Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Meow meow: A diary fragment from Brighton

A friend writes ...

To Brighton. The club was on the seafront and called Fragment [Volks] I think. I was comforting a 6ft 8in black gay guy who was weeping over his man. "It doesn't matter how many men I rim, I can't get him out of my head." "Stop rimming them" I said. "It only makes it worse." Weeping like a baby he was. Next minute he was up throwing himself on the dance floor with his best mate - who had polio. He was in a wheelchair and had a harelip. Ooh the characters in Brighton!

Meow Meow feels like a cross between coke and ecstasy but without the "edge". It was perfectly nice, made me talk nine to the dozen and love everyone. The guy in the wheelchair was a real ungrateful bastard. I put some meow meow on my finger and shoved some up his nose to cheer him up. His response? "You're a bit stingy with that aren't you?" Cheeky fucker.

 I was dancing to drum and bass (which I hate normally) dancing for four hours in four inch heels and I felt no pain! I went with my toyboy although he's my ex now. We didn't leave the club till 7am.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Is The Spectator a racist magazine?

I only ask because according to The Spectator, blogging is just a "conversational medium". So do please converse. The magazine mounted this defence of its blogger Rod Liddle to the Press Complaints Commission after he wrote that the "overwhelming majority" of violent crime in London was carried out by young African-Caribbean men. The Spectator lost, diddums. The magazine was unable to back Liddle's claim factually. NB: They did not retract the claim.

One assumes Liddle's comment was nodded through by editors sympathetic to the viewpoint. One assumes there are no young African-Caribbean men on the editorial staff to rein in the Empire-nostalgic Tory young Turks dreaming of an Etonian Westminster.

This is a particularly embarrassing outcome for the publication's immature editor, Andrew Neil's mini-me bitch, Fraser Nelson, who also whores his right-wing slob views for the News of the World. Only last year he ran a Spectator coverline which suggested racism in Britain is sooooo not very prevalent any more (Sample from body copy: "The less racist Britain is, the more popular this racist party [BNP] becomes.") Oops. Less racist?

Meanwhile, the new owner of the Independent, Alexander Lebedev owes me, Suzanne Moore and others for dissuading him from making Liddle the paper's editor. We're all heart.

The Large Hadron Collider: Madame Arcati's prediction

After the secular propaganda and excitement of this morning in our international media. a great silence shall descend upon the $10 billion manger of CERN, Geneva. Years will elapse and the multitude shall wonder, "What was that all about?" New theories of the "god particle" and "sooper-dooper partners" shall be bandied about, mainly by journalists proficient in synopsising press releases, yet no one will be any the wiser about the origins of the universe. But this won't stop ambitious particle physicists from locking horns in academic media about the significance of This and That, and the lay atheists shall take sides as at a football match, waving their flags and other partisan livery. In time Large Hadron Collider churches shall be built in the name of This or That and each of their clergy will bemoan the vicissisitudes of faith while some among them fuck the under-aged.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Joanna Lumley: Labour's last card against this goddess of AOL torture

The government is of course very foolish to upset Joanna - "Ayo Gurkhali!" - Lumley (again) over the Gurkhas. On Monday (or today if you're reading this on Monday; or yesterday if Tuesday, etc) she will single-handedly hammer the last nail into the Labour coffin. I had hoped Labour would scrape home but I see now all is lost, thanks to Joanna.

As I write she is, as Lady Penelope once was, an untouchable national treasure, the embodiment of the upper class geist that is about to repossess the Brits for the umpteenth time through the 19th Etonian PM (to-be) aka the half-wit former PR David Cameron.

Foreigners should understand that the Brits like the taste of upper class asshole: it's part of the ingrained cuisine (pause to spit out hair strands, inter alia, unsweetened by absence of bidet). They adore modulated vowels for it plays to the national Capricornian desire for hereditary privilege and power as expressed in sound and deportment and approved antecedents (cue: spires).

