Monday, June 28, 2010

John Waters: Johnny Mathis and loving your polar opposite

Illustration by Eric Hanson

Last time I was in Baltimore I had an opportunity to meet the cult filmmaker John Waters - director of Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, all the crazy movies I hope to watch again in my last week on this planet (mid-century, bitches). It was an opportunity I passed on... there was a trannies' street party to attend. And meeting one's minor gods is always a mistake. I've never recovered from a 1-2-1 with the actual Gore Vidal.

Now I'm delighted to see that Beautiful Books is to bring out Waters' Role Models later this year. It's a memoir of sorts hitched to the stars who've inspired him and whom he worships: the religious instinct can never be expunged, please note. Among these idols are Denton Welch, ex-Manson follower Leslie van Houten, lesbian stripper Zorro and outsider pornographers Bobby Garcia and David Hurles. And Saint Catherine of Siena - you may recall that St Catherine now communicates through the US clairvoyante Elizabeth Baron: indeed, she's friends with the late Hollywood drama queen Lana Turner. Only Madame Arcati can be trusted to tell you this stuff.

Another Waters idol is singer Johnny Mathis - the two men even get to meet (read this taster from Role Models, scroll down). Waters describes the veteran smoothy as "the polar opposite of me" and asks: "Do we secretly idolize our imagined opposites, yearning to become the role models for others we know we could never be for ourselves?" And he recollects: "When I taught filmmaking at a jail in Maryland in the 1980s, I always got my class to loosen up by doing improv and asking them to play 'the exact opposite of yourself.'"

I like this game. I've been thinking of some celebs who might benefit from some improv of their polar opposites

Simon Cowell - Divine
Pope Benedict - Dirk Diggler
Sarah Palin - La Cicciolina
Martin Amis - Katie Price
Richard Dawkins - Michael Jackson's Bubbles
Victoria Beckham - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Russell Crowe - Jo Brand
Piers Morgan - Marcel Marceau
Nick Clegg - Nick Clegg

Beautiful Books blog

Friday, June 25, 2010

Madame Arcati censored by the hammies

Madame Arcati has contributed a short piece to the new site of Beautiful Books publishers. Australia's Social Shuttle has something to say.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Old Moore's Almanack 2011: More political sex scandals - and a royal wedding?

Is the Cosmic Deity a Tory?

This I ask myself as I leaf through the newly published 2011 edition of Old Moore's Almanack, the astrological annual that's been going since 1697. Foreseeing the reintroduction of "life-values that have been largely missing for 20 years," (ie, since Maggie Thatch was booted out), traditionalist stargazer "Dr Francis Moore" writes approvingly of "discipline, self-discipline, respect and responsibility" in Pluto's wake as it hot tracks its bulldozer through debt mountains via puppets George Osborne, Vince Vable and co.

If I didn't know better, I'd imagine Tory spinner Andy Coulson had dictated Old Moore's diatribe. But let's not be unpleasant. What else does OM predict for the coming year?

Writing at the start of 2010, and presumably before the coalition was slicked together, OM wonders aloud whether another general election will be called in 2011. Sounds as if the government will be riven by subterfuge and plots - foreign to Westminster as we know. July '11 is particularly horrid with "scandals involving individual ministers and illicit affairs". One can only hope there will be a sufficient number of elected LibDems left to go around.

The story of the LibDem whose epic sexual escapades kept the local coppers busy in earlier times has yet to hit the headlines. I'm saying nothing, for the sake of national unity. And the story of the ex-party leader who extra-maritally fucked a famous author in Brighton is also Arcati-classified.

Prince William is unlikely to contribute to bunting sales with a wedding before 2011 - indeed, Kate Middleton sounds like a right madam and is unlikely to tie the knot if the future king doesn't build a domestic shrine to her first. You go, girlfriend! Listen to those Loose Women tarts. Still, OM thinks there could be a royal wedding next summer, "at which the Queen will be a happy and conspicuous participant."

This will come as some relief to those who recall her demeanour at the Charles/Camilla registry job. She did everything but break wind, audibly. Happily, HM is not due to do a Dignitas on us and could very well out-live David Cameron's smug smiles.

Piers Morgan is warned of "over-exposure" in the media next year. Surely not. For loads of other predictions, Old Moore's Almanack 2011 is on sale at £2.50. And visit Old Moore's website.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jon Snow gets married ... to Precious!

It's not my normal practice to comment on newspaper diary stories. But rules are meant to be broken. So I offer my congratulations to C4 news anchor Jon Snow on his marriage, as reported by Richard Kay in the Mail today. His wife is called Precious, a name that may ring alarm bells in some. But fear not. This one is Dr Precious Lunga, 35, a Cambridge scholar 27 years his junior.

