Monday, June 29, 2009

Anna Wintour: 'US Vogue is not for blind people'

The editor of US Vogue, Anna Wintour, 97, says in this The September Issue movie trailer, as she casts her own fragile orbs on a magazine cover: "This type seems so large and pretentious, it looks like it's for blind people." There's sophistication for you.

For more info on the blind and partially sighted click here.

Steven 'Seething' Wells: I didn't know you but bye, then

It's already too hot to write. Already I want some cloudy bladder to open up and drench Leicester stinking Square with me in it. So just a passing thought on yet another death - that of the music/cultural/old NME writer Steven "Seething" Wells (Swells) who, like MJ and Farrah, was finally let down by almighty medical science. Did I know Swells? No. Would I have liked him in person? Probably not. I am not good with fury in the flesh. Or atheists. Why am I writing about him? Because people I admire admired him and I see he knew how to use the word cunt comically and painfully. Also, I cannot think of better company for MJ and Farrah as they drift from sleep to awakening in an afterlife I am not sure about. Read Swells' last piece for the Philadelphia Weekly - facing death he writes: "I speak as someone whose greatest craving at this exact moment is not world peace and universal democracy or a rational and global redistribution of wealth, but a can of ice cold ginger ale." I'd second that in Leicester stinking Square.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Duncan Fallowell: 'MJ just wanted to be deeply fucked'

Duncan Fallowell writes in response to my Disneyfied cockless-cuntless Michael Jackson posting below this:

Dear Madame

I don't think his songs are asexual. Many of the later ones seem to be coded confessions. Didn't he do one In The Closet? His whole act, I think, came to embody an intense yearning to be cherished and deeply fucked. Was sexual passivity ever more vocal?

Duncan Fallowell

Dear Duncan

Still trying to get a copy of your 20th Century Characters for your Jacko piece. I recall how astute you were.

I don't think his songs were asexual, either. Like many singers he masked his true romantic interests in conventional garb. His later stuff may be coded confessions. But his persona was disneyfied-asexual - as a refuge from the feared consequences of being himself.

I'm not at all sure he wanted to be deeply fucked, at least not literally. I can recall reading Jordy Chandler's court deposition: he described how MJ would blow him and eat his cum. In the sense that he wished to ingest "masculinity", this is the nearest to being "deeply fucked" I guess. But he might have needed yet more pain killers after a bout of penetrative loving. I'm not sure he wanted that level of sexual or emotional engagement. A gobble with a boy-man was as much as he could deal with. It was playtime followed by the famed sleepover.

Of course he should have gone to prison: Genet's sweaty jailhouse fantasies might then have been brought to life in MJ. Who can say?

Love as ever, MA x

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson: Disneyfied into cockless-cuntlessness

Someone called Jonathan Margolis, who (among other things) wrote speeches for Michael Jackson, said on the radio this morning that he hoped in time people would forget about the "boring" details of MJ's life and just remember his songs.

What kind of journalist is Margolis? And doesn't he see that MJ's life of "boring" (unpalatable?) details was coded in his work and appearance? His work doesn't make much sense if you ignore the life.

Michael Jackson was a gay man. Why his libido was tragically and illegally directed only at boys on the pubertal cusp is one for highly paid psycho-babblers to guess at. If you set aside MJ's slushy cock-cunting lyrics - his performance beard, if you like - he never even pretended much to find women sexually or romantically interesting. This was obvious. Unfortunately, his vast global fan base wouldn't have been able to cope with this, his God-fearing family could never have countenanced this: MJ internalised the foreseeable rejection pre-emptively and reconfigured himself for public consumption - as a master of public image.

The result is the back catalogue to die for, a life no one but a mad man would have opted to live for. And a brood conceived in labs.

The surgically sexless chimera he became tells you of his rejection of masculinity and of cock-cuntery. The two are distinctly different things of course. But in MJ's mind they were one. As a child he was exposed to the brute cock-cunting vulgarity of his father and brothers: to be frank, they revolted him. Why this rejection embraced his colour is another question for the guessy psycho-babblers. What cannot be doubted is that in his reinvention he took the model of the cartoon - any living model scarcely matters - a cartoon fashioned for the 11-year-old put-on castrato singing voice and the gushy non-singing simpering.

This was not an image sex change as most imagine, more a compromise disneyfication of his desexualised self: this MJ neither fucked nor was fucked. He was cockless and cuntless, a monk-nun of pop. And didn't he do well!


Among the comments to this post I especially like La Pellegrina's who writes: "He [MJ] was some sort of renaissance eunuch who desired metamorphosis, a latterday Akhenaten... " (See comments for more). Akhenaten was the "heretic" Egyptian pharaoh suspected of being a hermaphrodite or a woman posing as a man, though his most famous wife was Nefertiti.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson dead. What about the London concert tickets?

And poor Farrah Fawcett! To have died on such a day! Two stars failed by medical science. Uri Geller on BBC 24 and Sky - what a creep. Words and phrases in MJ obits not to miss: "Biggest popstar since Elvis"; vitiligo; "Thriller the biggest album seller ever"; Jordy Chandler; "He popularised Moon Walking"; "A black man who wanted to be white"; "Allegations of child abuse"; "Finally acquitted"; "The world is in shock at the death of the last icon"; "His musical legacy"; "Eccentric"; "Sad"; Bubbles. "Who has died at the age of 50."

Perez Hilton: So, where are all his showbiz exclusives?

Perez Hilton aka Mario Lavandeira: He's not so hot

Now that I've had my hernia repaired after laughing through Perez Hilton's totally pathetic cry baby performance on Perez TV (just over some thick, unreconstructed person punching him a few times in Toronto - "I thought my eye had rolled out of my head!"), I am left wondering why so many people think he breaks loads of showbiz exclusives all day. He doesn't. Mostly, he just grazes around for stories like every other showbiz hack on the planet. The only difference is he hasn't got some great fucking silly bitch-manager with a bad hairdo to answer to.

Let's look in order at recent (as I write) tales of his on his facing page:

New Green Day video (Oh, thank you Mr PR person)
Adam Lambert Caught Lying (Oh, thankyou TMZ-meisters)
Farrah Fawcett RIP (Oh, well she just died, y'know: public info)
Rosie O'Donnell bitching (Oh, a think piece)
Lou Diamond Phillips wins I'm A Celebrity (Oh, thankyou, um, everyone!)
Billy Bob Thornton's eldest daughter arrested (Oh, thank you People)
Simon Cowell in talks with Fox (Oh, thank you Radar Online)
Britney Spears no show (Oh, thank you Take 40)
Kate Moss (nearly) reveals vagina (Oh, thank you paparazzi trash - cheque's in the post)

And on it goes. Cause, it's the dead tree media idlers who repeat the lie that Perez is King of Showbiz when in fact he's just another slebby bottom feeder who only very very occasionally breaks a story. And that's me being generous.

