Friday, December 31, 2010

Madame Arcati's Top 10 Sexiest Posts of 2010!

Kevin Spacey CBE: bio post is No 1
Happy New Year, poppets! 2010 was the year Madame Arcati retired and then resurrected herself. I would love to say that my comeback owed to a public clamour but in fact, as in all things, my own moods played dictator. Blogging in itself serves no useful purpose beyond adding to the online cacophony. The only point to Madame Arcati is I get read.

Now I know you love lists, so here's my top 10 Madame Arcati posts of 2010, with a little commentary.

1. In terms of reader comments, most surprisingly popular post was my piece on the world's first Kevin Spacey (CBE, hon*.) biography, authored by famous Spaceyphile, Robin Tamblyn, click here. If you only read the books pages of our newspapers and literary mags, you'd never know that Hollywood's most secretive actor finally has an unauthorised Boswell. Self-published books always pose a challenge to book editors: who's to tell them if the book's any good? Mostly, these whores of journalism take their cues from their friends in publishing and from publishers' imprints. God knows what they'd make of the Bible were it submitted anonymously for consideration.

2. While bloggers serve no useful purpose in the general sense, they can be useful as trend muscle. So when Madame Arcati joined the online campaign against a plan to appoint Rod Liddle as editor of the Independent, one knew the war was won. Why anyone thought that a right-wing fool could be saviour of a leftish newspaper was beyond comprehension. Did someone forget to eat their spinach? So I was delighted to write the headline: "Rod Liddle won't be editing the Independent". Click here.

3. Sheila Vogel-Coupe - crazy name! This porno star and prostitute, octogenarian granny of an X Factor starlet already almost forgotten, brought tens of thousands of readers to the blog, much to my amazement. I made her my woman of the year. The link should indirectly take you to the site where you can view her engaged in various sex acts, including a copious money-shot. Click here.

4. Saddest exclusive ran on June 17 when I announced the death of Sebastian Horsley. A few journalists thought I'd made it up. A mutual friend tipped me off instead of running to the newspapers. I think Sebastian would have approved. I'm still getting over the photo of him having sex with an amputee - I wonder if I should put it up. Click here.

5. Another surprisingly popular read was my post "Rachel Johnson's A Diary Of The Lady: Masterly at the authorial hand-job". Rachel, editor of the old cunties' weekly The Lady, wrote me a fan letter informing me that Madame Arcati had a page in her book. How expertly she plays the ego. It was only correct that I review the tome, click here. Her book is a Madame Arcati favourite bathroom read along with Albert Speer's memoirs and a bio of Anna Wintour.

6. Most cynical post of the year was "Justin Bieber's penis: a post-modernist approach to blogging". I'd read that the tiny virgin megastar was one of the most searched names on Google so I Arcatised him to draw in a new generation seeking celebrity cock. They will have been disappointed but enlightened of irony, blogging, journalism and celebrity obsession. Click here.

7. "Reward Showbiz™: The 10 most pointless celebrity books and TV shows" proved a lure. So many TV shows and books are created simply to reward celebrity, just ask Joanna Lumley or Michael Palin. So this spawned yet another sleb list. Click here. Sorry.

8. Kate Reardon's appointment as Tatler editor introduced me to the concept of a spinning vagina. I offer this piece as an antidote to churnalism - the writing-up of PR announcements in our newspapers. Click here.

9. Duncan Fallowell gifted me a wonderful anecdote about the fashion designer Valentino; something about his elaborate relationship with the wind. Click here.

10. Permanent fiancee Molly Parkin published her Mollywood memoirs this year, and included in them a sweet, true reminiscence about the two of us. I'm sorry her family don't take us seriously: but that's what families are for, to look out for one. Read my review, Dodging the Conventional Cunts: click here. Do follow the labels on Molly: her interview with me on cocks and spirituality could change your life. In February 2011 all of Moll's erotic novels are reissued by Beautiful Books - they're as freshly witty, sexy and funny as the day they were born.

And on that note, have an austerity-free 2011 under the most miserable and wretched of governments. x

*Shouldn't he have got a knighthood, hon.?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nick Clegg looks like a man who shouts 'sorry' before he cums

Nick Clegg, right
Or so Frankie Boyle joked last night.

Madame Arcati: There's only one actress who can play me (& she's dead)

Angela Lansbury: Me as Art Deco
My thanks to the American astrologer and investigative journalist Eric Francis for unearthing this splendid photo of Angela Lansbury posing as me. I interviewed him earlier this year - and to appreciate his singular views on the joys of self-sex, click here.

Lansbury projects elegant goofiness for fans of the Art Deco period; and I'm confident that her Madame Arcati (in last year's staging of Blithe Spirit) pleased fans of TV whodunits. But there's the problem: elegance. Only that scrumptious, asymmetrical gargoyle Dame Margaret Rutherford captured the essential wilful otherliness of me in the black & white movies: Arcati is not just some harmless fruitcake with fidgety mannerisms but an ideological warrior of the drawing room who happens to summon up spirits.

She is the timeless crank always proven right. Julian Assange, please take note.

I realise that such ideas are traumatic to diddumsy secular critics who take their scripture from sexy tabloid traditionalist Dr Brian Cox. So as New Year looms I'll move on as an act of charity.
Margaret Rutherford: Me me me

Also, Madame Arcati has no business being tall. This is where Penelope Keith went wrong when I saw her play me at the Savoy Theatre a few years back. I've always regarded tallness as faintly ridiculous and excess to requirements, such as in British Prime Ministers. Only haberdashery shop assistants need to be tall. Madame Arcati does not do excess.

At the Savoy I sat behind Nicky Haslam who wore a thick fur coat throughout the performance even though the theatre was properly heated. From the wafting odour I adjudged that his coat required laundering. But I was too polite to say.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rupert Everett mocks 'tasteless romcom flops' queen Jennifer Aniston

Rupert Everett: Reduced to drag
Rupert Everett put Jennifer Aniston in her cosmic place this morning in an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today show. He named her as one of a number of stars who, despite movie turkeys galore, are regarded by showbiz movers as the "right people for their business" - ie heterosexually alluring - "and will stick by them for quite a while."

He explained: "OK, something will go wrong, like Jennifer Aniston will have one too many total flops but she's still a member of that club, like a star forming in the universe; a whole lot of things swirling around and suddenly solidifying into yet another vital tasteless romcom: a little glitter next to the Crab Nebula."

Rupes was moaning again about Hollywood homopobia and how gay actors are better off in the closet - a view echoed by Richard Clamberlain today who, incidentally, has yet to publicly acknowledge that he was the love of the life of the late astrologer Patric Walker. Because straight male actors like Colin Firth are now landing the yummy queer parts, gay stars like Rupes are reduced to "drag". Blissfully he described himself as "marooned on St Trinian's."

A leading British producer had told Ed Victor, Rupes' sleb-hag literary agent, that he'd love to cast Everett in a movie but... "there is nothing for him." He thinks of Rupes as just a "muscly queen".

Thank God for Hollywood homophobia. But for that and Rupert Everett would just be another Hugh Grant or Colin Firth, cling-filmed mumblers out of the DNA style manuals. The grate of prejudice has sharpened Rupes' wits, replaced a sense of entitlement with edge. One of the results is a splendid diversity of work, not just movie titles selling recycled cock-cuntery plots. Arise Lord Rupes of Chipping Sodbury!

Listen to Rupes' interview here while it lasts.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hugh Hefner engaged! What awaits Crystal in the marital bed

A surge in visits from a Madame Arcati link on Drudge alerts me to Hugh Hefner's announced engagement to Crystal Harris, a woman 60 years his junior. An opportunity to re-acquaint ourselves with what it's like to have sex with Hef: Fuck her daddy!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Anthony Burgess, the Tarot and his inner Madame Arcati

Anthony Burgess and his palm
Given the supernatural flavour of the festive season - Christ's cot, the Pope and Shrek meld into a methane-fuelled hallucination - it is with some delight I learn today that the late Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange, was something of a Madame Arcati himself.

Not only a student of the divinatory arts, such as astrology and the Tarot, he also wrote a short story back in the early 60s called Chance Would Be a Fine Thing which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in October. I am deeply bitter I missed this. Someone will suffer. We now have to wait till 2013 before it's published in a collection of newly discovered work.

