Friday, 27 February 2009

Lust list

Apparently, some people might be interested in the ludicrously overpriced things i am currently coveting... as for me, how nice to dress my fantasy self... How FUCKING cool would i look in these shoes?! But, man their price is a piece of work.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

Quite frankly, piano lessons when i was a child were traumatic to say the least, so the phrase Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (a reference to the mnemonic to remember the notes of the treble clef) makes me think of shirking practice, witches teaching me music theory, draconian lesbian piano teachers and sitting on piano stools in too short school uniform skirts so that my thighs stuck to the stool's leather and my skin made a terrible ripping sound as i stood up to leave when the final bell rang. still, the play was great - and at £10, and 1hr length, just my kind of production. with a script by Tom Stoppard and a score for full, on-stage orchestra by Andre Previn, it concerns itself with the fate of two men incarcerated in a Russian madhouse. one because he is mad, and imagines that an orchestra is constantly playing the theme tune to his life, and the other because he is a political dissident whose anti-establishment views make him 'insane' in that they are the opposite of the 'norm'. The sane and mad worlds of each inmate collide, and the doctor in charge of both is equally diffident about the condition of each - he insouciantly pleads with them to admit they are wrong about their opinions with the incentive of freedom as a reward. it's like Catch 22 crossed with Her Naked Skin (Rebecca Lenkiewicz's play staged in same theatre last year about suffragettes who were also imprisoned for their opinions). if i've made it sound at all pompous and pretentious, that's my fault, and it's not. it's funny and physical and totally unlike anything i've ever seen. the action takes place in and around the orchestra, initially in neatly sectioned off areas, but increasingly more haphazardly in amongst the continuously playing orchestra, whose music exacerbates the mood. the lines between sanity and insanity, music and reality, conversation and dissonance become blurred and eventually there's a crazily choreographed balletic scene where members of the orchestra start to riot. it's incredible to watch, the slow unleashing of madness through music. very strange, but very witty and very powerful. with £10 seats, it's a no brainer if you ask me.

Monday, 23 February 2009

The Broken Hearts

Somewhat uncharacteristically for me, i decided to fuck 'sacred and relaxing' Sunday evening this week and instead went to a 'Pink' party at the Met bar - part of fashion week celebrations. in the main reception area was a vintage circus, while upstairs various suites were given over to showcasing the a/w 09 collections of young designers. it all sounded so promising, but... one candyfloss machine, some bunting, and a big board with a strong man painted on and the head cut out (for poking your own head through) does not a circus make. still, there were rather delicious fruity vodka cocktails and champagne, and lots of extraordinarily dressed people to gawp at, so i wasn't complaining too much. also, after a while, there was a very cute-but-cool performance act in the shape of Skip Theatre, three gamine girls with cropped hair, big smiles and eyelashes with white beads on the ends, wearing navy vintage swimming costumes, navy lycra leggings, small boaters and rubber rings round their waists, who skipped to the music in a kind of on-land synchronised swim. simple, and more than a little strange, but such fun and completely charming! and they got the crowd skipping too - jumping with them by running in and out of the rope. Genuis. what i loved loved loved even more than that, though, were the DJs, The Broken Hearts. two petite girls both in dressed in short, sexy harlequin Pierrot dresses, vertiginous heels and conical clown hats perched on top of perfect heart shaped bobs which framed their doll-like, porcelain faces with their long, long eye lashes and ruby red lips. but it certainly wasn't all pomp and show - the music was relentlessly brilliant, skipping from 1920s shimmies to jolly tea room dance music to jiving, to 1960s bopping to The Cure and back to swing - i had to keep breaking off my conversation and into song. I basically have an enormous girl crush on them and want them around me all the time to bring extra burlesquey glamour to my life and create a permanent, evolving playlist so i am forever perky and always singing. the end.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Le Corbusier

