a personal favour. She can get her fucking lah-di-dah cunting voice off AOL: as a cursed subscriber (but not much longer) I have to listen to her silly cunting voice telling me "You've got company" every cunting minute before a crunching sound rattles my ears. The announcement means nothing. It is a lie. It's just there. Whoever thought up this assault on peaceful enjoyment shouldn't just be fired. They should be fed with great force up Donald Rumsfeld's arse, alive. As for you Joanna, only your political canniness saves you from full exposure to my undiluted rage. What a lucky Taurean you are. Cancel the AOL deal now, tell them what I said. Don't do what Tory MP Stephen Crabb has tried to do and ignore me. I, too, am good at manipulating public opinion. So don't try me.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Our Lady J and Daniel Radcliffe: Just good friends

Transexual singer Our Lady J is reportedly Daniel Radcliffe's very good friend - with munchy dates and hand-holding and mutual, er, admiration - so naturally we should acquaint ourselves with her ... she's plainly smart ... and political. She writes on Twitter: "Apparently I'm in the British tabloid, The Sun. FYI, I'm NOT a drag queen - I'm a tranSEXual... do ur research." Coronation Street star Antony Cotton appears to be a fan of Our Lady J.

What? You've forgotten what Daniel Radcliffe looks like? God, you bloody Alzheimer's freaks ...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Workplace bullying: Will Coulson get a dose of Crabbs?

In the Commons today Tory MP Stephen Crabb baited Gordon Brown on workplace bullying, thinking perhaps of all those flunkies and Cabinet members the PM has snarled and thrown mobiles at. This is most admirable of Mr Crabb for there is another person in British politics who stands accused of workplace bullying - the Tories' own spin doctor Andy Coulson who has not (to my knowledge) denied presiding over a culture of bullying as one-time editor of the News of the World - story, click here.

At last someone in the Tory Party in prepared to strip away the veil of silence over employee abuse by overbearing managers - do send your congratulations to him at I look forward to Mr Crabb encouraging Mr Coulson to repent his ways. I can scarcely wait.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

sass & bide: Kate Moss, Barry Humphries et al Shine for Barnardos

How does an old bitch such as my good self do it? One minute at Andrew Logan's Alternative Miss World in London, next in Australia for the Veuve Clicquot party thrown by Australian designers Heidi Middleton & Sarah-Jane Clarle of fashion label sass & bide. (More info on the company, click here)

In aid of Barnados, it was held at a deserted warehouse in Alexandria to show off their Shine collection of exhibits, with good friends of the order of Mischa Barton, Barry Humphries, Emma Hawkins (featured in March's British Vogue) portrait photographer Rankin and models Kate Moss & Daisy Lowe and band Sneaky Sound System interpreting what the word Shine meant to them.

The 10 Shine exhibits in the collection are to be auctioned off later this year in London with proceeds going to Barnardos Homes to make a difference to 10 children's lives through "the Shine Collective project".

sass & bide's Heidi Middleton & Sarah-Jane Clarke

Barry Humphries painting

Kate Moss's shine star

Twiggy and her collection of shoes

Angus McDonald & Daimon Downey from Sneaky Sound System

Rankin's Shine portrait

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Alternative Miss World 2009: Body parts to dream of

Mr & Ms Andrew Logan (photo by iJPanda)

“Is that a vagina?” Ruby Wax demanded to know as co-host of Andrew Logan's Alternative Miss World 2009. Three large sails had made a grand entrance on the stage - a vagina was not the first thing they reminded me of, unless you‘re talking about an acute case of thrush. On a similar theme she added later of more imagined stylised pudenda: “There’s a strong smell of fish in the air.”

Yes, so moving on …

The 12th in the series since 1972, this Crufts-inspired AMW was once again the post-Warholian dry debauch of androgynous excess. The venue this time was The Roundhouse in London’s Camden and the theme The Elements - happily, only very loosely taken as inspiration.

Miss Flotsam told how she hates tidy beaches, and Miss No Signs Of Any Civilisation Whatsoever complained of traces of rust on her underbelly. I liked Miss Trailer Trasher’s boast that she has enough residual energy to become extremely unpleasant while Miss Bubbles Of Hope was composed of 78% air, 17% alcohol and 5% grape resin. Miss Majordha Beach's helium-inflated balloons, representing clouds, broke away and collected on a roof trap high up: I wondered who pops them in the morning. When Miss Sahhara gave birth to Africa I prayed Madonna wouldn't materialise and adopt it.

