JUST AN OBSERVATION

Friday April 6th

 

A mild furore broke out this week over an article in the Daily Mail-where else?-by Samantha Brick on the perils of being too damn good looking and the negativity this engenders  in particular from other, in her eyes, less attractive members of the species. My first thoughts after eventually reading said article were that it was a late April Fools joke cleverly written to cause a backlash and drum up interest in a rag which, let’s face it, needs all the help it can in finding new readers and showing itself capable of something other than scaremongering and judgmental attitudes. Unfortunately suspicions lingered that it was indeed a serious article and subsequent interviews and defensive remarks made by its author revealed, not the beauty which she claims arouses so much envy, instead delusions of the highest order.

The photos which accompanied the piece were what made me first suspect it was a put on. Brick is an averagely attractive woman- I am being uncharacteristically kind here- both tall and slim with blonde hair and, let’s face it, bland and undistinguishable features. What immediately came across in her writing is any lack of humour or compassion towards other women. It is not this however which has prevented any of her fellow females- I struggle to call them friends as not once does she mention friendship in her rantings- from asking her to be a bridesmaid or assisting in her career ambitions. No, it is the fact other women are simply jealous of her and view her as a threat which has held her back and excluded her. Not once does she question the fact maybe she is simply not likeable as a person or her competitive nature –obvious in her writing- and admission she uses flirting to get ahead are maybe more adequate reasons for disliking her than her narcissism and delusional fantasies about her average looks.

On the subject of narcissism I feel I am more than able to comment on a personal level. A recent posting on Facebook linking to a test to discover how narcissistic you are revealed my levels of narcissism were extremely high-no surprise to anyone who knows me- and even beat the scores averaged by celebrities generally considered to be the most narcissistic grouping in our society. What worried me more however was the fact I had downplayed certain aspects of my nature and could have upped my already high score by six points-there was a further test for measuring psychopathic tendencies but it would have simply been too much time away from the mirror- but I was able to laugh about this with friends, who very kindly informed me I was perhaps the only person surprised by my score. Unfortunately Brick does not seem to possess this self deprecating gene nor the ability to laugh at herself and subsequent TV interviews have revealed her to be steadfast in her misguided beliefs and wayward fantasies. The phrase ‘thick as a Brick’ now springs to mind and she simply does not understand very few seem able to comprehend the attractive qualities she spouted on about so readily and  unfortunately came across as a decidedly unattractive human being .

The idea of beauty is such an abstract concept anyway and I always favour Andy Warhol’s way of thinking in that the great beauties also need to be great talkers. This becomes truer as age takes hold and beauty fades. Perfect examples of this are sixties icons and beauties Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg who were contemporaries of Lulu but whilst the pint sized Scottish belter has somehow managed to look better than she did all those decades ago the former two have not weathered quite so well. Despite this I would rather spend an hour with Marianne or Anita and the tales and subject matter they have at their disposal than any with Lulu-whose accent can’t even make up its mind what it is- and her inane chat about how highlights and layers help lift the features. In short they are interesting, intelligent women who just happened to be exceptionally beautiful and after their looks faded they drew on other facets of their character which were probably what helped to establish their beauty in the first place. Kate Moss seems to be their heir apparent and it is no co-incidence she hangs out with them seeking out companionship and guidance rather than more conventional choices.

Another of my all time favourite female icons Patti Smith-who let’s face it was never conventionally beautiful or even attractive but in possession of style, charisma, attitude and talent- has also weathered the ravages of time successfully. Never reliant on her looks to attain her objectives she is still relevant and inspirational to new generations of women thirty seven years after her first explosion onto the public consciousness. It is always refreshing to see her at red carpet events and film premieres as the world’s best dressed bag-lady, dressed down in her Prada and Ann Demeulelmeester outfits, looking as if she is grateful to be there and having more fun than everyone else trussed up in their skin-tight slips of nothing which can only be worn after weeks of rigorous dieting and avoidance of carbs.

