Monday, August 31, 2009

Celebrity victims named in media privacy scandal

Joanna Lumley, Ian Hislop, Caprice Bourret, Bill Wyman, Peter Mandelson, John Cleese, Prince Charles' personal assistant, Tiggy Legge-Bourke, Jeremy Paxman, James Naughtie, Kate Adie, Peter Sissons and even former News of the World editor Phil Hall are identified today by the Guardian as among those whose personal lives were invaded by private investigators working for newspapers, magazines and broadcasters.

More than 17,500 requests from more than 400 journalists were made to access databases - such as British Telecom and the DSS - even though such access is a "criminal offence unless there is a clear public interest to justify it." The report adds: "They [PIs] also conned hotels, banks, prisons, trade unions and the post office into handing over sensitive information." No attempt has been made to prosecute news organisations. Just how useless is the law?

These detailed records belong to Hampshire private investigator, Steve Whittamore. For the full story click here. Nick Davies' extensive report - with names named - click here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jonathan King writes his uncensored, 'salacious' memoirs

I hear Jonathan King is working on his memoirs - about 150,000 words done so far: the final draft could be as hefty as 200,000.

It will probably be out this Christmas, a feat only possible by self-publishing. This way, he tells me, "it doesn't get censored and looks brilliant."

He plans to "print up a couple of thousand and let a publisher take it if they offer enough... also, that way, it [will] be instantly available via Amazon 'and all good book shops' and I know we can shift several hundred from sales on the DVD of Vile Pervert: The Musical." He adds, "VPTM is about to hit 40,000 full length views/downloads - hoping to hit 50,000 by year end."

What revelations does he plan to make? "It's packed with salacious stuff and dripping with scandal... with LOTS of photos," is all he will say.

Arcati's review of Vile Pervert. King as Wilde ...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dorian Gray: Censored and de-queered for the Wuthering Heights mob?

Ben Barnes as Dorian: simply not gorgeous enough

I fear Oliver Parker's new flick Dorian Gray (released in the UK on Sept 9) has de-queered Oscar Wilde's Gothic moral tale (The Picture of Dorian Gray).

Judging by the hetero-screaming trailer (below) alone, there is not a trace of the saturation camp of the book's early pages. Colin Firth is the personification of redundant cock-cuntery as Lord Henry Wotton while Ben "Prince Caspian" Barnes as Dorian is simply not beautiful enough: there must in Dorian's face be a suggestion of polysexual libertinage, a trace at least of the capacity to be "fatal to young men" through "friendship" (Wilde's necessary euphemistic way of describing cock-cockery in Victorian England). Dorian has to be exquisitely, ambiguously gorgeous to explain why he transacts with some unseen Satan to preserve his youth.

Imran Abbas. A more suitable Dorian?

Barnes has a dashing, OK face for the Wuthering Heights sofa sisterhood. Not worth saving.

Parker appears to have replaced the implied homosex of the original with some fashionable and graphic S&M - but then botched it via the British censor. The BBFC reports Momentum submitted an incomplete version of the film for advice on getting a 15 cert to avoid a less commercial 18.

The nanny twerps report: "A scene in which a tea party is intercut with shots showing Dorian's sadomasochistic excesses was toned down to remove or reduce the more explicit moments (explicit sight of a fingernail being pulled off, explicit sight of a chest being cut with a razor in a sexual context, explicit sight of blood being sucked from a woman's breasts and sight of a restrained man being beaten). Additionally, a murder scene was toned down to remove the sense of dwelling on the infliction of pain and injury (reduction in the number of stabbings, removal of a blood spurt from man's neck, reduction in sight of victim choking on his blood)."

Or Robert Pattinson, of Twilight fame

None of this sounds remotely interesting in the least, just sub-Tarantino or sub-Hostel. Parker's attempt to locate a modern taboo fell at the commercial hurdle, it appears. Let's see.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gavin James Bower: Nice bod, what about the novel?

Gavin James Bower

Gavin James Bower is helping to sex-up the world of letters with his debut novel Dazed & Aroused. Its themes and terrain - fashion, vacuity, coke, superficiality, runways, Kate Moss - resonate nicely as Bret Easton Ellis generational updates while playing shrewdly on universal media preoccupations. The PR mega-plus - that he himself is a former high fashion runway model and looks it - must have caused a ripple to pass along Quartet publisher Naim Attallah's perineum: beauty and literariness is a romantic and potent mix in the world of Snipcock & Tweed. It may spell profit but mostly it promises psycho-dramatic glamour.

If you can't find it then invent it - hence Katie Price.