Go on, have a laugh at this bullying fool calling his alleged abuser a fag and boasting about the 10 million flies that buzz about his carcass website each day. "I'm a human being." (Click once to play)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Michael Gross: His absent book and lapdog hacks

I interviewed Michael Gross the other week about Annette de la Renta's reported campaign against his book Rogue's Gallery - which guts the dubious history of the Metropolitan Museum - and you may be interested to know that the title is inexplicably absent from the online catalogue of the New York Public Library. "The library’s 2008 annual report lists an Anne E. de la Renta Cataloging Endowment Fund as part of a list of endowments that were started with a donation of at least $100,000," reports the New York Observer. Surely that can't explain the absence. Click here.

Michael gives a fascinating interview to Obsessedtv - see it here. He talks about his work methods, characters who fascinate him - eg Murdoch is now seeking respectability in his winter years after being the greatest rebel in newspapers - his career, ongoing project and his thoughts on journalists. Too many of them are "lapdogs who want to be invited back for lunch." Ah yes, the Nicholas Coleridge Syndrome we call it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bryn Phillips: 'I am the dark side of Oscar Wilde'

Bryn Phillips: Madame Arcati's very own singer-songwriter discovery - sign him up while you can, bitches. Photo by Margaret Stone

It's not everyday that Madame Arcati throws caution to the wind and falls publicly in love with talent at a distance. But such was the case when her gaze fell upon the singer-pianist waif who unexpectedly popped up in the video of Mark McGowan's latest stunt, the burning of Gordon Brown's effigy (see bottom of this piece).

After flames had licked away the PM's cardboard jowls and blackened his terracotta Guerlain powder makeup, Madame Arcati was consumed by a febrile passion - one stoked by a most beautiful belter of a voice that soared effortlessly above the sound from an upright out-of-tune filthy piano in a room with the acoustics of a serial killer's basement. Madame Arcati was blown away! A star was born! I subsequently learnt that the voice belongs to Bryn Phillips and he agreed to an email interview. Record companies please take note. Don't be slow.

Bryn Phillips! What did you think when you realised an elderly matriarch who wears plaid and rides a basketed bike was lusting, er, I mean, admiring your singing talent on YouTube?

I thought "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

Give us a spec of your musical range - your voice, instruments - I mean, have you recorded anything?

At the core of my art is the act of song writing. I have always been musical - I play the piano, guitar and violin. I play with synthesisers, electronic beats and other ways of generating sounds, like tape loops too. I’m obsessed with popular music, but I think pop music often lacks strong lyrics and I am not ashamed of writing poetically. And yes, I have been recording, with my band Private Lives.

Andrew Weatherall said I should call my album ‘Better Than Bowie’, which is very flattering. Our recordings aren’t mixed yet, so I won’t post anything on the internet for a couple of weeks. However, you can see me perform live at Hackney Wicked Festival, on Saturday August 1st. It’s a festival in edgy, Hackney Wick and I’m excited to be playing there. Check our MySpace page for details.

Tell us how you ended up on Mark McGowan's Gordon Brown burning video. And was your wonderful performance impromptu?

Really MA, you’re extremely kind. Actually, I was surprised to see the video on the internet. My performance was genuinely impromptu, and isn’t that piano terribly out of tune? Personally, I would have preferred that Mark had burnt Boris Johnson or Peter Andre. I don’t agree with you about making an effigy of Nick Griffin. He is doing a very good job of burning himself. If you believe in eternal damnation, of course.

Oh, before I forget, what's your astrological sign or at least give me your birth details. You're from Wales I understand.

Predictably, I am a Leo. My birthday is the 13th of August 1981. Actually, my mother is English but my father is Welsh. My parents met in a stable, although unfortunately I wasn’t born in one. I grew up in the fens, north of Cambridge and I speak basic Welsh. My genes have given me the lungs of a valley boy and my upbringing has given me the teeth and tongue of Joe Orton. I am the dark side of Oscar Wilde.

Oh, and that song you sang. What's it called?

It's called Femme Fatale. It's a tragedy about a girl whose baby gets put into care. The recorded version I did with Private Lives sounds far superior, and I am extremely proud of the vocal.

What do you think of Mark? I like his stunts but his Jade Goody one annoyed me.

Oh yes…he’s quite a minx, don‘t you think? I have noticed, other than the Gordon thing, that Mark is a pyromaniac. He’s always burning things, isn’t he? In truth, I think he’s a talented satirical artist. The Hackney Gazette were furious about the Jade stunt, Mark was denounced all over Hackney on every billboard for a whole week. The tabloids seem to utterly hate him, so he must be doing something right. Although they do always send a lot of photographers to take nice pictures of him…

You live in a bedsit in Clapton. Now, I don't know how to ask you delicately but if an elderly matriarch wanted to pay a visit would your landlady/lord object? Or do you already have a bitch/whatever? Please feel free to go into intimate, micro-detail.

Well, I have a stalker. Really, I do.

And yes, I live in Clapton. It’s very rough where I live. Even dangerous. My bedsit is an old shop. It’s located on "the murder mile" and the E5 Crew meet outside my front door on a nightly basis. Sociologically, gangs are very interesting, but they make for ghastly neighbours. Just a few weeks ago a boy was stabbed to death at the end of the road and the police tape made it very difficult to get home. I have no hot water at the moment, so I don’t think my landlord is in any position to start vetting my guests. But my kettle works, so please do pop by if you fancy a nice cup of tea.

You say your shower is in disrepair. Tell us about your bathroom ablutions.

I hate to sound maudlin, but my shower is definitely on the brink, it runs, or rather more, it drips, cold. Which, in turn, it seeps its way into my work, haha. I must admit, after seeing the video I did a bit of a SuBo, got me hair done, scrubbed me nails and all that. I like my Mac though. Do you think I need a stylist Madame Arcati? Does the hat really maketh the man?

You just stay the way you are for now though I'd add a bit of eyeliner. Now, Bryn, seriously - you're very talented - what do you want from life and what must happen next to get you there? Do you compose songs?

Oh, you’re very generous MA, I’m flattered. Yes, I do compose the songs, I’m quite prolific in fact. All I want from life is a decent, permanent place to live, books, a piano and a fridge full of food. Oh….and to be really famous, hang around with Amy Winehouse and get papped outside Dalston Superstore. For all of this I need to secure a record deal. In fairness, I haven’t tried to yet, but I’m very much open to offers.