We can thank the scholar squirrel Dr Andrew Biswell, director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, for unearthing this work. In a Telegraph report Dr Biswell says: “[Burgess] had a strong interest in horoscopes, tarot cards and predictive dreams. In the second volume of his autobiography he even claimed to have predicted the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963.”

The celebrated Tarot reader Mary K Greer recounts: "[Burgess] is known to have read cards at a village fete in the 1950s disguised as ‘Professor Sosostris the famous clairvoyant.'"

Professor Sosostris - has a ring to it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas - despite the Old Etonian plutocracy

Kerchingle bells! Anyway, Christmas coincides with the 300,000th visitor to Madame Arcati this year which is not bad considering I took the summer off. In the past month alone there were 120,592 pageviews. The top 10 visitor countries May - December (using a new system) were:

United Kingdom 72,895
United States 63,780
Canada 9,655
Australia 8,198
Germany 6,044
Ireland 4,214
Italy 3,408
Netherlands 3,375
Brazil 2,111
Philippines 2,038

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Elizabeth Hurley: Arun's 'mystery' brunette and what the papers will ignore

"Sorry to rain on your parade Gossip Press, but Arun 'mystery brunette' is his brother's wife. Snigger." - Elizabeth Hurley, Twitter.

The Savoy: Gleam, luxe, a billionaire prince... and then Stephen Fry

ITV1's curious 2-part doc on the re-opened Savoy introduced us to its current owner Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. In the show he was described as the fourth richest man in the world whereas Forbes rates him only at 19th with a net fortune (as of March this year) of nearly US$20 billion. Perhaps he slipped in the chart because the Savoy's total refurbishment went £120m over budget during its mad near-three year closure.

The prince, a member of the Saudi royal family, arrived with a huge entourage. In a coach. We learned from his Savoy-assigned butler in the royal suite (price: £10k a night) that he had demanded white slippers in place of the black (or vice versa), liked Melba toast (or was that someone else?) and didn't wish to be disturbed before his rather late rising at 2pm every day. If he wished to eat out, every table of the establishment was booked in his name. He might however change his mind at the last minute and go elsewhere. He likes curry.

The prince didn't say much. He and Prince Charles kissed cheeks at the relaunch ceremony. I'm afraid any good feeling I might have had about the Savoy refit was blown away by the arrival of Stephen Fry, appointed the hotel's blogger in residence: cue free suite. A man with long unkempt hair, creased jacket and trousers, and the mouldy aura of a panto professor, stepped into a world of gleam and luxe: hello Mr Fry. He oozed a pus-like unctuous awe as he was ushered into a blue lift. Not once did he desist in his obsequious wittering, sadly confused with charm. What won't he do to annoy me?

One evening in the Savoy's American Bar, a few years back, I was astonished to see virtually every Fleet St newspaper editor knocking back drinks at one of their regular get-togethers. That was the first time I went off the Savoy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kate Reardon (a spinning vagina expert) takes over Tatler!

Kate Reardon. Photo by Rankin
Oh, I hope it wasn't something I didn't say. Catherine Ostler (aka Tiny Tears) has departed her dream editorship of Tatler. She seeks pastures new, challenges over there (fill in detail). Someone called Kate Reardon, who's blonde and was raised in the Condé Nast nurseries, is enthroned. How peculiar.

Usually, a media tally-ho serenades any hunt for a new Tatler editor. Condé Nast life-MD Sir Nicholas Coleridge (as he hopes to be soon) traditionally sifts the society desperadoes at early breakfast hotel interviews before appointing a non-applicant (a neighbour, say); or something like that. This time, nothing. Ostler's off after a mere two years and no public notice. The queen is dead etc.

Obviously the real story remains unpublished. Would someone kindly furnish, ta. I'm far too busy to delve. Nothing to do with this I'm sure.

As for Kate, I see she has a website called Top Tips. While glancing at it my eye alights on a vagina dialogue. A reader has a problem. "After my first spinning class, my vagina feels very sore and bruised. Other women said this will stop after a couple classes. Did anyone else have this problem and if so, were you able to spin again?"

Could this be a coded reference to some kind of social intercourse with Lord 'former spinmeister' Mandelson?

One can only hope Tatler offers Kate challenges of comparable import. Good luck, poppet!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Welcome to Mollywood is Independent on Sunday's celeb memoir of the year

Molly Parkin's Welcome to Mollywood has been named celebrity memoir of the year by the Independent on Sunday.

My congratulations to permanent fiancee Moll, to her innovative publisher Beautiful Books and to the newspaper on its good taste and discernment. Matthew Bell, who has penned the paper's encomium, is of course one of Madame Arcati's approved journalists (a short list) and I am delighted that he has repaid my faith with his unsolicited plaudit.

To read his piece click here.

To read Arcati's review, Dodging the Conventional Cunts, click here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Madame Arcati interview Part 2: Indecent exposures

Part 2 of Madame Arcati's second interview with the Virtual Reality website is now up. Unique perspectives on Charles and Camilla, Wills and Kate, rioting stidents and, er, Sam Leith are offered - and Ken Clarke's penal secret is revealed. Children turn away! Eloquent, shrewd filth for discerning readers, click here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sandy Lane Hotel: Not everyone loves Simon Cowell's fave getaway

Sandy Lane Hotel
Madame Arcati is most concerned for Simon Cowell. He's presently recuperating at Barbados' luxury Sandy Lane hotel, as he does every year after his X Factor exertions, knocking back crates of yeast-free Japanese beer. But I see not everyone is impressed with the 5* accommodation where some suites cost £10,000 a night (or so the tabloids tell us: Michael Winner has related to me that he only spends £2,500- 3,000 a night. What a cheapskate).

At the Tripadvisor site, former guests tell of their time at the hotel - here's an unedited selection.. A Mr Trig of Toronto, Canada, who stayed at the Sandy Lane in November of this year, moans: "Unfortunately we found a soiled female undergarment in our room and it was dealt with very poorly." Well, perhaps it was just a rare slip...

Then again, Andrew Berry of Scotland, reports: "It’s the little things like the TV remote falling to bits, problems with the internal wifi connection, the problems with sunbeds and restaurant reservations." As Simon would say, these are high-class problems.

L Gallagher of Portugal is incandescent: "The service at breakfast was horrendous, when you were seated they would take your tea and coffee order and you would be lucky if this turned up before the end of your breakfast, on most occasions we had to chase the waitress for our tea, housekeeping left us fluffy bath towels when we arrived in our room, but as the week progressed the quality of the towels deteriorated, this was not a massive issue, but for the price that you pay to stay at this hotel I think the towels should be good quality not the quality you expect to find in a 3 star hotel."

In between the several rapturous encomia ("Fantastic!"; "The most wonderful place ever") a surprising number of complaints whinny up. Tennis Rose of Alabama plainly did not realise that the Sandy Lane is not so-called for nothing: "After you land its at least a 90 minute ride on bumpy dusty curvy roads....maybe we took a short cut but I will not be going back to Barbados.... "

In a fine piece of reportage, Ho-Hum of Surrey says the hotel owner likes to hog the swimming pool all to himself when he's in residence and claims the proprietor kicked her partner out of the pool on three occasions. She concludes, "So, have a great holiday if you can bear that the staff are terrified of the selfish, rude owner (Irishman in his late 60's); we couldnt and yes it really spolied our stay, well it would, would'nt it ?"

Merry Christmas, Simon!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Madame Arcati interview (2): Tony and Cherie's sex life and Julian Assange, the rapist?

Such was the response to my first interview, given to the Virtual Reality site, that I have overruled my media adviser and given another interview to VR - just for Christmas. The first part is up now, to be followed by the second sometime soon. I am induced to discuss Tony and Cherie's sex life, Julian Assange's underwear and whether he raped anyone, and, oh, Andy 'Pinocchio' Coulson.

Click here to read.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Andy Coulson: 'Top News of the World exec approved illegal phone hacking'

Lawyers have secured startling new evidence that 'implies' that a senior editorial executive at the News of the World approved the illegal hacking of voicemail messages from the phones of Sienna Miller, Jude Law and others. The Guardian publishes details of these fresh claims and more: click here.