One room into the Barbican's vast Le Corbusier exhibition and two things suddenly occurred to me. firstly, during the year i spent living in Paris i never even sought out, let alone visited the Fondation Le Corbusier. secondly, every year when i visit at the RA's summer exhibition the architecture room is the one i always whizz through. two things which made me wonder why i had been so keen to come to this retrospective, let alone drag others with me. anyway, there i was. and unsurprisingly given these recalled revelations, i found it pretty hard work. the three sections - Contexts (inspirations of place, design and aesthetic); Privacy and Publicity (his designs for villas, interiors and furniture); and Built Art (his relationship between art and architecture) - loosely made a coherent narrative, but it was a dry one to say the least. I think i knew i was in for a rough time from the first images of his plans for 20 skyscrapers in the centre of Paris, plus his 'project for a contemporary town of 3million inhabitants'. radical, bold, ambitious and daring indeed; visually vitriol to my eyes though. plus the inspirations and collected ephemera which were supposed to give a sense of the development of his style seemed totally random to me and explained absolutely zero. in the next section, many of the models, photos, and plans of the villas, are beautiful, but it was difficult to get a sense of the development of the design process and so hard to engage - especially when it was boiled down to topic headings like Machines For Living, and Furnishing the Machine (his terms obviously, but still). it was purism this, primitivism that, and constructivism the other. reading the blurb for each section was SERIOUSLY labour intensive. no real description of his character, the colourful people, artists, designers et al around him, nor his life outside of architecture. was he married? children? a bit of personal drama might have been some emotional relief. by the time i got to Built Art i had to re-read the blurb about 17 times i couldn't take any more info in. but what i did love was his interest in sunlight (a top priority of mine - i have no curtains anywhere in my flat), and his huge, bright tapestries, plus some of his smaller sketches - like the voluptuous Three Women Standing, One in a Blue Corset. and his reinvention of himself by using the pseudonym Le Corbusier - i love the idea that he vehemently believed anyone can recreate their own identity. and of course his buildings are incredible - i love the Governor's palace at Chandigarh - the silhouette is amazing, as is the Philips building (above). hard work, but glad i went.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Covonia and Kaufmann

this is just a thought, but i think my impressions of Charlie Kaufmann's new film Synecdoche, New York (out in May, in case you're interested) might have been slightly impaired by the fact that i drank an entire bottle of Covonia cough medicine before seeing it, plus another half during. It's potent stuff - even a small whiff is like inhaling ammonia. but my cough was so bad that i had to swig shots from the bottle followed by chasers of strepsils, plus vast quantities of water to keep my choking fits under control. no one at the cinema likes a cougher. but i do think that my linctus inebriation may have helped me enjoy the film's more bizarre aspects (one of the characters, for example, lives in a house that is permanently on fire. no explanation. a situation that means nothing and leads nowhere. funny though). In the queue for the loo after the screening all the girls were bemoaning its length and tediousness but i rather liked it. even if it is 2 hours and pretty bleak. i mean it's weird, but it's Charlie 'Being John Malkovich' Kaufmann for god's sake, if it wasn't weird that would be weird. In a nutshell, Philip Seymour Hoffman is a washed up provincial theatre director who, after his wife and daughter move to Berlin, embarks upon an epic production of a play about the minutiae of his life (after 17 years of planning). he hires actors to play the people in his life, which eventually means the actor playing him as the director has to hire an actor to play him and so on like it's some kind of infinitely reflected, nightmare hall of mirrors. meanwhile, off set, uncorresponding versions of characters get involved with each other, as each person responds to the same events and versions of people in different ways. it's complicated. but interesting, i think. a bit like seeing how different characters would handle your life if they literally did exactly the same thing as you - would they take control of the chaos, tread water, or kill themselves? that's what i took from the film anyway, but, in reality, it could just have been the cough mixture talking - a fact which i think CK might like.

