Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vogue keeps up Asma al-Assad interview as Syria burns

While the Syrian government massacres its revolting peasants, I see that US Vogue has still yet to take down its recent ghastly and fawning interview with Asma al-Assad, Syria's 'dynamic first lady' who is on a 'mission to create a beacon of culture and secularism.' She should import the BBC's resident proselytising atheist Prof Brian Cox to help her out.

'Syria is known as the safest country in the Middle East,' writes the unpsychic author Joan Juliet Buck. It is 'a place without bombings, unrest, or kidnappings.' Joanie makes a big thing of the secularism as if it's some sort of bar to state persecution and murder. I assume she never majored in history.

It seems odd that a magazine so supposedly in touch with the zeitgeist is deaf to Obama's condemnation of Syria. To read the shameful piece click here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Welcome To Mollywood: The Parkin Lot returns, new paintings, a BBC documentary

The Parkin Lot 'multi-generational disco' is making a one-off comeback on April 27 (8pm to midnight) at London's RED Gallery.

Molly Parkin, daughter Sophie and her daughter Carson host the event, a hark back to their weekly stints at Soho's Green Carnation in the Noughties. Then, Madame Arcati would pull faces at the hideous 60s music before bullying Welsh Spaniard Roberto on the decks to play current remixes off YouTube (history is how you re-write it....).

But that's not all. Kicking off the Welcome To Mollywood event, Molly unveils her new paintings from 6.30pm and then later will give a talk about her peculiarly erratic and erotic life, 7.30-8pm.

The whole evening is being filmed as part of a BBC documentary on Molly.

For venue details http://www.redgallerylondon.com/. RSVP: hello@redgallerylondon.com

PS Molly is stranded on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in late April/early May.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Prison union leader Colin Moses tells Farah Damji: 'New Labour sold me out'

Colin Moses
The New Statesman's guest-hiring of (not quite) socialite-socialist Jemima Khan has sparked quite a fashion in serious periodical-land.

Tribune - the leftie mag I thought had expired yonks ago - has importuned another (not quite) socialite-socialist (ret'd) to take over where the marketing budget left off. Step forward Farah Damji whose work occupies the centre pages of the latest issue - an interview with the outgoing National Chairman of the Prison Officers' Association (POA), Colin Moses; described as the 'only the second black UK Trade Union leader.'

Moses is a vitriolic critic of the government's plan to turn our jails into privately run cash cows. But it is New Labour that comes in for his most caustic criticism: he blames the party for birthing the 'punishment for profit' policy. And in opposition, Labour still shows no interest in listening to the little people of the prison service, he claims.

'Sadiq Khan, [Labour's] Shadow Justice Minister, does not take on board the views of the working man on the front line,' Damji paraphrases. '[Moses] voted for Ed Miliband but dismisses his New Labour inner circle; and says the party in opposition is suffering from an identity crisis.'

Moses feels 'sold out by New Labour, who fully supported every court action against the POA regarding the lawfulness of their members to strike.' Ironically, 'he enjoys a better relationship with the ConDems - “They are good to me," he says. "I have set out my stall and we know where we stand.” John McDonald is cited as an example of an honest player.'
Farah Damji

Damji continues: 'It’s not only Tony Blair and John Reid who come under fire for selling out the public sector, [Moses] similarly storms at Jack Straw and John Prescott for opening 11 private prisons and reneging on election promises to the POA, a naturally conservative union, of allowing free strikes whilst wooing them for the Labour vote in 1997.'

Still, it's not all good news for the Tories. David Cameron is dismissed for lacking 'gravitas'.

From May, Moses will have more time to spend on his memoirs. And I understand Farah Damji, whose own prison experiences could be invaluable as a form of method-writing, will be his co-author.

Sadly, Moses' interview is not online. But here's Tribune's link anyway.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jonathan King: Second movie Me Me Me out in May

Me himself
The ever-productive Jonathan King (yes, him; get over it) releases his second movie on May 5.

It's called Me Me Me and is not ostensibly a sequel to his glorious Vile Pervert: The Musical - my movie of the year 2008. A video from the slick new flick featuring a female trio fast approaches 100,000 hits in one week on YouTube - I do like their catchy song Don't Let Him Touch You, which I take to be a welcome homily to save one's cherry for the right bastard.

You can buy it on iTunes now. Details of where you can view the film for zilch in its entirety will be given in May.

Meantime, view the video below. Click screen once.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Molly Parkin: The portrait by the artist Trademark

Molly Parkin by Trademark
I love this new hyper-glam portrait of my permanent fiancee Molly Parkin, due to be unveiled at La Galleria, 30 Royal Opera Arcade, Pall Mall, London SW1Y 4UY on  26 April, 2011.