I can’t remember who won now but if it was the Miss who was hoisted aloft out of a tank-size puffball skirt then I concur - was that Miss Hokusai? Please write in.

Actually, the winner was Miss Fancy Chance

Andrew appeared as principal and exemplary host and hostess in a male/female harlequin-style get-up: to Ruby he probably looked like a badly bruised vagina with labial piercings and mirror adornments. Not for me to reason why.

My fiancee Molly Parkin was one of the judges and she took me as her VIP guest. We’d rendezvoused at the Chelsea Arts Club first - she was dressed as a thunderstorm in black and sparkling red. But since flashlight is white we recast her as a volcanic eruption with lava flows. I wore a dark velvet suit - a cloud seeking a silver lining.

Molly Parkin and Bruce Lacey (photo by Frances Lynn, see below)

In the Roundhouse’s VIP gallery other judges and their friends and/or fuckees joined us: Julian Clary - he asked me how he could find Madame Arcati on the internet: his delightful friend wore a pink balloon; Ken Russell, who sported a one-piece tent, his fifth or sixth wife and feet bandages; Time Out boss Tony Elliott - I told him I approved of his acting editor Mark Frith and he said “He’s good, I hope he stays”; the wonderful eccentric and performance artist Bruce Lacey - in one minute he twice fell off a pouffe, yet danced later; Zandra Rhodes; Tim Currey (great new teeth), oh, and so many others. Btw, Molly got the biggest aud cheer during the introductions.

One guest told me how she'd been Miss Conception in '81 - "and we had these props to represent artificial insemination". Now her daughter was about to open the show singing La Vie En Rose - "Andrew told me to wear a little black dress so people might think, 'Am I at the right show?'" Another guest told me: "I came second to Ursula Andress once in a beauty pageant ... "

The striking thing about the judging panel, in contrast to the huge youthy throng below with their muscle and tatts, was their age: both Bruce and Ken are over 80, many of the others in their 60s and 70s. Even Julian is close to 50 though looks closer to 30. This I like. All these Yodas presiding over the stripling Anakins for mischief and mayhem. Pass the lightsabre, darling.

From the gallery I peered down on the Misses preparing their costumes backstage: a multicoloured prosthetic body parts tip, lit by dressing room mirror lamps, with young lithe bodies seeking drag heaven. The show was tremendous fun. I can’t imagine why it’s not on ITV1 - it’s a telegenic spectacle, funny, and it doesn’t have Simon Cowell pulling panto faces. What more do you want? No wonder Michael Grade’s on his way out.

“He’s being strangled by a penis,” shouted Ruby as a monster tower-costume collapsed on stage. For once she was right. She may not know her cunt but she can certainly spot a cock.

My new friend the author Frances Lynn has some good pics of the judges and guests, click here. She's also written this enlightening piece on Madame Arcati here. Yet more amazing photos at frillip moolog, here. Ken Russell writes about the show in The Times.

Incidentally, I was much taken by The Irrepressibles, a 10-piece orchestra - fronted by the "angel-throated, androgynous, Jamie McDermott" - that was part of the entertainment

And Bishi

Friday, May 01, 2009

Calling all wankers: Join the Masturbate-a-thon!

A bit late I know, but there's still time to enter the Masturbate-a-thon at the The Center for Sex & Culture, 1519 Mission St, San Francisco (Between S. Van Ness & 11th) . It takes place on May 2, click here for more details.

The Center is still "seeking Featured Masturbators this year (who can be pledged ahead of time and followed on the webcast), and we will have Voyeur Seating available as well as Private Public Space (where people can masturbate who do not wish to be seen on the webcast). "

You don't actually have to be there - you can hook up through your webcam once you've signed the pledge form and then pluck your strings. Aspiring champions may want to target a few world records. "The winner of 'Longest Time Spent Masturbating/Male' (and also the World Record Holder in this category) is Mr Masanobu Sato - representing the Tenga company, and visiting from Tokyo, Japan. (We believe Mr. Sato will be back on May 2, 2009 to defend his record. Mr. Sato masturbated for 9 hours and 33 minutes)."

It adds: "The winner of 'Most Orgasms/Male' is Michael Hariprem - at 31 climaxes! This is a world record. The winner of 'Most Orgasms/Female' is our voluptuous Featured Masturbator, Lady Monster, who came 20 times!" Other stats available.

No, Madame Arcati is not taking part(s).

Or, just listen to this (one click), thinking of all that universe that's missing.