Friday, 20 February 2009


There are few things one can readily get ones hands on to eat that feel really, really indulgent. luxuriously indulgent, naughtily indulgent. not quite in the league of Ortolan, but almost. I think macaroons are up there - so colourful, so sweet; the sugary crispness of the exterior that delicately crumbles before melting on the tongue, the thick gooey stickiness of the jam inside that slides around your mouth. this week i ate some for breakfast, which ratcheted the decadence factor up considerably. i was taken by a PR to the Laduree cafe behind Harrods for a midweek morning meeting, and shall certainly be contriving to have more than one more rendez vous there in the future. walking inside is like entering the home of the sugar plum fairies. soft pastel coloured decor, low french antique style chairs and tables, floor to ceiling shelves filled with brightly coloured pyramids of macaroons and stacks and stacks of beautifully packaged jams, candles and room sprays with vintage pumps. It's sugary pastel paradise.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


Giorgie and i popped into Dover Street Market yesterday to snoop round its subterranean Love In, which is set up in honour of the launch of stylist Katie Grand's new mag Love. less of a love in, more of a bed with expensive shit on it if you ask me. a consumers orgy. Loewe leather cushions sit plumped up on shiny D&G sheets that adorn the mattress of an iron bedstead wrapped in grimy black tape. all merch totting up to enough money to bail the country out of its economic crisis. still, quite fun, i guess, in a ludicrously lavish sort of way. Love magazines are stacked up all around said bed, and the effect is one of flagrant decadence and fuck-you luxury, which is quite like the mag itself in a way. A first flick shows it to be hyper, hyper glossy with a luxurious, weighty feel. i absolutley love the cover. such voluptuous milky white flesh exuding such confidence. this image of Beth Ditto and the ones in the feature inside remind me of the Opium adverts Sophie Dahl did all those years ago - soft, voluminous, sexual curves. it's less shocking to see second time round though, although just as sensual on the eye. makes you wonder why it's not done more regularly. inside the mag, after a tsunami of adverts, Katie's frank, unpretentious ed's letter is followed by an A-Z of things the Love creative team love (musicians, models and designers mostly). their choices seem by turns obvious, curious, hilarious and misguided. W is for walnuts, X for X-factor winner Alexandra Burke, Y for Yasmin le Bon, and Z for shoe designer Zanotti. Letter people are asked questions like who, what, and what love song do you love most, but its more about the images than the words i think and some answers seem a bit lacklustre - this is a launch issue after all, show some chutzpah people, goddammit! after the A-Z there are both written through and solely image profiles of 'names' including Courtney Love, Angelica Houston, Iggy Pop, Lilly Allen, Duffy, Pam Hogg, Kelly Brook and Kate Moss. each is the love object, in a creative or cultural way i guess you could say, of whoever has worked on their piece. there's something brilliantly unpretentious about this. the content isn't desperately trying to be new, edgy, esoteric or pointedly awkward like that of some magazines. It feels, at least at first glance, quite genuine, although i'm not sure how original that makes any of it, plus there's a danger of it trying to appeal to everyone, which may of course mean it pleases no one. but i think that their wide casting of the net is a canny move. i like the idea of hooking readers in with someone familiar to them and then introducing them to people they might not otherwise have heard of. for those who like the exclusivity of niche fashion mags though, hmmm. not many surprises, so 'nothing particularly new' would be my guess as to their reaction. for my part i'm enjoying it, visually at least... i have yet to really get into the meatier features (or the ones that seem that they might be) so for now, i'm reserving judgement. my Love letter is in saved drafts.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Manatee Idol

Last night i went to the Dalston studio of the amazingly inspired and inspiring photographer Amy Gwatkin (here's the card she gave me on arrival). it was blissfully low key - a red wine and gossip affair that was distinctly unlike the bizarre inferno of idiosyncratic creativity that took place last time i visited her there. on a FREEZING saturday in early january seven girls had been ceremoniously summoned for the filmed sacrifice of a giant sponge manatee. the creature had, for eons, been the studio's resident male presence-cum-prop-cum-bed but, sadly for the poor sea cow, it was an eon too long and along with much of the rest of the country its services had been rendered redundant. but unlike many a superfluous employee, this was no put-your-things-in-a-cardboard-box stealth exit. hell no. dressed in stilettos, suspenders and generally saucy underwear we coven of vixens ripped the fucker to pieces with our bare hands, lit solely by flickering flashlights, only stopping, eventually, breathless and spent, to writhe around pitilessly and ecstatically in the spongy entrails. conceived and captured on film by Amy, the event was an extraordinarily cathartic expression of alternately feminist and carnally erotic physicality. and good god it was fun. the film is in production, but here's a trailer, called, rather appropriately, Manatee Idol. the girl is a star. watch her space.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Richard Avedon