Those with a memory (long or short) will recall that another Precious once claimed to be part of Mr Snow's life. Alas, this proved not to be the case.

Still, perhaps we'll learn more when this gets published on August 2. Or perhaps not.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Michael Jackson libel case: Why Jane Preston was never going to lose

The Jacksons Are Coming promo/Studio Lambert

While I still linger here in Google Hell, my congrats to film director Jane Preston. She, Studio Lambert and C4 have just seen off a frivolous libel action over her 2008 Michael Jackson TV doc, The Jacksons Are Coming. MJ's penniless former bodyguard Matthew Fiddes dropped his lawsuit, claiming the film was 'fabricated', after racking up costs of £3m, £1.7m of which C4 must pay nonetheless. For why, read here.

I had no doubt of Jane's integrity because of my past dealings with her. She is both courageous and principled.

Of the former virtue: in the early '90s she took on Mirror Group when the People's then editor, the ghastly bully Bridget Rowe (now Ukip Nigel Farage's press sec), fired her for being pregnant. Naturally the socialist organ denied any such thing, but on the court steps, Mirror Group settled the case and gave Jane a lot of lolly. I had played my tiny part in this, writing a long exposé of Rowe's illegal management style for Private Eye, but Jane herself never once thought of backing down. She is a lionheart.

Of the latter virtue: while at the People (pre-Rowe), Jane was commissioned to interview her friend Boy George by the paper's magazine supplement. He wouldn't have spoken to anyone else from the paper. Unfortunately, the then editor, the late Richard Stott, had an abiding loathing of the popstar. He held George responsible for the death of a friend's grownup child through drugs.

When Stott read Jane's sympathetic but newsy piece, he went ballistic and ordered his writer-lapdog Mary Riddell (who churns for the Telegraph now) to re-do it to ensure readers were reminded that George was the chemicals anti-Christ. Somehow Jane got wind of this and at final proof stage undid some of Riddell's damage so that the final piece was broadly as she wrote it. This earned Jane her first firing from the paper and my abiding admiration.

In my experience people very rarely alter over time. Chin-chin, Jane!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sebastian Horsley: 'He wanted to be penetrated while painting'

While Madame Arcati awaits her move to the irreverent Anorak news site, my attention is drawn to Vicky Gold's entrancing blog. She was one of Sebastian Horsley's lovers. Vicky tells that they met up last Tuesday for a cappuccino and "He told me he was thinking of doing a painting with his own blood whilst a woman penetrated him wearing a dildo. He really was trying hard to make something new."

This suggests that his creative juices were in full flow before the smack terminated him later in the week. The painting he had in mind would have been dramatically conceptual, the gazer required to envisage the dildo buggery while projecting some meaning upon the canvas; the blood perhaps leaked from his anus. It would have been a succès d'estime, I am certain; and Brian Sewell would have constructed a very long sentence in pernickety abhorrence. That alone would have rewarded the pain.

I do hope this posting does not offend the holy molies of Google-Blogger, a bunch of blue rinse beardies more at home with their blogs on TV spoiler stories and other inanimate bedroom stimuli. Goodness knows what gets these atheistic moralists up in the morning.

But should they be interested in picking up where Sebastian left off, with the dildo art, I shall be more than happy to lend a hand.

Creep by Vicky Gold
The Guy Hilton Crew, Vicky Gold

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Exclusive: Sebastian Horsley dead

I have just heard, am shocked.

My understanding is that he died either at a party or afterwards, last night or this morning.


PR has confirmed to a source.

To Sebastian, I was Madame Antarctica.

'I am for ever poised between Savile Row and Death Row'

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Madame Arcati is moving - to the splendid Anorak site

Yes, Madame Arcati's on the move. Quite soon - date subject to confirmation - the breathless and unmatched blogging of Madame Arcati will be there for the grazing at Anorak. Already, I hear, some poor unfortunate has been turfed out to make way for my en suite office - daily I shall be supplied with anti-bacterial surface wipes, as per demand in my modest rider, so that my copy of Front Row (the Anna Wintour bio) is not tainted with anything contagious when I pluck it off a bathroom library shelf.

Do pay Anorak a visit and get acquainted in readiness for my arrival. It's such a fun news site, and fans of Eurotrash may detect faint similarities. How the Anorak staff will cope with an ancient, embittered and singularly rowdy old cunt like me on the premises I can't imagine, but it will be an interesting experiment - and best of all, you still have me.