All this may seem most unfair on Gavin. He has after all written a novel, and one that's enchanted a few critics by all accounts. There is a grave suspicion he can write and tell tales. I put it like that because I cannot be certain I shall ever read Dazed & Aroused.

Like most people these days I hardly ever read fiction. You read the reviews and author interviews and perhaps the chapter excerpts on Amazon (if any). You ask people at parties about the author in question and the troops at the front (the "readers") spoon feed you a view. That view then gets repeated by you until it becomes a quotation in a review of the author's subsequent work. Copies may be sold but how many get read cover-to-cover?

I stopped reading modern (literary) fiction when I realised I was more intelligent than most novelists, knew more about life than they do, wrote better than most of them, was blessed with greater human insight, didn't need to kill time and have found more productive ways of getting through the day, and tend to mentally rewrite (improve) the work-in-hand as I go along . Most of the people I know who read modern fiction tend to fall into one of the following:

1. Professional reader
2. Unread
3. Depressed
4. Aspiring novelist
5. Fan

There's nothing wrong with any one of the above. But it's as well to know your market. I think Gavin will do very well. I am happy to tell you that I think his novel is probably quite entertaining, judging by the reviews. Being gorgeous-looking is no literary demerit - F Scott Fitzgerald looked fuckable in his prime - a great many novelists share a certain pulchritude up to the age of 31. Please feel free to use my hearsay in future reviews of Gavin's work. Here, I'll give you a quote: "The British heir to Bret Easton Ellis".

Interview with Gavin
Buy it if you dare
Gavin's blog

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dominic Mohan: A Gemini mind forced to slum it at The Sun?

Dominic Mohan

The new editor of The Sun is a Madame Arcati-/Katie Price-style Gemini - and for that reason alone I offer him my congratulations. Mercury-dominated Gemini is the sign of and for the media: so I shall be expecting great things of him, such as the sackings of all his charisma-free columnists - all useless. The jury's still out on Gordon Smart (see below).

Too little time to do Dominic's horoscope properly, but I've managed something . He was born on May 26, 1969. Where is not clear. Every profile of him says he's "from Bristol". Does this mean he was born in Bristol? I am assuming it does. In any case provided he was born in that locality it makes little difference.

I have used for a rapid analysis so I can't be accused of shaping material by what I know. His Sun (not Sun) in the 10th House "promises honour, success, and prestige in adult life. Publicly you appear as a vital, proud, powerful person. Your individuality has the need to manifest itself publicly and often to foist its energy on others."

His Moon in the 2nd House explains his current red top focus: "Occupationally, you are going to be inclined to pursue money through popular activities. In any case, expect a fortune which holds variation and fluctuation. Try to orient your monetary dealings to the general public for you possess the ability to succeed when in touch with the popular masses." So, you see, it was all meant to be. He has found his calling.

A more curious feature of his chart is a disconnect between his brain power and station in life. A number of placements suggests a refined mind but one forced to slum it a bit. I'm sure editing the Sun will balance things out. "In a subtle fashion, fate may force you to become involved in activities that are not up to the level of your abilities," I read. Could this be that in his heart he cringes at the prospect of yet another front page Jordan cock-cunting tale or of whisking his troops off to Butlin's for some bonding with the working classes? I do not know. I can only wonder.

His Moon in Virgo makes him fairly easy to deal with (confirmed by people I know) and I doubt there will be many Rebekah-style hysterics. He is highly analytical and if he has a fault it is his indecisiveness. Presumably he has conquered this. For sure, this guy's a worker. He's a worm in the burrowing sense of the word.

If the mood takes me I may do a full horoscope to see how long he's likely to last.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Robert Tewdwr Moss murder: 13 years ago

August 24 marked the 13th anniversary of the murder of writer Robert Tewdwr Moss - a close friend whose life was taken just as he finished his travel book Cleopatra's Wedding Present: Travels Through Syria that would make his posthumous name. A day does not pass that I do not think of him. For my memories of him click here.

Cleopatra's Wedding Present: click here. To order a copy click here.