On sunday in amsterdam I went to see the Richard Avedon exhibition at The Amsterdam Photography Museum (FOAM), which had over 200 of his photographs 1946-2004. It opened with his fashion photography in post war Paris, which i completely loved - beautifully statuesque girls wearing sculpted, artful creations by Madame Gres, Dior, and Jacques Fath - you could feel his electric enthusiasm for re-energising couture's spirit. his playfulness and daring is at the same time so graceful. looking at his images is like rolling really rich, expensive chocolate round your mouth. The exhibition then moved on to his portraits of an impressively diverse array of poets, politicians, murderers, rock stars, actors and average Joes, but my favourite was 'The Family', The American power elite of 1976, featuring heads of state, union leaders, bankers, media - people like George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Ronald Regan etc. anyway, RA didn't want his impressions or biases to be conveyed, so he gave virtually no direction and the 50 or so portraits (maybe more, i'm terrible at judging these things) all hanging on a wall next to one another are so revealing about the individuals' characters - just in that one shot - whether they chose to smile, scowl intensely, stand stifly, have their arms folded, how they chose to wear their clothes, the stance they struck up - it's a brave piece of work, but one that's incredibly powerful. it's so raw somehow - all these people putting on such a front. Avedon's portraits of his father proir to his death from cancer were also very moving. they reminded me of the ones Annie Leibovitz took of her father when he was sick, and of her mother - both were reluctant subjects too, and also had a completely different impression of themselves and the way they wanted to be portrayed from their photographer children. Avedon's father wanted to come across as sagacious and stern, while Avedon saw him as impatient, vibrant and edgy, but very much alive with life. the result is an amalgamation of the two and you can see how the two views grew in the minds of the two men. Avedon said "my sense of what's beautiful is very different to his". i like that. it's so true of everyone's view of themselves in relation to those they love, and vice versa. you can never really see or understand how people see you. and people can never really see or understand how amazing you think they are.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

I H.E.A.R.T Amsterdam

although i wasn't exactly fleeing London, exactly, i was sort of side stepping it for Valentine's weekend. a move which in the end turned out to be rather fortuitous, as a new love blossomed in foreign lands. the Netherlands, in fact. ho ho. now, this might sound quite naff, but i sort of think my relationships with cities are a bit like with men - Paris and London are lifetime loves of mine for example, Dublin a failed marriage and (very) messy break up, Venice a familiar lover, frequently revisited, and Vienna and Berlin memorable flings that somehow never led anywhere. you get the picture. anyway, a weekend trip to a new city always feels a bit like a first date. you know a bit about them, people have given you their opinions, you may have seen pictures (films even) and if you're interest is caught, you want to get to know them more. such was it with Amsterdam. all i can say is this: my heart is lost. totally. how could it NOT be? It's like someone thought: "what are all the things that Bea loves, and why don't we put them all in ONE PLACE FOR HER?". There may not be anything original in what i am about to say, but still, it's what i thought. first up, cycling. i love it, but i hate it in London. i'm terrified - it's like a death trap and i frequently find myself stuck the wrong side (the left) of a 4 lane road when i want to turn down a little lane to the right. but in Amsterdam, cyclists seem to have priority and motorists are suitably cordial and respectful. SERIOUSLY: it's cycling nirvana. the cycle lanes are wide and never fade out at tricky traffic spots only to reappear after a giant crossroad, the bicycles are beautiful upright ones in bright colours - none of this leaning forward business that i hate. and everywhere is so FLAT - hurrah! no need for gear changes or putting in too much effort, which means several things, the main one being sartorial: dresses, high heels and umbrella holding are all easily accommodated, nay celebrated! and no need for unsightly helmets - yay! second: vintage shops everywhere in central Amsterdam... EVERYWHERE: on every street, shop corner and alley (almost). it was like i'd died and gone to secondhand heaven. plenty of things purchased including a very cool black and white 1950s evening dress. thirdly, richly coloured, enormous bulbed and CHEAP tulips - one of my most adored flowers. 50 sold for 10 Euros. normally i pay £5 for 5. FIVE. which is tantamount to daylight robbery. Fourthly, mint tea - boy they know how to serve fresh mint tea - in tall glasses with stems and stems and leaves and leaves poking out the top. and everyone drinks it all the time - bliss. fifthly, sweets. boiled, mints, lollipops - you name it, it comes with EVERY bill. for the sweet-toothed, sugar-craving me this is like food porn. i can't get enough. sixthly, hundreds of low ceilinged, atmospheric, wood paneled, effortlessly cool and INDEPENDENT cafes, and no, not the 'special' sort, just lovely cafes serving delicious food and cakes, which have their own characters and who would probably laugh in your face if you said "skinny, mochacino extra hot with a vanilla shot". and lastly TALL MEN. i have a well documented, much commented upon weakness for them, and let me tell you, Amsterdam is FULL OF THEM. o my god. i was like a pervert on the loose, ogling, drooling and generally almost crashing my bike into the canal or walking into lamposts shamelessly gawping at the armies of slim, toned giants wandering about, manipulating their long limbs with true grace. Apparently the Dutch are the second tallest nation in the world. whether this is true or not i don't know, but good god i loved it. LOVED IT. So, will i be going on a second date with Amsterdam? Hell, yeah.