There is however one card left for Labour to play against the Nepalese goddess Joanna. It's called the AOL card. For years, Joanna's voice has been used to annoy AOL subscribers with an unwelcome welcoming message and the lie "You've got email". It's a lie because AOL users are blighted with this message whether they have email or not. Worse, she is the voice of "You've got company (bang)". It is another lie. The subscriber does not have any online company. It is just a noise-message intended to piss one off as the odd unfortunate ejaculates over the keyboard.

Somebody at AOL actually sat down one day and said, 'Oh, let's see how we can really piss off our customers. Great! Get Joanna Lumley to tell them over and over again that they have company (bang)'. It was marketing by irritation, as practised by those TV ads, and others. The intention is to batter you into brand-recognition compliance through torture, a sort of extraordinary rendition for the sofa- (or swivel chaired-) bound.

Of course the goddess hadn't a clue she was just a tongue puppet for these wicked corporate shenanigans. She read the messages off a sheet and collected her substantial cheque. She gave no thought to the possibility that her voice would become one of the most detested sounds on the internet. Like the late Leni Riefenstahl, she is the creative incidental to the cultural foulness. For a goddess, Joanna is peculiarly stupid.

Joanna should be publicly reviled by Labour as a modern-day Lord Haw-Haw, as the expression of something noxious, whether witting or not. She should have foreseen this horror. There is not a day that passes by that I do not wish this ghastly woman some dreadful end for the earache and the headache and the ultimate heartache.

How to turn her off

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Molly Parkin signs huge publishing deal with Beautiful Books

British publisher Beautiful Books has signed up writer/poet/eminent fashionista Molly Parkin as one of its authors in a comprehensive books and music deal. It will publish her memoirs Welcome To Mollywood on October 21, 2010.

In addition, BB will republish the first three of Molly's comic erotic novels – Love All, Up Tight and Full Up – and a first volume of her poetry. All ten novels will be published in the new format over the following 24 months.

Welcome To Mollywood - a title created by the House of Arcati - will be issued in a variety of simultaneous formats: initial hardback publication, audio, e-book and video – all digital versions being available as a SmartPhone application and internet download. Molly herself will be filmed reading the whole book and this version too will be available as a download.

And following on from her success last year as a DJ alongside her daughter Sophie and granddaughter Carson, Beautiful Books will also release an album of music, chosen by Molly – the soundtrack to an extraordinary life.

BB describes Mollywood as "both a memoir and a new artistic beginning for this much-loved writer and artist. There will be appearances from her famous lovers – James Robertson Justice, John Mortimer, George Melly, Bo Diddley; stories of her drinking days with Francis Bacon at the legendary Colony; accounts of her friendships with Barbara Hulanicki of BIBA fame and fashion designer Zandra Rhodes; and throughout, a strong and individual voice which will delight her many fans and introduce her to a whole new audience."

As Arcatistes know, Molly is my fiancee and I can't tell you how delighted I am for her. Congratulations, Moll! And Beautiful Books has demonstrated tremendous vision.

I never thought I'd say that of a commercial publisher.

The Molly Parkin interviews with Madame Arcati: cocks, spirituality, paternal abuse, lovers and ... David Cameron.
Part 1
Part 2

Greg Dyke to be next editor of The Independent

I hear on good authority that the BBC's former D-G Greg Dyke is about to be signed up as the next editor of the Independent. I wholly approve of this appointment if true. He has newspaper savvy and he is not pig ignorant.

New proprietor Alexander Lebedev has gone up in my estimation even if he toyed with Rod Liddle.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dr Brian Cox and the Wonders of a Solar Smile

The latest sexy darling of atheists is particle physicist Dr Brian Cox, former rock star member of the band D:Ream. His current BBC2 show Wonders of the Solar System is wowing the so-called intelligentsia in the UK, for reasons beyond my understanding. It's telling us nothing we haven't heard already: the Sun is awfully hot, Mercury is hot, too, but gets very cold at night, Venus is Earth's carbon alter ego, and there are some helluva storms on Jupiter. True, I hadn't seen some of the pics of Titan's surface, but think of sand and stones and, presto, you have Saturn's Worthing.