Talking of shallow beauty versus intelligent, Laid In Chelsea returned to our screens this week and, to be honest , they really shouldn’t have bothered. In fact I am not sure they actually did bother as it was the same non-problems as the previous two series’ only this time around it is beyond tedious. The Caggie and Spencer yawnathon has to end NOW and her alleged departure at the end of the next episode will hopefully be an end to that total boring storyline. The conclusion being she is little more than a spoilt, posh tart and he is a lecherous knob! Not much else happened and I felt before this is one series too far and Monday night’s episode did little to persuade me otherwise. Mind you I will watch it again this week if only to see Caggie’s exit- perhaps she is going in search of a real name or assisting Chloe Green who departed apparently in a vain attempt to locate her chin- and by the end of the episode will probably be hooked.

Easter weekend sees another outing to Hot Mess- fast becoming my favourite club-night in Edinburgh with amazing music but really there is not much competition at the moment- at the Wee Red Bar tonight and then The Waterboys at the Festival Theatre on Easter Sunday. Not familiar with any of the latter’s output- Whole of the Moon aside- but have been assured I will enjoy it. The rest of my weekend will be spent gazing in the mirror, unsure why others don’t hate me or resent me for my extreme attractiveness and polishing up my conversational skills to help me overcome the crippling shyness which I am convinced holds me back. Arm yourselves with earplugs. Happy Easter!

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THE APRRENTICE WEEK 3

The Apprentice Week 3

 

Three weeks into the ‘process’-we are constantly informed it is not a game-show although it so very obviously is-and this week’s task was to enlist two teams of corporate cannibals, who have very little experience in the field, to first create a condiment and then sell it onto either trade or the public; a bit like an upmarket polyester suited Generation Game. The first task for host and quizmaster Alan Sugar was to even the two teams up as the female team, Sterling aka SAS, are operating with depleted ranks after losing the previous two tasks.

So moving the unpopular Katie over to the male team-thereby allowing the other women to bitch about her to the new arrivals which they promptly did within minutes- Phoenix (Nights?) and two males over to the female teams the gender balance is still heavily unequal. I find it strange that a show which is supposedly of the twenty first century still initially splits its teams according to gender creating an immediate primitive sense of divide and showing a distinct lack of imagination for a programme which seeks to unearth new ideas. Also mixing the teams up a little inevitably lends itself to some seriously cringe-worthy flirting by some delusional Lothario which combined with the egos on display makes for highly unintentional comedy moments.

The programme threw up little in the way of surprise however as the products from both teams were decidedly uninspiring and uninspired as were the constantly lame jokes about relishing the moment and getting into a pickle whilst being saucy. Phoenix came up with Belissimo –which should have been spelt Bellissimo though no-one amongst this group of supposed highfliers spotted this crucial mistake until labels had been printed- but reaction to it indicated more than the spelling was wrong with the actual sauce within the bottle. Acting as project manager Katie’s right hand man, Stephen, blew his own trumpet heralding himself as an ‘ideas man’ but somehow revealing himself to be little more than a complete tosser.

Sterling opted for a pineapple, chilli and ginger chutney and even though I am adventurous in my food choices I could tell from the combination it would be vile, Matters were not helped by messing up the ingredients and overdosing on the chilli causing last night’s funniest moment as project manager Duane to cough his insides out onto the factory floor after a taste test. Ah! The sweet taste of success!

Selling the latter product proved more of a problem as this balls-up over the chilli resulted in the selling team trying to sell a product without having any product to sell. Obviously this set the team back a little but not as much as the complete disaster over at the other teams factory space. Here the problem was not so much the product but the fact they were going for volume of sales at a low price but a miscalculation resulted in not enough product therefore resulting in a higher price for a sub-standard product. From this juncture the writing was on the wall and Phoenix were well on their way to their first loss after having been extremely fortuitous over the previous two weeks.

