Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Lovely Bones

Gah, urrgh, bleh - was pretty much my reaction to this bit of utterly pointless CGI goop, otherwise known as The Lovely Bones, (out Feb). it was so bad i didn't even cry - despite it being about a young girl who is murdered by a local creep (a toothy, comb-over, cardigan wearing, NHS bespectacled Stanley Tucci - cliche? Nooooo) and watches over her family from limbo (that being a weird gazebo in a cornfield with her strange little Pocahontas friend). Her voiceovers as she sees her family break down and her killer seemingly get away with it are constipatingly cringeworthy. Mark Wahlberg as her scale-model obsessive father is woefully miscast (surprise?!) and Rachel Weisz is criminally underused. Peter Jackson goes totally CGI crazy, which is indescribably distracting and completely pointless. One measly redeeming feature for me was Susan Sarandon as Suzy Salmon's (the murdered girl, played by Saoirse Ronan) hard drinking, chain smoking, 1960s coiffed and kohled grandmother: totally rocking (not quite sure what it contributed to the plot though). This is a film devoid of nuance or subtlety (which i gather were the key things about the emotionally wrought book by Alice Sebold). Gah, urgh, bleh.

Beware the Moon

I am currently rather taken with this wallpaper by Beware the Moon. the black holograph version i especially love. O and actually the lime green on mushroom too. i wonder how much of it i could get away with in my flat. probably not much since it is £105 a roll.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Not convinced. and not just because it wasn't like the book/film etc but because purely as a piece of theatre taken in isolation from its previous incarnations, the theatrical adaptation of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's was interminably dull - certainly the first half at least. The clothes aren't even enough to entertain (as one might have thought having seen the fashion show Anna Friel puts on every night when she leaves the theatre). The central issue of Holly's promiscuous/phony/prostitute status was not enough to hold my interest for the full hour of the first act, I think maybe because beautiful as i think Anna Friel is, i found her portrayal of Holly rather charmless and, that being the key to one's interest in her, not being utterly entranced by her leaves you stranded in the middle of don't-give-a-monkey'sville in terms of plot, which is otherwise somewhat negligible until the interval. the second half was much pacier, admittedly, with the denouement of her past, the arrest etc, however it wasn't enough to redeem the production overall. shame. stick with reading the book or watching the film, I'd say.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Sherlock Holmes

I have to admit, I had low expectations of Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (given some of the reviews, who could blame me), but actually, while it was certainly utterly ridiculous, it was ridiculous in a fun sort of way. I'm not entirely sure whether it was a Holmesian pastiche, a parody or quite simply a new genre of comedy-caper-meets-hammy-crime-with-bone-crunching-violence, but I'll leave the decision to people more adept at coining a pithy phrase. Anyway, down to business... Holmes (Robert Downey Jr doing mad professor with A.D.D act) and Watson (Jude Law looking dapper and doing discerning with sly wit) become embroiled in/take up the case of Lord Blackwood, a dark arts practitioner who, after being hanged for killing a quintet of girls in ritualistic sacrifices, mysteriously continues to wreak havoc on London, Parliament and THE WORLD... Ahhh ha ha ha! Can our dastardly duo unravel the mystery that links a devilish sect, government officials, a sexy lass from Holmes' past (Rachel McAdams) and a mystery grand master puppeteer? Hell yes, but 'how' is the question?! 'How' involves rushing from cemetery to dockyard to Piccadilly to park, no stone of Victorian London left unturned: the vistas are more panto than realistic, which matches the dialogue - quips and retorts rather than conversation. It's fabulously OTT, and while a slither of subtlety wouldn't have gone amiss, the denouement is convincingly played out (convincing as in it makes sense, not as in wobbling about atop an under-construction Tower Bridge is convincing). It's hilarious. I've no idea if this was the intention, but it's a Christmas blockbuster that definitely ticks some boxes - but maybe I've come to this decision in part because when i came out, it was snowing. sooo Christmassy.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Invictus / Up In The Air

