Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gerry Anderson: Was he jealous of Lady Penelope's success?

I'm sorry Gerry Anderson decided to leave us over Christmas. Generally I do not approve of this sort of untimeliness. But I must not be severe. The astral tunnel functions by its own timetable and it's not for the likes of me to waggle a timepiece at its insensitive operator.

But his death reminds me of my meeting with Sylvia Anderson, by then his ex-wife, of many years ago. She had been instrumental in the development of Thunderbirds and, in particular, in the rise of Lady Penelope: indeed, Sylvia was Her Ladyship's honeyed voice.

Lady P had all the airs and graces of an English aristocrat with Parker in tow ('m'lady'), but frankly the accent was more RADA-champagne-flute than yer actual cut glass. The Downton Abbey lot are generally clipped in speech and economical in display (social occasions excepted), so I'm afraid Sylvia's version of the hoity-toity was a little vulgar to say the least. And the pink Rolls Royce! Pure Barbara Cartland crossed with Jonathan King via Liberace. 

But anyway, in conversation with Sylvia I gathered a number of impressions. Chief among them being that Lady Penelope had played a part in the disintegration of the Anderson marriage. As Lady P's fame grew, moulded by the soignee aspirations of her ventriloquist, so did Sylvia's own sense of personal accomplishment - and rightly. This unexpected outgrowth, in some strange and inexplicable way, perhaps helped destabilise the Anderson union.

Did Lady Penelope/Sylvia's towering success become the object of Gerry's jealousy, as the earnest Tracy clan (embodying Gerry's heroic fantasies) found themselves upstaged?

Certainly it's a question worth exploring by a talented TV or movie dramatist. And Joanna Lumley, with sufficient slap, would make a marvellous Sylvia and Lady P, as alternates become one. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Madame Arcati's Christmas message: The best way to dodge Stephen Fry

Santa Fry
Darlings, a merry festive time to you all - except those cunts I hate. 

Well, I'm being honest. You're like me really. Only on Facebook just now I spotted a very famous opinionist celebrating the accidental self-incineration of a terrorist-looking bearded person from the Middle East. That sums up the spirit of Christmas for me, as we merge with the TV screen and snuggle up in the warm dank 3D folds of Stephen Fry's chins (hopefully he's had a proper shave, for once). David Walliams - welcome to your future!

Let us hope that not all of us are swept away by the floods - except perhaps the dog next door that's howling because its pensioner owner is forever out. The present inundations were of course predicted over a year ago by the astrology annual Old Moore's Almanack 2012 - perhaps more than a year ago, as the editorial letter in this edition is dated October 2010.

Allow me to quote for December 2012: 'Heavy rains could cause serious flooding in the west. Storms early and late.' The seer who wrote this then rather ruins it all by adding: 'On the whole, close to the normal pattern.' And the prediction started sooooo promisingly. 
Yet as a hit-and-miss forecast, it beats the hopeless Met Office that only five minutes ago was getting the Express all excited with promises of Arctic conditions.

Will Madame Arcati prevail in 2013? Probably. The challenge now is that most of my original readers are bloggers themselves - what a fashion I started! There they are on Facebook and Twitter gracing us with their synaptic crackle and pop (and family photos) - plainly Madame's work is cut out in capturing a new generation of glancer. I promise not to find solace in right-wing politics or more PhotoShopped celebrity cock.

Should you find yourself at a loss this Christmas, marooned by the Fry deluge of his repeats, quizzes and folksy, marron glacé thespianism (adverts included), then revisit one of the most popular of my 2012 posts: my interview with Sophie Parkin about her splendid bestseller on The Colony Club. Click here. (If you are predisposed to being offended, then best not read it: Blogger was soooo appalled by the language and references to bodily secretions in the piece, that Google adverts were pulled from this site.)

The Times and Sunday Times have raved over her book; more acclaim is due. And she published the book herself. Further proof that one's literary fate need no longer be decided by some privileged twat in an office.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Molly Parkin reinvention at 80: Welcome to her blue period

Molly Parkin by Rankin
Hair by John Vial and Tracy Hayes at Fudge
Ponystep magazine
I may be her permanent fiancee but even I exclaimed (yes, I'm not usually an exclaimer; but exclaimed is the correct word): 'Who dat?'

