Friday, October 26, 2012

Hilary Gialerakis: Quartet reissues painter's memoirs - and her joys of Vaseline

The Lotus Eaters by Hilary Gialerakis
Was it really more than four years ago that I wrote about the late modernist artist Hilary Gialerakis (1924-2003) and the oversized penis of her war hero husband Vere Holden-White? How time flies! In 2008 her vivacious daughter Antonia Gialerakis self-published Hilary: An Unquiet Spirit, in which we glimpsed something of the extraordinary life of Hilary through her diary-memoir. 'Vaseline' was mentioned as the solution to Vere's problem. For more, and an insight into art critic Brian Sewell, click here.

Antonia Gialerakis with Quartet Books publisher
Naim Attallah at book launch party.
Photograph by Roger Smith
And I am now delighted to learn that Quartet Books is re-issuing a newly edited version of the book on November 1. Antonia enjoyed a lively working relationship with her strict editor, Gavin James Bower, the model-turned-novelist-cum-publishing thingy. Arcatistes will know all about him - if not, catch up with my first interview with Gavin, titled 'I'm straight but a raving queen...', click here. 

Sadly, I was unable to attend Naim Attallah's launch party for the book at The Gallery Different in London's Percy Street. I remain unpersuaded that Naim and I would ever make bosom buddies, but he has at least the good sense to know quality when he sees it - and I do hope that Antonia's excellent book piques even greater interest in the exquisite paintings of her mother.

 To buy a copy of An Unquiet Spirit:
 The Memoirs and Diaries of the Artist Hilary Gialerakis
(edited and foreword by Antonia Gialerakis), or read selected previews, click here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Molly Parkin: Erotic novel Love: All re-released - and then there's the movie!

Available at just £1.99
Style icon, artist and poet Molly Parkin has just re-released her huge 70s global bestselling erotic novel Love: All in kindle. Lovely portrait on the cover - she was 37 then and pregnant - 'That gave me a glow,' she tells me. 

The book can be bought for just £1.99 here.

Her publisher Piers Dudgeon (of Pilot Productions) has penned a wonderful foreword and afterword on Moll - and delicately plays down the TLS's excoriating denunciation of Love: All in 1974. 'Utterly lacking in style, wit and intelligence,' wrote some sad, forgotten reviewer before cataloguing the novel's literary sexual offences, which included a half rape by a homosexual and the enlargement of the heroine Myopia's anus by a French restaurateur.

Her then publisher Star was so delighted that the review was used to advertise the work. 'This led to massive sales as the "critique" - or rancid attack as I prefer to call it - just about described the entire plot and sexual shenanigans,' Moll says. 'It was my very first review and the chap (I assume) truly went to town.

'Love: All will soon be made into a film thanks in part to that TLS fuck-wit - if he is reading this, if he and his withered scrotum are still alive, having survived my own literary success, he's a cunt.'

The Love: All movie is now well in development. Robert Chilcott is directing. And Moll reveals that the hunt is on for the perfect unknown to play wantonly ambitious Myopia - 'The nationwide search will be like Selznick's quest for his Scarlett in Gone with the Wind,' adds Moll. 'No blondes or brown eyes need apply!

Former CPS lawyer Clifford Allison
 plays Myopia's father in Love: All
''Myopia must look a bit like me. Love: All will have an improvisational quality - sort of Warhol-meets-Woody Allen-meets Mike Leigh.' 

A contact address for aspiring Myopias will be published shortly.

Biba legend Barbara Hulanicki is designing the costumes; performance artist/sculptor and jewellery-maker Andrew Logan (founder of Alternative Miss World) is attached to the project as is celebrated artist Julie Verhoeven as creative designer. Musical director is the awesome composer and pianist Simon Wallace (whose musical TV credits include Ab Fab, French and Saunders and the Ruby Wax Show; and he collaborated with US lyricist Fran Landesman until her death in 2011). And not forgetting ex-lawyer Clifford Allison, formerly of the Crown Prosecution Service's Special Crime Division (now a nude model) - he will play Myopia's father.