So all Katie had to do now was choose her two fall guys for the board room, eventually plumping for anonymous bore Michael and the ridiculously named, totally up his own arse, Ricky Martin. Adam, who made the fatal mistake of trying to claim all the credit for the teams success before finding out they had lost, slunk unobtrusively into the background after the results were announced and had a lucky escape.  I was expecting more from this showdown in the boardroom than it actually delivered.

The previous weeks have seen the female team at full screech with stilettos sharper than daggers and talons poised to take out eyes as well as any opposition. The male team have shown divisions which could rival this bunch of harridans but the seemingly insipid Michael struggled to even raise an eyebrow never mind his voice and more disappointingly made little impression at all. It was evident he was going from pretty early on in the proceedings although Ricky shows great promise of becoming a hate figure for the series-human foghorn Jenna is his closest rival and probably has the edge so far, although Stephen and Adam revealed themselves as contenders- and a more worthy adversary than the insipid Michael will hopefully bring it out in him. I see him as a regular boardroom visitor over the weeks as he has the habit of being able to annoy without having to do anything much to elicit such a negative feeling.

I am hoping next week livens up a little as the last two weeks have been rather subdued. More fireworks are needed and mixing the teams up a little more, as they are already starting to become a little complacent, is definitely in order.

NEU REEKIE 15

Neu Reekie 15

 

The latest edition of this always captivating and interesting collation of art styles from and around Edinburgh faced strong competition from the unseasonable sunshine and warm weather. Such a rare event in Edinburgh, there seemed to be an initial reticence to come indoors and at 7pm, when usually queues are forming outside, the Scottish Book Trust seemed comparatively sparse. By 7.30 however things had picked up, probably as the stragglers had realised despite the deceptive qualities of the sunshine it was not actually that warm outside. For those making the effort Neu Reekie proved a worthwhile choice as it was, in the main, a highly successful evening with high quality acts and performers.

Opening with animation featuring the perilous escapades of a buzzing fly and its attempts at survival this was followed by further animation featuring a magazine acquiring a life of its own set against an Aphex Twin sounding, pulsating soundtrack which operated in perfect synchronicity. There was a later return to animation further on in the show showcasing an ECA project which although not always wholly successful-although several pieces stood out as remarkable- was never less than intriguing.

The first spoken word of the evening came courtesy of Jenny Lindsay whose poems and delivery were perfectly nuanced, raising laughs and provoking thought in equal measure. Witty, observational and concise her set was perhaps best encapsulated during her rendition of ‘In Scotland We Know We’re Fucked’ wherein all her ideas collided perfectly. Lindsay delivers her poetry in a knowing, self deprecating manner which suits it perfectly and her, seemingly brief, segment was perhaps the highlight of the night.

After this, poet in residence at Edinburgh University, Ryan Van Winkle unfortunately proved slightly disappointing. Lacking Lindsay’s charisma and stage presence his set proved slightly flat and unable to sustain the audience’s undivided attention- at one point they even started chatting over his reading- his set started to drag. This was possibly as his poetry was more introspective than what had gone before and less likely to appeal to an audience who an hour previously had probably been drinking beer out in the sun. Poems about Virginia Woolf and suicide were unable to maintain the previous momentum and although they were interesting I also found them slightly derivative.

Music, on this occasion, came in the form of a solo acoustic set by Dan Wilson of Withered Hand providing another of the evening’s highlights. Impressive in his vocal stylings -very much on a Bon Iver/ Neil Young/ Damien Rice tip-his rendition of ‘Love in the Time of Ecstasy’ was especially memorable and a set highpoint. He kind of let himself down, however, by claiming one of the raffle prizes as his own, much to the chagrin of one of my companions who had her heart set on said prize.

The evening rounded off with an impressive set from house-band Emelle bringing another highly successful evening to a more than satisfactory conclusion. Those who had ventured in from the sun will have found their journey more than worthwhile and from the line-up announced at the end of the evening Neu Reekie 16 looks like repeating this success and then some.