The Powder Room

I've never been one to shell out for mani-pedis and all that jazz. although i find my unpainted nails something of an eyesore, i'm happy to varnish them myself, coating new layers over the days old chipped and bitten ones (who looks that closely anyway?). 17's Risky Red is a particular favourite, and Dragon's Blood by No.7. cheap and cheerful, i say (although Chanel do a fabulous London Bus red - £££ tho). what other colours could have such great names, eh? i think my nails look like little bright red buttons sitting on my fingers. still, happy as i am for a quick self administered brush up, i'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and so on thursday night, despite the snow, i tottered along (in my lovely new forest green high heels by the much underrated ASH) to Columbia Road for the opening of The Powder Room, the first shop of the roaming Powderpuff girls. Up till now, this troupe of makeup artists and hairstylists clad in sexy pink 1950s dresses (a la Agent Provocateur girls) and jauntily placed black pill box hats have graced parties and lavish events, setting up shop to groom and preen revelers. in this new location, Columbia Road's weekend flower shoppers and knick-knack hunters can nip in for a quick spruce. super idea, i think. The shop is all 50s boudoir chic, with brightly lit vintage mirrors and dressing tables for hair styling; an apothecary's counter filled with beauty paraphernalia, on top of which sits one of those gorgeous ornately engraved old fashioned metal cash registers with the clicky buttons and a rounded ring to the clink of a sale going through; a loo with walls papered with adverts from the 1950s; and a central island stacked high with nail varnishes in every colour. i settled myself beside this, and drank elderflower gin cocktails from a pink tea cup while having my nails painted. really, how else is there to have a proper manicure?

