The marriage of art and kitsch

January 31, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Posted in art | Leave a comment
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I loved the article in Sunday’s Observer New Review about the Barbie parodies of famous portraits.   I have always had an unshakeable love for the girl from Mattel: the day my parents bought me a four storey Barbie mansion was one of the happiest days of my life.  The day my nephew threw one of my darling dolls out of the window onto the M6, however, was one of the worst.

I love this marriage of art and kitsch; it’s a step up from what Hector calls ‘tosh’ in The History Boys, for you need some art knowledge to appreciate Jocelyne Grivaud’s creations.  My favourite is definitely Girl With a Pearl Earring.  If you’re intrigued by the idea of Barbie as art, check out


They tried to make him use a different style icon, but he said no, no, no…

January 31, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Amy Winehouse, Fashion, Jean Paul Gaultier | Leave a comment
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Jean Paul Gaultier has been criticised by Mitch Winehouse for taking his daughter’s image and putting it on the catwalk.  What has added to the Winehouse family’s distress is that Gaultier’s collection has been shown a mere six months after Amy’s death.

I bought The Sun for the first time in my life, en route to London, when I saw this story, and I have to partially agree with the Winehouse family.  Gaultier’s dressing a model in a neon yellow outfit, styling her hair in a beehive and giving her a cigarette wasn’t just distasteful, it was mimicry rather than imitation.  But since seeing further coverage of the story in Grazia, I have to say that I admire Gaultier’s courage.   His primary-coloured beehives are stunning, and a real tribute to Amy.

What next? Orange Wednesday?

January 27, 2012 at 8:34 am | Posted in Children, Names, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I was reading my local paper yesterday (I always turn to the Family Announcement pages first to see if anyone I know has died/had a baby), and I noticed that a little girl had been christened Orange Blossom.  I respect the right of parents to name their children what they like, but come on – Orange Blossom? Wouldn’t Raspberry Leaf Tea have been more appropriate in the circumstances?  Sometimes I wish we had a law like das Vornamensrecht where German parents may not name their children anything ‘absurd or degrading’.

Goodbye, lovely ugly towers…

January 26, 2012 at 8:52 am | Posted in History | Leave a comment
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Thanet District Council have voted to demolish ‘one of east Kent’s most iconic landmarks’ (according to the East Kent Mercury), the Richborough cooling towers.

The Mercury says that the towers are ‘an unsightly blight on the countryside’ to some people, whereas other locals have nicknamed the towers the Three Sisters or the Salt and Pepper Pots.

I will miss the towers; I pass them everyday on my way to work, and cannot imagine a towerless landscape.

To-do list: 1) To write a to-do list…

January 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Does anyone actually write to-do lists anymore?  I mean, actually write them?  Perhaps you may still write a shopping list, casually disposing of it as you leave the supermarket, but I imagine the majority of you, like me, now tap your tasks into a Blackberry/IPhone/something else with a touchscreen.

Today’s Times 2 article, whether you store your to-do list electronically or on a piece of paper, offers some sage advice in order to make yourself more productive (unless you are interested in being as unproductive as possible; in which case, why are you reading this post?).  For example, David Allen suggests using the Two Minute Rule: if something will only take two minutes, do it now rather than add it to your to-do list.

Some celebs even share their own rather ambitious to-do lists: my favourite is Caitlin Moran’s number 2) ‘Thank a woman who gave me a free radiator FIVE YEARS AGO’.  You can never be too ambitious, clearly.

The Birdsong backlash begins…

January 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Posted in books, History, love, relationships, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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It was inevitable, really.  Most critics have praised the BBC’s Birdsong production, so one grumpy old man journalist had to fight popular opinion, didn’t he?  It’s like Harry Potter and the Twilight Saga: many people will hate them simply because so many people love them.

So what, exactly, was David Aaronovitch’s problem with the production? Well, for starters, there were too many posh people, apparently.  Let’s not forget that ‘Other classes took leading roles in the First World War’.  Except no one’s forgetting, David: what about the character of Firebrace? Not exactly a toff, is he?

His second issue is with the fact that there are lots of ‘lingering glances’ and ‘slowly melting eyes’ before the love affair between Stephen and Isabelle begins.  What’s the matter, David? Do you need the actors to enunciate what they’re feeling every five minutes?  Can’t you decipher what is being implied? Poor David.  You’ve obviously not seen Lost In Translation.

He also questions whether Wraysford ‘would […] really be thinking of his Grand Meaulnes time with the heroine before final curtain down’. Do any of us really know what we’re going to be thinking just before we bite the bullet? I’d like to think I’ll be thinking of the people I’ve loved, and – stop reading now if you’re a prude – I may even recall a time I slept with one of them.  Sex is a massive part of life, David: deal with it.

I also disagree with his argument that casting directors are only scouting for pretty boys now.  Redmayne is a really talented actor who can convey more meaning in a glance than many can in a soliloquy.

Finally, ‘if I were a woman enjoying passive oral congress’ with Eddie Redmayne, I’d be grinning like a lush in a winebar. Face facts, Mr Aaronovitch: you’re wrong about this Birdsong.

Erm, what do you do when…

January 23, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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…you’ve woken up wearing someone else’s watch and jumper, but you don’t have their number and can’t quite define where they live because they live in a campervan?

I can’t drive around indefinitely looking for them.

And it is a lovely watch…


Note to self…

January 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Posted in love, relationships | Leave a comment
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…do not attempt to turn a love triangle into a square.    Step away from the Geometry Master software.  Good girl.

Chick lit? Sick lit, more like…

January 23, 2012 at 7:32 am | Posted in books, Literature, technology | 2 Comments
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I’ve just read a fabulous article by Helen Rumbelow about the decline of chick lit on Times Online (it’s so freshly pressed that no Google result exists for it yet).  The way we read is clearly changing, and it is obviously no longer acceptable to female readers to be targeted in a patronising and divisive fashion. WH Smith would’ve cheerfully continued to have a section labelled Women’s Fiction, had two offended young women not complained about it.

What I found most interesting about the article was the male chicklit authors suggesting that men rather than women formed the greater part of their readership. Moreover, the invention of the ereader has enabled these men to read these chick lit novels in secrecy, safe in the knowledge that no city boy will laugh at their reading matter on the Tube. One massive disadvantage the ereader creates, however, is a loss of community in the act of reading. If you can’t tell what a stranger’s reading, how can you ask them if it’s any good?

Bring on the film fashion…

January 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Posted in Fassbinder, film, German film, V & A Museum | Leave a comment
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.…I absolutely cannot wait for this:

My only quandary is which Fassbinder character to go as: Veronika Voss, Petra von Kant or Lola?

On the subject of Fassbinder (not to be confused with Michael Fassbender), I insist you all watch the BRD Trilogie right now.  The man is a total ledge.

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