Neu Reekie 16 takes place on April 27th at Scottish Book Trust, Trunks Close, 55 High Street 7pm.

Photo of Jenny Lindsay-above- by Elina Mae

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Friday March 30th

 

The big news this week is that the whole country seems to be in the grip of a, very early, summer fever. Cloudless skies, sunshine and soaring temperatures have all contributed towards the feeling of summer resulting in a general lifting of spirits and an easy transition from winter. Actually the change in the weather could hardly have been more extreme as last Saturday the air was thick with a rolling fog then during the night-shortened by the putting forward of the clocks- was replaced by a heatwave which has yet to abate although we have been warned it is due to diminish over the weekend to be replaced by something more typical of this time of year. Until that time, however, I am determined to make the most of the glorious outdoors and so far this week has been taken up with long, lazy picnics interspersed with healthy activity which has, so far, managed to involve staying away from the pub which seems to be the main activity which springs to mind in Scotland as soon as the sun breaks rank and makes an unscheduled appearance. The weekend is nigh though and I doubt I shall be able to maintain my clean living lifestyle indefinitely.

This week, in-between sun worshipping, I managed to see an amazing film about New York photographer Bill Cunningham which was inspirational on so many different levels. Previously I was unaware of his existence but after his name was mentioned to me he seemed omnipresent in everything I undertook during the days leading up to me viewing the film about him, including an envious tribute from Andy Warhol in his diaries which I just happened to be perusing casually. The importance of this man in the fashion world cannot be underestimated as he is responsible for capturing street style in its infancy and natural habitat for at least five decades now. Not driven by material gain, financial reward or recognition his philosophy and perspective on life was refreshing in the extreme, shaming the culture we live in without ever dismissing or criticising it. Here is a man in his eighties who derives satisfaction from the simplest of pleasures and is more than happy with his place in the world whilst those surrounding him strive towards the unattainable in a misguided attempt to improve themselves or, more importantly, their status and standing. It is a film in which the central subject matter has a genuinely permanent smile warming his features and is an intriguing and fascinating insight to a life actually being enjoyed. If you can catch a showing of this film then I strongly suggest  you do. A full review can be found here.

The Apprentice is now in its second week but it is still to hit its full stride as there are still too many contestants to despise one in particular. This is always the best part of this show although I am becoming more attuned to the clever editing which sort of manipulates you into a certain way of thinking usually drawing you in being able to decipher who is about to be fired or, on occasion as a red herring, who should be fired and will be going very soon just not yet but far enough in the future for us to keep watching, if only to see the moment they do actually receive their marching orders. A full dissection of this weeks episode can be found here.

At least this week Laid In Chelsea returns-probably my favourite of all the terribly named ‘dramality  series’ clogging up the schedules- where there is no shortage of people to despise in equal measure. The sight of these over privileged, chinless and whinnying inbreeds –all to the Aga born- complaining continually about, well, nothing really is somehow fascinating TV, although spinning it out for a third series inside a year is probably  stretching things and difficult to sustain so perhaps this is one series too far. No doubt the Caggie and Spencer fauxmance yawnathon is still going on though I reckon they will have been engaged, married and divorced then reconciled since they finally got it together on the Xmas special.

Elsewhere this weekend it is the always great Neu Reekie this week featuring music from Withered Hand, spoken word from Ryan Van Winkle and Jenny Lindsay as well as the usual juxtaposition of animation and contributions from the house band Emelle. Later this weekend I am attending my first Salsa class mainly as an accessory to my newly acquired Mediterranean colouring- acquired courtesy of the heatwave- although I ,probably misguidedly, feel I have enough natural Latin rhythm that I shall indeed be taking the class by my second lesson complete with essential cha–cha heels. Adios!

BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK

Bill Cunningham New York

 

Admittedly when it was first suggested to me that I might like to see this film about New York photographer Bill Cunningham, I had no idea who the central subject matter actually was. In the few days leading up to actually seeing it however his name cropped up frequently in the unlikeliest sources and then the night before the films screening I was reading the Andy Warhol diaries and the particular instalment I reached mentioned bumping into Bill Cunningham and Warhol’s subsequent envy at how anonymously Cunningham biked around New York capturing anything that caught his eye with his omnipresent camera with astounding results. Naturally my interest was even more piqued by this intriguing character and I can state after viewing the film it is a fascinating insight into an intriguing character whose attitude towards life and his rejection of conventional material values and positive outlook could serve as a lesson to us all.

From the very outset Cunningham’s amiable nature is apparent to even the most casual observer. Claiming he believes that ‘the best fashion show is on the street’, his photos bear this out as they are seldom staged affairs with most of his models unaware they are even being photographed. It is an interesting insight into how fashion works its way down from the magazines, catwalks and stores to take on a life of its own via the general public who parade it on the streets. It is this that Cunningham sets out to capture attending not only glittering parties with socialites and celebrities in his role for the New York Times who run his column weekly-the latter incidentally are of no interest to him as they have been given their clothes free so therefore have not created their own identity- but simply scouring the streets astride his bike pausing only when inspired by something which captures his imagination.

What an incongruous figure he cuts as well, it is no wonder Warhol was envious as Cunningham possesses none of the cool, mannered iciness of the image the artist projected. He, instead, is chatty, intelligent and outgoing with a seemingly genuine smile permanently warming his features. His own plastic cape-similar to those worn by the refuse dept.- held together by tape may not be high fashion but it is instantly recognisable as his own style whilst his love, knowledge and fascination about others fashion and clothes are inestimable. His response to those who dismiss fashion as frivolous is telling in that he describes it as’ an armour for every day life’.

This is the man  even, notoriously haughty, Vogue editor Anna Wintour rates as having an intrinsic knowledge even deigning to add ‘we all get dressed  for Bill’. This is the man who can sense a style evolution as it occurs on the street and Wintour is not alone in her effusive praise with author Tom Wolfe, David Rockefeller and Brooke Astor all making appearances to garland him with respect and praise. This is the man described during Paris Fashion week-‘A laboratory of ideas’ according to Cunningham- as ‘The most important man in the world’.

The best scenes however are at his apartment block within Carnegie Hall where he and several other residents have resided for decades but are now required to leave. The scenes with his neighbour Eddita are hilariously funny and full of warmth as they recall events through the misty haze of nostalgia and topsy-turvy wigs wearing Cunningham designed hats from his previous employ as milliner to the stars.

Director Richard Press has done a great job in assembling the footage which makes up this film and although Cunningham is now in his eighties he still crackles with youthful vitality and energy. Part of this is down to his rejection of the financial aspect of life which usually creates ego driven monsters propelled only by their love of money. A man who lives simply-he doesn’t even indulge in the free food and drink offered to him at parties, something else which fascinated the constantly freeloading Warhol in his diary entry- he seems happy simply in the fact he has his own place in the world.

THE APPRENTICE WEEK 2

The Apprentice Week 2

 

After last weeks explosive opening where, the human irritant and unable to shut up, Bilyana/Balaclava was removed by the SAS- an acronym for slap and stilettos, and a more worthy name than the lame Sterling, for a group of women who are more than willing to take out their opposition both within and outside their own team- the second instalment from the Alan Sugar game-show began with both teams claiming they were the tighter knit group. With that opening salvo you immediately sense the teams are about to rupture with internal divisions imminent, swiftly followed by recriminations, and you would be right. This week the contestants were set the task of designing a household gadget and both teams struggled to come up worth anything either team could agree unanimously on. Despite this the male team did slightly better than the females who struggled for a solitary idea and even more with any semblance of solidarity.

So with the male team constantly high-fiving and congratulating each other on their absurdly lucky win in the previous week’s episode, it was clear from the outset that this faux camaraderie was teetering on a very dodgy precipice. The ructions started almost from the off with a sub-team opposing the chosen product which was basically a black patent cafetiere which was somehow miraculously able to compress any waste food thus providing a solution to the whole problem of recycling. Recycling is obviously an issue with this team as they are constantly rehashing old ideas and clichés although are yet to attempt to try and think ‘outside the box’ as in previous series, usually with disastrous results.