What's tickling mental clits and dicks is Cox's ability to smile while talking. This is quite an achievement. Most people who smile while talking are probably planning to kill you; they're loons: but Coxy Babe couldn't drown a kitten. He's a cuddlesome, hard-geeing northerner geek in awe of the universe. His very orgasmic, transferable relish in repeating what his profs taught him at uni alchemises his commonplaces, with that toothy smile. That he sounds like a simpleton while parroting the number of air molecules in a pebble disarms because one knows he's a swot and make no mistake. We need to look down a bit first before we look up.

Cox is a man boy waggling his box of toys at us: he has nothing new to tell us, just a new way - thanks to his talking smile. At public expense he gets to fly at 60,000 ft to admire the dark blue of the sky, to drive over desert sand dunes to show us what Mars is like (air: thin), and he lights Chinese lanterns to demonstrate the effects of hot air. Oh, it rises.

No wonder he's smiling. I'd be laughing in his shoes.

(The Mail on Sunday columnist Suzanne Moore wrote me on Facebook after I said Cox was like a kid with toys: "Told Brian what you said. He said Tell them from me that they should stick to shaking their jowels and drinking Claret and leave science to the big boys and girls ;-) Oooooh x"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

William Cash: Cruelly betrayed by his London Evening Standard!

Treachery is the coin of newspaper life. But the London Evening Standard's disloyalty to its regular (former?) contributor William Cash is breathtaking. An Arcatiste tells me that a few days ago its City Spy column suggested that William's wealth magazine Spear's hadn't paid some of its writers "for months".

It claimed, "one contributor, fed up with the weeks of waiting, used to go and plonk himself in reception until a cheque materialised."

I am sure an embittered and penniless celebrant of "high net-worth individuals" fed this tale to Spy. Amused followers of Cash will be surprised the paper ran it. For years he has filled pages and pages of ES Mag with his homages to the super-rich - interviews, marital memoir, dispatches from obscure parts of Europe and reports from tax havens with lovely beaches and aristo memento mori - so for his journalistic home from home to stab him in the back like this is nothing short of scandalous.

We must await further news of his magazine's financial status. In the meantime I must add that I have in numerous posts cautioned him against making an altar to money: friendships forged in the world's gilded slops melt away at the first hint of impecuniosity. It is my karmic duty to repeat this message over and over again - I think I must have been the loaded Imam of the Nizārī Muslims in a previous life.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Scarlett Keeling: Her bereaved mother too hip for media slags

The trial of two men accused of killing the 15 year-old Devon girl Scarlett Keeling starts today. Her body was found on an Anjuna beach in Goa in February 2008.

That the matter has reached this point at all is down to Scarlett's tenacious mother Fiona MacKeown who battled with Goan authorities. Initially, local police said the girl had drowned. But later forensic evidence revealed she had been violently attacked and raped before death.

No doubt a larger corrupt story lies behind this attempted cover-up. Several years ago I toured India as a member of a press party. In Goa the guy from the Financial Times popped out for a ride on a motorbike and was stopped by local cops. They told him he would be arrested if he did not pay them a sum of money and keep quiet about it: he gave them cash. Neither in his travel piece nor mine was any mention made of the encounter, probably to save our generous Indian hosts embarrassment. But I vowed never to return to Goa. Something is plainly rotten in its police force.

How some British newspapers have treated Fiona is worth re-examination. Her hippy appearance and lifestyle offended a great many of the lower middleclass neurotics paid a great deal of money to parade their neuroses. The Daily Mail's Allison Pearson excelled herself in March 2008. "Fiona MacKeown... seems less like a grieving mother than an avenging tigress," she wrote, as if any normal mother would not want justice for her dead child. She then went on to claim that Fiona herself was responsible for her daughter's death for leaving her in the care of a local tour guide she hardly knew.

But what upset Allison more than anything else was the idea of a "free-living" woman taking her family on a dream trip to India - "an unrepentant member of the Me Generation" as she put it - as opposed to being an uptight, probably unhappy and certainly overworked hack who allows people to think she's married to her live-in partner to placate a seething hateful readership. Somehow, Fiona had brought this tragedy on herself, because she had rejected convention just as Allison embraces it like a moronic teen clubber seeking a meow meow high.