Moll explains: 'Clifford is brilliantly witty and he will appear naked in the film - Myopia fellates her father.' 

And I have some other casting news. I shall be playing aspiring Prime Minister, Charles. Moll advises me: 'Charles likes to fuck Myopia three times in a row after or before partaking of gourmet nuggets from a Fortnum & Mason hamper in bed. So, the astrologer of The Lady magazine will be involved in quite torrid love scenes. 

'It's quite all right if you get an erection, sweetheart. Keira Knightley told me that actors wear a tight body stocking for such eventualities.'

With a soundtrack based around Molly's latest poems and lyrics, Love: All will make for a fascinating addition to film festivals the worldover.

Love: All is available for £1.99 in kindle edition. Click here to buy

Monday, October 08, 2012

Sophie Parkin interview: The Colony, the stars and the sailor's cock

'Driberg also admitted to Christopher Hitchens in the Colony that he loved going into special committees in the House of Commons with semen still sticky at the corners of his mouth'

The late Sebastian Horsley at the door of his local
To order a copy of The Colony Room Club 1948-2008, visit Sophie Parkin's dedicated site, here

In 1948, Muriel Belcher founded the The Colony - the Soho private drinking den that became infamous for stellar misbehaviour over 60 years. In 2012, one of its patrons, Sophie Parkin, releases The Colony Room Club 1948-2008: A History of Bohemian Soho, which charts the secret life of a refuge that drew some of the most celebrated minds, talents and livers of the second half of the 20th Century (and Kate Moss) and tells a great many tales of unreported high jinks and debauchery. Parkin interviewed upwards of 50 surviving former Colony habitués for the book and has dug up a trove of fab photos.

Madame Arcati enjoyed a bout of intercourse with Sophie - those of a tender sensibility may want to pass on this interview...

Q: Sophie Parkin! You’ve written The Colony Room Club 1948-2008 – is anyone alive from that era who remembers anything?

SP: ‘Plenty of both I‘m glad to say,’ as Muriel said to Dan Farson when asking her about her sexual proclivities. Paul Johnson was a great interview as was the fruity and funny Sir Peregrine Worsthorne. Anne Valery (think Tenko) , Irma Kurtz - wonderful about John Hurt and Francis Bacon ('Last night I was stuck between a Ham and a Bacon') - and the definition of a bohemian bar. And once I reminded mother [Molly Parkin], a few indiscretions popped up around Tony Shaffer (playwright), Cedric Price (architect), Ernő Goldfinger and Robert Brownjohn, the designer of the first James Bond credits; oh, and John Bryce the producer of The Avengers in his Aqua car. All very 1960s.

Shove in the whipping guardsman story concerning Victor Spinetti and the Colony couple from Hampstead and it's almost a Joan Littlewood production. Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'be – you’re telling me!

Q: ‘The Colony was a club for lushes and is best off gone. Incidence of liver cirrhosis will decline’. Discuss.

SP: Have you been to other clubs? Some of the ‘new wave' of fashionable clubs are so depressing and unfriendly you drink to forget you are there. They never organise beanos like the 'Come in Chapeau Party' 1968 to raise money for a disabled children’s Christmas party for kiddies with MS. Victor Lowndes kindly supplied the waitresses - Bunny Girls, Annie Ross and George 'wigglebum’ Melly provided the entertainment, poor kids! 

One day Jeffrey Bernard organised a trip to Ascot for the horse fanciers and got an open top double decker to stop outside whereby members got on through the first floor window. Bernard took all the bets and when the races ended mysteriously disappeared. 

The club wasn't just a place for lushes, it was for outsiders whether from the upper classes or the lower, Burroughs/Bacon/Freud or Sir Frederick Ashton, Trevor Howard, LS Lowry, Sir Robert Helpmann and Lady Rose McLaren. It was for the blossoming of great conversation whether with Keith Waterhouse; or Johnny Speight with Kate Moss as a bar maid or Daniel Craig with Joe Strummer on guitar and Todd Matshikiza on piano and Lisa Stansfield on vocals. 