Two films i've seen this week turn out to have scooped up a fair few Golden Globe Nominations, which were announced today. And rightly so, i'd say. Up In The Air (out Jan) stars George Clooney (so i just about managed to get the gist of the film as it took place somewhere in the background of his undiminishing hotness) as one of life's pathological commitmentphobes. Ryan Bingham manages to stay firmly disconnected from anything meaningful by constantly flying around America for work, which incidentally is as a kind of travelling salesman of career death: he's employed by spineless corporate pricks to fire their staff for them. For him, home is up in the air and his religion the quest of frequent flyer miles, elite status and little or no baggage. But one such trip with an earnest 23-year old upstart, err, shakes things up a bit. no, he doesn't get it on with her - that comes in the shape of Gillian Anderson look-alike Vera Farmiga (up for a nomination), a liaison which also throws him off course. What's great about this film is its unexpectedness and wit. The gender roles blur, which i like. no one comes off rosily, which i like too. It's sharp, funny, sexy, and has moments of genuine emotion thrown in.
Directed by Clint Eastwood Invictus (out Feb) stars Matt Damon (understated and excellent and err buff - he plays a Rugby captain) and Morgan Freeman (who shouldn't get the best actor gong tho - I'm rooting for Colin Firth in Tom Ford's A Single Man, possibly one of the most stylishly slick films i've ever seen) playing Nelson Mandela. In the wake of apartheid Mandela tries to unite his country by getting them fired up in support of Springbok, the SA national Rugby team (formerly very much associated with white South Africans), in the year when they were hosting the world up (1995) but didn't stand a hope in hell of winning. Surprisingly enthralling (given the fact that Rugby players could shove a ball up their arse as part of the game and i'd be none the wiser about whether they were playing by the rules or not) and once again, involving more than a little tear jerkery. this is the second sporting film i've seen in as many weeks that i've really enjoyed. what the fuck is up with me? I'm crying like a maniac and i'm into films about competitive sport. there's definitely something in the water. can someone TAKE IT OUT?

Monday, 14 December 2009

Farewell Whoopee

The Whoopee Club was one of the front runners, if not the front runner of London's neo-burlesque movement. Six years ago, when i was working at The Erotic Review, we worked a lot with its founders Lara and Tamara just as they were starting it up - collaborating on Burlesque features, promoting nights and generally thoroughly enjoying a celebration of sultry, elegantly sleazy glamour. It was underground, left field and more than a little excitingly unsettling. there hadn't really been anything like it for eons. I'll never forget the first evening of theirs that i went to - the naughty but nice titillation was wholly captivating. i never looked back and from then on any opportunity to dress up in 1940s and 50s regalia for a night of tease was snatched with both hands. Now, of course, Burlesque is everywhere, and not all of it good - i've seen enough two-bit wannabes peeling their kit off in a show of sexiness that turns me on about as much as a mosquito buzzing in the middle of the night to have become more than a little wary. a pair of nipple tassles, some suspenders and stockings, a thong and killer heels, i've come to realise, does not an erotic performance make. a serious amount of chutzpah, sass, wit and inventiveness does, which is somewhat rarer than the nearest branch of Agent Provocateur. When Whoopee started it really felt naughty. deliciously naughty. Like it was actually rather fabulously ok to be utterly entranced by girls stripping - old school style, where you were always left wishing for more. what you don't want is to feel slightly embarrassed for any performers - wishing instead that they'd save their dignity and just stop. It's a state that's all to easily achieved, sadly. Anyway, Friday saw The Whoopee Club's last ever show - a night of war time austerity at The Bethnal Green Working Men's club. I was keen to go, for old time's sake. There were some brilliant performances - i especially loved the pole dancer grinding to Peaches' The Boys Wanna Be Her (especially good as i do so love Peaches - esp Lovertits), the spandex bodystockinged girl hula hooping and Audacity Chutzpah's hilarious feminist striptease.  Less keen on the maniac tranny flinging himself around the stage and staplegunning things to his chest, but that's personal preference i guess. Paloma Faith wore gold sequins and sang, and everyone was red lipsticked and seamed tights-ed. Bliss - a glorious memory of the good old days. 

Friday, 11 December 2009

I Heart Atalanta's Shoes

Atalanta has New Gen sponsorship again! the British fashion council love her AND SO DO I. I ordered these shoes in orange from a preview a few weeks ago. I especially LOVE the python skin detail on the back of the ankle lip.

