Thursday, August 31, 2006

Does Blogging Make Us Writers?

Just for those of you who might be rushed off your feet today, the answer is no.
Even those who write brilliantly, and those who are published, are all bloggers. This is not to demean the art of blogging; it is a genre in its own right & often a skilled accomplishment. Our expectations of what we are reading differ depending on whether we are reading a tabloid or The Times, viewing a Hollywood blockbuster or an arthouse indie, blog or a novel. Blogging is blogging and people's motivation for putting their life out there varies. For the most part though, we are sharing our lives somehow, maybe keeping a diary or even publicising ourselves.

I first set up a blog because I wanted to comment, hence my 1st post, & I didn't want to be anonymous because that seemed so cowardly somehow. I had begun to read about other people's lives, partly because I am eternally nosey, but also because a close friend of mine had confided in me about his sexual predilections and I had been shocked. I had wanted to find out more about the people who shared his tastes. My preferences are what the S&M crowd would disappointedly call vanilla, but I really don't care to pass judgment about what anyone else is doing. Various blogs showed me people living happily in all kinds of scenarios but I'm afraid I didn't get any less shocked about my friend. I'm probably not going to share exactly what he was into, suffice it to say that I had interpreted his desires as a manifestation of his dislike of women, and the fact that I wasn't far off the mark put paid to the friendship for me (what with me being a woman and all).

Blog reading as research was rewarding* and I was voyeuristically fascinated by all the bloggers describing their sex lives, as well as gratified to know that I know what I am doing in some departments! Some people made me wonder how they were fitted their lives around all that sex but I culled all those links from my favourites, and (call me dull if you like) but there is a limit to how much I want to read about other people's sex lives. I also knew I was never going to write about sex, being the kind of girl who wants to giggle every time she says "gosh you're so big" (or similar) which is our duty call I know, but yes we do say it to everyone. In fairness, by the time we met you we'd actually forgotten what sex felt like at all, so it really does feel huge and our copulation amnesia prevents us from making comparisons, plus we've been doing our Kegels like mad.

I really didn't know what I was going to write about, if I ever did, but I was also reluctant to angst. It might happen, my episodes of depression may have had mythical proportions, but they have also been 5 years apart, & right now the roller coaster has calmed to a slightly bumpy ride! I do share when I think it can help someone but too much soul searching and I'd be in danger of replicating the tedium of all the mommy bloggers, I know it's interesting to those who have children but I don't. Mind you, you can't knock those who are making a living and supporting their families by blooging; Dooce is a major star in blogworld. I rather like the way Bookcracker writes about this, & I wonder if we do all want our 15 minutes, but I can't think of anything worse than being famous to be honest.

I was tickled pink to see one blogger had turned hers into a book via an online company who printed it as a kind of album; she never wanted to lose her online content, but I think I am more entranced by the idea that it is all pretty ephemeral and disposable even. Books are my first and last love, so I confess to Luddite tendencies and I can't compare blogs to books, even if someone is writing a story online.

When it comes to being a writer as such, it would be hard to imagine blogging being considered comparable to a great novel or even a great anti-novel novel, maybe pulp fiction. The ramblings of bloggers have merits which are all their own, blogs communicate via their own unique medium in the multi-media, globalised, universe. Blogging is writing, in the way that any putting of pen to paper is writing, but I don't think we are talking mechanics here, rather semantics?

It is fun to write here but I'm not writing because I wanted this to be my magnum opus; not everyone does have a novel inside them & it is absolutely time that everyone realised that! Once I had started to think about what other people were saying on their blogs, I found myself leaving several overlong comments on other people's blogs, & then I was inspired to write a post inspired by someone else's thoughts. Thus, what I have written about so far is anything which appeals on any given day, and I shall probably leave it to be as organic as that, communication across the net is fascinating, hands across the water and all that, which is enough for me ... for now ...

*Before you click on the links in this paragraph you should know that they are of a sexual nature and may cause offence.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ageless Angels

You may notice an aging theme running through here, but really it is an anti-stupid plastic surgery theme. This article made me think about growing old disgracefully this morning, which made me think about this poem. It is actually called 'Warning!'.