Everyone played there on Sunday nights from The Hours, The Magic Numbers, Badly Drawn Boy to Alabama 3 and The View.
Ian Broad on Hampstead Heath

Q: Who’s the cunt who decided that the Club should be no more. I mean, if I Google ‘The Colony’ there is a website claiming the Colony still exists. Please explain.

SP: I don’t know why someone hasn’t taken that down. I don’t know who built it but Michael Wojas, who paid for it, has been dead for 2 years.

Perhaps it was the landlord Mr Ibrahim after Ian Board tried to strangle him; perhaps it was Michael who wanted the legend to die with him. The Colony however is less a place more a state of mind and when I open the Deal Arts Club from the huge funds of my book The Colony Room Club 1948-2008 it will transfer there. It will have to be a membership club - ordinary people on a day trip to the seaside might be offended by the full use of our language and the freedom of our thoughts.

Now, if we assume most members of the Colony were/are drunken reprobates with casually vacant genitalia, who will threaten to sue you? There's a pretty tale or two to tell. 

Foreign Correspondent Dick West swears it didn’t happen to him but that an Australian reporter went up to interview Tom Driberg MP. The Colony he thought would be a Gentlemen’s Club. He was greeted at the door by Muriel and asked to be directed to Mr Driberg, ‘He’s the one in the corner with his hand round that sailor's cock.’ Driberg liked a man in uniform. 

But he also liked a working class man - Geoffrey Wheatcroft apologised to Driberg at the Colony for putting a picture of Driberg, Lord Boothby and the Kray twins in a compromising photo in a book by his publishers. Driberg said mournfully, ‘It’s just it’ll stop me getting into clubs’. Not the Colony. As Muriel drily noted: ‘He never worried about it when Ronnie’s cock was in his mouth.’ 

Driberg also admitted to Christopher Hitchens in the Colony that he loved going into special committees in the House of Commons with semen still sticky at the corners of his mouth.

It wasn't only homosexual activity, however. Christine Keeler and Stephen Ward were often at the bar (is it true Lloyd Webber is making a musical of it all?). Paul Johnson said she was very dreary, though Ward used to like to have dog collars and leads on girls he took to pubs and he didn’t drink more than an orange juice. A decade later, Peter Langan - the famous Brasserie owner - could often be found of an afternoon delighting middle-aged ladies by crawling around the banquette and putting his head up their skirts and (as George Melly put it) 'yodelling in the canyon.'

But why did Peter choose to wear those white linen suits? The follow-through stains showed up something awful.

Q: You were a member of the Colony. Were your genitalia casually vacant? Don’t you say to your wonderful mother Moll: ‘How could you have exposed me to such a place, with all those ghastly drunks slavering over each other!’

SP: It was a wonderful place; you must be a tiny bit jealous? I am eternally grateful to both my Ma and Pa for taking me in there and I was proud to be a member but it was odd seeing people like Jude Law or Stella McCartney in there at the end.

As to my vacant or otherwise purse I shall quote Irma Kurtz, agony aunt of Cosmopolitan -“The Colony wasn’t a pick-up joint. If you fell in love or lust, that was nice, but it was beside the point. Bohemian behaviour meant that you didn’t share the same restrictions and morality. Now everybody sleeps with anybody from Hendon to Highbury. Sleeping with someone because you want to doesn’t mean anything now.” Quite.
The Colony enjoys free promo
Q: What were Muriel’s teeth like? Was she lesbotic? I think you say somewhere she was only a bit lesbotic. Ian Board was definitely lesbotic – didn’t he throw Francis Bacon out once and said he was a useless painter or something?

SP: Never. Everybody was frightened of Francis; he had such a huge presence, and a charisma bigger than Nelson’s Column. 

Muriel was known as a Portuguese Jewish lesbian from Birmingham whose parents owned the Alexandra Theatre – all total bollocks. Along with the fact that The Colony was named after her Jamaican girlfriend Carmel. Carmel, aka the Fox, wasn’t about when Mu first took over the club; it had been a club for old colonials. Paul Johnson was taken there first in 1947, pre it being Muriel’s, with Jimmy and Teddy Goldsmith - and they were on the lookout for Benzedrine – it was all the rage then. She definitely had a soft spot for pretty boys and good-looking women. Ian liked leather-clad men who would beat him.