Happy New Year

Such an amazing Happy New Year card! Amy rocks.

Photography : Amy Gwatkin & Anna Leader
Art Direction & Glasses: Fred Butler
Nails: Simona @ WAH nails
Make-up: Megumi Matsuno
Model: Tracy Onyecachukwu @ Elite London

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Blind Side / Everybody's Fine / the Disappearance of Alice Creed

O god. it's official. i might just be the most pathetic, wet, nauseatingly sentimental person ever. i keep copiously weeping in film screenings, a fact which is made that much more humiliating because it's always mostly men in screenings. old ones not given over to being swept along by a wave of mushy sentimentality. snivelling doesn't go down well. o and i've got a cough. popular, moi? hell YES. anyhoo.. first up was Everybody's Fine (out in feb, adapted from the Italian film Stanno Tutti Bene). Robert de Niro is Frank, a blue collar sort who has worked hard to afford his children the opportunities to be creative and succeed in life. as an artist, musician, actress and ad exec, they are now testimony to his dream being realised. After his wife dies though, he hears less and less from his children, who are dispersed across the US. After they each cancel at the last minute for a reunion weekend (the most heartbreaking scene, as Frank returns from a supermarket splurge for the celebrations only to pick up messages on his answerphone from his flaky kids saying they can't come), Frank decides to travel across the US to visit each one. but with every visit, each one is too busy for him. GOD it's heartbreaking. but is there enough emotion to warrant a tsunami of tears i ask you? no.

then there was The Blind Side (out March). Sandra Bullock playing a don't-mess-with-me Mississippi mom who takes in a young, poor black boy who has recently started at the all-white-bible-bashing school where her kids go, and invests time into him, making him a part of her family etc. it's the true story of All American Football star Michael Oher, so you know where it's going, but still - to think i actually rather loved this film... it's about American Football!! well, obviously it's actually not - it's about family and blah blah blah. but anyway, i loved it for what it was and sobbed like a baby. even more embarrassing: it was a lunchtime screening, there were only 3 of us in the screening room, i was the only girl, so there was no mistaking where the sniffing was coming from. and thanks to the music, i basically started crying from the opening credits. a proud moment, i can tell you.
I didn't cry in The Disappearance of Alice Creed (out March). and if i did it was because i was tearing my eyes out of my head in order to stop watching. A kidnapping goes wrong. there are lots of twists, none of which i gave the tiniest shit about. I for one couldn't escape fast enough.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Sophie Calle (again)

I couldn't help myself. i had to go back to the Whitechapel Gallery to see the Sophie Calle exhibition again. this time i had a proper look upstairs; i absolutely loved the piece where she tries to overtake her future by consulting a clairvoyant. she follows a trail to the sea side town of Berck, and eventually to a war memorial of adventurous twin brothers. the war memorial was blank, but she did receive a text from a man she hadn't heard from for ages - Emmanuel, who, with his twin brother, had once sailed across the Atlantic (ie adventurous) and whose surname was Berque (pronounced the same). for some reason it made me rather weepy. hormones? the fact i am a sad loser? who knows. also v moving (humiliatingly once again) was the piece where Calle finds an address book and calls up various people listed within to try and build up a picture of the man who owns the book. a bit like a Marx brother (or Woody Allen) who wanders about like a child lost in a train station, who can't cook and writes academic pieces about film was what stays in the mind. Pierre, i think.

Then i ambled along to the Evil Christmas Fayre (organised by Arts Co and Pure Evil) at Sosho, a alternative Christmas fair with stands for street artists etc where i bought a glass vintage jelly mould and a picture of a girl rather salaciously eating an oyster. neither of these were presents. or rather they were, but for myself. o dear.

Friday, 4 December 2009


There's a lot of pretentious waffling going on at the Royal Academy's new exhibition, eARTh - which looks at contemporary artists' responses to climate change; but there are enough stand-out pieces to hold your interest and stop you from drowning in the convoluted blurb - Namely...
Mona Hatoum's Hot Spot (above) which fizzes and hisses with rather frightening spite.