Philip Hoare's obituary of Robert in the Independent: click here
Philip Hensher's bedside reading: click here
Chroma review: click here

First line from Cleopatra's Wedding Present:
The hot wind that had carried the early heat wave into town was laden with fine brown dust and clotted with diesel fumes, so that when it abated the suffocating heat laced with dirt hung like a cloak around us and grey clouds loomed above the chaos of the streets. First few pages click here

Some reviews of Cleopatra's:

‘The book’s series of entertaining vignettes is testimony not only to the author’s literary skills but to his courage, curiosity and happy knack of befriending anyone he met’
Mail on Sunday

‘This elegant work stands comparison with early Evelyn Waugh’

‘A work with the potential to become a cult classic’

‘A small masterpiece and a delicate work of English whimsy’
Sunday Times

Details of Robert's death and of his killers: click here

Robert's killers may be free in 2 years' time - still young men:
Isa Abdul Aziz can apply for parole in September 2011: click here
Rondell Karl Pereira can apply for parole in October 2011: click here

Some comfort: "Even once their tariffs expire, neither man will be released until they can persuade the Parole Board they pose no serious public danger. When freed, they will remain on perpetual life licence, subject to prison recall if they get into trouble with the law again." This Is Chesire

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gordon Smart loses his Madonna Candy Hard-on

Celebration: A past and present coadunation of Madgestic sounds

Diddums! What did Madonna do to the Sun's Bizarre hack Gordon Smart? Forget to send him a freebie? Today he gives her a good rubbishing in the wake of Radio 1's decision not to playlist her new single Celebration. "Her Madgesty's last album, Hard Candy, didn't do as well as expected. Probably because it was rubbish," he scribbles in his best GCSE-level prose. "I'm also sick of the sight of her parading around in her undercrackers." Why, because she's 51? Rhetorically, as he attempts to stay down with the kids, he asks: "COULD this be the beginning of the end of MADONNA's reign as the Queen Of Pop?"

Oh Gord!

Oh dear. Was it only a year ago - on Aug 25, 2008, to be precise and four months after the Hard Candy release - that he had a waking wet dream over her Sticky & Sweet tour. "Madonna's energy and performance is incredible," he jizzed. "I doff my cap to a 50-year-old pole-dancing and double-dutch skipping mother. Without question, Madonna is still the Queen Of Pop. Long live the Queen." Get the Kleenex out.

It's hard (candy) not to laugh.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thelondonpaper - closure is announced as Arcati predicted ...

... as recently as April 30, 2007. Click here. Private Eye is also to be congratulated on casting doubts on the paper's future in its latest issue. While I am sorry about the job losses, nothing can forgive the openly ageist practices of the publication. So much for giving jobs to babies! More here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Josh Spero of Spear's: 'As for my bed, I did just kick a banker out'

Josh Spero, senior editor and website editor of Spear's. Click here for its website

Leathered Arcatistes will know that Madame Arcati has been most teasing of the publisher, editor and journalist William Cash. His writings, for instance, in ES Magazine are characterised by an extraordinary fixation on the super-wealthy and their gilt-edged micro-habitats: others might call this fixation his specialism. Inevitably, he owns and edits the quarterly Spear's magazine - itself a respected bible for the world's mega-monied.

Remotely, astrologically and Twitterly I have struck up a fleeting acquaintance with William's wife Dr Vanessa Neumann - an intriguing socialite whose chart reveals both a committed humanitarianism and a taste for sensation.

Now, remotely, I have made a connection with Josh Spero, senior editor of Spear's, and I couldn't resist asking him to talk about his work - and what it is like to work for William Cash.

Josh Spero! Hello. You're the senior editor and website editor of Spear's magazine - which means you work for one of Madame Arcati's frequent targets of interest, William Cash. Tell me about Spear's - it's all about wealth and the wealthy isn't it?

Hi, Madame - I liked your latest incarnation on Broadway - Angela Lansbury doing a turn. Spear's is about wealth but it's much more than that - people want authoritative intelligence about and analysis of global finance and the best writers on art, luxury and travel. Combined with our trademark witty style, it's the whole package.

What in Spear's terms is the minimum worth of a wealthy person?

We usually say £3 million - but anyone who's interested (wealth-regardless) can subscribe or read all our content plus blogs on

Spero/Spear's: do you think your name had anything to do with your appointment? And tell us briefly about yourself - are you innately interested in the wealthy? Where else you have worked and who shares your bed at night.

The name is a happy coincidence; I always think that being edited by William Cash and worked on previously by Sophia Money-Coutts is more apt. It doesn't go unnnoticed, tho'. The wealthy are interesting because - like any anthropological group - they have their own customs, hangouts and events, and it just happens that to observe them in their natural habitat you go to Berkeley Square, not Borneo.

My first job in journalism was hateful nightshifts on the Independent, after which (as the saying goes) I went freelance and wrote for the Guardian's ArtsBlog for a while. Then I met William at a party, freelanced for Spear's for a year and came on board permanently last July. It was July 14, Bastille Day - except this time I felt I was storming the fortress of the rich *on the side of* the rich.