Former Screws editor Andy Coulson, who is now the Prime Minister's media boss at No 10, and others at News International, have always contended that only Clive Goodman, the Screws' former royal correspondent, used private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to hack mobiles.

The Guardian reports that Scotland Yard has had this new evidence in its possession for years but failed to investigate it. Only a few days ago the Yard gave Coulson the all-clear.

The paper also reveals that 'The new evidence discloses that it was Neville Thurlbeck who signed the formal contract paying Mulcaire £2,019 a week to work exclusively for the News of the World.' Amazingly, Coulson knew nothing of this, or so he claims.

More than 20 former News of the World employees have alleged to the Guardian, the New York Times and Channel Four's Dispatches programme that Coulson knew of the use of phone hacking at the paper - which he still denies. And more than 20 celebs are now in various stages of litigation against the Screws and Mulcaire over breach of privacy.

If the paper settles each of these claims as generously as it did Max Clifford's then it faces a £20m legal bill before costs.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Iain Dale blog announces its murder: Old Etonians held as suspects

As expected, the Iain Dale blog has announced its demise. A nano-second's silence, please. The right-wing Mr D denies he's shutting up shop because the Tories are in power; and attributes his disenchantment with blogging to its damaging effect on his business and whatnot. This may be partly true, but actually the obvious and crassest main reason should not be blithely discounted.

He lost his mojo because the Tories are in power.

While Blair lied through his teeth and Brown impotently sulked and raged, Dale had a cause. The alternative to New Labour had to be preferred at the very least, and Dale was tenacious in the fight. He was an excellent Tory propagandist blogger in opposition. His raison d'etre: to get the Tories into power. And now that the smooth, suave, patronising Old Etonian plutocracy holds sway... oh, dear. Even Dale must see the calamity ahead.

An eroded NHS, a hostile disillusioned student population, local services ravaged, mass redundancies, a war on the poor, sick and incapable, quid pro quo plural privatisations of social services for Tory donors - well, you know all this and the rest. Even rickets is making a comeback.

Could you imagine the Dale blog thriving on a diet of friendly Tory tales amid the government's crazy slash and burn realities? A successful political blog will by its nature ply against power or else just be a fan site - BBC blogs excluded. Dale doesn't strike me as the power fan site type. So off he goes to his LBC radio show and his publishing company to consolidate his ker-ching thing. Wise.

He ran out of a blogging script for the party he will continue to support from the sidelines. Not for him reader withering scorn as he attempted to defend the trustafarian Old Etonians lecturing the rest of us that getting something for nothing is not open to all. In style terms, I'm sure he sensed the vulgarity of his Westminster pals.

A nano-second's pause, please, for a hollow laugh. Meanwhile, will Guido be next?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bret Easton Ellis: Does Susan Boyle get Perfect Day?

Bret Easton Ellis writes on Twitter: 'Does Susan Boyle really understand her version of Perfect Day? I guess it doesn't matter. It's the best cover of the song I've ever heard.'

I suppose he means, does she understand Lou Reed's version of his song. 'You made me forget myself, I thought I was someone else, someone good,' she sings, as the camera journeys over Loch Lomond, fog-shrouded in one scene, clear in another. It's hard to imagine how the transformative power of love (or heroin) could apply to one so clearly good, in the untouched sense, as Susan Boyle; whereas, with Lou Reed and all his advertised demons....

Intentionally or not she has converted the nostalgie de la boue of Perfect Day into romantic timeless joy, grafting it onto a memoir unrooted in experience: a dream of a recalled moment of love (but not heroin) in a landscape familiar to connoisseurs of whisky labels. As a result, I do not feel I want to kill myself after listening to Perfect Day. I share her fantasy unrooted in experience, though the sea (the sea) would be my preferred backdrop. Yes, her cover is the best. [Click here to listen]

I don't think that answers it, Bret.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Andy Coulson: The endearing qualities of No 10's man-child

Andy Coulson: The PM's Forrest Gump
Let it not be said Madame Arcati is mean-minded.

Allow me to be among the very few (outside No 10 or Wapping) to congratulate the Prime Minister's media adviser, Andy Coulson, on his exoneration by Scotland Yard from any complicity in the News of the World's ongoing phone hacking scandal: he may have once been the paper's control-freak editor, who diligently and sensibly close-questioned his journalists on story sources, but somehow or other he never got wind of the fact that many of their exclusives came courtesy of illegal phone tapping.

I am awe-struck by the subterfuge of his former staff. How they must have laughed behind their editor's back in night-time pub marathons. What a push-over! So naive! Born yesterday! I am almost tempted to think well of David Cameron for taking pity on such a dickhead: I didn't realise the Tories practised positive discrimination for the, er, incognisant. Coulson is now arguably one of the most powerful unelected members of the Old Etonian plutocracy. I have a fond regard for pet owners of underdogs.

Scotland Yard proved to be slightly more than helpful in threatening to put on criminal caution any witness against Coulson. No wonder Sean Hoare, a former Screws hack, declined to repeat the claims he made to the New York Times - that Coulson well knew of the phone hacking and authorised it. Why should Hoare expose himself to prosecution in the face of No 10's media machine, their many friends in the compliant Tory print press or rent-a-quote bloated bigmouth Kelvin MacKenzie? No reason at all.

I note also that the wrongly maligned Coulson, in Tommy Sheridan's ongoing perjury court case in Glasgow, has denied ever being a bully at the Screws. I have no reason not to believe him except that last year one of his former sports hacks, Matt Driscoll, won a record £800,000 at an east London employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. A major cause of Driscoll's woe was Coulson, apparently - a claim evidently believed by the tribunal.

After the case, Driscoll reportedly said:  "If I were him [Coulson], I would find it very hard to look in the mirror. I was subjected to unprecedented bullying and he did nothing to stop it, if anything he accelerated it. I didn't do anything wrong."

If I were Coulson I'd take steps to win back that £800k for his former boss Rupert Murdoch given his now established blamelessness, his utter Forrest Gump-like obliviousness to abuses at the News of the World.

To have such a man-child at the heart of government endears him to me in a way that is hard to express. I just hope he gets wise to Nick 'dead' Clegg before the rest of us do.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Justin Bieber's penis: A post-modernist approach to blogging

Justin Bieber and his missing sock
One way to promote your website right now is to post a Justin Bieber item, albeit a spurious one - perhaps the sad, neglected, undiscussed, unread, utterly redundant and hypocritical New Statesman might take note. Justin is among the most searched global topics on the internet, apparently.

Into my second paragraph and I've already lost about 95% of the beliebers: bye. But let's plough on. Much of the obsession with the heterosexually advertised Christian teen sensation, with the bossy mum, is focused  on his cock: Nanny Google has about 1.36m links to Bieber cock stories. So if I link this story to my Daniel Radcliffe PhotoShopped cock pics I'll have created a perfect storm of interest to take Madame Arcati well into the Winterval season.

Predictably, there is much concern about the guessed dimensions of Justin's cock. One school of thought holds that it is very small indeed. Another, that he is Colin Farrell's doppelgänger: let's ask Angelina Jolie next time she's around.  In other quarters, it is claimed Lady Gaga has stolen his penis while .... well see for yourself. It's all out there.

Now, I don't know about you, but I have to get on. But as a parting shot, I publish below the top search keywords to Madame Arcati today, pre-Justin Bieber's penis: A post-modernist approach to blogging - a zeitgeist snapshot:

daniel radcliffe penis
daniel radcliffe dick
sheila vogel-coupe
daniel craig penis
daniel radcliffe circumcised
daniel radcliffe cock
madame arcati
almine barton
carole malone

Monday, December 06, 2010

Jonathan King: Nation's Vile Pervert returns as God this Christmas

Jonathan King as God in Vile Pervert
Jonathan King sends Madame Arcati a gorgeous Christmas card with a cover pic of him as God bearing news of his 2010. He reports that his movie Vile Perpert: The Musical hit 55,000 downloads this year while iTunes brought in a tidy sum.

Unfortunately, Madame Arcati was on her extended 'retirement' this summer when Private Eye revealed that the author of the novel Beware The Monkey Man, Rex Kenny, was none other than.... Jonathan King.