The only alternative to the coffee compressor was a pair of rubber gloves with scourers and sponges attached. Why they didn’t go the whole way and attach a plunger to the coffee maker/ recycler then claim to have invented the Dalek is unclear but it would have been a better idea than any they put forward. Thinking outside the box is an alien concept in corporate business and independent thought usually actively discouraged therefore the thought of this particularly uptight bunch getting out their boxes never mind thinking outside them is pretty unimaginable though would prove highly amusing.

As it would transpire  division in the boys team was not too much of a drawback as they were a up against a group of women- I struggle to call them a team as they bicker, screech and bitch almost incessantly- who are even more inept than they are. This must surely rank as the worst grouping of females The Apprentice has yet assembled. Unable to come up with a product better than a piece of plastic whose purpose was supposed to prevent any spillage from children splashing in the bath or a toe cosy to rest your feet whilst bathing, they were on a sure loser from the word go.  The end result was a piece of floppy Perspex which ultimately could only be described as a bit shit.

Like the boy’s team, divisions surfaced when opposition to the chosen product arose almost instantly. This weeks sacrifice, the neon blue eye shadowed Amy Winehousealike, Maria made the fatal mistake of falling asleep as the nasal tones of Jenna droned on and on ad nauseam. This woman-Jenna- should come with a mute setting as her adenoidal twang goes beyond annoying into the realms of justifiable homicide. Perhaps if someone removes the clothes peg which seems to be permanently attached to her nose creating that comedy voice her chances may improve-she is an obvious goner within the next few weeks as she is simply too irritating- although I did a double take along with the curmudgeon like Sugar when she announced she specialised in the beauty industry. I am not sure which area it is she specialises in but obviously it must be the part specialising on inner and silent beauty.

The hyenas were in full shriek when they reached the boardroom again this week and eventually project manager Jane took in Maria and, reluctantly, Jenna. Initially her first choice was to take in Katie who is clearly pissing the others off by being too pretty and with her, very vocal, opposition to the stupid product choice. Eventually Maria got fired but both Jenna and Jane had a lucky escape as they both deserved to go as well.

What next week needs is some of the male team in the Board Room as the feeling is they will be every bit as bitchy as the women if not even more so. Also not enough time has been afforded them as yet so it is still difficult to work out who is the most annoying/ obnoxious/ deserving of being humiliated. At the moment only Ricky, Steve and this weeks project manager Azhar-slated by the whole team as incompetent although in typical delusional fashion he refused to accept this- have stood out as being particularly twattish. Bring on week three!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Friday March 23rd

 

An interesting documentary featuring Richard Bacon this week focussed on the unsavoury practice of internet trolling. For anyone not familiar with this pastime it uses the anonymity afforded by the internet to provide those with an axe to grind or a nasty nature to share their venom through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. In short it is cyber bullying carried out by people who feel so strongly about unleashing their venom and vitriol that they often have to adopt a pseudonym or steal another’s identity to effectively get their point across. The whole process reeks of cowardice and a need to negate others lives for no other reason other than the fact they actually can.

Hosted by Bacon who has the misfortune of having a troll of his own who incessantly posts messages of hatred at his quarry through his Twitter feed it was interesting to witness how this recent form of bullying can be easily dismissed at the beginning but as the abuse continues and gathers momentum, becoming nastier and more distasteful, then it requires some more obvious form of action rather than simply turning the other cheek. Unfortunately not every victim of such tactics is strong enough to withstand days, weeks, months or even years of such abuse. During Bacon’s investigation he encountered the family of a fifteen year old victim who, after receiving a torrent of abuse from schoolmates over several hours one evening, had taken himself to the shed at the bottom of the garden and promptly proceeded to hang himself. This was the most tragic case in this documentary but it is by no means an isolated incident nor is it confined to teenagers- either in victims or perpetrators- although it is usually more prevalent amongst teenage girls.