This site will stand here as a monument to blogging expertise: with over 1500 postings over four years, you'll have weeks of fun catching up or going over once again. When I have a start date at Anorak, I'll let you know. So pop back, bitches.

MA x

Monday, June 14, 2010

Madame Arcati: Bye-bye for now

Poppets! Madame Arcati is leaving you for a while. The post just below this explains everything I think. I shall update with my top 20 posts sometime soon. Your comments will go up.

Madame Arcati is not disappearing, however. She will pop up elsewhere from time to time, as will the person who imagines he is me. My thanks for your interest, your contributions, your praise and abuse. A New Moon in Gemini is a good time to move on.

MA x

Especial apologies to two writers due to be interviewed by me: Frances Lynn, for the reissue of her superb novel about '70s excess, Frantic; and to Rupert Smith for his funny, sexy Man's World, in which the gay worlds of the '50s and today somehow converge.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Madame Arcati censored! What took them soooooooo long?

You will have noticed that Madame Arcati has at long last got its 18 certificate from Google. It took them long enough. I've been putting up cock pics for about four years and there was no sign of a swoon. But only now has Google placed a content warning sign on this site, giving you the option to go elsewhere more decent - there are 285,000,000 Google porn links to choose from (just type 'porn' into your Google search box).

That there is nothing on Arcati that could be described as porn is neither here nor there. In having a free access site you will attract all sorts, including the baffled, the litigious, the sexually repressed, the moralistic and the plain dumb. Google happily slaps blocks on its Blogger sites if any of the above 'report abuse'. It is near-impossible to reverse judgement because it is impossible to make direct contact with the company - despite teasing contact links falsely claiming otherwise.

Instead, you're invited to post questions on their discussion forums which are usually ignored or responded to by some anonymous Google apologist. In essense, Google censors its blogs and allows no appeal. It treats its 'publishers' with the total contempt of the greedy, illiberal, money-grubbing, Big Brother monopoly that it is.

For me, this comes at an interesting time. I had of late considered either resting Arcati for a while or moving her to another place. Other interests are crowding in; time is precious. I have yet to decide what to do. It could be that Google has done me a favour: 'hardcore' has its own allure and now I am free not to pussy- or cocky-foot about. Believe it or not but even Arcati has in the past year or two censored herself against her own nature.

I am rather impressed with myself that an instinctive wish to change things coincides with an external intervention. I shall ponder more on this synchronicity.

Meantime I shall continue to post stuff.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A phwoar for blood and insurrection (almost) in Stoke Newington!

Report from the Stoke Newington Literary Festival, starring Farah Damji, Darcus Howe, Diane Abbott, Suzanne Moore and Gavin James Bower

In rainy Stoke Newington last Saturday, black and white did not make a murky shade of grey. Farah Damji was there to talk about her book Try Me, which Frances Lynn (shortly to be interviewed on Madame Arcati) has described as "gripping, unputdownable and explosive", and the con of multiculturalism with a little help from her mate Darcus Howe.

We didn't really get enough of Farah on the book which earned her the title "London's Most Dangerous Woman". Darcus Howe held forth about that subject most dear to his darkened Black Panther heart, racism and multiculturalism.

There was a standing room only situation at the event which had been heaviliy oversubscribed. Present in the audience were the Mail on Sunday's fragrant Suzanne Moore and the not-so-lovely Labour leader contender Diane Abbott. Political watchers will know that Darcus dissed Suzanne and favoured Diane in the recent by-elections at which Suzanne dared to stand against the rolly incumbent.

There was a fraught moment which made even the novelist and notoriously smooth Gavin James Bower look a little anxious when Suzanne asked why her children, when they were in nursery school, should be made to learn Black History at the expense of other important events. Farah agreed and said she supported a transcultural historical curriculum. But Darcus said that the Black History fight was won after tears, blood and riots in the streets: in one case he was even falsely accused by the London Evening Standard of congratulating rioters for smashing open a policeman's head.

It should be noted that Abbott fought for supplementary schools and Darcus has been a long term supporter of her politics and attacked Suzanne personally before even meeting her. The argument was to study St Patrick as well as Malcolm X. Darcus rolled his eyes and the luvvies of Stoke Newington let out a collective roar, or was it a phwoar, at the scent of blood and the sight of insurrection.

Since we have Black History Month (October in the UK) please can we also have Pink Faggot Month, Asian Hottie of the Month and My Favourite Fascist Month, please? Candidates may self-nominate on the back of a £50 note and send here...