Thursday, 12 February 2009

King Lear

Last January i was lucky enough to get tickets to see Othello at the Donmar Warehouse - lucky partly because it's one of my favourite plays, and partly because it starred Kelly Reilly (who i have a girl crush on), Chiwetel Ejiofor (generally amazing) and Ewan MacGregor (perverse curiosity - not who i'd have cast as Iago). interestingly, i actually left the play most loving Tom Hiddleston who played Cassio (and who i realised i had seen in The Changeling at the Barbican in 2007, and who, later in 2008, i also saw in Ivanov - again impressively holding his own against serious theatrical star wattage: Kenneth Branagh... all in all it firmly set me on his stalking path), anyway, massive DIGRESSION... oh yes, Othello revived a bit of a Shakespeare fanatacism in me, which ended up lasting the whole year. my glutton-for-punishment partner-in-crime was Rachel and we saw everything from The Merry Wives of Windsor at The Globe (heinously touristy, plus v sore bums thanks to 'authentic' seating), to The Roundhouse's incredible Histories season: Henry V, Richard III and Henry IV parts 1 and 2 (or the nonexistent 3 as i tried to tell someone once when drunk. clever), via Twelfth Night with Derek Jacobi as a gorgeously repellent Malvolio. on wednesday we carried the mania into 2009 and saw hot-shot director Rupert Goold's 'daring' production of King Lear. Now, 3hrs 45 mins of intense tragedy after a day at work is not exactly either relaxing or a riot, but this production absolutely lived up to its hype. the setting was sort of urban wasteland (corrugated iron back drop, imposing steps overrun with weeds dominating the stage); the costumes loosely 1940s (Regan's outfits i especially envied - a purple 40s cocktail dress, followed by a 50s full skirted red dress, then a chic black fitted skirt suit with a cropped jacket and fur collar); and the emotionally weighty subject matter infused with moments of both camp melodrama and rebellious comedy, with a fool (usually the bane of my life) who was deliciously dark, pervy and sinister. the play's gruesome bits were gleefully gruesome and the choppy combination of all these contrasting elements and pace meant there was no real chance of nodding off. weirdly, i quite fancied Edmund, the Duke of Gloucester's bastard son, the creepy character who shit stirs the whole messed up situation so it reaches its tragic climax, but obviously even he couldn't upstage Pete Postlethwaite as King "who is it that can tell me who i am?" Lear. all round, 100 % impressed.
Up next: A Winter's Tale and Hamlet (although everyone tells me the A Midsummer Night's Dream on at the moment is also excellent - but is it like eating asparagus out of season? i think maybe yes).


On the News this morning they were talking about the newly launched ads on London buses that respond to the atheist party's posters (above) from a while back. Apparently 3 Christian groups have launched campaigns (along the lines of "There is a God. BELIEVE. and enjoy your life") to the tune of thousands of pounds. it's all insane (especially in the current economic climate) if you ask me, and at the very least just people shoving their opinions down my throat when i didn't ask them to... which is sort of how i felt when i went to a screening of Religulous on Tuesday eve. In the documentary, comedian Bill Maher (and director Larry 'curb your enthusiasm' Charles) basically say: enough is enough - we'd be tolerant about people's religious beliefs if only they weren't infecting politics and basically fucking everything up on a world scale, a fact that is especially insane since religions are essentially based on a load of completely ridiculous fairytales (hence film title ridiculous / religious, get it?). so far, fair point. Maher, a half catholic - half jewish comedian, announces his intention to find out what religion is all about and why supposedly sane people believe in things like talking snakes, messages from alien planets and people living inside whales for three days. and in the main, his investigations are hilarious - there are some fucking crazy religious people out there, who, when you scratch the surface, really don't know anything at all about the religion that's supposed to define them and the way they live their life - they're complete nutters. but, the thing is, it's so EASY to ridicule these targets - they're ignorant, money grabbing and arrogant. where are the articulate, intelligent believers? there are about 3 in the film, all of whom have limited air time (of course). Maher's interview style is quite Jonathan Ross, i.e shout over whatever his interviewees actually have to say. plus he actually laughs in most of their faces, which many of them deserve, it's true, but after a while this just becomes crass and annoyingly smug of him. still, it would all be fine if THEN Maher doesn't get all moralising and dogmatic and basically become an evangelical preacher of doubt and uncertainty, which is as bad as someone shouting at me to believe in god, i think - up til now the atheists have basically kept schtum, and i kind of liked it like that. anyway the film left a nasty taste in my mouth, despite the fact that for most of it i couldn't help laughing like a banshee.
could i have said 'basically' any more in this post? i don't think so.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Pencil Thievery, part I