As for my bed, I'm wretchedly single, tho' I did just kick a banker out. (This wealth thing is getting to me.) If any man considers himself eligible, my email's not hard to find.

And what do you do precisely? What time do you start work and end?

9-6 Monday-Thursday writing for, editing, commissioning the magazine and running with its blogs, newswire, party pics and all else. But a journalist's work continues in the evening - all the events (as fun as they are) are business as much as pleasure.

Tell me of the most interesting story Spear's has run of late.

There's Conrad Black's diary from jail (, which got into the Sunday Times - he's unrepentant and on the verge of being proved right. Christopher Silvester wrote about what the wealthy should do when they're arrested, which is looking likely after l'affaire UBS.

William Cash

What's William Cash like - I mean is he hands-on? Does he rage and storm about as many editors do? Or is he an ocean of calm? Does he have an eccentricty? Anna Wintour I hear chucks coins from her purse into her wastepaper basket.

William doesn't rage or storm - he prefers to get things done. I've learnt a lot about how to run a magazine from him. He has, tho', been known to come in two days before going to press and say, I've commissioned this piece... He also says 'unacceptable' a fair amount.

Does William know you're doing this interview? I've been quite naughty about him in the past. Did he say, "Be careful of that crazed blogger Madame Arcati"?

He doesn't know, but that's because we've been mid-office-move for a fortnight so I've been working from home. I don't think he's ever issued a fatwa in your honour.

Who do you think is the best writer on the subject of money and wealth - best in the sense of style and accuracy? And who is the best connected?

John Arlidge is Spear's Chancellor of the Excessive - he's a whiz on luxury - and Stephen Hill is our prescient, acerbic economic commentator ( I have to mention Anthony Haden-Guest (, our arts editor, who is a legend both sides of the Atlantic and one of my favourite writers. William has some pretty good connections - you say 'Do you know someone who...?' and he invariably does.

What were you doing in Switzerland the other day?

I was interviewing the CEO of Hublot watches in Geneva. It's my second visit there this year, after Design Miami/Basel and Art Basel. It's nice but I'm a London boy through and though - it was way too small.

One of my beefs is that too many magazines and newspapers are preoccupied with wealth and status. Taking your Spear's cap off for a moment, what do you think?

Definitely. If you talk about wealth and status, don't fetishise them, which is the mistake most papers make - they can be serious objects of study and comment too.

William got back control of Spear's lately. Tell us about that and what difference that's likely to make to the magazine and to you.

William rescued Spear's from Luxury Publishing - and it feels good to be independent. With new investment, we've got our sights set on the world - we already have a Russian edition and we're looking forward to Indian and far eastern ones too. As for the difference to me, plus ca change...

Who is the most fascinating rich person in the world? - and why.

I don't think I can name one but I can pick a whole class - entrepreneurs. Everyday I meet and write about them, and the fizz of their brains makes them bound to succeed. They see the holes in the world where no-one else does and have the energy, creativity and intelligence to plug them. It's like watching kaleidoscopes of genius.

In a few words tell us where serious wealth resides these days and is it moving any place? For instance, is the Russian oligarchy about to implode?

At the moment, Russia and the Middle East are heavily oil-dependent for wealth, which is a mixed blessing. As for implosion, it's already happened - most have been bailed out by the Kremlin. I'd look to China in the future - it can only go up.

Vanessa Neumann

I did your horoscope, Josh. Capricorns such as yourself have a natural affinity with high status; your Moon in Leo makes you confident, exuberant even, with a keen sense that you can beat others at their game. It's a good leadership indicator provided arrogance is reined in. Your tender side does not always get properly expressed. Together, the placements make you independent, and eager for authority: indeed people with this combo often successfully seek high positions in large enterprises. Integrity is important to you. As I don't have your time of birth I can't calculate your Rising Sign, but other placements worth mentioning: Saturn in your 2nd House oddly enough puts a focus on finances - this can mean that lessons learnt in life will be through a preoccupation with money as well as hard work which does not generate much in the way of financial rewards. The Sun in your 4th House makes you dominant in family situations, can indicate a very close attachment to at least one parent, and is often found in people who make a "family" of friends or colleagues. Your Moon in the 11th House assures you a wide social circle among all classes and an ease with the powerful. This is an extremely brief horoscope I'm afraid - but does it ring true?

Gosh, it does - it's almost like you've seen my forthcoming autobiography (as yet unwritten). Confident - you can't be a meek journalist. Exuberant - I'd hope so. Tender - give me the chance (see above). And a wide social circle - I mistakenly synced my iPhone with my address book and wound up with 2000 names.

