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!

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could I inquire as to why you have "labelled" this item with the names of Geordie Greig, Nicholas Coleridge and William Cash? Is this some kind of hint that there is another story lurking behind this one?

Madame Arcati said...

Yes I am happy to. Geordie because he's the editor of ES and ex-ed of Tatler. I have no doubt he himself negotiated the deal to buy in this piece - and it's only right that readers have the opportunity to read more about this fascinating fellow. Coleridge is there because many of the items on him are of a similar ilk: obsession with money, celebrity, status etc. As for William, ditto. I think they make a delightful trio + Nicola.

Anonymous said...

That's more like it. The old Madame is back, writing about people that no one knows about.

Anonymous said...

Bitch.

Anonymous said...

I disagree; this is so unlike you. The only thing worse than ES thinking Nicola Formby's hair colour is news worthy of analysis is you acknowledging it long enough to tell us is a non-story and throwing light on their shallowness. I'll look at it on the bright side: nothing serious must be happening in the world. World peace and eradication of famine must have been achieved while I was looking the other way. Please do let us know next time she breaks a nail. We'll accommodate our lives to cope with the grief.

Madame Arcati said...

Do you think so, poppet? I think my posting is called light satire, though I am shy of instant categorisation. You will find a glut of postings on MA which draw attention to the media's preoccupations with wealth, status, names. Drawing attention to Nicola's effusion is to acknowledge that valuable space was taken up by something worthless, as opposed to just shrugging one's shoulders at inanity. The "story" will be found in the fact that someone said something in response. For media stories see the Guardian.

Arcatiste said...

I like this because the fun is in the mockery. That's what was missing in the past few weeks.

Anonymous said...

Anon the moaner has missed the point. Madame wrote this piece precisely to send up the news selection. There is a hint in the piece that there may be bigger news about, but the Standard finds a lot of space to write about a woman who changes her hair colour. Moaner needs to learn to read between the lines.

Anonymous said...

"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?"

Most definitely, as it's you, Madame. In any case I see your hair is chestnut.

Anonymous said...

Brown is the shit
Brown is the bear
Brown is the color
Of Nicola Formby's hair.

Anonymous said...

Please do more 10 Tops. It so saves time.

Madame Arcati said...

Delightful poem. Suggested accompanying tune?

Anonymous said...

I see that Croatia has not had any remedial effect on you.

Anonymous said...

Maybe something natty from Brown Music ? http://www.brownmusic.co.uk/index.shtm

Anonymous said...

I've just looked at this Who's She specimen - NF's 'article' in the ES ...... excuse me while I vomit! Alexander Lebedev - close the paper down now!

Anonymous said...

I've just skim-looked at this Diary Of A Nobody's 'article' in the ES ...... excuse me while I vomit! Alexander Lebedev - close the paper down now! Or, even better resurrect Jackie Modlinger ....

veritas said...

It's becoming clear that Madame is most unpredictable. Unlike Mandy-on holiday with Nicky !. Have some people no shame ?.

Anonymous said...

Where is farah Damji?

Anonymous said...

Nicola is a wonderful girl and pulling her apart is Bambi slaughter. Leave her alone you granny perv.

Anonymous said...

Don't sell yourself short; you usually sting much harder than this, with a better purpose (in my opinion) or maybe I have a wrong idea of you. One thing is to stay on Coleridge's case over his brown nosing to the powers that be and fascination for everything glitzy, or jeering on poor sweetie Shakespeare to point out that if you, Mr. Editor Greig, are going to give a young person the opportunity to run a specialized section as the "expert", you should at least do your job and have someone with more knowledge or experience (if not you, who runs the darn paper) read, for Pete's sake, the piece before it's published and advice a bit. Journalism/ writing is a trade like any other; if you are a blacksmith, you don't tell your apprentice on the first week "See there? that's the forge; you've seen one before right? now take this piece of iron and make it into a horseshoe... you do know what they look like, right? and this is Mr. Goodclient's horse; he needs new shoes. Show me what your can do; I'll be back after lunch.

Quite another thing is to single out yet another fluff article in a newspaper, even if it were the headliner. There are a myriad of reasons why people of all colours and backgrounds get what they get in life and reaching to any simplistic conclusion is useless. So the rich, powerful and connected also take cake of their young; what else is new?