Who's the greatest singer ever? And when you're famous, what do you want to be famous for?

Who’s the greatest singer ever? My friend Paloma would be extremely offended if I didn’t say her…so Paloma Faith. But really, Billy Mackenzie - without a shadow of a doubt. I love him. Hmmm…when I am famous I want to be famous for the subjects I write about and for the life I have led.

Finally (for now) - have you ever consulted a mystic? If so, what was foretold?

I never have MA, apart from an elderly gentleman I knew as a teenager, who used to dabble with the occult.

Bryn! Thank you so much. Madame Arcati will chart your ascent with her usual enthusiasm.

A reminder of Bryn's powerful voice - he starts at 2:30 after Mark has turned Gordon Brown to ash.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Molly Parkin: 'Croatians love my new cock paintings'

Molly Parkin. Photo by Tommy Candler

My fiancee Molly Parkin has sent me a letter. She is off to Croatia this summer to exhibit a collection of her new paintings many of which take the cock as subject. I hope this isn't Madame Arcati's influence. She also waxes on recent cock posts here. Anyhow, here's her letter to me ....

You said to let you know re: Croatian gallery girls. Utterly charming, completely bowled over by the paintings. They chose 11 of the very biggest ones, one 6ft by 5ft abstract, which I only painted yesterday, Sophie's Summer Wedding. And another one, an orgy scene, full of cocks of all nationalities entering every sort of orifice. Also another full of cocks, one black one actually piercing the pussy of the white girl. And another belonging to a pale teenage rentboy, being manhandled by a sophisticated divorcee, awaiting her false mammaries.

Hello Rudolph Nureyev. How's Dame Margot? "She's fine. I'm bigger than Sam Leith, dah?" (Photo by Richard Avedon)

The Croatians proclaimed them "very powerful indeed", full of wisdom, and not as "sweet" as they expected (they didn't add "from an old lady").

When I offered to paint out the cocks before the exhibition, in case of giving offence to the Croatian nation (thinking of the mealy-mouthed turds' response to your penis parade), they exploded with vehemence at the very thought. More our cup of tea, then, the Croatians!!

Adore all this cock business on Madame Arcati you've been up to, and the way you actually voice it, so clever, so naughty, so titillating; arousing, too. Brings a rush to the brain... er, um, yes, and there!

Oscar Wilde would have loved it. And Joe Orton. And Mae West. And Vincent Price. And Coral Browne. And Noel Coward. Others must too. Can't we see more of the jiggling sportsmen stuff? Or even Ronaldo in and out of trunks? Moving around, or prone.

Perhaps some political figures such as Profumo, who's weighty down below, I am told. Or is libel the trouble? It's all very well to tell tales on cock size but we hunger for the illustrations. Put it to your public. I can vouch for senior citizens, female, judging by my 80-year-old sister's avid interest. None of us is interested in Page Three girls.

Love Molly xx

Just for Molly to celebrate her Croatian triumph

Croatia website

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fiona Russell Powell: Why I went to the Screws over Clive James

Fiona Russell Powell

Long before 68-year-old opera singer Anne Howells' recent kiss 'n' tell in The Oldie about her affair with "Clyde" - the widely suspected nom d'amour for married Clive James (he denies) - the former Australian TV entertainer, poet, polymath and pal of Martin Amis enjoyed a five-month relationship with the writer and former ABC band member Fiona Russell Powell between 1987 and 1988.

The first the public got to hear about it was courtesy of a
News of the World splash. “He had this thing about my breasts, he liked to look at them. He was very fond of turning all the lights off when the moon was out and getting me to sit on the sofa to the strains of Bizet," she told the tabloid. He loved soaping her tits in the bath and she revealed he was desperate for a knighthood: he's still waiting. Perhaps, like Christopher Lee, he'll have to wait till he's 87.

The paper also reported that Fiona, then 34, was threatening to sue James, then 57, for libel over a "blonde nutter" lead character called Jane Austen in his novel
Brrm! Brrm! She claimed Austen was plainly modelled on herself. Nothing happened thereafter. James only admitted that his literary character had the same hair, wrists and slash marks as Fiona.

So I caught up with Fiona - who used to write for
The Face, I-D and Blitz - to talk about what had mystified me all along: why she'd gone to the paper in the first place.

Darling, always a pleasure to talk with you. Clive James is back in the news and you've been mentioned. Again!

There was a big piece in the Sunday Telegraph the other week on his latest "alleged" infidelity with the opera singer that was taken from an account she wrote for The Oldie. The journalist covering it for the Sun. Tel. had a paragraph about me, that's all.

What are your thoughts on Howells?

I would like to add a couple of things. First of all, I'm not surprised to hear about the opera singer because I remember Clive telling me that he still saw old girlfriends. He said whenever he went back to Australia, he would sleep with a girlfriend he had gone out with in the late 50s, ages before he met his wife, and he's kept it going throughout his marriage.

When I wrinkled up my nose at the thought of him shagging an old bird (I was young, remember!), he said he loved women of all ages. He was quite flattering because he said I was the sort of woman who would always be fanciable, even when I got older. He also said he had girlfriends in many cities all over the world, who he saw whenever he was in their country.

By the way, I'm not the first young woman to have been bedded by Clive to appear in one of his books although he gave me the dubious honour of making me a lead character. In a book he wrote called The Remake, he told me a young blonde features in it who is based on a literary graduate he knew.

His sexual charisma is something else, and not immediately apparent I must say. But Fiona, why did you tell-all to the News of the World in the first place? Isn't it all a bit tacky?

The thing I want to point out about the NOTW story is that it wasn't me who kissed and told, it was Clive who kissed and wrote first. When I finally read the book (Brrm! Brrm!) I realised he had stolen my life lock, stock and barrel - so that I was totally recognisable to anyone who knew me; but he also had used it as an opportunity to put me down. Someone read it recently for the first time and emailed me to say that, in their opinion, it's very nasty and that I must have really got under the old boy's skin.

I gave Clive a chance. I called him and confronted him about the book and it was his response that made me decide to go to the papers. Bear in mind that when I rang him, it had been several years since the book had been published or since we had been in touch. He recognised my voice immediately, saying: "I wondered when I would hear from you. You took your time." Obviously he had been expecting me to contact him about it. He was very relaxed about it and still called me darling.

But what did he say about "your" character in his novel?

When I talked about the book, he denied it, and I asked him how he could do that, who was he kidding? I told him that I was considering legal action and it was his reply that told me just what an utter cunt the man is. He said, "Darling, the girl in the book takes drugs, is an alcoholic and a suicidal nut. Are you prepared to take the stand and admit that you used to be a junkie, drank like a fish and had psychiatric problems?"