To buy a copy of Farah Damji's Try Me, click here

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Valentino has an 'elaborate relationship with the wind'

Loved Valentino: The Last Emperor on BBC 4 last night. Must have missed it first time round. Director Matt Tyrnauer got boldly close to the temperamental fashion designer (retired) as he bitched constantly with his stoic partner - business and personal - the handsome Giancarlo Giammetti over runway sets and spare tyres in French, Italian, English.

Of Valentino's exquisitely preserved person at 78, Duncan Fallowell part-credits this to the couturier's 'very elaborate relationship with the wind.' Duncan explains to me: 'When outdoors, and especially on the deck of his yacht, he is always nervously moving about to make sure that any breeze is blowing into his face and not blowing from behind wrecking his hair-do. You think you're having a conversation with him and suddenly he has his back to you because the wind has changed direction.'

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Pamela Green: Tits up again as Grumpy restores lost nude pic

Pamela Green, restored

Pamela Green was the first woman ever to appear nude in a British movie - Michael Powell's 1960 nudge-nudge classic Peeping Tom. Before this she'd built up a considerable fanbase among acned wankers* as a 50s glamour model, a Jordan precursor but without the gob, acrylic talons and OK! tie-ups. Sadly Pamela passed away last month aged 81.

The Telegraph, Times and Guardian ran obits: her quiet survival into 21st Century porno times assured her a posthumous cultural curiosity status by those who'd never wanked over her image.

Now, the reason why I'm writing about her is because the author and publisher Michael Allen has contacted Madame Arcati with a Pamela reminiscence. You'll know him as the writer of the much missed Grumpy Old Bookman blog, and he runs Kingsfield Publications.

His story is about the photo above. He begins: 'Today her pictures are still collected by elderly gentlemen with long memories [click here]. I certainly can't call Pamela a friend, but a few years ago I sent her a book which I thought might be of interest and we exchanged correspondence. More recently, I sent her a photographic print [the one above].'

He continues:

'The image has an unusual history. In the 1980s, I was trying to interest a publisher in a proposed book about nude photography of the 1940s and ’50s. One of the shots I wanted to have in the book was this image of Pamela. It was taken, I believe, in 1952, and the photographer was a professional called Roger Wood. The image appeared on the cover of Health and Efficiency for March 1953.

'I contacted Roger Wood and asked him if he was willing for the photo to be included in the proposed book, and if so whether he would supply me with a print. He rang me up to explain that it was impossible for him to keep the negative of every photo he had ever taken, because they took up too much space. However, he was a very organised man, with detailed records, so he was able to tell me the precise date on which he had thrown out this negative. Not that that was much use.

'Another twenty years or so went by, and digital technology moved on. So in 2008 I was able to scan the cover of the 1953 H&E into my computer, and do some work on the digital version of the image. Technically, of course, I am in breach of Roger Wood's copyright, but not the H&E's, which only lasted 25 years.) I was then able to print out a couple of fresh prints of the photo and send one to Pamela, which she appreciated.

Pamela Green in a scene from
 Michael Powell's 1960 film Peeping Tom

'The quality of my recreation leaves a great deal to be desired, particularly in the highlight areas. However, given that the only original was a scruffy copy of a 55-year-old magazine, it wasn't bad. As far as I know there are no remaining copies of the original photograph, unless some weirdo has one tucked away somewhere. So here you are: an exclusive!

'The last time Pamela and I spoke on the phone I explained that I had moved to Dorset and we had a sort of understanding that, in due course, I would have a day in the Isle of Wight and take her out to lunch. Too late now, alas.'

* This phrase is Michael's

Monday, June 07, 2010

Time magazine tries to give me one (again)

Years ago I took out a subscription to Time mag just to get some free gifts - Christmas cracker stuff, as it turned out.

Long before I cancelled, unread issues lay about in neat piles. Its journalism looked and tasted like mystery meat: highly processed, glazed: not good for the blood pressure. Where was the individual voice? Harshly, I formed the view that anything it claimed or reported - or saw - was probably manufactured to suit its house style gospel. Such is the peril of writing and editing as if attired in pulpit robe.

Time has never got(ten) over my rejection. Like so many of my ex-lovers, it does not take No for an answer. I hear a plaintive ululation at the door (OK, the letter plate needs oiling) and there on the mat lies yet another billet-doux from Time (Discount Services).

The latest offers me a 54-issue sub for just £15. This includes 6 additional issues if I buy now, the 100 Special Issue, the Time Person of the Year issue, any other Special Issues, unlimited access to and - best of all - the Time Privilege Card. If I pay by credit card, I can have my sub automatically renewed at the "guaranteed low rate".