The exposé resulted in 'dozens of review copies (sold unopened by "reviewers" to shops) to shift from Amazon within days.' Flogging unread review copies to bookshops is a nice money-earner for our nation's impoverished critics.

If you want to know more about his novel, visit the dedicated website.  I'm sorry I didn't get to read or review it: perhaps I shall in 2011. However, if you haven't already, do read my review of his excellent film Vile Pervert. The unelected YouTube nannies have of course disabled the video excerpt for the protection of one's fragile morals, but JK's put up another ('Wilde About Boys'). You can watch the entire film here.

Also, read my review of his excellent memoirs 65 My Life So Far. An ideal prezzie for bystanders to pop culture.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Simon Cowell: 'Undoubtably' this man needs a scriptwriter

Would someone tell Simon Cowell that his use of the adverb 'undoubtably' on The X Factor is a boo-boo for indubitably or undoubtedly; up there with Sarah Palin's 'refudiate' or Bush's 'misunderestimate'. Every week, in his tired homilies to contestants, he gets in an 'undoubtably' between his usual formulations 'I've got to tell you something' or 'Can I be honest?' Undoubtedly, a generation of debt-laden students is going around smashing up guilty buildings screaming undoubtably. And it's all Cowell's fault.

Not that online dictionaries can quite make up their minds on the matter. The Free Dictionary lists  'undoubtably' for indubitably even if Nanny Google offers the alternative 'undoubtedly' should you key in Cowell's word. Even my own spellchecker only accepts undoubtably if in quote marks.

A friend of mine once fell for a girl who used the word 'indubitably' - he was dead impressed by her articulacy. Please, Simon, try to keep up.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Carol Needham, Page 3 Queen: What's it like relaxing with Hugh Hefner?

Page 3 legend Carol Needham
The Sun recently celebrated 40 years of its Page 3 girls and among them was 70s and 80s pin-up Carol Needham who made 62 appearances in the tabloid. She was also Playboy's Playmate of the Month for February 1979.

In the present era of free online porn - for which we must thank in part moralistic Google - Page 3 is something of a saucy anachronism, like Carry On films or Basil Brush. Any man admitting to being actually turned on by a Page 3 pic (ie experiencing an erection) would be regarded as a bit sad. But Page 3 cut-out-and-pin-ups still play their part in helping to preserve heterosexual micro-climates in our nation's offices and portacabins, where perhaps more enlightened workplace legislation has yet to encroach.

Carol Needham now runs her modelling agency Needhams Models and graciously agreed to an email interview with Madame Arcati.

Carol! Poppet! Isn't it awfully cold today for no clothes? Would you wear real fur?

I wouldn’t wear real fur as imitations - which are just as warm.

Tell me how you got started in the glamour model world? You were only 16, how were you scouted?

I was spotted on the Kings Road by someone who suggested I saw a model agency, which I did and they sent me to see Beverly Goodway who used to shoot the Page 3 pictures in The Sun - the rest as they say is history

A girl with your fine assets should have no problem finding ample work, what was the most glamorous part of the glamour world?

For me it was the travelling as I had never been abroad before and all of a sudden I’m travelling to exotic locations.

How did you become a Playboy Bunny Centrefold? (Click here for more)

I was shooting the Unipart calender in LA when the photographer introduced me to Hugh Hefner and he asked me to shoot a centrefold.

Which is your personal favourite photo of you from those times?

I love my Playboy centrefold and the Unipart calender. I also like a lot of the page 3 photos

What do you say to feminists and others who think Page 3 is down there with female circumcision?

Well I can only answer for myself. Without page 3 I certainly would not have had the opportunities I've had. It opened many doors for me and gave me the freedom to choose what I wanted to do.

Poppet! One is 50 and still so fabulous (I am 184 and need a little more support). Can you tell your fans and the pervs who read Madame Arcati how you keep so perky and fresh-faced?

The usual suspects - good diet, vitamins, exercise and a love of life and enjoying being around positive people.

Madame hears you run a modelling agency now. And how is the modelling agency world, has it been hit with the recession?

I have been lucky in that it hasn’t affected me.

You recently attended a party at the Playboy Mansion. Is old Hugh up to his old tricks? Who was there? Was it great fun? [For more of Madame Arcati on Hugh Hefner click here]

The last time I went to the mansion before this was years ago and I expected everything to be different, but it wasn’t - the same décor, faces, a meal followed by a movie. It's actually very relaxing and low-key. Hef was there with his girlfriend Crystal , who seemed nice.

Body shots. Tequilla or vodka?


Sports bra or balconette?


Have you ever been to a clairvoyant? If so, was she/he correct?


Favourite perfume?

Tom Ford black orchid.

Favourite item of clothing?

Right now - Uggs! Sooo warm. I also enjoy Jack Wills clothing.

Well dearie, Madame Arcati endorses you as the loveliest page 3 pin-up in 40 years of lovelies from News International. [Oh, here's Carol's Page 3 page, click here

Thank you so much. xx

Thursday, December 02, 2010

FIFA, Qatar and the curious case of the designer watch gift

I have absolutely no interest in football whatsoever. But here's a true-life story for soccer fans weeping over FIFA's World Cup preference for Russia and Qatar.

Last time I was in Qatar, booked into a 6* suite courtesy of [deleted for legal reasons], my stay coincided with that of FIFA reps there on official business. Returning to my room one evening I was delighted to find a wrapped gift on my bed. It was a beautiful Brietling watch. However, from the label, I quickly deduced I was not the intended beneficiary: it read something like 'To our FIFA guest'. It transpired later the hotel had wrongly allocated me a FIFA suite.

What did I do with the watch? I tore up the de luxe box it was presented in and put the timepiece on my wrist. Finders keepers, dearies.

Last year the watch stopped so I took it to my local horologist for repair. After a minute he reappeared at the counter and handed me back the watch saying, 'I'm sorry, it's a fake. And our policy is not to repair brand fakes.' I was sooo embarrassed.

What this says of Qatar or FIFA I cannot say.

Perfume TV ads: Autoerotic adventures this family time of Christmas

Dior Homme starring Jude Law
Phone rage. Or phone sex? Ah, the playful layered plot to be found in Jude Law's Dior Homme TV scent ad directed by Guy Ritchie. Fools of we are made, tee-hee. A man talks to someone on the phone as loyal exquisite cunt dresses him. We think the conversation is homicidal post-brothers Kray. But little does she know of his betrayal. He is wrapped in a sex dream with a co-conspiratorial cunt. What you see on the Christmas box is just an excerpt from the five minute epic, click here. It's Guy's finest work. A masterly piece of cod movie-making. After RocknRolla. And we're still talking London gangster Mockney.

(Law has lost his Bosie-beauty and now entered his manlier handsome pot-pourri stage: it will last another five years before autumn's SagnBag era. Then, he may find his testicles less responsive to temperature: on cold nights in dark streets, passersby may think him just another middle-middle-aged man with patchy pate. His scent TV ad-days will be long gone. Never mind. Character parts are aplenty. A knighthood in his 50s cannot be ruled out.)

Matthew McConaughey is serially The One in D&G's latest, click here. A lone good-looking narcissist survives a welcome paparazzi pounce outside his hotel before unveiling himself of his shirt in his suite to reveal the spray-tanned six-pack. Look at me. Most men dream of this moment, imagined in shop window reflections; a glimpse of body theatre minus super-cape. The admiring audience is unseen cunt. What would spoil the moment is corporeal evidence of his sex appeal (ie presence of cunt). How clever of D&G to capture the reality of a male autoerotic nano-fantasy. Thank you Miles Davis for the moooooozak.

Naturally, wittiest perfume ad is Gaultier's Madame. Aygess Deyn re-edits herself with a pair of scissors: the essence of Madame, to repackage you. I should know. We are the mirror of transition for unseen cock. Instead of cock, we see Gaultier kissed.

Who's probably the oldest face in a current perfume TV ad.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Frankie Boyle: Beardie obsessed with cock and queers?

Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights debuted on Channel 4 yesterday drawing an OK-ish 1.3m viewers, the comic's first solo show. It left me wondering why he's a Sun columnist given the obvious markets disconnect between his and its. Most of the smart people I know have never heard of the Tramadol drug, so God knows what most Sun readers imagine it is. Then again, most Sun readers would probably not be watching a Channel 4 show at 10pm, just after I'm A Celebrity... on ITV1.

