Monday, July 28, 2014

Dominic Lawson & astrology: Cainer offers reassurance

Dominic Lawson treats Daily Mail readers to his recycled views on astrology (it's crap, in short) and even cites a 1940s psychology experiment in evidence, seemingly unaware that certain learned persons have cast doubt on the science status of psychology. I see that Dom is a Sag so I looked up his stars by the Mail's Jonathan Cainer for today. What message has he to impart to Dom? "If you complain, find fault, express a sense of outrage, or generally take pains to point out the downside to any particular plan or idea, it won't be long before someone else echoes your sentiment and you find yourself with many comrades to support you in your protest movement. Stick to smiling this week." So there we go Dom: yet further recycling of your views is forecast in our nation's rags (and in our one satirical organ); each an, er, original voice.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gary Pulsifer's Arcadia dismissal: 'I became increasingly marginalised'

Gary Pulsifer
How common to fire someone on a Friday - and I don't just mean commonplace. 

The dismissal of Gary Pulsifer yesterday from the publishing company he founded in 1996 - Arcadia Books - is shocking and presently inexplicable. Poet and novelist Fiona Pitt-Kethley (one of Gary's authors) compares his exit with the recent aggravated departure of Richard Ingrams from The Oldie, the magazine he founded in '92. She adds in a tweet: "The more I think about the sacking of Gary Pulisfer from Arcadia Books the crazier it seems. He has such a network of international contacts." And she asks: "Doesn´t experience and professionalism count for anything in publishing these days?"

Another of his writers, Michael Arditti, has tweeted his sorrow. He writes: "Horrified by this news. A sad day for you and for all your authors who must now reassess our futures." Only recently, Arcadia brought out Bonnie's Greer's memoirs A Parallel Life (reviewed here).

I asked Gary for an interview. Instead he sent me this statement:

"Of course it's difficult to leave the company I founded nearly 20 years ago and the one in which I invested so much in terms of energy and enthusiasm. In the new Arcadia I became increasingly marginalised and in a small company I suppose there is room for only one Big Chief. It has also been a real struggle to exist on the money I received as remuneration on a freelance basis. So it's with both a sense of sadness and relief that I say goodbye to all that. I've really been touched by the goodwill I've encountered since I made my announcement, not least from the stable of writers I built up over time."

Of his future he wrote this:  "And, who knows, perhaps I'll get Pulsifer Press up and running again."

Arcadia was rescued from administration by an outfit called MediaFund in 2013.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Molly Parkin's Sequinned Relic show a hit - but will it overturn Irish ban?

Molly Parkin & Andrew Logan at
Molly Parkin's return to the stage last night was an overwhelming success. Perfectly set at daughter Sophie's fab London E1 club Vout-O-Reenee's, the show - titled X-Rated Ruminations of a Sequinned Relic - wowed a full house. Among the audience ( I almost want to say congregation) was darling Andrew Logan whose Alternative Miss World returns this October. I'll have more to say about that shortly - meantime, do read my review of his 2009 extravaganza.

It was a mere 28 years ago that Moll last did stand-up - though she might not describe her show as such. So wild and gorgeous was she then that she got herself banned from Ireland - "I think I still am," she tells me. May I suggest to our friends over there that Moll, 82, be forgiven for whatever indiscretion(s) she committed. In all likelihood, most of the audience of that time have either passed away or are queuing up for assisted suicide now that it's fashionable not to suffer any more prior to death.

Certainly, Ruminations covers life's gamut of experience. It includes Moll's poem Viagra (read here - but beware David Beckham's cock. I know how sensitive some of you are; never having got out) as well as a reminiscence about a steel ladder she purchased in order to expedite her passage up the astral tunnel, prematurely, via the Thames. Moll's genius is talk and her magical ability to convert the daily humdrum into the sublimely comic. And she does it without telling one joke. It just comes natch. Her Ruminations show will be touring parts of the UK (and Ireland?) so keep a beady eye on your local ents listings when you can quite tear yourself away from regional coverage of the church fete or magistrate's court.