The annual value of this largesse is £162. At just £15, I save £147. This is so generous that an MP would, I guess, have to declare it as a gift. The wonder is what's in it for Time. This is a loss-making offer though perhaps a healthy circulation figure helps maintain high ad page rates.

On the cusp of temptation I visit Oh dear, the latest issue is dedicated to football.


Friday, June 04, 2010

Eulogy magazine: Molly Parkin is its debut cover girl

The world's first magazine dedicated to death and bereavement, Eulogy, is out worldwide on June 17.

Its debut cover features Molly Parkin, and Madame Arcati has contributed two pieces.

Molly will be writing a monthly advice column.

Boy George, Emma Freud and Mark Strong up the celebrity quotient: they shall die, too.


Richard Desmond: This dark elemental should own The Sun

Isn't Richard Desmond adorable? I've always said so. Now the owner of the Express, Star and OK! says he wants to buy the Sun. He has £1bn to spare and would run the paper more economically than Murdoch does. Of this I have no doubt.

The thing about Desmond is that like the alien in, er, Alien, he is an an Entirely. While nancy boy Murdoch still, even in his dotage, aspires to provide some quality journalism amid the Page 3 boobs and Mystic Megs, Desmond is Entirely Tabloid. Not one edifying thought passes his lips. Thank God. He is pure, driven, but not like the snow. If he were a cat we'd call him Sooty. He is dark. He belongs to the shadows, he is an elemental; like an angel (fallen) he is devoid of reason: his every action is moved by sentiment, revenge, greed, lust. This is the profile of an Entirely. He is the perfect tabloid boss. He is not the Hyacinth Bucket of the newspaper world.

Why, only the other day, the Sun actually carried a story about poet Michael Horovitz as lyrical muse to Damon Albarn of Gorillaz and their third album Plastic Beach. The paper even encouraged its readers to vote for him in the Oxford poetry professorship election and published its website address to this end. Naturally, the poor mite who wrote the story didn't realise only Oxonians can vote and laboured under the misapprehension that it was an annual event. Under Desmond this mistake would not have been made.

He would have killed the story on sight! Why would Sun readers be interested in Michael Horovitz or Oxford poetry professors?

Desmond understands this without thinking. He is the incarnation of our lurid sex and slebrity fantasies. He is on course for deification (Hades division). But first he must buy the Sun.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Michael Gross: Lust, Lies & Greed beat the de la Renta rich mob

Last year I interviewed one of America's leading delving writers, Michael Gross, about his wonderfully titled book, Rogues' Gallery: The Secret Story of the Lust, Lies, Greed, and Betrayals That Made the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Annette de la Renta (Oscar's missus) and her very rich pals at the Met were so appalled by the book's revelations that she and they quietly campaigned to get the book ignored by the media and by a public usually ravenous for cultural plutocratic filth. (Oh, there you are, Vanity Fair)

So it gives me great pleasure to report that the rich cunts have failed. The book is just out in paperback and Michael informs me that sales to date are "far more than I feared". I have little doubt that Madame Arcati's supernatural powers may have had a hand in all this. No donation required.

Unfortunately the title is still not published in the UK, thanks to our ludicrous libel laws, but the internet happily makes a nonsense of that small detail: buy a copy here. Read how the late Brooke Astor once wore a precious Greek vase as a hat at a boozy Met board meeting - and was tested for syphilis (on another occasion). Not to mention all that juice on Annette: she should be sending huge cheques to Michael for making her sound a lot more interesting than the gossip columns do, the silly bint.

And if you like interesting, do read this insightful interview with Michael in The New York Observer. Of the near-media silence, institgated by de la Renta, that greeted the book's publication, he says: "I didn't think most of the substantial media in New York City would cut off their gonads and hand them to the museum in a jar."

I am only sorry that the profile writer (I forget his name) didn't see fit to mention Madame Arcati. He's such a Gurley.

Michael Gross website

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Tory spin doctor Andy Coulson to earn £2,375,000?

Yes, why did the Prime Minister omit his spin doctor Andy Coulson's salary from his latest stunt - the listing of the earnings of public sector drones on more than David Cameron himself? As Lord Prescott points out in a letter to No 10, it is said that Coulson is on £475,000 a year, dwarfing any other figure disclosed today. Over five years he will take home £2,375,000 - not bad for a man who cost his last employer Rupert Murdoch about £1m for bullying a member of his News of the World staff (£800k damages alone, a record sum for the type of case), and presided (while mentally absent) over the paper's illegal tapping of hundreds of celebrity phones - with another £1m loss to Murdoch when Max Clifford was bribed to go away.