Whenever i get invited to advance film screenings, or fashion press days at one of the Firmdale Hotels (it's usually The Charlotte Street, Covent Garden, Soho or Haymarket) my heart does a little dance. They are gloriously swish and it feels very decadent to watch films sitting sunk low in cowhide or luxurious velvet chairs, usually with one hand clamped round a glass of wine, in the company of only a dozen or so others, OR to hang around a ba da bing bling indoor pool (at the Haymarket) or lavish suites taking notes on the new season's trends. But, if i'm honest, what really gets me excited are the SERIOUSLY COOL pencils that sit atop the reception counters in each of the hotel foyers and by which i am obsessed, and therefore make a point of taking handfuls of every time i happen to go in. they're the stripey ones in the middle of this picture, and each hotel does theirs in a different colour. I pretty much write in pencil the whole time (I occasionally make an exception for 0.7 uniballs) and am very fussy about which ones i use. i like a rubber at the end and the kind of wood that makes shavings that are neatly curled (rather than flaking off in tiny bits) without feeling too rubbery or plasticy (these look quite pink in case you're interested). Happily and handily my friend Sophie collects pencil shavings, so we are very well matched, and i especially look out for brightly coloured pencils so her collection is more exciting. the pencils above are the ones on my desk today. i have more in my desk drawers, all my handbags, plus my in bedroom, kitchen and living room. none in the bathroom though, i don't think.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Alley Cat

I am wondering whether Malcolm Gladwell is right in Outliers, and that if I spend 10,000 hours bowling, I might become a genius at it. last night, as I tossed the ball haphazardly down the lane in the All Star Bowling Lanes on Brick Lane (too many lanes in this sentence, surely) I certainly felt 10,000 hours away from being any good. Still, aside from the fact that a casual observer might have thought I had misunderstood the point of the game, I did actually have fun in the 1950s-style swanky alley, drinking red wine and generally pretending I wasn’t wearing horrid bowling shoes. It’s very cool in there, with girls in natty 50s garb, neon lit lettering, leather booths and shiny, high gloss retro kitsch decor. you sort of feel like you should burst into a number from Grease. I like all this overhauling of hitherto-languishing-in-the-shadows-of-utter-sadness pursuits – Roller Disco, Karaoke, Ice Skating et al. works for me at any rate.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

The Birthdaymeister Strikes Again

It's been one long birthday party for the past few weeks, a lots-of-fun-when-the-skies-are-cold-and-grey blessing which is all thanks to the stars if you ask me: my cake-eating whirlwind habitually begins at the end of January and dies out mid-to-late Feb - the fact that i am friends with so many fabulous Aquarians cannot be pure chance, surely? Their dynamic with Sagittarians (moi) evidently ROCKS. In a major way. anyway, I’ve fancy footed it from the louche and grimily cool Bar 23 in Dalston to the reserved elegance of Claridges via the bright exuberance of CocoMomo on Marylebone High St, the shabby chic exposed brickwork and Baroque candelabras of First Floor on Portobello Road, the sultry basement and tapas menu of Cicala on Lambs Conduit Street, the West End slick meets East End spirit of St Germain in Clerkenwell and, err, Tuscany. Clearly i've had to hone my card and present buying talents and, as a result, I’ve become OBSESSED with cards by Rachel Bright and the Birthday Biscuits sold at Fortnums. The latter have a wind up device that plays Happy Birthday in a twinkly antiquated way – completely enchanting. They are filled with three types of biscuit; chocolate chip, lemon and shortbread. I discovered them because they have a birdcage design on the tin and the beautifully ornate bird is drawn by the art collective Container Plus, who put on The Evil Twins exhibition in the Le Gun Curiosity shop on Wilton Way, Hackney (just by London Fields) last year and which I absolutely LOVED (here's what i said for Kultureflash). and Rachel Bright's cards, well, they just make me smile. lots. and you can't better that. My two favourites are The Birthdaymeister Strikes Again, and A Big Smoosh Of Birthday Loveliness, but i can't find pictures, so here is another one to give you an idea...