It's the work of artist Trademark aka Mark Wardel. His other celebrity subjects include Kylie Minogue (who commissioned a series of portraits for her Showgirl Homecoming Tour), Divine, Grace Jones, David Bowie and Boy George (who describes Trademark as a modern-day Warhol).

And Kanye West and Naomi Campbell are among star collectors of his artwork.

Of the Moll unveiling, Trademark tells me: 'The event is being filmed as part of the BBC4 profile which has followed the process of myself painting this portrait of your fiancee.'

I would affectionately title her Nefertiti-like portrait: Moll: Murder By Maquillage. The purple lips are sealed - for today she will spare you a sharp retort - while the black eye greasepaint is a promise of risky drama, lovingly applied. This face is trouble.

To view more of Trademark's work, click here. For a critique, go to this.

PS to Trademark: Think about Judge Judy. Turn this hideous virago and persecutor of the fat, blue-collared litigant into a drag queen. She is the most dangerous woman in America. She is also thin. And cruel.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Celebrity power: Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan save the New Statesman

Jemima and Hugh save mag
Even the ancient legend that is Madame Arcati finds herself astonished. I thought I'd heard and seen it all. Hugh Grant - yes, the man who is the current incarnation of British movie upper class cock-cunter - has saved the New Statesman. His naughty article on how he stitched up a former News of the World hack (see previous post) on illegal phone hacking in the Murdoch empire is now trending on Twitter. This is thanks to the feature going online (not from purchase!) - drawing in tens of thousands of new readers and reinventing the magazine in the process.

The mag now understands that celebrity power is its future, particularly since it is Stephen Fry who's leading the battle tweet (with a link to the mag that doesn't work). I tweeted first, natch. Also, countless people now know of the skulduggery at the Screws even though much of Hugh's nuggets are not new.

And all this occurred on guest editor and socialite Jemima Khan's watch. Frankly, if you haven't done a Hello! spread, just fuck off. Celebrities' low carbon spotlights make a spectacle of everything adjacent. NS ed Jason Cowley must stand down in favour of Jemima. Now. She can make him travel or beauty ed or whatever. Keep him 'appy, as they mispronounce in northern soaps.

BJ (Before Jemima), the NS squeaked. AJ, it roars. I do not recommend a BJ situation.

Now, it is true I ran a very rude piece about Jemima only the other day. But part of my function is to fill the sails of the zeitgeist so that we may journey forth. Suzanne Moore was right to highlight the total neglect of editorial low-class urchins without a job or famous parent. Jason was right to bring in Jemima. This paradox must not cause us sleepless nights. Jemima can be installed and she will hire more under-privileged urchins.

Problem solved.

PS My thanks to the New Statesman's Helen Lewis and Duncan Robinson for giving me the precise figure of Hugh Grant hits on the NS website: 'A lot'.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hugh Grant, the former Screws hack and the haunted pub in Dover

The Castle Inn, Dover
It's certainly the most delicious media story of the year (to date). A major British actor bugs the hack who once bugged him. Their topic of conversation: illegal phone hacking. Part of the transcript of Hugh Grant's highly revealing taped conversation with former News of the World whistle-blower Paul McMullan is now online at the New Statesman website: click here.

Priceless nuggets include Andy Coulson's alleged complicity in phone hacking, the PM's unhealthy proximity to Rupert Murdoch moll Rebekah Brooks (who, as one witty Arcatiste has pointed out to me, looks more like Robert Plant every day) and how Murdoch wickedly plays his multi-media games with celebrity pawns - the Nicole Kidman/Moulin Rouge! tale is a thing of beauty.

Grant travelled to the Dover pub/hotel McMullan runs, The Castle Inn, where all was revealed; and he generously encourages readers to pay the establishment a visit. It sits on the corner of Dolphin Lane and Russell Street. Click here to read about the colourful history of the 18th century coaching inn: it is of course haunted, and the medium Derek Acorah will want to know about the 'creaks, icy blasts and apparitions' should he ever be called in for a spot of exorcism.

I only mention all this because I want to see Mr McMullan safe and secure in his new business, out of harm's way and solvent. He is a very important source for future scholars of the worst scandal ever to hit British newspapers. Long may he thrive.

The Only Way Is Essex: Humanoid cosmetics are TV's best ever

Humanoid cosmetics of Essex
Best British TV show right now is The Only Way Is Essex on chav channel ITV2.

When I first happened on it last year I had no idea what it was supposed to be. I decided it was some kind of nature documentary. Red in tooth and acrylic claw, it features talking-walking humanoid cosmetics in their unscripted habitat of Essex beauty salons and nightclubs. 'What's the longest pier in Essex?' the lipsticks and blushers are asked at a quiz night. 'Isle of Wight?' a vajazzled L'Oréal skin care product wonders.