Moll and I are now permanently engaged once again - and she has a ring from Venice to prove it. Quite what that means in your world is frankly none of your business but ours. And stay in touch with Moll on Facebook.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Molly Parkin: Return of the X-Rated 'Sequinned Relic'

My gorgeous former permanent fiancee Molly Parkin is about to unleash herself on a public grown flabby on TV tat. On Saturday, July 12, she returns to the stage with her new stand-up show, X-Rated Ruminations of a Sequinned Relic. Her comeback previews at daughter Sophie Parkin's great new club Vout-O-Reenee's in London's E1.

Here's the foreplay: "Wisdom poetry Filth poetry Laughter poetry Glamour tears of joy - a celebration of life aged 82. £10 includes glass of wine or soft drink." You don't have to be a club member for entry on this occasion.

She tells me that the show will be quite salty - "I added 'X-Rated' to the title to keep kids away and prepare the audience for some surprises." Sequinned Relic is already being booked by various venues around the UK - so keep eyes peeled, poppets.

To get to Vout, here's the link. There's also the club's Sequinned Relic Facebook page here.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Piers Morgan - a bull in life's tiresome china shop

Piers Morgan does persist in drawing attention to his own fallibility. It's an admirable quality in itself, to stand on a high altitude ledge and invite fate to push. A casting director would approach Heath Ledger to play Piers in the biopic, but for the tiresome limits of mortality. Ah, There He Goes. RIP. It's a winning proposed title.

A similar thought occurred only last Sunday when my eye (just the one) glanced on Piers' Mail on Sunday column in the paper's rather good supplement Event. I find that Craig Brown's Event book reviews are an able guide to what he's likely to spoof in Private Eye a few weeks on. Chris Evans' natterings on motors is in there too - of no interest whatsoever. Camilla's son parades his foodie weltanschauung. I don't read him either. But in an uncertain world it's reassuring to be reminded of celebrity constants driven by nothing more than nominal recognition.

Last Sunday, Piers teetered to the edge of the ledge and shared his thoughts on Rebekah and Andy. Both have something in common with an awful lot of other people who enjoy mere nominal recognition - they're close personal friends (CPFs) of Piers. His loyalty is a thing of wonder. Were I a Piers CPF, I'd feel duveted against the world's harsh consequences. Piers rightly revelled in Rebekah's release from Old Bailey trauma, already compensated for loss of office to the tune of a measly £16m. As for Andy, Piers played the safer game of not intruding on legal grief. But he told a telling tale instead. It was a parable with multiple angles.

He recalled a stag do in Spain. A cock-cunter friend of his and Andy's invited them and other cock-cunters to a bullring wherein male bonding required play with a livin'-snortin' bull. Apparently a number of the world's finest were gored in the name of friendship (I relate this as a summary of Piers' faultless memory). Then it was Piers' turn in the sandy arena. The bull, in common with Ian Hislop and other exemplars of masculine wisdom, took against the former CNN talking head and proceeded to try to kill him. But fate had other ideas. Step forward Andy Coulson who bravely and selflessly clasped his huge hands on bovine horns, steering them away from Piers' swaying, Moby Dick tum. This was cited as an example of Andy's courage, fidelity and honour. It did not occur to Andy, now Hotspur of Wapping, that the bull may have viewed Piers as one of many tortures in its brief and afflicted life and worthy of extinction.

I have no problem in finding every word of Piers credible on this encounter. Andy Coulson is a strapping chap of inordinate height (rather like too many in Murdoch's employ, past and present) and all the boldness of a hitherto unobstructed process. What's revealing is the sheer primordial and unreconstructed machismo set as expectation among peers of shared delusion. Was it this instinct - this drive to test life and parameters without regard for outcome - which lay behind the whole hacking saga? If so, you can keep it, poppet. It serves no useful purpose, here, there or in a Spanish bullring.

Piers, devoid of any reflective trait, cannot see this. Instead, he recalls a moment of high glamour touched by fear of death or injury. A thing to reminisce about in the bigging-up biz of CPFs. The reward of survival is continuation of the dream of masculine assertion - and ignoring its nightmare aftermath.