To which I bravely replied, "If it's relevant, I'm not afraid to tell the truth." He said, "I think you will find, darling, that you won't be a credible witness. They won't take you seriously." I thought, "So, you stole my life without asking because it makes good material for your book but when I object, you're quite prepared to turn around and use it against me."

That's when my mind was made up. I would do to him what he had done to me: expose him publicly. I knew he would hate that more than anything because, although in those days his profile was high and he seemed to be everywhere, in fact, he is an intensely private man who likes to control his image very carefully and hates anything about his private life being revealed.

Can you believe it (so sure was he of himself) that at the end of that phone call, he actually had the cheek to say he missed me and invited me round to his flat? By the way, I called his publisher and they were very rude to me too, which wasn't very clever on their part.

So what did you do next?

As soon as I got off the phone, I called Max Clifford. However, I still think Clive got off lightly. Although they had the answering machine messages on tape, the NOTW lawyer said that, because he only mentioned love, but not sex, and considering Clive would probably sue, it was best to err on the safe side. That's why they didn't run the original story in the end but went with the fact that I had served a writ on him.

Why didn't you sue him?

Simply because I couldn't afford it. As you know, in this great country of ours, unless you are rich, you don't have a reputation worth defending. It cost £5,000 just to serve a writ on him. I was advised that, though I would probably win the case, Clive could afford the best lawyers who would do everything to got to delay the case until I ran out of money.

Max took his cut - I even got screwed there; he's supposed to take 20% and I got £20,000 from the NOTW. However, when I received my cheque from Max, it was for £15,000 so he'd actually taken 25%. I asked for the grand he owed me but never got it. Watching the way Max works is an education in itself but I'm not sure it was worth a quarter of my fee.

Incidentally, years later, when Clive thought it safe to do so, he more or less admitted to it, first in an interview in the Evening Standard, about four years ago, when he said something along the lines of I had "good reason" to complain. He also talked about me in an interview Ginny Dougary (is that her name?) did with him in The Times about 18 months ago. I've got it somewhere if you want me to dig it out.

Thanks Fiona. Let's talk again soon - about current work projects, life and, oh, anything really.

PS The Ginny Dougary interview in The Times for May 12, 2007: the relevant passage starts - after mention of Brrm! Brrm! - with James saying: “I’m sorry about her [Fiona]… she was a talented young girl.” Since there is something elegiac about his tone, I ask him whether she’s still alive. “I have no idea,” he says (she is). “She had some very...” Drug problems? “Yesss. I regretted that. The occasional busy journalist, especially in Australia, likes to run an article when they hear about this, saying that Clive’s marriage is on the rocks, and I have to point out, if I get the chance, that my marriage has been on the rocks for 40 years.” Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

Fiona's website click here.

And who's wearing the dildo belt at 1.25 on? Catch the face at 2.11.

Monday, June 15, 2009

'Celebrity cocks that have entertained me'

A certain incorrigible person of the world writes to Madame Arcati about her encounters of the celebrity cock kind. Adult content, poppets...

Dear Madame,

Given your obsession with cocks - you old size queen! - I should tell you that Clive James has quite a reasonable cock. I would put him at a quite broad 6 and a half inches to a seven.

David Lee Roth is a Princess Tinymeat, as is George Michael, as we all know, thanks to Brad Branson.

Steven Berkoff's is short but very very thick and Mickey Rourke couldn't get it up because he'd injected so much liquid valium.

***** ******** tells girls his cock is tiny as part of his chat up technique. When a man tells you his dick is small, naturally, you don't believe him. Well, he wasn't lying. I've already horrified you, no doubt, by telling you I've got a tiny cunt [in a section edited out, alas] but *****'s cock is so minute that I couldn't even tell when it was in me or not. He was very straight sexually. Thought I was a pervert when I suggested rimming and a bit of hanky spanky.

But he kept pestering me to have sex with another guy while he watched. When I told him ***** called that "homosexuality by proxy" he went mad!

Grace Jones tried to seduce me but I wouldn't go further than massage skin cream all over her. She used to lie in the bath for hours, full to the brim with bubbles. She was horny as fuck with anything that moved.

I've never slept with Keith Allen despite several attempts on his part. I can tell you more if you want to know. My mind is always in the gutter, looking up the stars skirts.

Your Friend Forever x

Dear Darling,

That'll be enough for now. Save the rest for your memoirs.

Love MA x

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Size queenery outbreak at Popbitch and Holy Moly

I am shocked at the preoccupation with cock size on Popbitch and Holy Moly - the two subscription slebby gossip sites. This week Popbitch reports that the Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker has "a large cock". Other eyewitness accounts include: "I was told at the weekend that Richard Herring has a surprisingly adequate cock" and new Dr Who Matt Smith is "Hung like a horse by the way!"

After the smelling salts I turned to Holy Moly for a spiritual douche and what did I read? "Shaun Wright-Phillips has a massive cock. Who else has a huge/small cock? We need to update our spreadsheet - Jim Kerr et al kept us going for years back in the ealry [sic] internet days, but not much is known about today's hip, young gunslingers. Is James Morrison packing heat? Is Lady GaGa's cock quite small?"

Far be it for me to play goss cupid but perhaps Holy Moly need look no further than Popbitch in its quest. In fact, a merger can't be far off: I shall pray for it.

I draw all this to your attention if only because Madame Arcati has gained a certain notoriety for publishing (possibly), er, enhanced photos of celebrity cock - to this day, the Daniel Radcliffe pics remain No 1 in the Arcati hit parade. Yet what may seem to some an unseemly fixation is in fact merely the manifestation of my Anna Wintour-like intimacy with the zeitgeist: whatever's out there will surface tastefully through my person, like the sugary dew that an aphid emits from its back end to a sentinel ant.

I have no new images for you today but here's a prize dick for you click here.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Arise, SIR Christopher Lee - and about time!