Where would you like to be in, say, five years' time?

I'd like to carry on in financial journalism, so maybe the Economist or FT, but my secret ultimate ambition is to present Front Row on Radio 4.

Thank you Josh! Give my love to William!

Spear's website click here

Monday, August 17, 2009

Social Shuttle Exclusive: Arnie seeks Aussie digs!

The Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is looking to buy a farm in Berry - a small but chic country town in New South Wales, Australia. For more read here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Candy Pratts Price: How Gord could get back in FASHahhn

CPP © Dimitrios Kambouris/ executive fashion director Candy Pratts Price (CPP) easily steals the show in the US Vogue movie doc The September Issue, out shortly, in which she stakes her claim for immortality with a one-liner: "SepTEMburr is the JANuahhry in FASHahhn". The way this Puerto Rican drawls and croaks out the dictum with the oddest basso cantate diction is one of many unintentionally comic moments, so much so, you can now download it as a ringtone (click arrow on Myxer to listen).

Candy (or Candida Rose Theresa Pratts Price) also appears in cartoon form in her periodic Candycasts on the site, laying down the law on such matters as eco-pod coffins (or "echo-pod" as she puts it. "Don't pollute, just bury correctly") and playing dominoes on Sunday (but not in Alabama). The Anna Wintourised stick insect 'toon-Candy bears little resemblance to the living-breathing irregular Candy, beyond her dark colouring; and the graphic version has the weirdest crossed arms: stretched out she'd be able to balance on them without stooping.

I just love CPP. And her animated form should be an inspiration to others who in the flesh may also not look entirely the part. Gordon Brown should think about joining the Bugs Bunny tribe and turning himself into a 'toon for his YouTube performances. He'd lose the eyebags, the alarm smiles, the intake-of-breath mouth movements: he could be made to be cute and sexy. I can't help but feel that this bold act of imagination could reverse his fortunes. Possibly. Think CPP, Gord.

CPP 'toon show

A celebration of CPP

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Madame Arcati has cancelled her Twitter account

Twitter is a complete waste of time, fit only for the Stephen Frys stuck in lifts and the Demi Moores anxious to stay fresh in the public mind. It may be of limited use for the exchange of gnomic utterances and the promotion of prostitution, cash-making scams and diaries of small-time journos/slebs, but it's certainly not for me. I regret all the energy expended on it. Hitler, too, has had it with Twitter. (Click image once)

Lady Colin Campbell returns with Empress Bianca

Lady Colin Campbell

Fans of Lady Colin Campbell - Georgie to her friends - will be delighted to learn that her novel Empress Bianca is to be republished in September by Dynasty Press. You may recall that one the world's wealthiest women, Lily Safra, got the book pulped in its Arcadia incarnation following her claim that the novel's principal character, a "socially scheming double murderess", was based on her - fiction can so easily be confused with fact in certain less rigorous minds. Following a legal settlement Lady C made a number of "trivial" changes to the text and now we await the blockbuster once again. To order a copy click here. For background on Safra's lawsuit, click here.

Perhaps author Michael Gross will take comfort from this episode as he tussles with Annette de la Renta in New York over his marvellous book Rogues' Gallery.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nicola Formby's excellent bj* (oh, *brunette job)

After a blissful week of life-proactive events, I turn with a heavy heart to passive grazing mode ie catching up with what passes for news.

With no enthusiasm whatsoever I buy a copy of the London Evening Standard and - expecting to read more about swine flu or Lord Mandelson's Corfu holiday with Nicky Haslam - my eyes instead alight on the paper's front page exclusive and an item that fills me with restored purpose: Nicola Formby has altered her hair colour from blonde to brunette.

Actually, it's not an exclusive at all but a buy-in from Tatler. You have to marvel at the magic of celebrity - a secular version of transubstantiation - which can turn the most banal thing imaginable into the hottest goss thingy. I mean, would I get your interest if I told you that I had abandoned the grey of my permed tresses for a shade of cerulean as a nod to Picasso's Blue Period? No, I didn't think so.

Though you probably don't know who Nicola is, she enjoys a London micro-fame as the woman who cunt-cocks one of the many middle-aged Sunday Times lifers, AA Gill. He calls her "the Blonde" in his munch-munch reviews. The loveliness of her face on the Standard's splash page is not in the least compromised by the likelihood that hardly anyone on the 18.47 London to Littlehampton train (or any other train) will have a clue who she is: she's just another pretty face who fucks the right person who works for the right paper which imagines that ambient media starriness is of universal interest.