Do you want a picture of him as a male model on Hampstead Heath? [Yes please, see above - MA]

Q: Is it true Will Self was a habitué? I believe he was particularly kind to persons behind the bar. Yet he now claims the Colony was a hideous place – didn’t he satirise it in Liver? I can’t recall the title but there was a liver in it. 

SP: I don’t know if that is satire. I know all the Private Eye lot like Peter Cook went in the Colony and he opened up The Establishment where Lenny Bruce performed in London - and Terry Southern.

I thought satire was meant to be funny? Anyway, Self was (so he tells me) in love with the barman Ben Tranin, but that’s his story to satirise or otherwise. It's strange how people's drug of choice separates them. I personally can’t stand popping pills or puffing weed or shooting up, which tends to kill many more people who do it than the percentage of people who drink and die of liver disease. He insists everyone died of cirrhosis of the liver, but Wojas was a druggy more than a drinker, and Ian’s liver was fine. Unfortunately cancer of the lungs killed him. He liked a fag.

Q: I see your book is published by you. Don’t tell me the cunts who run publishing didn’t sense a bestseller in their midst. What’s wrong with these hairy-eared swine? What were you supposed to do – re-title it ‘Harry Potter Goes Tits Up At The Colony’?

SP: Or arse up and heads down - I‘d like to have seen the book jacket in WH Smith. Actually we are publishing it ourselves because it’s the only way to make any money from publishing. Authors advances have shrunk to the size of a cock in the North Pole. And having spent 2 years of my valuable life on this precious tome I didn’t want to be paid peanuts and then see it sink from lack of proper marketing. It’s a great and glorious book not just about sex - there’s some culture in there too. As Muriel said about Peter O’Toole, if he’d been any prettier they’d have had to call it Florence of Arabia.

Q: Do you consume muesli before you write? Do you wear shades as you ply the keyboard? There are many aspiring writers out there hanging onto these bio details. 

SP: I like a nice piece of sourdough smeared with apricot jam before I set to. Would I encourage anyone else to spend 2 years on a history of the Colony? No, don’t bother - I’ve already done it, there’s nothing left to tell….

Q: Sophie, darling. You're a joy and a credit to all loose-livers, so to speak. Good luck with your glorious book.

To order a copy or two of The Colony Room Club 1948-2008: A History of Bohemian Soho by Sophie Parkin, visit her dedicated site. Click here

In a separate post, I report on the Arts Club - boasting a membership engrossed in London arts culture -  snootily declining Sophie's offer to talk about the Colony and her book - it's 'not suitable'. Click here.

Friday, October 05, 2012

The Arts Club is too good for Sophie Parkin's new Colony book!

Sophie Parkin
Shortly, author Sophie Parkin will be talking to Madame about her delicious new book, The Colony Room Club 1948-2008: A History of Bohemian Soho. Just about everyone who was anyone in British cultural life in this riotous period, and drank, appears between its covers, from Francis Bacon and Will Self to Princess Margaret and Kate Moss. 

It's the biggest, butchest, bitch book of the year, darlings.

Quite naturally, Sophie is currently raising awareness - to lapse into charity-ese - of her tome with personal appearances and talks: Sophie is, like her vivacious mother Molly, an ambulatory entertainment and orator. So, it was entirely to be expected that she would approach the legendary Arts Club in Dover Street, London, with an offer to give a talk on the Colony and her book. After all, the Arts Club "is very much a place where creative people come together to meet, exchange ideas, eat, drink, entertain and relax," to quote a line from its own website. It boasts: "The Arts Club has reclaimed its place at the heart of the contemporary cultural life in London and on the world stage."