Like one or two other Sun columnists - such as Ally Ross - he writes far over the heads of his audience but, much more importantly, pleases the educated, middle class editor-ironists on the paper who currently applaud the coalition's tally-ho war against the poor and sick. Why, even its lanky political editor is an Old Etonian.

Is Boyle funny? His downbeat stand-up shtick has its moments - when he's not ridiculing people with Down's or sentimentalising Palestine. But his show sketches get lost in his thick depressive's beard. In one, a jailed Christ-like black man with a miracle healing cock sodomises a white prison guard and thereby cures him of a hand rash. He then returns a bedridden white woman to full glowing health after bringing her to orgasm in front of her husband. He's nonetheless executed for his failure to fuck others - such as a white small boy - and cure them of various maladies. Talk about comic bludgeoning. Cupcakes a steamroller cannot make. Even the studio audience could only manage a forced titter.

If the black cock Christ sketch is about mythology and racism, I would say its satirical point is at least 25 years late. Even lumpenprole bigotry moves on a bit, dearies. What then to make of the George Michael cartoon in which our hero ejaculates over a picnicking couple (on Hampstead Heath?) Or the cowboy homophobic rant against Brokeback Mountain?

If Boyle were that funny I might bother to examine the contents of his peculiar mindset or of his Hijab-like monstrous beard. But he is not.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Student protests: Zombie-like mass mutism is the best way

Students should be seen and not heard
I understand that UK students protesting against tuition fee hikes have already been kettled by the cops close to Westminster Palace. Quite right. At least 200 of them went running down Whitehall in breach of an agreement with the Met, so what do they expect to happen? Ah yes, media martyrdom. Now listen to Madame.

A much more effective form of protest would be mass insolent mutism. Or the People's Silence. This would involve crowds of tens of thousands of students gathering as close to guilty buildings as legally allowed and just standing there saying nothing for hours on end. If the police ordered dispersal - because they have suppers to go home to -  protesters should refuse and lie down on the spot (still saying nothing) feigning death, whatever the weather. If anyone was injured it would be the fault of the police entirely as they attempted to drag protesting carcasses from a to b. Such a protest would require nerves of steel, iron discipline and cold fury.

On TV the effect would be chilling because mass crowds standing about silently is anti-nature, anti-expectation of youth; redolent of zombie movies. The lack of drama would serve to emphasise the pre-meditation and thereby communicate the contained fury: the best kind of psychological drama. Also, photographers would be deprived of police evidence or lucrative shots for their lizardy right-wing print editors.

Anger is a form of energy and must be controlled for effect, particularly against an establishment media, thuggish police and lying politicians. But I suspect anger is wasted on the young.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Madame Arcati's first interview: Spacey's clan, Fallowell's cock and my view of Perez Hilton

If you want to delve into Madame Arcati's innards a little deeper then here's your chance.

The delightful blog of culture and outré video inquisitions Virtual Factory has been granted the unique honour of an interview with me and elicited all sorts of answers, some of which I recall. Here's a snatch:

Q: Tell me your most perverse fetish. Don't keep it clean.

MA: Cling film aside, I curiously delight in Royal Doulton’s Bunnykins collectibles based in the mythical village of Little Twitching. I have only to run a finger along the cool English Translucent China of Reggie Bunnykins’ floppy-stiffy ears and my thigh muscles relax somewhat. God help you if you're in the same room as I should I be caressing a Reggie figurine and his floppy-stiffies. My cleaner gives me a wide berth at such times.

Q: What happened to the most requested author of HMP Holloway, Susan Hill and you?

MA: I don’t know about Susan. One minute she was confiding the most extraordinary things in me (my lips are… coated in a Tom Ford Private Blend). And in the next she had swanned off to the Spectator and now writes a very tiresome right-wing blog there about hedgerows and Wellington boots. I don’t know why I thought she was a socialist. But anyway, I have a soft spot for Sue who I think should be made a Dame for her services to ghosts.

The Madame Arcati interview click here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mark McGowan: 'Beware people with short arms!'

I had vowed not to give further promotion to performance artist Mark McGowan's videos after his ghastly support for the Tories* at the last election. Fancy being a nihilist notice-moi-ist (moist?) who thinks Old Etonians can run a modern multi-cultural democracy (as if!): even our benign anarchists nowadays are no better than Julian - Downton Abbey - Fellowes or Louis - 'Wag-ner' - Walsh.

But Mark's latest movie, 'We are being controlled by the internet' (click here) has at least wit.  We see the silly poppet prone on his bed mucking about on the internet and offering us a series of Alf Garnett-y reaction shots to the online bedlam. Obama's a jackass, lizard-hating David Icke's admirable (such is the level of satire)... and we are warned: beware people with short arms. I am most disappointed that he does not mention Madame Arcati, though I do not have short arms. He should at least have mentioned Daniel Radcliffe's cock or Sheila Vogel-Coupe's 81-year-old snatch as part of the Arcati online mental stew. I mean, who cares if Britney Spears is short?

How very remiss. How very Old Etonian of him.

*Mark now claims in comments that he did not support the Tories. Likewise, may be this posting is satire in kind.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sheila Vogel-Coupe's X Factor: Oh my God, her sex movie!

Dame Cecilia and friend
My woman of the year 2010, Sheila Vogel-Coupe (aka prostitute Grand Dame Cecilia Bird, aka actress Ruby Tuesday), 81, really does love vigorous sex, judging by her performance in this free excerpt from a porno (to be found via the site address in the picture - but be warned, the material is extremely graphic.)

Her performance is much more entertaining than that of her granddaughter Katie Waissel on The X Factor. Perhaps Simon Cowell might care to comment.

And let me know what you think of Sheila's performance.

Madame Arcati - does she have a cock? Click here

Friday, November 26, 2010

Quentin Crisp speaks at séance: 'Even homos live beyond death'

A winged Quentin Crisp
The Australian contingent of the Church of Madame Arcati informs me that the late Quentin Crisp has communicated his thoughts via a medium. A recording of the séance has been posted on Australian former lawyer and outspoken Spiritualist Victor Zammit's website  (scroll down for the link on his site).

The voice purporting to be that of Quentin says: 'One of the reasons that I come through is to prove that even homosexuals live beyond death... It proves that the Catholics are speaking out from where the sun doesn't shine. Why, pray, would you not live beyond death because you're homosexual. There's lots of ignoramuses ...'

I have to say that the voice sounds nothing like Quentin's, though the speaker has adopted a pawsh drawl of the Lady Bracknell variety: and the opinions expressed would predictably be those of Quentin. The vulgar allusion to an anus is out of character, however. And Catholics do not claim that homosexuals do not survive death; rather, that eternal damnation is the devil's Pontin's for poofters, though you won't hear old Ratzi with his pussy cats saying that publicly.

As for the voice of Quentin, where's Rory Bremner these days?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sheila Vogel-Coupe: Mature Courtesans website - the review

Sheila Vogel-Coupe
I am astonished at the thousands of new readers who have stormed into Madame Arcati all because of my little post on Sheila Vogel-Coupe. She's in the Sun today, blissfully unashamed to be a practising prostitute at the age of 81. But I am appalled that her disrespectful X Factor wannabe and Frodo lookalike granddaughter, Katie Waissel, was 'vile and vicious' towards her on the phone after singing Help! last Saturday. Help? She can fuck off, dearie.

Anyhow, all this talk of Sheila has drawn me to the Mature Courtesans website where until recently she advertised her person. The madam of this establishment is one Helga who apparently has 'gone away' for now - and I must say Helga's business is a tribute to the kind of fine manners we should expect in these times of Old Etonian governance, even if her grasp on grammar and syntax is not.

'I only cater for gentlemen who prefer the delights of a mature companion,' she announces candidly. Her ladies (aged 35+ up to their 80s) she calls 'entertainers' or 'companions'. Gentlemen must be 'clean and appetising', the sort that might want to take a courtesan to Ascot. Clients are encouraged to bring 'surprise gifts': if they intend to cancel they're invited to be a 'considerate and well-bred gentleman' and call or text.