This vision of the creative reinvention of Molly Parkin appears in the latest (4th) edition of the biannual fabulous fashion magazine Ponystep. To buy a copy or a subscription, click here. Its war against the apostrophe (by refusing to acknowledge its existence) will surely secure the affections of a generation.

 Moll's decision to ditch the turban is a bit like hearing of the split of Brad and Jen or Depp and that French singer whose name forever slips from memory's talon. I didn't think it possible. But there you go. Just proves once again that you can spot a prehistoric bug in amber, but not a living, breathing duo.

Accompanying Rankin's gorgeous portrait is an interview with Moll by the magazine's editor Richard Mortimer. I cannot commend it enough. Among other things she talks about our unique relationship. No, I'm not going to quote. Treat yourself to an orgy of celebrities beautified or beauties celebrated.

And while I'm here, there's still time to gift Molly's re-issued erotic novel Love All to anyone in your life in need of comic Viagra this Christmush. Click here to buy the e-book - it's only £1.66 for fuck's sake. Or, as Ponystep would put it, for fucks sake.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jonathan King's whopping 'Christmas card': A review

I'd assumed that the physics-driven vogue for the atheistic faith would result in fewer festive communications. So many apparent friends have now replaced the Star of Bethlehem with Prof Brian Cox's inter-stellar Lego-like imaginings - which at least offer welcome savings in the winter fest family budget. 

But I was wrong. If anything, the Christmas greeting has become much more ambitious.

I first noticed this with writer Roger Lewis. Not content with just sending me (and dozens others) a card bearing glittery-cute Santa bears, he enclosed a round-robin, four-page account (single-spaced, A4) of his 2012 (lesbian porn sites being a feature).

Now Jonathan King has gone one better. Instead of a card, he has dispatched a fully illustrated, 227-page book. It's titled Three Months: 100 Glorious Sunny Days In the Summer of 2012: a 'snapshot' of his life largely abroad when he's not here addressing the Leveson Inquiry and dismissing it presciently as a 'waste of space'.

Three Months falls well within the Katie Price definition of biography - ie diary (with distinct serial possibilities). On p22 we learn that he's had lovers 'much prettier' than Brad Pitt (this memory arises over coffee and petits pains at the Carlton in Cannes), some time after his dear friend, the veteran newspaper interviewer Lynn Barber, has called him an 'egocentric bore' to his face. 

JK has of course weathered much greater insult and is still grinning as Britain's panto 'vile pervert'. A knighthood cannot be that far away. After all, April Ashley, who was once dismissed herself as a deviant monstrosity by our upstanding red-tops, is now an icon of transgender equality with her MBE ribboned in pink and grey. The ghost of John Profumo must surely concur.

Three Months is of course a relentless deluge of name-dropping - but King's en passant goss is worth all the ego-coddling. We learn, for instance, that he's working on a TV format for Simon Fuller (that'll please Cowell) and that he's not given up hopes of getting his hands on The Brits and Eurovision once again - the UK last won the latter under his ministration. Whenever he pops abroad he first has to tell the Marylebone cop shop whose boneheads are always 'nice and helpful'.

And his story on Peter Mandelson is so deliciously wicked that I delight in not repeating it.

JK's intellectual life is sustained by a bookishness that may surprise the tut-tutters of tabloid tat. Paul Bowles and Graham Greene share his journeys; and I was astonished to learn that he actually ploughs through the Booker finalist tomes. Frankly, I'd rather have anal sex with a traffic cone.

I could go on. But I have to remind myself. Three Months is meant only to be a Christmas card!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nicky Haslam is a popstar again! He sings Illusions. There's a gun....

Society interior decorator and party Zelig, Nicky Haslam, has released another single with video (16mm b/w). It's called Illusions, a title not thought to be inspired by Nicky's crooning ambitions. Bryan Ferry is partly responsible.

It's the second track taken from his album Midnight Matinee, primed for release in 2013. The first single, Total Control, had the honour of my reviewing attention back in August. Click here to savour.