Saturday, 7 February 2009


Utterly repulsed, slightly sullied, but weirdly impressed is pretty much how i feel having just finished Charlotte Roche's Wetlands. Repulsed because on the first page i was already on familiar terms with the rosette of the heroine's anus, and by the last page i felt like she'd made me do a shot of a cocktail of all of her bodily fluids. ALL OF THEM. from tears to things that the thought of drinking make my stomach twist, nostrils flair, shoulders hunch forward and eyes squeeze shut. and YET, and yet... i was pretty impressed that someone had the balls to write something so amazingly shocking, something that basically says 'fuck you' to our ideas of sanitised sexual and physical perfection. I have to say, that the moment i read about Wetlands in the Sunday newspapers last week, how people had fainted at readings, but how it was a bestseller in Germany and how basically sick it was, i dug it out from my pile of review books at work (HOW the fuck had i missed it??? no idea) and by about paragraph three knew i wasn't going to be disappointed by the hype. But my GOD. i honestly hadn't envisioned having to read it pressed up again my face on the tube because i was terrified someone might read it over my shoulder. or that my face would contort in disgust so much as i read it, my facial muscles actually HURT. or, indeed that i would laugh out loud when i read it (which i NEVER do. smirk appreciatively, maybe, never actually make a sound). I should probably say at this point that it's about an 18 year old girl called Helen who ends up in hospital after cutting herself when shaving her arse, and because she has hemorrhoids, it all gets infected and they have to operate. for the entire duration of the book she's safely ensconced in the proctology unit in various stages of recovery. she is OBSESSED with her body and its fluids and that's all the book is basically about (i mean there's some tangental stuff about getting her divorced parents back together but, pretty it's much 'whatever'on that front). and the avocado on the cover relates to her pet hobby, an elaborate rebirthing of avocado stones - i'll leave you to imagine how that works. and basically i loved it. and hated it. but loved it more.

Friday, 6 February 2009

We're up grit creek

'We're up grit creek' is certainly my most favourite headine of the week relating to the SNOW CRISIS that has hit the UK. Well done The Mirror. It seems staggering to me that London basically came to a standstill on Monday because of the snow. no one can seem to decide whether this is all lots of glorious fun (people making igloos, snowmen and sledging) or a colossal fuck up (no salt to grit the roads) or another way to focus on money being lost (how do they calculate such things anyway?). i definitely fall down on the side of fun. my only problem with the situation is a sartorial one. more specifially a shoe one. my choices are shoddy indeed. i had to resort to wearing a pair of U[rrr]ggs given to me last year and which i had hidden in my flat for fear the sight of them would burn a hole in my retina. wearing them this week i thought i would throw up with every step. how do people wear these regularly?

Going GaGa

Lady GaGa is everywhere? EVERYEWHERE? do her PR people know nothing about overexposure? since i was introduced to her actual song 'Just Dance' on GMTV (i'd seen her moody face all over the shop for a while before actually hearing the admitedly-quite-catchy-but-nothing-to-get-your-knickers-in-a-twist-about song) that was the end of the beginning really. it was the beginning, but it was also the end. it's morning TV. and then, after the cheesetastic GMTV i saw her on a 'win a trip to NY to see Lady GaGa competition' on the music channel in my gym. which sealed her fate really. it's too much, it really it.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Blogs away!

OK, gingerly dipping one toe in... here goes.

I love London, and I gallavant around it having fun. i do this serial gallivanting in red lipstick and nail varnish, a beret, either high heels or pretty ballet flats (I have absolutley no time for anything irritatingly in the middle or practical), and rather fabuous full skirts and 1950s dresses in bright colours. Luckily for me i do and write about much of my adventures in the name of work, work for someone else though, which often entails being quite 'Reviewerly' or writing for a specific audience that's not exactly like me. Here, I'm going to write about films, books, parties, events, the theatre, clothes and exhibitions just as i'd like to. no editor, no nothing. i'm going to cap up things i've L.O.V.E.D, use ridiculously purple prose whenever the mood takes me, get hysterical and be flouncy. sometimes i'll sound like Jane Austen, sometimes like a sleazy pervert because that is how i actually think. and speak. and sure, there may be some malapropisms, or some factual errors, and i'll probably be boring sometimes too. anyway. no one is going to edit me and and whether that be good or bad, that's the way it is. i hope you enjoy reading my blog.

i have to confess, my heart is racing and more blood is rushing to my head with every word i type. dare i press 'publish post'? here's hoping so.