Most of the Vintage Vamps on display speak several languages and all would not look out of place on a Fred Olsen cruise liner. Bella Martin, for instance, is in her 70s and is described as 'a new star arrived on the Horizon of the Escort Universe', speaks English and French and discusses current affairs. The backdrop to her various picture poses looks distinctly Chelsea Harboury. Like all her colleagues she dislikes a 'Lack of personal Hygiene, Manners, Drunks & Drug-Users.' Not bankers, too?

I particularly like the look of Lady B, 69, who 'has been working as a bunny girl', is partial to champagne and is 'bi-curious'.

Mature Courtesans' purple wallpaper puts in mind the rich decor of an Alfred Tayor male brothel of the sort Oscar Wilde patronised: and the rich use of euphemism (one pays for a companion's time) is entirely 19th century. All that's missing is opium fume. Well, I say 19th Century, yet British law rather compels this kind of nonsense. All ver' Old Etonian-friendly.

Oh my God, Sheila's sex movie!

Oh my God, Madame Arcati on her fetishes. Click here

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

William & Kate's wedding day: virgin on the ridiculous

St Catherine of Siena
Further evidence that Madame Arcati anticipates the zeitgeist is the date chosen for the wedding of the century (so far). Prince 'Big Louis' William will take Catherine Middleton, the future Duchess of Cambridge, to be his wife on April 29 next - which just happens to be the feast day of an Arcati favourite, St Catherine of Siena!

I alone among bloggers have written extensively about the virgin St Catherine. She may have passed away in the 14th Century for the sake of her hymen but she is in fact still fully sentient and engaged with our modern world. She employs as her current mouthpiece the US medium Elizabeth Baron to convey her funkily-expressed thoughts and recollections. I have been unstinting in chronicling them.

St Catherine was instrumental in the capture of the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega; and who can forget St Catherine's claim that Joaquin Phoenix is possessed by the troubled soul of Johnny Cash? Ms Baron, too, likes to name-drop: do read my tale of her seance with the Hollywood siren Lana Turner, still screaming beyond the grave in a most unseemly way about this and that.

Is this honouring of St C by the House of Windsor (1917 - ) some sort of augury of things to come for Wills and Kate? St C's persistence in staying alive bodes well for marital longevity. But her militant virginity may prove irksome in the creation of an heir and spare. Others, more sceptical than I, may wonder about the royal couple's connection to reality given the heroic claims of St C.

Certainly old Ratzi in his Vatican palace must be delighted as Anglicans flail about under old beardie. It's a wonder the Pope is not marrying the pretty pair.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sheila Vogel-Coupe: Madame Arcati's woman of the year 2010

The Grand Dame
The news that X-Factor wannabe Katie Waissel's granny is an 81-year-old 'escort' filled me with joy yesterday. I was soooo impressed.

'Pensioner Sheila Vogel-Coupe offers sex as a "vintage vamp" under the name of Grand Dame Cecilia Bird and boasts she has clients in their twenties,' screamed the News of the World in their story wittily headlined 'Gum and get it'. The Sun calls her the '£250-an-hour crinkly tart' today in its customary cheapo recap of its sister paper's exclusives. The slag who wrote the Screws piece, Stephen Moyes, should get some special treatment for this delicious exposé - though of course karmically he's got something coming to him. Oh yes.

I must say the Grand Dame looks nothing like her age and demonstrates a wit and canniness young hacks on tabloids can only dream about. She has found the wherewithal to buy her 'sheltered accommodation' flat - so the housing association can't throw her out - and she shortly embarks on a trip to Italy. She dresses elegantly, loathes tattoos, drinks fine red wines and probably uses an expensive mouthwash.

I do hope the new-found notoriety doesn't upset Sheila too much. Once the relatives have got over it they'll quietly marvel at her fashionable entrepreneurial spirit. Katie should feel proud of her gran. I can only wish for such a relative.

Rather than moping about all day waiting for care assistants to sit her on a commode or blocking up her GP's waiting room with imagined complaints or generally being lonely because she put all her life into her kids/partner/pets before they died/scarpered, Sheila entertains frustrated men in need of intelligent conversation, charming company and a harmless ejaculation while cradled in her arms.

Quite frankly this woman should be made a dame. Except she's already a Grand Dame.

Review of the Mature Courtesans website where Sheila once advertised. Click here

Oh my God, Sheila's sex movie!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nesta Wyn Ellis interview: 'Lord Bath's girlfriend thought I was at Longleat for a threesome'

Nesta Wyn Ellis
John Major biographer Nesta Wyn Ellis has just published a new work, The Marquess of Bath: Lord of Love in which she analyses the notorious Longleat blue blood and his harem of squabbling wifelets. In this special interview with Madame Arcati, Paris-based Nesta describes how she met him - and reveals that she's completed her own memoirs. Indiscretions may be assured. 

Nesta Wyn Ellis! Congratulations on your wonderful bio of Lord Bath, Lord of Love! Has his lordship been in touch about the book? Any of the wifelets? Did he know it was coming out? I see you spent hours with him....

I last spoke to Bath in 2009 after sending him the book to read for inaccuracies. He did not comment other than he did not want to have any more to do with the book. I reminded him that he was the source of most of the material. I spent some 40 hours recording interviews with him, another 20 hours interviewing his friends and more hours observing him and mingling with guests at Longleat and his other residences. Bath may have thought the book would not appear.

After the initial media/publisher interest in the book some years ago, I believe he made great efforts to self- publish and promote his own autobiography in print and on the net as if he were competing with me. Some turgid tomes appeared but nothing else will appear until after his death as his wife threatens she will divorce him if any of his own memoirs covering the period of his life after their marriage in 1969 (that’s some 41 years ago) appear on the Internet, or in print.

I have a written note from him stating the latter, which refers only to his own writing. However, she may have made threatening noises about my book. He is clearly terrified of her. Yet he seemed to want me to know how he dominates her by hitting her when she nags him while he is driving the car. There is quite a bit about this in the book. And about wifelet violence too: some observers think he orchestrates inter-wifelet warring.

Had Lord B read your John Major bio?

He certainly knew all about it and was keen to be a biographical subject, perhaps because of the fact that to be written about by someone who has written an acclaimed biography of a Prime Minister suggests a certain prestige for the subject. Bath told me he would choose power over anything else, if it were offered to him. So, I think being written about by someone who has written about a powerful politician may have had a lot of appeal for him.

How are sales? I know the book was serialised in the Daily Express. I don't know much about your publishers Dynasty Press.... sounds like something Joan Collins might be running.

The book is being sold all over the world via the Internet and in the UK through both Internet and bookshops. The Express and the Mail have both offered it for sale. This is a hardback, of course, though selling at a competitive price (£13.95) Yes, the name Dynasty reminds us of Joan Collins' great success as a glamorous vamp in the 1980’s drama series of that name. A great name for the kind of books they want most to publish—memoirs of Royalty and the nobility, biographies such as mine of Bath.

Would you say Lord B is a domestic abuser? - there is testimony in your book that he has a violent temper. Do you think this is characteristic of him or evidence of rare weak moments such as to which all of us might fall prey in a vast house full of annoying women, some of whom one is 'married' to?

There is a definite incidence of violence in Bath’s relations with women. He really wanted me to know that he hits his wife and volunteered all of the information about her in the chapter about her (entitled “I’m a Happily Married Man.”). After giving me this quote he roared with laughter. He thinks he has the perfect solution in that his wife lives in Paris for three weeks out of every month and he has his assorted wifelets to hand. Of course he has to change his plans to enjoy seductive weekends if Lady Bath suddenly announces her arrival for her one week a month at the ancestral pad. Staff and others testify that Lady B can be rather tempestuous.

She invited me to go to Longleat one weekend while she was there. Alexander laughed nervously, shuddered and said “Oh no no no. I don’t think so.” It was he who gave me her phone number in Paris, which is how I found out that it is listed in the name of a man. Meanwhile Bath has his brood of current and not so current wifelets. But there have been some violent incidents with wifelets too—described in the book. The main problem is that Bath’s inner violence seems to provoke violent behaviour in many of his women—against him and against their rivals.

Would you like to be a Lord Bath wifelet?

It would not interest me in the least. I lived in the most gorgeous place during the first two years of my marriage, and I can't say that I want to get laid just for the sake of a famous house and an important title. I know some women are drawn by a man’s celebrity, or his money or his des res but I’m more interested in the man’s character and other qualities.