Like AA, Nicola name-drops and brand-drops with abandon. Here's a digest of her ES article:

1 She attended Wellington College. Good genes, then.
2 She had a friend called Lucinda. Well, her name wouldn't be Chardonnay, would it?
3 Father of her twins is "Sunday Times restaurant critic" AA Gill. See 1.
4 Diane at Cadogan Salon. Only the best *bj for Nic.
5 Jemima Khan and Laura Bailey have "enviable tresses". Flattery ....
6 Diane von Furstenberg and Christa D'Souza are role model friends. Flattery ...
7 Quotes acquaintance Jeremy Clarkson, AA's mate. Remember the slebby jerk circle.
8 Is "being labelled the Blonde" a curse? No, it's the reason why Tatler commissioned the piece.
9 Passes the fishmongers on Kensington Church St - ES country.
10 David Bailey put her on the cover of Ritz. Ambient starriness, darling!

Nicola's bj in full!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kočani Orkestar - Balkan Gypsy with brass knobs

A number of you have asked for more info on the musicians that greeted Molly P at Split Harbour (see below). Kočani Orkestar are a leading Balkan Gypsy brass band - their Siki Siki Baba is on the soundtrack of Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat. For a listen, go to their MySpace page and click on the menu, top right. Here's their Wikipedia entry.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Croatia: Cock-cunting professor gets a Molly mangling

See Croatian photo album in postings below
l to r: Film director Robert Chilcott, actress Carson Parkin-Fairley, Molly Parkin and some tag-along. Photo: Jadran Babič of Slobodna Dalmacija. Click images for full size.

Poor Professor S! Out of humanity I shall not publish his name. But yesterday he was fed into the Molly Parkin sausage machine and spewed out as mangled mince; or dumped like a turd at the water's edge on the Croatian island of Brač. Even now I inwardly cringe at his operatic humiliation. But the tale has to be told.

The Professor had dreamt of an idyllic day celebrating the work of a Croatian painter: a charming woman in a lovely dress. And who better to invite along as honoured guests to partake in this appreciation on Brač than the famous artist Molly Parkin and her entourage (now including newly arrived daughter Sophie and husband Jan)? The Ghetto Club's Sonja had phoned our hotel to tell us that the promised six-seater taxi had not been booked so we must get cracking and phone for two taxis to get our party to the harbour at Split within the hour. "I have a surprise for Molly!" Molly's granddaughter Carson had barely finished washing her hair and she was bundled into a car. So the group mood was already faintly toxic.

The surprise! Kočani Orkestar greet Molly. Click each image for full size. Photos by MA

The harbour surprise was Gypsy brass band Kočani Orkestar with Sonja at the head, clapping. A very generous and charming gesture. Molly was utterly delighted, dancing to their music as they trailed us to the ferry before the 50 minute trip to Brač. "I'm a Gypsy, you know," she chided on the boat when her entourage proved churlish about the racket. "You're all killjoys!" And the mood turned darker when it dawned we were not about to meet Croatia's cultural elite here but to be treated to a walking cultural tour of the island: or "traipsing" as Molly called it. "I don't do traipsing," she declared to the Prof. We refused to traipse: instead I noticed a sign in the grass showing a dog with an erection and took a pic of Molly posing behind it. The Prof looked most put out. Someone explained that the erection was actually doggy poo and is not encouraged in public places.

We anchored ourselves in a waterside bar in front of a noisy church as the art lovers traipsed on. By now Molly had learnt that the Prof was not gay. "I have two sons," he revealed, unwisely. Molly said to me, "I've lost interest in him now. I much prefer gay men around me to talk about art, much more interesting. I can't have him wittering on in my ear."

The promised al fresco dinner in the marina failed to sweeten things. Though we were invited guests we were told we'd have to pay for anything that wasn't the local plonk, the anchovies or some fish paste (and what looked like Christmas cake). The very idea! The Professor snuck up to Molly and said, "I have a lady who wants to meet you. She is a motel. " "A motel?" asked Molly. "Yes, a motel - a moh-dell. She was a model in the 60s."

This prompted a rebuke. "Please, Professor, would you please stop giving me a history of everyone who wants to meet me." Not taking a hint he pushed on and described at length another fan who desired to supplicate at Molly's open toes. Molly exploded. "You can give that kind of bullshit to your art students but not to me. Please stop. If someone wants to meet me just bring them over."