To paraphrase Ash (Ian Holm) on the topic of the vicious ET in the movie Alien, 'I admire their purity. They are survivors, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.' Welcome to Essex.

Essex - with its hinterland of OK! sleb shoots, Jordan covers, WAG tabloid tales, spray tans and (most important, this) a fucking zillion white, squared, acrylic nails hand-fanning glossed over mingers in semi-faint shock - is a holiday from one's heavy self, a reminder that life goes on without the books, the opinions, the messiahs, the anything-in-particulars. Essex is a peopled micro-cosmos that just goes on and on regardless. Essex is salutary; it puts you in your place.

In Essex, no one can hear you scream (cos everyone says, 'Shuuu' uuup').

Monday, April 11, 2011

Eulogy magazine enjoys a second coming!

Magazine's first and last ssue
Delighted by the news that 'the world's first death magazine' is staging a resurrection. Eulogy was published last summer but appeared to die after its very first issue. A rumour grew that certain persons behind the title imagined that writers get up in the morning and say to themselves: 'Who can I give something for nothing to today?' I say no more, suffice that I was paid handsomely by the title for my two pieces after only a minimum of energy expenditure post-publication.

Its personable and clever editor Alfred Tong has probably suffered many a long night since the first launch and subsequent travails; but here he is, back again, with a wonderful new website. His editor's letter chronicles a rites of passage that promises a most fascinating auto-biography if he can resist the atheistic allure of Dignitas at the slightest twinge or headache. He strikes me as being a tough and enterprising cookie who learns fast. So good luck to the poppet.

I don't think the magazine will reappear in the shops. The website is its new corporeal casing; sensible in my view. Eulogy sets out to be a forum for bereavement and end-of-life organisations and charities as well as an inspiration, a place for mortal anecdote and perhaps a death market analyst. No more ideas of 'coffin-shaped magazines', plainly.

I am only sorry that the one and only issue of Eulogy, which had my permanent fiancee Molly Parkin on the cover, is consigned to a bin in the opening illustration. It was a good cover; the issue had some fine content: I understand the symbolism but Molly wasn't to blame for a crap management.

To view the new Eulogy website, click here.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Jemima Khan: Why is a rich, connected socialite guest editing the New Statesman?

Jemima Khan
The divine newspaper columnist Suzanne Moore has made her thoughts known on the topic of Jemima Khan guest editing the current issue of the New Statesman. As a former writer on the little-read publication, who departed amid some acrimony, she's entitled. Suzanne has no personal beef with the fragrant Jemima but does wonder on a social network site, slyly, whether the magazine may 'walk the walk on social mobility.'

By this I assume she means: when will the left-wing organ open up the editorial floodgates to talents who are not the spawn of very famous rich families and/or international socialites with a lot of crawly friends? Suzanne speculates aloud whether Peaches Geldof might succeed Jemima (next time editor and former Durannie Jason Cowley fancies undertaking some Big Society work).

I must say Jemima wins the Madame Arcati Award for Self-Promotion. Just about every piece she either wrote or commissioned was pushed on Twitter - I adore the musk of ambition and cannot criticise the poppet. Thanks to Jemima we now know that Nick Clegg blubs to music; though student face-readers will have already discerned the moany cry-baby countenance in repose. In May he will be crying an awful lot, alas.

Now that Jemima has reminded us that non-editors tend to do a better job than editors as editors, may I suggest that Suzanne Moore be invited to guest edit an edition of the New Statesman in the not too distant future. Her brief reign would be a reminder of what this magazine once stood for - and exemplify the meritocracy Mr Clegg now espouses (without a mandate, natch).

PS Helen Lewis, assistant editor of the New Statesman, tweets me: 'Well, I worked with her [Jemima] on it, and thought she was lovely (and brought in great articles). You can quote me on that!'

PPS Another tweet: mailto:'tlcSW7@Madame_Arcati re guest ed "it was an ironic move in a week when the gov't announced an end to upaid internships for the rich"'

PPPS Suzanne Moore tweets: 'My issue with Jemima is not at [all] personal. She did a good job .It is entirely political. I want jobs to go to unemployed talents.'

Friday, April 08, 2011

Julie Kavanagh: From Martin Amis' cock to Grace Coddington

Dearest Madame,

Have you read this Aunt Sally of an article on Grace Coddington in the new Intelligent Life by Julie Kavanagh? Evidently the powers-that-be are trusting Ms Kavanagh to write her hybrid interview-memoirs again after her last one about her bed hopping antics with Martin Amis tainted the rarefied airs of The Economist's ivory towers with the smell of bad sex and Martinis before lunch. (I have it on good authority that the powers-that-be hated that article, but also that the syndication requests on it keep rolling into her agent's offices.)