Do you think Lord Bath still enjoys carnal relations with his harem?

Oh undoubtedly. That is his goal, but as one recent wifelet told me, “This is an elderly gentleman. There is not much action.”

You live in Paris: has promoting the title in the UK been a trial? And tell us about your London book party. Who was there? (I'm sorry I couldn't make it).

Yes, it may be that I could get the promotion up to speed a bit better if I were in London for longer. After my long absence in Paris people seem enthusiastic to have me back. But I probably need to be around and about a bit more. I am coming and going at intervals and I may start to spend longer periods in London in the future. The publishers seem to be concentrating on book reviews rather than promoting the author. I would like to be able to get it across that this is not just more of the same old twaddle about Bath that he puts out decade after decade. It shows a side of the old libertine that no one has ever been allowed to see. He let me see it by his outpourings of rage and grief about his youthful rejections and his family feuds. There are a number of real scoops in the book if only journalists had time to read it.

It was a great shame that you were unable to attend the launch. It went with a swing. Well over 100 people accepted and the place was bursting at about mid-time because many more had turned up with friends. There were so many people who had not seen me for more than ten years. I did not have time to chat to people at all as books were being thrust under my nose for signing, one after the other. Many people who came were friends of mine most of whom I had not contacted for a decade.

But also some others such as [Sunday Times astrologer] Shelley von Strunckel, Liz Brewer, Ben Duncan, friends of friends and others well known in media circles, were among the guests. The party was filmed by Channel 4 Wales for a news slot and a number of diarists were there. But this is a demure ripple compared to the splashes I made with each of my previous books. The biggest was probably Britain’s Top One Hundred Eligible Bachelors. Peter Stringfellow sponsored a huge party at the original Stringfellows Club. And the TV shows afterwards will live on in legend and song. I was busy for years with those.

You seem drawn to highly sexed male subjects. We now know that your first subject, former PM John Major, was an unsuspected cauldron of testosterone (thanks to Edwina Currie's revelations), and then there's Lord Bath, pluralist shagger. Why is this?

I don’t see them initially as highly sexed, although I did notice how sexy Major was when I first met him. I also realized when I met him in 1989 for a commissioned magazine interview would be the next PM.

Bath? It came about by accident when I was invited by one of his women friends to go to Longleat for a weekend. It turned out later that she had thought I would join her for a threesome in Bath’s big bed in his penthouse apartment. But I had gone to Longleat only out of curiosity and when I made it clear that I preferred to sleep downstairs, well away from the Bath bed, I was allocated the Autobiographical Suite, a room painted all over with little cartoon murals in which the characters had thought balloons coming out of their mouths.

The Bath figures were all saying things like “I’m not welcome here and the others were saying, “You don’t belong here. You don’t fit in. You’re an outsider. You’re not one of us.” I couldn’t help finding this interesting for someone who had been to Eton, then Oxford and had served in the Guards. The truth is that this is what is wrong with Alexander. He has felt such an outsider all his life, despite the heritage of title and Longleat, its treasures and its millions. The topic of his own autobiography came up at dinner on the Saturday night and I asked him had he never considered the possibility of someone else writing a biography of him. He said many had asked. So I said, “Ok, maybe I could think about writing a biography of you. Would you like to think about it overnight?”

By lunch time the next day he had already decided he liked the idea so we proceeded from there, sending each other letters of agreement. I told him I would give him the same option as Major. I would do the interviews, write the story and then show him the final copy once a publisher had offered for it. He would then be able to comment on any inaccuracies or overly embarrassing anecdotes and I might agree to amend them. It was never going to be an authorized biography.

In the end he refused to tell me what he didn’t like about it, said he didn’t like any of it. I reminded him that it was based on 60 hours of recorded interviews with him and some of his closest friends.

Darling, you've lived such a life. Do you not fear that perhaps someone might turn their attention to you and unearth detail you'd prefer shrouded in discretion....

I have nothing to hide. In any case I have completed the writing of a version of my own autobiography and there is stuff in there that is entirely my own private experience: naughty, tragic, complex, and shocking even to myself at times. I gossip quite a lot about other people in it, of course. I suppose there is always a chance that there are people out there who think they have something to tell abut me. But as I’m such a loner, most of my life is lived in compartments.

Tell us of other projects-in-progress. I know you have recorded albums, and I'm sure there may be other people whose life stories are worth investigating. Who interests you most? Sarkozy? Carla?

I once said that biography was like marriage. You get to know so much about the person and you spend hours and weeks thinking about them and their lives. Well, I’ve been married too and I’ve found out that you get to know more about a biographical subject than you do about your marriage partner, and in a shorter time. Anyway, I don’t want to spend a lot of time writing biographies but some characters do interest me.

Male, political, powerful individuals fascinate me the most. I love to spend hours talking to highly intelligent people who have the power to change a country. Sarkozy would have qualified as a candidate, but it's too late for him now. I’m not sure he will make it as the UMP’s candidate for Presidential office in 2012. Carla is despised as an opportunist with a full time PR working day and night to keep her in the news. The truth about her will come out after Sarko leaves the Elysee. And you will be able to write it on the back of an envelope. She’s just a passenger, hitching a ride with a powerful husband.

I would be interested in writing about a woman who had made it on her own. Even Hilary Clinton was riding her husband’s coat tails. Men are better subjects for me. I have some male subjects in my future plans. But they will have to be worth the time and I should be paid a lot better for it than hitherto.

Otherwise, although I realize that I have a powerful gift in this field I am tired of other people’s psychological convolutions, even of my own. I prefer the idea of working more on music. I am planning a new album of both French and English songs. I’ll make that in London where I can be sure of the quality of my collaborator and the studio.

Then there is stage work. I have written most of the book and most of the songs for a musical based on my own life story which moves via London to Africa, then America, to London again for the most dramatic years and then to France. The structure of the story is the same as for my autobiography. The music is however the part that expresses the nature of these different locations. There will be a cast of about ten. The dancing will be an important part, especially in the Africa and the America Acts. Songs: they range from the sad and tender to the fiery and passionate. I write the lyrics and the accompaniment for all my songs.

Before the stage musical, which will involve a lot of work and some funding, I want to put on some more musical cabarets of French and English songs in London. My London audiences really enjoy the French songs. I may do some more in Paris too where my audiences are visibly moved often to tears. There is one show 1.5hrs long with dance and songs. I’ve designed the costumes, lighting, written the music. It’s rather sensual. I will have a dance partner and I will sing the songs. It’s a magical concept. I have written a novella of the same name, “A Love is Like A Day”. That’s so short I will have to publish it myself. It’s available in electronic form from my website.

Film is also important to my future plans. I have one film in development and now that I am shrugging Bath off my shoulders and have completed my autobiography, I want to push on with Children of Violence. I am involved with the production myself with my companies Paris Productions and Paris Production Services. I have a co-producer and we need a known director since the finance people say the film should have a big budget and a box office star. This is what I also believe the film should be, a fascinating well directed story, beautiful to watch and to listen to. There are many lovely songs--French and English, ballads and jazz—integral to the screenplay, which is based on the story of a young singer who follows her lover to Paris and finds another love and great complications that almost kill her. There will be great sound track sales. The story is mystical and dramatic, mysterious and tragic, but it resolves happily for at least two of the three protagonists. It is set mostly in Paris although scripted in English. The important part is there must be beautiful photography, light and settings, Paris and chateau scenes, some play with time shifts. The director has to realise that this is a potential prize winning film at the level of The English Patient. But I’m also looking back to Jean Cocteau’s photographic power in the use of chiaroscuro. We need someone with the very best eye for photography, for love scenes that are erotic and artistic without banality.

The world will be ready for this kind of story again in a couple of years by the time this film is ready to be released.

I’ve written the novel of this story too. I’m starting to look for a publisher.

I’ve been told it’s too short at 175 pages. Really! I’ve often joked that publishers don’t read books any more, they just weigh them. Maybe this is a case in point.

Give us a glimpse of your life in Paris these days. Is there a special someone? Do you busk still on the Paris underground?

I am here because of that special someone. I don’t busk at present. It’s a great way to rehearse because I sing without a mic and pitch my voice around into a corner so that people hear me as they come up some steps into the Metro.