"Is that an electric cunt before me?" See comments

What have I been saying these past two years while you lot were loafing? I was demanding that the best actor in the English-speaking world, Christopher Lee, be knighted. Word had reached me that HM was listening and now she's delivered - though why SIR Christopher had to reach the age of 87 for this honour beats me. There are people who get their leg over a bike at 24, or run about in plimsolls at 19, and, oh!, a knighthood or a damehood in the post - just because they got up in the morning to show off their bodies. SIR Christopher makes about 500 films and a fortune for Hollywood and he has to get to virtually 100 for royal recognition: it's the curse of being a Gemini. I should know.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mark McGowan - why Bryn needs a Madame Arcati Lick-Wash

NoticeMe-meister Mark McGowan has sent me his latest video - his burning of the effigy of Gordon Brown. Why Gord? Why not David Cameron or that boring polyglot amoeba Nick Clegg or that fat BNP cunt Nick Griffin? McGowan's gone off a bit lately: he really screwed up on Jade and now he's worn the wrong party frock on Gord: Gord's got four planets in Pisces, OK?, so he can't help but be secretive, cryptic, sneaky, dour, grim, insincere, dark: astrologically he belongs to the shadows. Leave the man alone! He is precisely the leader we need for these tiresome times. He'll look the part in the history news footage. Ghastly! It's fate's synchronicity! Ask Sting.

But Mark has accidentally discovered a star - Bryn. He plays the piano and sings a song from 2:30 on (just skip through the Gordy idiot fire bit). I love this man. Wonderful voice, the piano is filthy sexy: his mack is disgusting: his hands are grubby: oh God, some people need a lick-wash, doncha think? D'ya think Bryn would like a Madame Arcati Lick-Wash? What's the song? - one line is "They're gonna take the baby into care" and another is "she's a disposable girl" and "she'll become a femme fatale". Name that tune, cunties.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

James Delingpole: Muslims, Farah and Chippy Drivel-gate

Comments are welcome. But highly insulting or plainly defamatory remarks will not be posted. In particular, comments of a personal or insulting nature about Farah Damji and Toby Young will be ignored.

So, where were we? Ah yes, James Delingpole. The writer, novelist and rightwing joker whose work appears often in the Telegraph and Spectator. Last month he started a curious conversation on Facebook about Muslims: he invited people to name a Muslim peer who had got his or her job on merit. Naturally this precipitated quite a row with fellow Facebook writer Farah Damji (what do you mean you've never heard of her!). The exchanges also feature the novelist Susan Hill. I make no comment. Oh, and do read Delingpole's book Welcome to Obamaland: I Have Seen Your Future and It Doesn't Work, click here. After you've read Farah's Try Me, click here.

James Delingpole
Can anyone name me a single Muslim peer who got the job on merit?
14:20 · via Twitter ·

Farah Damji at 14:23 on 03 May
Karan Bilamoria

Susan Hill at 14:26 on 03 May
How many peers of any faith or none got the position on merit ? 20%

Susan Hill at 14:26 on 03 May
That should have been 20% ?

James Delingpole at 14:30 on 03 May
You just made that one up didn't you Farah?

Farah Damji at 14:32 on 03 May
*drops her Mail on Sunday in shock *
Baron Bilamoria to the likes of you Mr D,_Baron_Bilimoria

James Delingpole at 14:35 on 03 May
Point taken Susan, but let's pick one target at a time. Baroness Uddin: £100,000 claimed from the taxpayer for a flat she didn't use; Lord Ahmed - killer, rabblerouser; Baroness Warsi - the Tories' chocolate fireguard on "Social Cohesion".

Farah Damji at 14:35 on 03 May
oh sorry, take it all back. But he is a Parsi, and they were kinda sorta one of "us Mossies," back in the day. Anyway he is brown. Isn't that your point?

James Delingpole at 14:46 on 03 May
Stop being so chippy Farah. And misleading for that matter.

Malcolm Hugh Delingpole at 07:52 on 04 May
Zoroastrianism = Islam ? Stretching it a bit!

Farah Damji at 09:44 on 04 May
Ah! Someone who knows the difference. Intelligent debate as opposed to rabble-rousing racism?

James Delingpole at 10:29 on 04 May
For FUCK'S SAKE Farah Damji. You really do have some gall. It was you who proposed Karan Bilamoria as your favourite Muslim peer. And now you have the bloody cheek to make out like I can't tell the difference. And since when was Islam a race?

Farah Damji at 10:43 on 04 May
I did. I made a mistake. I am not always right. And your initial comment was racist. Because I said so, learn Macpherson. "The definition of 'racist incident' should be: 'any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person'." After I realised Karan was a Parsi, I added three more Muslim Peers you haven't refuted. This is like the Sunny Hundial school of debate. Pointless.

James Delingpole at 10:57 on 04 May
Farah, are you stupid as well as annoying? I don't believe in the Macpherson report. No one with even half a brain believes in the Macpherson report. It set back the cause of race relations in this country by decades. If you want to talk chippy drivel go somewhere else.

Farah Damji at 11:05 on 04 May
As in Paki go home? I think you have lost this one. The Macpherson report is not a religion for you to believe in, unlike Islam. The Macpherson report remains the most important historical document YOUR country has produced since the Magna Carta. Chippy Drivel sounds like a character invented by you to cover up your "intelligence" which has as many holes as a hooker's fishnets. I'm bored with arguing with someone who can't hold an argument, can only lob insults. And not very good ones at that...later.

James Delingpole
All right, apart from Karan Bilamoria - inventor of that marvellous thing Cobra beer - name one other Muslim peer who got the job on merit

14:38 · via Twitter · Farah Damji at 14:43 on 03 May
GOTCHA. Wait calling my Jihadist friends for some back-up.

Farah Damji at 14:48 on 03 May
what is chippy? something to do with fishy? Off to the park, enjoy your snit.

Rob Stevely at 15:14 on 03 May
Jobs? Mostly I see muslims on the streets burning things in effigy and throwing stones at tanks

Jim Mellon at 19:49 on 03 May
and waht non Muslim peers got the job on merit?

James Delingpole at 20:25 on 03 May
entirely agree with you Jim. But that's a separate point.

Farah Damji at 20:37 on 03 May
Baroness Shreela Flather.

Josie Charlotte Jackson at 22:10 on 03 May
Easy: ÕÈÇÑ, ÔÌÑÉ ÇáÊíä ÇáÔæßí (Babylon English Arabic) or Êíä Ôæßì (plain ol' Arabic, Arabic) or "prickly pears" (English, English). Grown in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, prickly pears got the job of being used, most deliciously, in prickly pear juice.
Have a very, very nice week ( is it Monday over there yet?).

Farah Damji at 22:12 on 03 May,_Baroness_Prashar

Farah Damji at 07:13 on 04 May
Oh and Lord Ali.

Nirpal Dhaliwal at 3:04pm May 4
can anyone name me one single right-wing privately-educated white-boy hack who got his job on merit?