And Anon, please read between these lines: there.is.nothing.there! Analysing that a wealthy, connected daddy's girl has got a job because of who she f-knows is just as useless as the ditzy girl's pseudo-scientific approach that she has got as much in life for being blond and wasting good time that she might as well had instead used on her little girl for something more productive (like colouring Dora the Explorer books). Now sit on that point and moan.

Take it from someone that has been blond, ginger, brunette, every shade in between and will love to graduate to blue rinse: Blond is a state of mind (and I don't mean dumb) and I'm sorry that none of your smart blond readers had nothing to say about it, MA darling. But, I guess I'll shrug* if off and wait until you charge your batteries, prepare your artillery to go full troth towards the real targets, to our delight.

Anonymous said...

* You do know you're adorable, don't you? I wonder if you would have burst a vein if one more day/post had passed without the chance to "fix" that. Y'know, my posts are anonymous; you are welcome to fix them before posting. I notice these things after I have clicked on the "post this" button - did I really have to make a disclaimer? ;-*

Madame Arcati said...

My sting is usually proportionate to the subject. And this item on Nicola is just about noticing something silly which requires soft teasing - not of Nicola (who is of no consequence here) but of the idiotic newspaper.

And please avoid forming "ideas" about me: the moment you start living up to someone else's idea of yourself, you've lost control and you've embarked on the fate of doomed columnists - trying to second guess what's already written in your readers' head.

As to the media's preoccupation with wealth, status, etc - the important thing is to take the piss of it relentlessly. It's a way of reminding the self-important that someone's noticed their bull and their social networking tricks.

Anonymous said...

I don't see why you have to feel obligated to live up to anybody's idea of you. Why do you think that the effect that you have on others has to modify YOU? I hope that never happens to you. If there is one thing I rebel against is someone else's expectations of me. If I hadn't, I would have married a string of losers filled myself with children and live a miserable existence. I don't allow anybody to TELL me what they expect of me, I look up to those that encourage me to be all I can be. Most people assign their own crutches to others when it comes to foreseeing what one can do and I have frequently encountered people that would talk me out of reaching my goals because "they" don't think they are doable and when it's done their praise sounds more like resented disbelief (sarcasm) at my capacity.

Anonymous said...

BTW

"the moment you start living up to someone else's idea of yourself, you've lost control and you've embarked on the fate of doomed columnists - trying to second guess what's already written in your readers' head."

I think that is exactly what happened to Greig with this piece. This is just a test - trying out how he can hook new readers. If it works expect a lot of "Cosmo"-like articles to come.

Madame Arcati said...

I would credit even Greig with more intelligence. He knows most people (if asked) would be scornful of putting a pretty face on the front page with the excuse of a hair colour change. In one sense it's an indicator of how he views his paper: a metropolitan rag for the elite which the non-elite can view with their noses pressed against the glass. In another sense, the Formby piece has all the hallmarks of quid pro quo: what the deal is I don't know, details will surface if we remain awake. Like all editors Greig feels he can afford to test the patience of his readers by indulging himself.

Incidentally, with Sarah Sands as his deputy he won't be getting Cosmo but a souped up Telegraph magazine, full of tribe-naming journalism and the latest style noticings for dinner party chat - all old hat. Not the sort of stuff that lifts circulation as she should have learnt by now.

Anonymous said...

"In one sense it's an indicator of how he views his paper: a metropolitan rag for the elite which the non-elite can view with their noses pressed against the glass." . . . Absolutely (Vogue anyone?).

Anyhow, I'm glad that the responses the article is getting are more eye-roll and "wanker" signs than "Oh she's so pretty, she looks lovely any how she chooses to look"; that will show them.

Anonymous said...

When I saw that Blonde goes brunette story in the standard I couldn't believe how bad it was. Nicola F. is well known to Geordie Greig but hardly anyone else. I keep on being offered the Standard by street vendors for 10p not the cover price of 50P. Hardly encourages anyone to pay the full price. I can't see this paper surviving if it carries on like this. Sarah

Madame Arcati said...

Thank you Sarah. I understand that the circulation is so dire it has opted out of the national audit - it could no longer include bulk (discounted) sales in its monthly report. The problem is that Greig has lived a precious rarefied life and hasn't a clue about anyone outside his micro-circles. On the train from London I notice most people read Metro or The London Paper. It's all such a pity.

The late Veronica said...

What if I told you Greig's already in trouble with the new owners ... ?