When I Am An Old Woman
I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in ships and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and a pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph ©

My hero

Noam Chomsky talks sense again, I only wish he had a louder voice, & I he's getting on a bit which makes me wonder who will say what he is saying when he is no longer here to say it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Reasons to be Cheerful

Peace in Uganda; let's hope the ceasefire holds & no more children like this are abducted to become child soldiers. Pray that those who were heal, that the death toll will no longer rise, & that peace and reconciliation are possible.


I had a long post all ready to go today, but it isn't playing ball, & instead has had chosen to reside with the drafts. Perhaps it will join us another day. Meanwhile, this is an image from one of my favourite artists, well 2 to be precise (but they are married to each other) who show at one of my favourite galleries.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cappella Scrovegni, Padua

As I drifted off to sleep a couple of nights ago, I was thinking about starry starry skies, specifically the 13th century stars Giotto painted in Padua which should not be missed if you are visiting anywhere nearby. Also in Padua is the University where Galileo Galilei held the chair of physics between 1562 & 1610, as well as some fine botanical gardens. Over dinner in Italy this year, I was trying to describe the chapel to someone who loves Venice; it is a short hop away. It was the blue of the sky and the stars which had been lodged in my memory for the 8 years it is since I was last there, but I had no idea if my recall was accurate.Looking it up on my return, (what did we do before t'internet?!) I was midly surprised to find that it was, and that the deep blue 'sky' was exactly as I remembered. To prevent it from fading, there is a designated doorkeeper, whose job is keeping the door shut, & I guess there might have been some restoration at some point. It is quite a task to close the door between each and every tourist, & I remember the doorkeeper quite grumpy and sighing a lot, I also didn't see one person close the door behind them, including us. The intoxicating beauty of this little chapel is so captivating, that all thought of doors, & other mundanities, were swept out of our minds as we entered. It is quite magical.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

P.S She Was Banned

Despite hiring Mr Loophole!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Plastic Surgery vs. a Mobile Face

It isn't often I get very nationalistic, that always being an issue for the English and all, and I love A Socialites Life so it was a shame to find them feeling like Kate Winslet ought to have put her face on before she left the house. With some joy, I found everyone else's comments echoed my own response and we all seemed to like Kate with her animated face which seems to be aging normally. It is just easy to forget what that looks like!

I'm with Jane Fonda on this one, although she admits to a little work herself, but said, at the 2005 Hay on Wye Book Festival; “…I haven’t been in England as a single woman for a long, long time, but what I love about it here is that people look like they’re supposed to look. It’s real and a little shabby and so what?”
Farrah is a good lesson in how things can go wrong when we are trying to fool time, and how much more work needs to be done so that we can hawk ourselves around with a less lined but expressionless face.
Some Hollywood directors are in despair over auditions where they cannot detect which emotions someone is trying to express; actresses are frozen if smooth which is surely the antithesis of acting? Cindy, on the other hand, raises my own questions about me and nudges at my vanity because she looks fabulous! I really want to know who her surgeon is, anyone know? Not that I live that side of the pond, but I can dream ... I must admit I am getting slightly obsessed with my eyes lately and am sure they could be taken it a bit ... It is a hard road to follow for someone who never attaches the word post to feminist, a tad Dorian Gray perhaps.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Peace in the Middle East & a Piece of Cake