To listen to libertarian conservative Delingpole click here. There's no (unnatural) climate change, global recession is all Blair's fault (but he was right on the Iraq War), and other simplistic crap. Bush W's fault was that he "was a compassionate conservative". Is that a joke?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fake Madame Arcati messages from Facebook

A number of people have received messages from a "Madame Arcati" on Facebook in the last day or so - these are fake and the site is investigating. If you've received such a message please email it me in confidence. Thanks.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Farah Damji interview: 'No more criminals, hookers, journalists, lawyers'

Farah Damji's memoirs Try Me - published on July 6 - are the stuff of scandal. How's that for a hook? A writer and cultural commentator, a former editor, a former jailbird and now an ethical fashion designer who has blinged Madonna and Mary J, she is an "Indian woman who has lived, loved, fucked and fucked-up in spectacular fashion," according to Liz Jones' ex and newspaper columnist Nirpal Dhaliwal.

"Long before she went to prison for perverting the course of justice and theft, Farah Damji was making waves by being a coloured woman, living an anti-coloured woman's life," opens the press release for her book. The story she tells, which starts in Africa and then shifts to India, embraces the New York worlds of fashion, design and the city's glittery lowlife, always edged by celebrity, and her social, professional and sexual encounters with British media and literary figures. Her revelations, indiscretions, anecdotes and conclusions will upset and infuriate many of her subjects and their lap dogs.

If Farah sought reconciliation or redemption in writing this book she may find herself disappointed. On the other hand, her brutal X-ray honesty - which does not even begin at self-exculpation - is matched by a vivid and brilliant prose style which stands as some kind of virtue in itself. I have always been a sucker for elegant clarity. As the writer and filmmaker Farrukh Dhondy says of Try Me: "At last an immigrant autobiography that doesn't have a mission to complain."

Farah agreed to an email interview

Farah Damji! Before we get to the matter in hand - your upcoming memoirs Try Me - tell me your star sign and whether you think you're true or untrue to it. And while we're being mystical - you make many references to Hinduism in your book - have you ever consulted a psychic (if so, what was said?)

Sun sign in Libra but Scorpio everywhere else with a little light sprinkling of Leo. Librans are meant to be artistic and balanced and not temperamental. So one out of three is a fail grade. Psychics told me I would be married with the white picket fence by the time I was thirty. That fortune is a little late in the telling.

So, why did you write Try Me? It is fiercely honest and won't endear you to your critics.

I didn't write it to endear me to anyone. I am not particularly endearing. I wanted to tell my story in my own words.

How hard did you have to sell the proposition for Try Me? Was it hard going or a walk over?

Sold it three times. Once to a Big Book Publisher who then decided they were going to change MY life story after I had signed in blood on the dotted line and spent the advance. Sold it then to a teeny weeny (un)publisher who turned out to be a neo-Ghandian, post-nuclear proto-feminist who wanted to use my book to push hers and her brother's and then I landed, in the midst of drowning and not waving, like the little animals two-by-two, in the safe sanctuary of The Ark Press.

It was an easy sell because people thought they could re-package it so the story became a facsimile of itself. A popular genre at the time (2007) was Indobrit Chic-lit, it was a bit like looking in a watery reflection, in a murky lake. They didn't realise that I wasn't motivated by anything else than the need to tell MY story in my words so it was easy to walk away when things became contrary to commissioning pillow talk. I think most commissioning editors and literary agents are spawned from the devil's own seed.

Darling, now look. There's no nice way of saying this, but you've been baaaaaaad. Jailed in the US, imprisoned for perverting the course of justice in the UK, working for underworld kingpins in New York, meeting Mafia bosses, writing the kiss 'n' tell about your affair with the married travel writer William Dalrymple and having another affair with a married man, Allan Jenkins of the Observer, and more. What's the worst thing you've done of which you are ashamed?

The thing which I am most ashamed about are the years I have wasted by being absent in my children's lives. That can never be replaced and they are the ones I value the most. Shame is a waste of time. Who is going to get anything from it? I feel bad about you making me feel bad and that negativity erodes my sense of worth and success so the desire to be a "good" person is worn down. But these are all other people's ego-based value judgements. I did crime, lots of it, I was sentenced by a Judge, I did my time. People need to learn to get on with it. I certainly have. I contacted everyone ( I could find) when I came out prison and I wrote to them and apologised for being such a shit. Most were incredibly kind and gracious, one or two (mostly Asian media wannabes) were vile and cold. What to do?

How do you think the wives of these men will feel about certain intimate revelations in your book?

Oh Madame Arcati. I don't know and I don't care. These wives' husbands were sniffing around like dogs sniff bitches on heat. If a man cheats once and a woman puts up with it, she has created a vacuum where there used to be trust and commitment. If you marry a rake, be prepared to be muck-raked. Both these men are serial adulterers, I wasn't the first and I certainly wasn't the last in either case. These wives stayed, whereas I wouldn't, so I can't say what they might feel, I feel differently.

I take it Allan was better in bed than William ....?

Couldn't possibly say but now that you mention it....

How do you think your family will react to private revelations about certain matters?

My parents are stuck like adolescent narcissists. I am sure they think they were perfect parents who provided every material comfort that money could buy. Indeed they did. But they were and continue to be lousy parents. I don't judge them, I just don't want them in my life, they do the best that they can and it isn't ever going to be enough so the best thing is to stop having the expectation that they will change and find that lost love elsewhere. TV or chocolate are good substitutes. Besides, who cares? I have been disinherited by my daddy decades ago...

You write in Try Me: "I’ve lived like a lost butterfly that flutters this way and that, seeking warmth and nourishment. I sought shelter from the sun that burnt my wings, yet I craved her warmth. I wanted the light." Outside metaphor, define light and warmth. And if there's one person I could promise you would never have to meet again, who would he or she be?

Light and warmth are unconditional love and acceptance, from your god, your children, your lover. It's what I sought outside myself my whole life, but never found. Light to me means God-sense in my life. I have that now. There isn't one person, I would like to never set eyes on again, there is a whole village, we'll swap names later...

I see you know The New York Post's gossip writer Richard Johnson. What's he like?

Nasty little piece of work. He doesn't really do anything anymore, he's so ******* by noon that his sidekick the scary Paula Froelich does it. Paula used to be a sweet thing, worked as the receptionist at the Holmes Place on Fulham Road but is now a little caught up in her own reflected glory. Last I heard she'd written a book of scraps and tidbits, leftovers they couldn't use on Page Six.

Indobrit - which you edited - was launched in 2002, a quarterly magazine for British Asians living in the UK. You wrote in the New Statesman of your father who left the UK and returned to Africa: "He had had enough of the British, his bastard bank manager and all the things that reminded him that, despite owning the best bespoke suits and a sizeable chunk of Soho, he was still regarded as un-British." Is this one reason why you think multi-culturalism is a con?