Sarah Sands, in the Independent, echoed the Pearson line, albeit in a gentler, more caring way. "She may have been a free spirit, but Scarlett was also a child. Fiona MacKeown put ideology before humanity," simpered Sarah, who herself gives a good impression of ylang ylang-scented New Age-lite enlightenment, but ultimately is just another careerist conformist peddling the standard (and Evening Standard) line on a whole array of topics.

What astonishes me is the callous disregard for Fiona MacKeown and for her dead daughter: both are just cultural weapons to beat an offending lifestyle. I will be interested to see what these two media slags have to say about the Keeling case when all the facts emerge.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Give Lara DF a listen (even if I can't abide her bio dad)

I have written brutal things about Mecom's David Montgomery (ex of Mirror Group), one of the reviled and detested figures of European journalism - nicknamed the "locust" by some. Now Madame Arcati is happy to set all this bile aside as a new generation blossoms forth and old hatreds turn to anecdotal humus. One of his kids is Lara DF, a gifted but unsigned high register singer songwriter. Listen to Vision especially, a good movie theme sound in my opinion. Her mum is the journalist Sharon Feinstein. I wish Lara well.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eulogy - UK awaits its first death magazine

Death. The final frontier. Now I hear a new UK magazine plans to boldly go into this uncharted territory. It's called Eulogy and is due for launch sometime this year. I like the title. It sounds better than fucking Dignitas. Its target readership will include those facing the loss of a loved one, the already bereaved and the seriously or terminally ill. I understand it will focus both on the commerce of death - such as inheritance tax and funeral options - and on philosophical or religious perspectives, with an emphasis on celebration of life and death. I once wrote a piece on the Macchiavellian power of the last will and testament. Readers went wild with recognition. Can't see how Eulogy can fail.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Screws gives Max Clifford £1m+ to go away - relief for Andy Coulson

The News of the World has paid Max Clifford over £1m to drop his legal action over alleged phone hacking by the paper. As the Guardian reports, "The settlement means that there will now be no disclosure of court-ordered evidence which threatened to expose the involvement of the newspaper's journalists in a range of illegal information-gathering by private investigators."

That's Andy Coulson off the hook again. The Tories' chief spinner would have been dragged into court and subject to rigorous cross-examination on the topic of what he knew or what he claimed not to know as the Screws' editor about the illegal activities of his own scurvy, lying crew.

I don't blame Clifford for taking the bribe - there's no other word for it. He's inflicted damage. Why would a newspaper part with yet more substantial cash to shut someone up? This "donation" to the Tories saves the Murdoch paper embarrassment. It saves the Tories embarrassment.

The Murdoch newspapers will keep quiet on this episode praying no other big name follows the Clifford example. If this isn't corruption at the heart of our media I don't know what is.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Hurt Locker: Six Oscars for a propaganda war movie

When Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker was first released last year, much was made of its detachment from the politics of Iraq's 2004 post-invasion period. Because it didn't play The Star-Spangled Banner everytime a US bomb disposal squaddie swaggered out to unpick yet more enemy street ordnance, it was thought apolitical - especially by compliant film critics who pasted phrases from the press packs into their reviews.

In fact the movie is a deft piece of war propaganda. Its unsung assumption is that its US soldiers are in Iraq for some good purpose - no need to spell it out - and that lives are put at risk for some good reason, you fill in the blanks. Shot largely in neighbouring Jordan, its Iraqi citizens are extras to the director's focus, there to be bellowed at, moved on or suspected: they stand about staring uncomprehendingly in their rags at the principals, passive cattle to the cowboy rustlers; or wallpaper in a movie soap.

At no point does anyone say to a US soldier, "What the fuck are you doing in my country?"

The Hurt Locker stylistically is a spaghetti western without the pasta (or the western for that matter). The alpha male catalogue is picked clean of options as brooding men engage in horseplay bonding rituals when not crouched in padded suits over IEDs. Their essential characteristic is muteness. Their lack of outward drama is in inverse proportion to the risks they take. This emotional internalisation makes them pretty useless human beings, hopeless shoppers in superstores. hopeless fathers and husbands.