We all exploded when the Prof informed us that the ferry was running late. We wouldn't be leaving before 22.45, which meant we wouldn't get back to the Ghetto in Split before midnight where the Parkin Lot was booked to perform. We refused to view the artist's paintings, we all wanted to leave. Now. "You can't!" said the Prof. When Carson noticed private water taxis available for hire he said, "They take two hours!"

Photo: Jadran Babič

In fact not. Jan and I secured a water taxi and at around 9.30pm Molly and entourage took off into the Adriatic night and were back in about 50 minutes. The moonlit journey was pure bliss, bumpier than the ferry, part African Queen. We all felt awful about Professor S: I shall never forget the bewilderment etched on his face as he probably rehearsed what he'd say to his fellow art lovers - and featured artist - by way of excuse.

If he's reading this - sorry! Lesson: Get the itinerary blessed first.

Oh, and that dog with an erection (click for full size). Photo by MA

Molly Parkin and Arcati in Croatia: Photo Album

A selection of pics from Croatia all by Madame Arcati. See guide index below. Click each image once for full size.
















Index: click each image once for full size
1 Ghetto femme
2 Ghetto homme
3 One of Ghetto's bars
4 Ghetto: Molly intros Madame Arcati night
5 Ghetto staffer: Would you Adame & Eve it? Monika of the club shows MA her etchings
6 Sophie Parkin with mother at Le Méridien Hotel, just outside Split
7 At Split Harbour: Gypsy brass band Kočani Orkestar greets Moll (band pics in post above). Ghetto's Sonya in shades peering at me. Fly-on-the-wall Robert Chilcott films Moll embracing a member of her public
8 Professor S with Moll on ferry to Brač before the "misunderstanding"
9 Meanwhile back at Ghetto: an angelic 'tache
10 "Falling In Love Again": One of a number of new erotic paintings by Molly Parkin at the Ghetto Gallery, Split
11 "Honeymoon" by Molly Parkin. At Ghetto Gallery, Split
12 Ghetto: Rose - our fave bar mixologist
13 Ghetto: l-r: Monika, Rose, Sonya (NB red kerchief) and friend Lilly
14 Ghetto: Molly becomes part of interior furnishings (or vice versa?)
15 Ghetto: Arcati night clubbers. Man in background owns island in Australia
16 And finally for now: my marina view from my room at Le Méridien

Friday, August 07, 2009

Croatia: Handbag vandalism, a Russian princess and Spielberg's electricity

After the great success of the Madame Arcati night at the Ghetto Club here I think I'll become a DJ or something. I plainly have a talent for orchestrating a mood, and foreign parts are better suited to my temperament.

Before the frenzy we viewed Molly P's new paintings in the club's upstairs gallery: an experience in bold abstract expressionist erotica swirls. When I return to the UK I'll put up some images for you to scrutinise.

The club itself is a labyrinthine and multi-floored warren of kitschy art and hidden dark places and decorated bars. The owner, Sonia, is a Russian princess, I am told. She wore a folded silk red polka dot kerchief in her back pocket and led the handclapping of things that pleased her: a curious habit which I really like. She is a Queen of Gothic in her deviant leathers and I can't imagine what goes on in the early hours. One of her staff Monika showed me her Adam and Eve homage to Rubens: I think being an artist is a condition of employment there.

I'm not going to waste my time describing Split - just Google the guides for the fucking adjectives. Molly wanted a green handbag so she selected one at a market near the club and I bought it for her. She then asked for a pair of scissors and vandalised the bag by cutting away a strap which left a hole in the side of it. So I bought her another bag, yellow this time, which had caught her eye. Earlier, in the taxi to Ghetto, we had argued about my Dignitas piece. "That was the most disgraceful piece you've ever written," she said as a fan of the place in Switzerland. Eventually I said I would assist her suicide by throwing her out of the car. That seemed to resolve our differences.

Back at the Meridien, I got up to speed on the goss. Steven Spielberg recently stopped by in his yacht for an electricity top-up from the hotel mains. He paid with his platinum. Then there was rapper Little Kim whose management wanted her booked suites repainted all in black. However they settled just for black towels when presented with the estimated costs. I liked the story of the Moroccan princess whose armada descended on the hotel demanding the presidential suite. The occupants were booted out and compensated with a luxury yacht at a cost to the hotel of 35,000 Euros a week. Then there was the Russian oligarch who wanted the presidential suite and wouldn't accept no for an answer. Even when he offered to pay the occupant guests three times the hotel rate he was rebuffed. Tom Cruise is left unmolested though the locals comment on his lack of height. When Molly took a walk on the prom in her robes, the torpid sun sizzlers came to life and clapped.