I have not done a concert lately due to other work keeping me at the computer, and also the fact that its not as easy in Paris as in London to find really good reliable musical collaborators. The standard is not as high. Maybe I was lucky in London first crack. Also the audiences in London are bigger, more prepared to pay for an evening out with a concert with a cocktail or a dinner.( And usually there wont be a riot or a strike to stop your audience arriving. I’ve had to deal with that at least twice. To one concert when there was a Metro strike, many people walked. I nearly didn’t get there myself because of the heavy traffic). But being a producer as well as a performer is full time work and I’ve been too tied up with the Bath biography, another biography I’ve done involving China, and my own autobiography.

And finally for now, Nesta, as a former political player in London, what do you make of our Old Etonian government?

Hah! Let’s measure them by their results in a year or two. I’ve no objection to people going to Eton. It’s a very good school. So long as they don’t hold it against anyone else for not going there. So far, I see a human side to Dave. I applaud Nick for opting for the deal. Making it work is harder work than for an arranged marriage, I should think. However, the harmony between these two guys seems a lot more evident than that between the recent Gordon and Blair duo. Or is that making it sound too easy for them?

Thank you Nesta! And good luck with Lord of Love.

To buy Lord of Love, click here

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Duncan Fallowell: 'How to Disappear' memoir published as objet d'art

DF: click pic to big up
Madame Arcati hears that Duncan Fallowell's next book is being published not by any of the dandruff set but by a sexy new publishing venture which comes out of the British art scene. They are called Ditto and have been joined by Bruno Bayley, one of the editors of Vice Magazine. He has been asked to find books of the highest literary quality to be published by Ditto as art objects. Bruno is 25 years old and the son of design guru Stephen Bayley. His very first book will be a non-fiction title from Duncan Fallowell called How To Disappear: a memoir for misfits and it's to be launched at the end of February, 2011.

More about Ditto. Duncan's site and penis.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prince William and Kate Middleton: A hellish recollection on a happy day

While of course the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton leaves me entirely indifferent, I still wonder about the reaction of one of Kate's closest friends a few years back when the couple split up for the umpteenth time.

'We're all relieved,' she told me. 'Kate's better off without him.' Concerned, in the theatrical sense, I asked, 'Why, is he awful?' She replied, screwing her face: 'Oh, don't ask me! Don't ask me! We all think she'll be happier without him.' I can only hope, in my indifference, that matters have improved since then.

Do read my Geordie Greig piece on his 'PR management' of Kate, click here. And congratulations to the Old Moore's astrologer on a correct prediction.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown & the curious case of the feeble Twitter joker. By Farrukh Dhondy

The Independent and Evening Standard columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has decided not to press charges against Tory Birmingham Councillor Gareth Compton over his recent joke tweet calling for her stoning to death: she had questioned the UK's right to criticise the stoning of women under Sharia law. However, before the news of Alibhai-Brown's decision broke today, the writer Farrukh Dhondy wrote the following unpublished piece, reflecting on the controversy, the perils of cultural humour and Alibhai-Brown's own 'sense of historic vengeance'.

The old ones are, on occasion, the best:

“The difference between Iran and Britain? In Iran you commit adultery and get stoned, in Britain you get stoned and commit adultery, boo-boom!”

That one is descriptive and, looking at it all ways, harmless. Telling it, in Britain at any rate, shouldn't cause you to be arrested, prosecuted or persecuted. There is, as far as my lay knowledge stretches, no law against characterising Iran as a rather nasty place or against jesting about the loose morals of Brits. But as Milan Kundera made us aware in the masterpiece that brought him and his writing to the attention of the world, a joke, however harmless, can bring the horsemen of the Apocalypse in the shape of the secret police, the apparat of the Communist Party and the Stalinist abyss to your door. Kundera’s novel is set in Soviet Czechoslovakia. The story begins with its hero being sent off to hard labour in the mines for sending a postcard to his girlfriend denigrating the optimism of Party propaganda as ‘the opium of the people’ and wishing at the same time, the renegade Trotsky a long life.

British mines have been, for the most part, shut since the regime of Margaret Thatcher and today’s Party dissidents, as far as I know, can’t be punished by being sent down them. So at least the fate of Kundera’s hero doesn't await Counsellor Gareth Compton the Conservative who was arrested and suspended indefinitely from the Party for what he admits was a feeble attempt at a joke he posted on Twitter.

Mr. Compton’s Twitter account has been closed down and today he must feel much as Kundera’s joker felt. Mr Compton has been charged by the West Midland’s police for ‘sending an offensive or indecent message’, racially aggravated it is said -- and if he is brought to court and convicted, he faces being banned from his profession as a barrister.

Mr Compton was reacting to the broadcast opinion of the columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who was invited onto Radio Five Live’s Breakfast Show to talk about David Cameron’s visit to China. There was a difference of opinion on whether he should condemn China’s record on human rights. Ms Alibhai Brown was of the opinion that no politician had any moral right to condemn human rights abuses, not even the stoning to death of women under Sharia law.

Mr Compton Twittered his reaction to this opinion, or perhaps passed an implicit verdict on all her opinions expressed over the years, mainly The Independent, saying “Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai- Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you do. It would be a blessing really.”

Soon after, he posted another Tweet to say his previous Tweet was an ill conceived attempt at humour and he didn't mean any offence.

It is reasonable to conclude that this regretful retraction was the result of a little reflection (or of instant warnings from friends) about the possible consequences for himself of this impulsive burst of intended humour. It certainly wasn’t a hasty retraction rescinding an order to inflict fatal harm on Ms Alibhai Brown, because even a junior Conservative councillor from Erdington in Birmingham must realise that he is almost powerless to get the bins cleared on time, leave aside condemning anyone to death by stoning.

However unfunny the joke, the context, the culture, the country in which it was made, the concern that his leader David Cameron and Party have the moral duty to condemn the stoning to death of a woman in Iran, indicate that Mr Compton could have had no illusions or intention that his joke was any sort of ‘fatwa’. He has been a supporter of Muslims in his community. It wasn’t the word of an Ayatollah asking Muslims to murder Salman Rushdie. It wasn’t the word of some mad mullah from a mill-and-mosque town in the North telling his congregation that British soldiers were Kaffirs who should be sent to hell by any means necessary. It was a laddish, ironic joke by someone who obviously wants stoning to death condemned.

Ms. Alibhai is not herself without a sense of historic vengeance, though perhaps a little devoid of ironic appreciation. In one exchange some years ago, if |I remember correctly, Gavin Essler, a TV journalist responded to something she was saying by asking “ What's wrong with white guys, by the way?”

Ms A-B replied: “I don't like them. I want them to be the lost species in a hundred years.”

And so to a confession: The evening before the Radio Five Live broadcast and Compton’s folly, I was invited to the premiere of a play by a touring Mumbai theatre group at a West London venue. The audience was largely of South Asian origin. After the play there was a reception in the foyer and I spotted the same Yasmin Alibhai Brown speaking to some friends of mine. I am not well acquainted with Ms Alibhai-Brown but have met her on several occasions and exchanged anodyne pleasantries. I went up to the group, greeted my friends and said “Hello Yasmin.”

She turned and left the group saying “I am not speaking to you, you are dangerous.”

However flattering it may be to be deemed and dubbed ‘dangerous’, I was baffled as were my friends. They asked why I was dangerous. I said I was unaware of ever having given any offence, intentional or otherwise. I don’t do Twitter and I am not on any blog or website.

Then it occurred to me that the snub may have been the result of Ms Alibhai-Brown knowing that I am acquainted with a niece of hers, one Farah Damji, a writer and self-confessed fraudster and ex-convict and I have been told by both that they are not friends. But then a lot of people have come across and made the acquaintance of Farah Damji and surely Ms Alibhai-Brown doesn’t believe that it makes them all ‘dangerous’.

The snub remained mildly puzzling until I remembered that I once said to someone apropos of her columns that Yasmin Alibhai-Brown “had put the ‘aunty’ back in ‘dilettante’”. I am not conscious of having put such the remark out on Twitter but it obviously got back.

Now all I can do is put the chain on and wait for the knock at dawn.

© by Farrukh Dhondy 2010