Illusions finds Nicky once again in a wistful, bitter-sweet mood, but this time seeming to vocalise from beneath the depths (or shallows) of the lake on which, in the video, he otherwise drifts in an occasionally oar-less rowing boat, given the gurgly (aquatic?) echo.  

The best part of the video is confined to the opening seconds in which a young woman, lakeside, slow-mo dances in a dandruffy downpour, dragging her long, luxuriant hair over a monochrome mud shore. Later, dramatically, a gun teleports into Nicky's hands which he aims not at himself. But I must stop here. I wouldn't want to spoil it. His love interest has to be nearly 60 years younger than he. But who's counting? 

Nicky's reinvention as a cock-cunting minstrel is just one more surprise in an epic life of self-sustained fantasy. We are his willing extras.

As he sings in Illusions, 'You are in love with pain...' 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Radio 1 Christmas lunch - and Andy Kershaw's Santa'd Savile

Radio 1 Christmas lunch 1985 - held in late summer. Where's Sir Jimmy?
Given the need to stuff festive stockings or find something to get through the hideous day, I cannot recommend highly enough Andy Kershaw's bio No Off Switch from which the above pic is lifted. To buy click here.

Ch 32, A Tour of the Cages, adds context to the photo - a Christmas lunch in 1985, held in September. He writes: 'My Radio 1 colleagues could be categorised into three species: there were those who, by the measures of most people, would be considered unfit to be released into the community, never mind set loose on national radio; others had absolutely no personality whatsoever, and even less interest in music, rendering their presence in the broadcasting game, and on a music radio station at that, unfathomable; and just a handful were quite normal, engaging individuals. How the latter bunch ever got over the threshold is, in the light of evident recruitment priorities, perhaps the biggest mystery.'

He explains that Sir Jimmy Saveloy is not in the pic because he demanded extra lolly for publicity pics. But he was in the room. Prior to the snap, 'crashing through the swing doors from the kitchen into the dining room, robed and hooded in a Father Christmas costume and pushing on a trolley a mutantly-proportioned roast turkey, was none other than Sir Jimmy Savile, veteran Radio 1 DJ, tireless charity worker and another national institution, much recognised for his interest in young people.' [My emphasis].

This was written before Savile's death. I think Kershaw was hinting at something.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Roger Lewis at Christmas: Lesbian porn sites and Richard Ingrams

Roger Lewis
Such a delightful change from the usual death threats etc in the post to receive a Christmas card from premier Arcatiste (and Neptunian), Roger Lewis. Not just a card, but a letter. And not just a letter, but his monthly diary of 2012!

'I was concentrating very hard on a lesbian porn site when Richard Ingrams phoned and asked me to go to the Cheltenham Literary festival,' he writes for October. 'I was to represent the Oldie Magazine. My fee was £150....'

I'm afraid Mr Ingrams is off my Christmas card list ever since he failed to invite my permanent fiancee Molly Parkin to an Oldie party a few months back. I'm sure she won't mind me telling you that she'd met him at an Oldie literary munch-up and - well, I'd better not say too much. Suffice to say that someone's domestic problems (not Ingrams' I hasten to add) intruded. Crash, bang, wallop, hospital! I know what I know. And mean.

But back to Roger's wonderfully amusing letter - I do hope a newspaper prints it in its festive edition. Much better than one Christmas tradition I cannot abide - the cunting festive short story: if you laid out all the unread pages of newspaper Yuletide short stories end-to-end, you'd end up with the largest litter tray ever, fit for for all the pussies in Brobdingnag. For an example click here.

Roger informs one and all that though he has yet to sell his gorgeous Grade II-Listed Georgian gentilhommiere in Herefordshire (if you wish to buy, click here), he and family have moved into a charming terraced house in Rochester. And a September entry reveals that plans are afoot to turn his hysterical Seasonal Suicide Notes into a West End extravaganza. Alas, to play Roger, producers wish to cast Richard Griffiths who is '20 years older than me and weighs half a ton.'

Well, the less than beauteous Margaret Rutherford played me once and she did me no harm. That I know of.

There's still time to buy a Roger Lewis classic read - Amazon's page dedicated to his comic work is all you need visit. Click here.