I think it is a con because there's no such thing. We aren't meant to be this great big melting pot society at all. We're "meant" to redefine our own versions of who we are all the time, we are all works in progress. Besides, more and more people are mixed race, live in more than one place, don't necessarily conform to the norms of their birth culture. We need to achieve transculturalism, wherein we look "above" a person's culture or creed into what that person is inside.

Are the Brits inherently racist?

I think Lord McCauley sums it up better than I ever could, in 1835 in his speech to Parliament, about India. The British are inherently fearful, that they are not good enough or that they will be "found out." Of course not all of them, but an unpleasant BNP backing minority. "I do not think we would ever conquer this country ... for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation”

Where are you with Toby Young? He described you as a "a nasty little Indian" which he denies. Then I read Geordie Greig of the London Evening Standard was offering his services as a peace-maker. What's going on?

I awe Toby Young. What a strange thing to call me when he could have called me so much else? We are spectacularly fine. As long as he stays on his side of the bed / planet / universe and I stay on mine, we will have no more friction. It was all due to Mercury in Retrograde, bad communication and all that. Didn't the Americans cook him and eat him on Celebrity Carnivore?

Have you changed? Could you resist major temptations again? How do you know when you've changed?

Yes. I think I make better choices. I think you know when you have changed by the people who are in your life. It's a reflection of what is going on inside, in a way. So no more gangsters, criminals, hookers, journalists, lawyers, j/k. Some very solid good old friends have always stuck through sick and sin but some talented and lovely new people have entered my life too. To stay.

If there's one thing you could change about jail, it would be ....

The horribly itchy polyester sheets. I missed my Pratesi, darling. No seriously, the entire Criminal Justice system needs to be completely overhauled. Thankfully we have been relieved of that god-awful Jacquie Smith [as Home Secretary] but the prison estate is too huge and unwieldy for any effective change to take place.

I am involved in a Prison Project which teaches accountability and responsibility. I think criminals change when we as a society start to realise that we are all part of the problem and that crime doesn't exist outside of determining factors such as class, background, economics and race.

We need a much more reformative, restorative system not just one that exists only to punish. Big stick no carrot can't work. Not everyone can write a book in prison and it's a human shame that so much talent, time and potential isn't put to better use. And I don't mean making number plates, I mean teaching people in the prison system real life skills so they can go out and live valuable lives, not repeat old crimes and go back into the cycle.

Finally tell us something about your life now. Would you edit another magazine if you could?

Ethical fashion, working on a big presentation for a big high street chain, who are not too well-known for their current stand on ethics in fashion. You can't use organic cotton and then chain some sub-continental kid to his sewing machine for fourteen hours a day and pay him £1 and call it an ethical garment. There has to be complete transparency all the way down the chain, from how the textile crop is grown, dyed, manufactured, stitched, finished and to how the final item is packaged, marketed, paid for and transported. It's more than just soothing our Guardian-singed consciences because we feel we "should" do something or support a movement.

No more magazines for me, been asked but Dead Tree Media is endangered and it's a soulless life, I wouldn't want to go back to it. I love writing and am formulating a plot for my second book. My life provides fertile ground for stories! Watch this space...

Farah, I wish you all the best with your fascinating and brilliantly written book.

More about Farah and Try Me extracts, click here

To order a copy of Try Me, click here

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Quentin Crisp and Arnold Schwarzenegger: When they met on a date

An Arcatiste in the post two below asks where he or she can read about Duncan Fallowell's mad lunch at San Lorenzo with his companions Quentin Crisp and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Duncan replies: "Yes, it's in my collection 20th Century Characters published by Vintage, now out of print, but available secondhand on Amazon. Perhaps I should post it on my site since it has a wildness about it you don't come across in journalism today. Richard Davenport-Hines cites that particular lunch as one of the greats in his book on Proust at the Majestic. Even then the Governor of California was an unstoppable force of charm and ambition." To buy click here

Porn king Pierre Woodman: 'Pope is right on condoms'

Pierre Woodman and his stars

A whole page of the Sun today is devoted to an ad for Xcalibur: The Lords of Sex, a full-length porno movie take on the Arthurian legend which cost a surprisingly incontinent £700k to make. That puts its "legendary" director Pierre Woodman up there with James Cameron or even Cecil B DeMille as a blockbuster (relatively) big spender. As the ad promises of the movie: "It starts with an epic battle involving hundreds of extras... " Extras? Not armoured soldiers? Call a spade a spade, I guess.

The movie datebase Imdb does have a bio Woodman entry but you can't find his name just by tapping it into the site's search box. Oh no. He's not respectable, see, though he's done photographic work for Vogue. You have to do that via Google or some other search engine and find a way in through a feature or promo site which features him. And then you find him on Imdb. Born April 29, 1963, Auvergne. His 200-movie oeuvre as director includes Superfuckers and the Private Casting series. As actor he has starred in 60-odd flicks including Hustler: Anal Intensive.

So moralisers will be surprised to learn that he is in full agreement with the Pope on the subject of condoms. "Today everyone makes a big deal about what Pope Benedict XVI said, you know, that condoms help to get AIDS. In fact, what he said is not so stupid," Woodman pronounced at the Eros Show 2009, Sofia, last March. "In terms of pure sexuality - he [the Pope] said condoms help spread AIDS, and in a way this is true. Because the governments all over the world push people to use condoms by telling them, 'Use condoms, and you will be protected'. But no one has the balls to say that every time you get a deep throat blowjob this is the same as having unprotected sex, sex without a condom. Because no one uses condoms for blowjobs.

"Because no one tells people they should use a condom for every part of their sexual experience. They just tell them, 'Use a condom'. Thus, the teenagers beginning their sexual life figure that they can get any blowjob with any girl without any danger which is not true. So when they say that they in fact help spread AIDS. This is terrible. And nobody in the government of any country on the planet has the balls to say that. So what the Pope said was not so stupid after all."

Good to see the Pope in good company. How do you avoid HIV infection then? Read the interview here. Woodman for Pope?

Oh, and the trailer for Xcalibur ...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Quentin Crisp: His ghost cracks a joke in Australia

Quentin Crisp's spirit pops up in Australia. Photo Panja Jurgens: Crisp as the Angel of Peace

Did you know the Spirit World has an agent-cum-PR on the earth plain? Not something you're likely to read in your average newspaper diary, is it? - thank goodness for free-thinking blogs!

The PR in question is called Zerdin Phenomenal - or Phenonemal as pronounced on its website audio - appointed by the departed (or the Other Side) to arrange psychic tours, materialisation events and medium demonstrations around the world.