Alas! A letter from the Club to Sophie has fallen into my hands which suggests it imagines itself well above the grizzled alpha hoi polloi who once guzzled and gossiped at the Colony. I won't reproduce the entire document or identify the Hyacinth Bucket who wrote it, but the key de haut en bas passage reads:

"Thank you for your email and the information about your Book [capitalised b as written] – this is certainly a great review of these exciting years and people..

"Unfortunately, I don’t feel it is suitable to us at The Arts Club (not the Scottish one!). Our Club has changed slightly and so have our members.

"I am sure you understand my view."

What a peculiar response from an institution which claims to "maintain a special focus on London-based artists." The Colony was all about London-based artists. Has the Arts Club turned into the kind of salon de thé one might patronise on the outskirts of Worthing?

Perhaps the real problem here is the Arts Club's "complete renovation" in 2011. "It has been completely transformed into a truly world class establishment," it reports, with pinkie out-stretched, in its History. Even better: "The interior has been designed by David D’Almada who has tastefully created a timeless ambiance juxtaposing vintage furniture with new."

Sounds gorgeous. Very P&O cruise liner.

To order a copy of Sophie Parkin's The Colony Room Club 1948-2008, click here. The title is released in December.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

'Jimmy Savile abused little boy', claims Oxford Astrologer

The Jimmy Savile myth unravels over a ton of claims of sexual abuse. Apparently we all knew about it whereas in fact most of us merely suspected he was a 'weirdo' because he behaved oddly, idolised his mother, wore tracksuits and red-tinted shades.

Rumours of Savile necrophilia in a hospital mortuary lost nothing in the repeating.

Now, the respected Oxford Astrologer starts her latest blog post with these words: 'A while ago I met someone who had been molested by the late kid's TV host Jimmy Savile back in the 1970s. I won't disgust you with the details; he was a little boy at the time and Savile a middle-aged man.'

The sooner we know the full details the better. Let's put aside the appalled face-pulling and other huff-puff shock-horrors and get down to the nitty-gritty. The man who spoke to the Oxford Astrologer should go straight to the police, if he has not already, and make his complaint. Better too late than not at all.

We need to know all the facts for a better understanding of Savile. He was not unique. 

To read the Oxford Astrologer, click here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Gregory Martin: The Beatles, my father and the Jesus & Mary Magdalene love show

Astrologer Gregory Martin
Sir George Martin was known as the 'fifth Beatle', the man who produced many of the super-band's classic albums.

So it's fascinating to learn that his eldest son, writer/producer Gregory Martin, has practised astrology for over 25 years. And in a new podcast on Cosmo astrologer Jessica Adams' The Astrology Show he discusses the professional, creative and astrological relationship between his father (a Capricorn) and Sir Paul McCartney (Gemini), the strongest of all the Beatles bonds, says Gregory. 

Recently, Gregory launched new website I'm intrigued to learn of his plan to make a stage show and movie about the 'extraordinary love between Jesus and Mary Magdalene'. He himself claims to have received spiritual or psychic information from the other-worldly source he calls 'The Magdalene'.

He writes: 'I was shown in visions and sounds, thoughts, images and feelings how this production would change the world and be remembered for all time, the beauty, energy, power, and truth of this great untold love story, capturing and enthralling the hearts and minds of millions.'

The podcast also features my horoscopes for October 2012 - all free. Go here.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Obama hosted private Tarot Halloween party at White House

President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama flank Tarot readers,
 Geraldine Amaral (next to Mr P) and Bev Hitchins
Sometime soon I shall post my astrological analysis of the US election - Obama looks like the winner, but there are tricky complications.

Meantime, did you know President Obama hosted a private Tarot party at the White House last Halloween for his staff and others? Perhaps it was widely reported and I missed it. Noted US Tarot reader Geraldine Amaral reports that on October 29, 2011, she and colleagues gave Tarot psychic readings to White House staff and guest military families - the Obamas did not consult the cards but were 'lovely, warm and gracious', reports Geraldine, as the photo above suggests.

The event was 'a donation from the Disney Corporation and the Hershey Corporation.' 

More can be read about the party at her site The Spiritual Tarot.