Today, Croatia's cultural elite are paying court to her with a cruise to the island of Brach (Brač) and then a visit to the Ghetto for a gawp at the paintings followed by a party there. She and her entourage are staying in Croatia till Tuesday but I have to fly back tomorrow. I shall have more to say and will put up photos.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Oh, and I do apologise for the Scientology ad

There's not much I can do about it. It is at least dynamic and colourful and not just a clump of words inviting you to kill yourself on the grounds of politeness and convenience or luring you to buy "pulp molding machines of egg tray product packing."

Arcati in Croatia: Molly Parkin, Boris Johnson and Luxury Labia

Le Méridien Lav, Split

Breakfast with Molly Parkin is a singular experience. In her flowing toga-like purple robes and matching turban, she's poking Tracy's breasts and asking 'Are they real?' Tracy's from San Francisco, was once a banker (she foresaw the credit crunch - 'It was obvious'), and she wants to put on the Parkin Lot at a club there. I think the Parkins are going global. Right now we're in Croatia and I'm still not entirely sure what I'm doing here.

I flew in yesterday and to mark the event I brought a rare rain storm. It's an odd experience being filmed all the time: when I said to a greeting Molly at the airport 'I love your balls' - a reference to her necklace - I suddenly visualised how that might come across on TV thanks to Robert Chilcott's fly-on-the-wall camera. Later, at the seaside Méridien Hotel just outside Split she told me she's working on a new poem, Luxury Labia, an anthropological piece on the revealing white tight trousers of young women here who 'are showcasing their fannies to men'. I recall the phrase 'camel toes'.

Today we're doing interviews for Croatian newspaper Free Dalmatia and a photoshoot at midday and then tonight we're off to the Ghetto Club to film a TV show there - should be a busy night as it's a national holiday today. Cosmo and more tomorrow.

Meantime Molly sent Boris Johnson this note:

"Hi Boris, this is Molly Parkin, currently performing Parkin Lot on tour (formerly in residence at The Green Carnation, Greek Street) and exhibiting my paintings in Split, Croatia. Also writing poetry for my upcoming poetry performances - with Mike Horowitz (OBE), 100 Club, October 8th.

"I voted for you, I put you in office. I like your hair very much, and your Bertie Wooster-ish demeanour. The first fucking time I've ever supported a Tory! I hail from the Welsh Valleys, where Churchill sent in the troops against my family at the miners strike.

"This one is written with you in mind. I am the voice of the people! "


Partner? Co-habiting? Extra income?
Full employment? Part-time employment? Conglomerate employment?
Are you running a business? Are you contemplating opening a business?
Have you recently sold a business? If so, how many?
Did you declare this sale?

Have you recently bartered any personal items?
Furs? And Jewelry? Socks and Shoes? Hats and Bags?
Or auctioned on eBay?
Domestic paraphernalia? Tables? Chairs? Carpets? Curtains?
Kitchen equipment? Cups and Saucers? Soup Bowls? Basins?
Juicers? Blenders? Pots and pans?

Do you own property? Have you inherited property?
Do you anticipate inheriting property? Or marrying a person of property?
If so, how many properties?
Are there tenants? And how many?

Are you likely to benefit from a financial windfall?
Family Bereavement? Inheritance From a Friend? A Win on the Lottery?
Is Gambling a Major Addiction? And Lady Luck a personal acquaintance?
Have you ever been declared Bankrupt? If so, how many times?

Do you indulge in Sexual Favours for financial gain?
Pleasure? Or Profit?
How much for Fellatio? Full Fuck Back and Front?

Ad infinitum................................................................................................

What they didn't ask was
The width of my smile?
The warmth of embrace?
The acts of forgiveness?
The profound links of friendship?
The depths of my love?

And all the other things to my

Monday, August 03, 2009

Croatia: The Pulp secret of Molly Parkin's film director

I recently interviewed film director Robert Chilcott who's making the Molly Parkin biopic and is currently with her in Split, Croatia, for a Molly fly-on-the-wall doc, among other things. Following our chat - which embraced Molly's enema punishments - a number of you expressed a desire to rent your womb out to him so I thought you might be interested in seeing him in a another guise, sending up Jarvis Cocker and his band Pulp. He was a fragile 24 when he did this. I took against self-important Cocker after he stormed Michael Jackson's Earth Song set at the Brit Awards: I can still see Cocker's hideous daddy-long-legs limbs flying all over the place: I would have shot him dead had I a gun at that moment. Fortunately we're both alive to watch this show. Meantime Arcati's arrival is awaited.