One of its more interesting recent claimed spirit materialisations is that of Quentin Crisp, as witnessed by Arcati's friend in Australia, the retired lawyer Victor Zammit - B.A. (Psych.) (Univ.of NSW), Grad. Dip.Ed. (Syd. Coll. Adv. Educ now Univ.Tech.Syd.), Dip. Hypn. - (from the School of Hypnotic Sciences - adjunct to a major in Psychology), M.A. (Legal Hist.,Constl. Law) (Univ.of NSW), LL.B. (Univ.of NSW), Ph.D., lawyer, ... a retired attorney of the Supreme Court of the New South Wales and the High Court of Australia. No less.

Victor reports that Quentin - or Quinton as he calls him - was in "top form" and treated his audience to his "usual sharp wit". And his "voice was particularly clear and sharp." If only the Psychic World paper had also run the transcript! Details details details, darlings. And then some. A report without details is a mere burp in a typhoon.

Meantime, back to Zerdin. Could someone repair its website Spirit Voices audio. There aren't any.

So in the absence of a tranny - I mean transcript - I'm playing this (I'm sure Quentin would appreciate it)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Julie Burchill: 'I failed to out George Michael!'

To think, George Michael tried to out himself to Julie Burchill many years before his cop cock-cocking loo encounter. And she didn't notice!

"My first interview when I left NME was with George Michael," she tells Platform. "It was ten years before he came out as gay and was just about to break up Wham! Our chat was this big deal for The Times where he was hoping to re-introduce himself as a singer songwriter.

"I met him again after he was busted in the toilet and revealed he was gay. He said, 'Did you not understand what I was trying to do in that interview? I really wanted to come out and I thought that was the opportunity to do it, but you just didn’t notice.' I asked him what it was I 'hadn’t noticed' and he said, 'Do you remember that I stood there with one hand on my hip? And when the tea arrived I said, "Shall I be mother?” Did you not think that added up to something?'

"I thought he was just being friendly. He said he was camping around and I was totally oblivious. He’s adorable."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Martin Amis: Teeth, literature and sneaky cock-cunting

When you have quite grown tired of the Katie and Peter (non-)revelations in the tabloids, do catch up with our cultural elite and their past cock-cunting activities. In Intelligent Life magazine, writer Julie Kavangh has written a beautiful memoir of love and life with Martin Amis in the '70s. Interestingly, it's a "consensual kiss and tell" because Amis himself contributes to her disclosures. Very post-mod. He is of course working on his own "blindingly" autobiographical novel.

In the piece there's much about Martin's teeth, cleverness, literary friends - such as Clive James and Christopher Hitchens - and skinny-dipping. He signed notes to Kavanagh as LS - Lazy Shit. My favourite bit reflects unkindly on Martin's sneaky side. Kavanagh recounts his infidelities with, among others, the critic Lorna Sage and Churchill’s granddaughter, Emma Soames and her own best friend.

Kavanagh describes a dinner with Clive James and Sage as evidence of Amis’ cunning duplicity. “I thought that Martin and Lorna were doing more than just sitting side by side, and after picking up the fork I’d dropped, had my suspicions confirmed.” Was Lorna giving him a hand-job under the table? We're not told.

To read more, click here. Or if you can't be bothered, I understand the Sunday Times is publishing the piece this weekend. Oh no, I tell a lie. The Telegraph's publishing it tomorrow (Wednesday) - I do hope I've not scooped them. They outbid the ST.


A cultural critic writes: Julie's story is an Oxbridge and cerebral Grease template: Danny -"Martin Amis" - Zuko and Julie - "Sandy Olsson" - Kavanagh are the alpha-exemplars of their gender-based tribes: Danny's T-Birds could easily be Mart's gang members Clive, Hitch and the rest. Danny impresses Sandy with the cool emblemised by his black jackets and hold over his macho followers in much the same way as Julie is awed by Mart's The Rachel Papers and his kinship with fellow harbingers of future glamour: both men are custodians of the finest sperm of their generation (within a given affordable locality). Mart/Danny finds aspects of Julie-Sandy uncool: Julie does not appear to know the difference between Keats and Yeats - the cement of his male bonds - just as Sandy is not part of Danny's cultural reference system. Perhaps the stories differ only in the way they end.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Julie Burchill: What she actually wrote about Cosmo

The London Evening Standard last week published a polite corrective from the goddess Julie Burchill in response to some nonsense from her second ex-husband and Sunday Times film critic Cosmo Landesman. Alas, the original draft of the letter was somewhat less polite. Here it is:

"I was amused to read my former husband Cosmo Landesman's remark (Londoner's Diary) that I hadn't read a single book for the Jewish Quarterly Wingate literary prize I was recently honoured to be on the judging panel of - because, apparently, I have 'never read a book.'

"If the ignorant tool had not been such a dullard during our decade-long marriage then perhaps I would not have been so eager to finish off the complete works of Patrick Hamilton/Oscar Wilde/Graham Greene during many a numbing night. Didn't he notice? No, but then it took him two months to notice I'd run off with my teenage editorial assistant!

"Oddly unmoving though it is to have my literacy dissed by a man who writes English as though it is his third language, I would have expected him to have had more respect for the talented Jewish writers whose books I so thoroughly loved reading - especially for the late Fred Wander, whose breathtaking, heart-breaking account of the Holocaust, The Seventh Well, was the deserving winner."

Danny La Rue: The cock that dared not speak its name

1927 - 2009

Danny La Rue. For many over a certain age he was their introduction to the rumour of public sexual deviancy.

Once upon a time most people would say (if only to themselves): "I don't think I know anyone who's queer". They suspected people of private queerdom somewhere over there, but silence usually kept the question open. The savage normals can just about cope with the unexpressed.

For years, Danny denied being gay - though for years earlier he hadn't been asked where he put his cock - and this lie was essential for the preservation of his family entertainment/musical hall status.

Sofa anthropologists suspected Danny of queerdom, of course - why wear a dress? And that voice! - but he was such an entertaining woman, and where was Danny? In his wigs, frocks and slap he was this reincarnation of wombless flamboyant femininity.

People want to believe what they see provided the mask fits and the lines are learnt. Seamless presentation is the key. We will always give the benefit of the doubt to a class act. Then the overt entertainment queers came along and Danny seemed a bit antiquated because his mask rather than his sexuality was still to the fore. He wasn't politico-sexual or ironic. He gave no cock-cocking backstory to the stage act. He still wasn't making an issue of his misunderstood cock. Danny couldn't stop self-censoring because he knew that if he did stop he wouldn't be Danny La Rue anymore.

I suspect in drag heaven it will be more of the same.

Granta: Editor Alex Clark flung into the void