What is it that drives people to make other peoples lives a misery? This is what Bacon set out to discover as he himself has been the target of an internet ‘troll’. At first dismissive of the abuse-being in the public eye does leave you overly exposed and some hostility will always inevitably arise- he only became concerned when the malevolence started being levelled at members of his family and, most worryingly, his new born baby. Although he was unable to answer this satisfactorily he was able to surmise that the anonymity of online social media encourages those who have such tendencies to become nastier and more malignant as they are unable to see the physical and mental anguish their words actually cause. Instead they feel any attention they receive is a positive response and this spurs them on even further,

Particularly despicable are those who gatecrash memorial sites and spread their toxic lies and accusations all over the page that families and friends have set up for people to pay their respects and assist them through their grieving process. The fact they very rarely do it under their own names shows the true nature of these ‘trolls’. In fact during Bacon’s investigation the two ‘trolls’ he encountered either refused to speak to him or else denied the allegations made against them. The fact that the latter eventually later relinquished and admitted he had made some of the remarks attributed to him but someone had stolen his identity-which he had made up- and that is who was responsible for some of the more outlandish remarks. Hardly seemed like a credible excuse or a sufficient reason explaining his vile actions and it wasn’t.

Inevitably it would seem there is no solution to this problem, as yet, and the only way of dealing with it is to either ignore it when it starts and if it persists report it to the police who cannot do that much unless they can track down the person responsible which becomes increasingly complicated due to the vast and complex nature of the internet which allows those prone to such a disposition to hide behind various nom de plumes and forged identities.

Although I am truly opposed to bullying in any form and abhor violence I must admit that I did enjoy the Grace Jones/ Russell Harty encounter from the early eighties which was shown in its entirety the other evening. This is the one which gained Grace a bucket load of notoriety and a sheaf of press headlines as during the course of the interview she whacked him around the head several times, almost knocking him out of his chair, after he had turned his back on her once too often. It was interesting in that it was enjoyable to see a star giving her host a hard time rather than simply playing the promotional game followed by obsequiousness we are used to nowadays. Grace, on the other hand, behaved exactly as we secretly want our stars to behave; aloof, indecipherable, cool, and as far removed from the girl next door as any amount of postcodes would allow. That she ignored his baiting when he questioned the conservatism of her attire remaining in it until the very end  then when about to perform she unbuttoned the full length leather coat she  had kept on throughout revealing a metal breast plate and bursting into an uber-cool version of Love is the  Drug. This wasn’t so much making an entrance as making one hell of an exit and a defiant V sign at her bumbling host.

Bullying-obviously the subject of the week- reared its head in the return of the Apprentice this week and clever editing-there are sixteen candidates at this stage so giving them equal airtime would make boring viewing I suppose, better then to fixate on the most annoying- allowed us to see who would be evicted this week. It was an annoying Bulgarian girl called Balaclava, or something, who had worked her way from a one room communist flat to the penthouses of London but this could not prevent her from being taken out by the SAS – an acronym for Slap and Stilettos which would make a perfect name for the collection of tough cookies that make up the female team- who could not bear her pushy ways nor could stand up comic Lord –yawn- Sugar who could not tolerate her inability to know when to shut up. A full dissection is available here.

This weekend bids a final farewell to the winter which never really was as the clocks go forward and we edge into spring. This past winter has been a relief after the severe harshness of the last two years and my only concern is that it doesn’t get any better and this mild but inoffensive weather continues through to the summer. This hasn’t stopped me from hopefully planning a summer wardrobe although last years hangs mainly unworn in my wardrobe so I suppose I can pass it off as recession chic. How very zeitgeist!

Here with an exercise in uber cool and the eternal sound of summer is that gloriously stroppy diva Grace Jones performing Private Life in 1980.

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