Cornelia Parker's Heart of Darkness, 2004, where she's strung up the charred remains of a forest fire in Florida - blackened bark, pine cones and twigs slowly twist and move in the breeze like an eerie, deathly, shadowy simulacrum of a living forest.
Darren Almond's Tide, 2008, which sees a wall full of perfectly synchronised digital clocks flip over in unison, minute by minute, like the tide. made me jump every time!

and lastly, Sophie Calle's North Pole, 2009, which shows the fruits of her labours after she went on a trip with Cape Farewell to Greenland to bury her mother's pearl necklace and diamond ring, along with a photo. as with so much of Sophie Calle's work, I found it incredibly moving - yet infused with wit (she talks about future ages discovering these items and dreaming up improbable theories as to how they got to be there).

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The Priory

The Priory at The Royal Court: a play that's like a really shit, cliched, depressing version of Peter's Friends. one of each of these thirty somethings: gay, single, unhappily married, superficially successful, get together for new year's eve. they get drunk. it ends badly. o, and there's a ghost (supposedly). the playwright has a good ear for dialogue, but, given that the characters are terrifying stereotypes perhaps he should be handed novels to do adaptations of.

Anyway, here's a picture of Rupert Penry Jones, who's in it and who's hot.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Stuart Haygarth

I completely LOVE the Stuart Haygarth exhibition that opened this week. Called 'Found', it's a selection of lights that he's made using found objects he's rather obsessively collected over the years. The light springs away from the glass droplets of the globe chandelier (that hangs to the right of the main gallery) and bounces all over the room in a completely mesmerising way, but it was only when i got up close that i saw that the glass beads were in fact the eye bits from glasses (see above). SO COOL. and then there was an equally funky 1970s-esque trio of lights which use the arms from old pairs of glasses. weird but wonderful. Recycling chic that i approve of.

Stuart Haygarth. Dec 2-Jan 30 2010 Haunch of Venison, 6 Burlington Gardens, W1S 3ET

Bad Sex

My most favourite bookish party of the year was on Monday; Bad Sex, thrown by The Literary Review at the In and Out Club on St James Square. I started going when i used to work at The Erotic Review, and now go (well, gatecrash) every year. it's such fun. anyway, the prize is supposed to be for a bad sex scene (a sex scene written badly as oppose to a scene about terrible sex) that has been needlessly inserted into a good book, and this year's winner was the above - Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones. And indeed, the excerpt that was read out was indeed rather odd... (though not the worst of the selection if you ask me: see Amos Oz's Rhyming Life and Death).

"Her vulva was opposite my face. The small lips protruded slightly from the pale, domed flesh. This sex was watching at me, spying on me, like a Gorgon's head, like a motionless Cyclops whose single eye never blinks. Little by little this silent gaze penetrated me to the marrow. My breath sped up and I stretched out my hand to hide it: I no longer saw it, but it still saw me and stripped me bare (whereas I was already naked). If only I could still get hard, I thought, I could use my prick like a stake hardened in the fire, and blind this Polyphemus who made me Nobody. But my cock remained inert, I seemed turned to stone. I stretched out my arm and buried my middle finger into this boundless eye. The hips moved slightly, but that was all. Far from piercing it, I had on the contrary opened it wide, freeing the gaze of the eye still hiding behind it. Then I had an idea: I took out my finger and, dragging myself forward on my forearms, I pushed my forehead against this vulva, pressing my scar against the hole. Now I was the one looking inside, searching the depths of this body with my radiant third eye, as her own single eye irradiated me and we blinded each other mutually: without moving, I came in an immense splash of white light, as she cried out: 'What are you doing, what are you doing?' and I laughed out loud, sperm still gushing in huge spurts from my penis, jubilant, I bit deep into her vulva to swallow it whole, and my eyes finally opened, cleared, and saw everything."

Charles Dance presented the award. He is HOT. i have had a major crush on him for years and it went stratospheric.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen has launched an online shop. Excellent - this means i can fantasize about what delectable items i might buy without even having to pop next door (it's my neighbour at work and i have been known to go in in my lunch break to try on dresses i couldn't possibly dream of buying). Top of my list is this Rose Victorian Tailored dress - a snip at £2,275, or the Bird Print Funnel Neck dress for £2,970. Now all i need is a spare 3 grand to fritter away.