For they are addicted to the "rush of war ... for war is a drug." The movie makes this plain. But that's just a gloss to the real business in hand - the further movie fetishisation of machismo. Just about every Hollywood flick glams up conventional ideas of masculinity. The Hurt Locker pathologises its heroes - just as The Dark Knight unveils a troubled Batman - yet places them on an altar. It's a romantic thing to do. It's the fulfilment of our dream expectations. We can launder our relish by redressing fantasy superheroism as a sickness. And the superhero need not wear a blue cape.

How many Oscar jurors saw the movie this way? Bigelow's pretence at political objectivity was dropped in her Academy Awards acceptance speech - "I’d just like to dedicate this to the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world." The Hurt Locker is about the men, not the women.

While a useless contribution to any understanding of the pathologised male as superhero, the film did at least put the wretched Avatar in the Oscars shade.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Tony Blair: The Journey of his face - a review

What does this front cover tell us of Tony Blair's current state of mind and his memoirs The Journey (out September)? Arcatistes will be familiar with my appraisals of books by their cover alone: so let's examine the method and the message of this presentation.

Most striking is the light bleaching. I haven't seen anything quite like it since Beth Ditto's cover pic for Love magazine. Two white lamps are trained on the left-hand side of his face: one flat on, the other just off-central visage, casting shadows at the farthest reaches to our right, with illumination splashes on left cheek and mid-forehead. All this serves two purposes: to flood out most of his wrinkles and to deflect attention from the translucent bronze tanning or powder with shade brown and white contrasts.

Artfully, criss-cross lines are just discernible on the forehead while beard grain is non-existent. This succeeds in expressing a hint of the exigencies of past high office while reassuring us of a preserved boyishness, even at the age of 56, one still capable of being summoned up with discreet bronzing and lighting. To go further would be to risk Americanisation of the face. Uncapped teeth and greying hair are another concession to British ideas of authenticity (or another way of maintaining blue transatlantic water between Blighty grunge and American perfectionism). He's still a Brit even if he, like Thatch, is an honorary Yank.

Black open-necked shirt essays a smart-casual, Paul Smith-ish brand of 21st century cool statesmanship, in keeping with the not-quite smile: a smile or grin would incite public violence. So instead we get a Mona Lisa countenance: one that may suggest a certain conflict of feeling. This is a face sensitive to tone (and Tone). Notice how the corners of his mouth level off against the suggestion of a promised smile from the parted lips: it's the look of someone no longer certain of his reception. He looks you straight in the eye but he's wary. Not to be confused with contrition.

Much planning has gone into this pose of informal authenticity. His book promises much as a result, but will it deliver?

Is Alexandra Shulman no longer in Vogue at the Daily Mail?

The Prada-wearing Newcastle conwoman who posed as "Vogue editor" or "editor of Vogue" - agency copy needs only a bit of reshaping - gets wide media coverage today. But nowhere does it say which Vogue editor Emma Charlton pretended to be when she fraudulently booked a top British hotel for an £80,000 shindig.

Since it must be assumed the Press Association report failed to specify, the Daily Mail alone has opted for American Vogue, if only as an excuse to put up a pic of its editor Anna Wintour for a sexed up The Devil Wears Prada reference. Commonsense dictates that Charlton would have posed as the British Vogue editor, Alexandra Shulman - who is not half as chic as Wintour and has not been depicted in a movie or played by Meryl Streep: she is known to be distressingly normal and pacific in her responses to daily life. Her affable and chirpy boss Nicholas Coleridge can't abide divas. Say "Prada" and you don't automatically think of Shulman. She's not thin, either. Her chipmunky chops are positively squeezable with only the rumour of a hammock-style second chin.