Link to Coddington piece

As one would expect from Ms Kavanagh, the subject of the piece is not so much Grace, who's rather sketchily characterised, but the author herself. She may attempt to present herself as a gauche day tripper in the beau monde of fashion journalism, but the white heat of ambition and social climbing burns between the sentences. I wonder if she's aware of it.

I do hope Mr De Lisle commissions more of these. I derive more pleasure from hating Ms Kavanagh's writing more than I do from reading good journalism.

Ever yours, C x

Dear C

Thank you for drawing this to my attention - I hadn't noticed it and am grateful for your thoughtfulness.

Ms Kavanagh is certainly of a breed I recognise: one with unerring antennae for auric celebrity, even before its formal recognition. It's a genius of sorts and works best when recall is at its sharpest. London journalism would shrivel without these opportunistic sleb-surfers: if they can write, that's mitigation.

Against better judgement I rather enjoyed Kavanagh's Coddington piece, notwithstanding the vulgar opener - 'On a summer night in New York one of the gays in a huddle outside Rawhide on Eighth Avenue calls out, “We love you, Grace!” as she walks home.'

Gays? I guess they were a-screamin' and a-lispin' as gays do.

Many best wishes

Madame Arcati

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Blogger: A little indisposed. Alas

My apologies for lost comments, disrupted stats and other whatnot. Blogger, which hosts this site, is reporting technical problems, particularly with sites that carry an 'interstitial' adult content notice: click here to read more.

I haven't a clue what Blogger is doing about it as the company does not communicate with its 'publishers'. Instead, it has forums where bloggers write at length for cathartic reasons and are generally ignored. Periodically, an unpaid someone pretending to represent the company either acknowledges the problem in hand and writes something incomprehensible or refers you to other forums via a three-line link comprising lots of numbers and ampersands and noughts.

This is what happens when a company festers into a monopoly and hires people with beards, bad teeth and large scrotal sacs.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Nicholas Coleridge - and how a spirit healer changed his life

Georgia Coleridge: healer
It's now de rigueur in the simple-minded, scrote-riddled mainstream media to deify anyone who claims to be a mumbo-jumbo slayer. So I was intrigued to see in last week's The Lady a rather good piece by 'healer' Georgia Coleridge, wife of Nicholas, Managing Director of Condé Nast in the UK which publishes Vogue, Tatler and other snob glossies.

I had no idea that she is a graduate of the professional healing course at the College of Psychic Studies or a member of the Confederation of Healing Organisations (CHO).

In her piece she describes how her husband damaged his back as a Cambridge student. Years later Georgia persuaded sceptical Nicholas to yield to the healing energies of an 'unprepossessing, limp young man' called Jeff. He cured the back problem in 10 minutes by holding his hands over the affected area. 'Twenty-two years later, he still doesn't have any trouble' with his back, writes Georgia.

Having made much sport of Nicholas Coleridge over the years because of his ghastly snobbery and worship of status and wealth, I can only describe myself as stunned to learn of Mother Supernature's intervention in his life. I am of course absolutely delighted - as a one-time NFSH spirit healer myself - and may have cause to reflect on my satire at his expense. Is it possible for Madame Arcati ever to see the light?

Do visit the Georgia Coleridge Healing website here.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Remembering psychic astrologer Henrietta Llewelyn Davies

I have just learnt that the psychic astrologer Henrietta Llewelyn Davies passed away on March 15. A mutual friend phoned me yesterday - I saw her name come up on the mobile - but I didn't want to answer it. Tonight I had an uneasy feeling the call was to do with Henri so I googled her and just came across her death notice. We hadn't talked in nearly three years after a bust up.

She was a psychic of unusual ability - whenever sceptics decry her line of work I recall her uncanny ability to fathom the right answer out of the blue, to give the right piece of advice. When we first met, at London's Groucho, she was succinct: 'You will never write the Kevin Spacey book'. I had hoped to write a bio of the elusive actor but events beyond my control conspired against the project. She counselled many famous authors and journalists and was their trusted confidante. Novelist Jeanette Winterson was just one; and I know Justine Picardie was a friend. Jeanette wrote a wonderful piece on Henri's astrology in Vogue: I commend it as a rational attempt to explain the value of divinatory work.

Aside from her consultancy work, Henri had astrological columns in a number of publications including Woman's Own, Cosmo and TV Times; and broadcast on the old 1TV/Channel 4 text service Teletext. She had also authored a series of  astrological pieces on celebrities for The Times. Related to Daphne du Maurier, Henri had a family link to one of the Lost Boys who inspired JM Barrie to write Peter Pan  - Justine writes about this here.

There's so much more to say but this is not the place. My condolences to her loved ones and friends; to her partner James in particular.