Once upon a time Shulman was a fashion columnist on the Mail until she was dropped in March of last year due to "budget cuts". Her gig was passed to the professional loony Liz Jones who once edited British Marie Claire. All papers are cutting back but I remain unconvinced that money lay at the root of this cut. What could be better than a Vogue editor writing about fashion? Does someone at the Mail think that Alexandra falls slightly below the soignée standards of her US counterpart? The question's not rhetorical.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Independent editorship: 'Jeremy Paxman meets the Lebedevs'

On January 23, Madame Arcati broke the story that Jeremy Paxman had been offered the Independent editorship - many thought I was joking. Now the Guardian confirms that Paxman has met likely new owners the Lebedevs to talk about his possible appointment. He's not the only name on Alexander Lebedev's wishlist - Greg Dyke's there too, more in need of a big job than Paxman I should have thought. Apparently Lebedev seeks a star to edit the ailing paper - like Napoleon, he has this fantasy he can hitch a lift off another's X factor. Would you buy a paper just because it was edited by Dyke or Paxman - or Simon Cowell for that matter? Such a ludicrous idea.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Tesco: A Bryn Phillips Guerrilla Party - police gatecrash

I could say something about Michael Foot who has just died, aged 143, but to be quite honest I always disliked the way his mouth seemed to froth up during windbag monologues. History can turn on such things. Instead enjoy the work of the love of my life (after Molly Parkin, natch) Bryn Phillips who has just held an "illegal" Guerrilla Party at a Tesco supermarket (Dalston, London) amid trolley-pushers and other discount-slavering agony aunt writers. I understand he held a similar do on a London train a while back. These parties are so good that the police gatecrash them, as they did at Tesco. Isn't Bryn sooo cute - he's the one singing in his tan coat. We must make him famous. Lovely voice. And hands. Keep him away from Simon Cowell. He's mine.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Young Hitler: No beekeeper's arse this time, just a man of God

I see the fabulous Naim Attallah and his Quartet Books is releasing a "non-fiction novel" in April called Young Hitler. It was the boastful Truman Capote who first brought this category - the non-fiction novel - to my attention, with his bestseller In Cold Blood and then the unfinished, promising Answered Prayers. The author in effect novelises documented or researched fact - actually, I'd have preferred the title Young Hitler - A Novelisation. Sounds less poncy. But anyway ....

The author of Young Hitler, Claus Hant, is being sold as the first non-fiction novelist to focus on Adolf's early years. This maybe true, though let us not forget the late Norman Mailer's attempt to novelise Hitler's childhood in the unfortunate The Castle in the Forest, which I wrote about in 2007 - click here. Mailer's "Young Adi" is given an older brother with a penchant for inserting "his happy blood-filled organ into the yearning lips" of an old male beekeeper's arse whose buttocks "feel like the portals to a bounteously endowed temple." I questioned the temple imagery, wondering whether "sweatshop" might not be a happier substitute in the sodomitic circs. But anyway ...

I don't think Hant will be reliving this revenge fantasy. His fantasy is that Hitler was a man of God and not the atheist most historians accept he was. Hant says, "Hitler did not just believe in God, he believed himself to be someone through whom God was revealing his existence." That would depend on your meaning of God. To Hitler, God, Providence and nature/science were interchangeable terms to suit his purposes of self-glorification, not the same thing as spiritual self-deification. Turn to Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944 - transcripts of Hitler's unguarded chit-chat - and you find him saying: "A movement like ours must ... stick to the spirit of exact science."

He adds: "It would be appalling for me ... if I were to end up in the skin of a Buddha."

There is a line to be drawn between a despot's wish to make a cult of himself and a faith in a metaphysical system of ideas. I shall be interested to see where Hant goes with this in his non-fiction novel. I wonder whether he is yet another atheist propagandist with a fashionable loathing for religious faith. I could Google and find out, but I won't. I'll leave that one in the air for now.

The site for the book is fascinating and worth perusing - there are book extracts. I had no idea that Hitler's family home in Braunau, in Austria, is on the market (for £2m) and that the local council are trying to buy it with EU funding to fend off neo-Nazi interest. At another Hitler family home, Hant comes across a teenage girl lolling about in her bedroom, once young Hitler's, walls adorned with popstar posters. Asked what she thinks of the room's demonic past occupant, she replies: "It's just so super cool."

Fucking kids.

Oh, here's the super cool video for the novel.