This isn't Mrs Sparkles and Mrs Twinkletoes but it is how we imagine ourselves in Paris sometimes, with cake naturellement!
A more contemporary image can be found in the 1st post, a photo taken outside Joe Bananas at Glastonbury 2 years ago, I had wandered around for about an hour with my lousy sense of direction before we found each other, but was rewarded with a feather boa, some v.potent blackcurrant wine & a reminder that great friendships survive blissfully even when we don't live at the opposite end of one street, which we did in London.
As I went off to sleep, not terribly successfully last night, 2 things were occupying my mind. One was the Middle East crisis and the other was CCG's Blogging is Retarded Post. He always gets me thinking that boy, not least about Noblesse Oblige, so you should go visit, I left my comment there and may or may not expand at some other point in time. I might even ask if I could link to him if I knew how to do that. So my other train of thought was the mess which is the Middle East, of which Hezbollah is the latest symptom, the solution to which was not bombing Lebanon to bits; one man's terrorist is the other's freedom fighter? We have to talk to the enemy, not concede our freedoms, but create dialogue.
As a card carrying liberal, with socialist leanings, I suppose am almost bound to be pro-Palestinian despite originating from a Jewish family, although that does mean I know the theology, history and politics of the area. If we really want to delve, the region has been unstable since the days of the Ottoman Empire & the now Israel is a tiny nation, surrounded by its enemies. It is hard for me to find myself so anti-Israeli but, the liberalism I once found in the population has been obliterated by suicide bombers, and suspicion has replaced a dynamic multi-cultural Jerusalem.
While neither solution is perfect, we (we being the human race) can manage peace and reconciliation in South Africa, and the peace process in Northern Ireland, so we have precedent. Everyone is to blame for the yesterdays; the post war agreement which displaced a race, the US funding of Israeli arms (BTW have the Irish-Americans stopped funding the IRA now?) etc. etc. ut we can't look back. a 2 state solution appears to be the optimum & Jerusalem would be no less part of the Holy Land if it is shared by other faiths; Christianity, Judaism and Islam are all heirs of Abraham. It will remain an anathema to me that a persecuted race can persecute, the settlements were a disgrace & the checkpoint still is.
BTW thanks for the tips on posting images, I'm still crashing but managing to fool blogger sometimes. Can anyone able to tell me how to add links on my sidebar? I did read the instructions but am not much wiser yet.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Matt & Lance Roadshow

Still posting but really couldn't resist this & it would soon be past its sell by date! I guess this is what you call throwing shapes? I find it reassuring that handsome, rich, stars can look completely idiotic despite all that handsome, rich, stariness! Usually they have people protecting them from us seeing them like this so I think I like these boys more for not being surrounded by that BS.

& while Matt gets an audience, Lance is the (sloshed?) wallflower.

Thanks Perez


2 posts in 1 day, err think this qualifies as work avoidance now. I thought that getting as far as the laptop was progress, seems not.

I have to own I lifted this story almost entirely from The Daily Mail and was most amused, not by the police officer not knowing who Caprice was, but that she had drunk a bottle and half of wine at lunchtime and the officer called her scrawny! Oh I am sooo cruel, she is a sweetheart, but she was drunk and the antibiotic mitigation is baloney. That much wine, likely with no food, would have a powerful effect on a slight body even hours later. If only she had used a mouthwash she wouldn't be in this fix.

Caprice was a little upset that the police officer, who pulled her over for a faulty fog light, didn’t recognize her. She then failed a breathalyser test, but didn’t really get the process; 'Do you know what this will do to me? Am I really under arrest?' Caprice was stopped by PC Paul Flashman at 3.45am on December 10 last year as she pulled out of a lay-by in Tottenham Court Road, London, after he noticed one of her fog lights was defective.

But when he leant through the driver's side window, he noted the smell of alcohol on her breath, Highbury Magistrates' Court heard. PC Flashman told the court that, at first, he did not recognise the superstar. He said: 'I could see a white female of scrawny build with bare shoulders in her late 30s wearing heavy make-up and she had a reddened spot in the right centre of her cheek.'

He then asked her name and she simply replied: 'Caprice.' PC Flashman said: "I asked again: "Caprice who?" 'It did seem to annoy her somewhat that I didn't recognise her and she replied in a stern tone: "Caprice." 'I was not sure if that was her first or last name and asked: "How do you spell your surname?"'

Caprice is being represented by Nick Freeman, who has been dubbed 'Mr Loophole' because he has successfully defended a series of high-profile clients accused of motoring offences, including David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Colin Montgomery. She was one-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit, but claiming that antibiotics she was taking at the time caused the reading to be so high.

She has admitted having drunk a bottle and a half of wine with lunch and a few glasses in the evening on the day before she was stopped by police. But she says that, had it not been for the drugs she was taking for cystitis, the effects of the alcohol would have worn off by the time she was stopped. Mr Freeman said that the drug she was taking is called cipro and that there are no warnings on the label about the effects it can have with alcohol. He said Caprice did not tell police about her condition because she did not realise at the time that cipro may have caused her to be over the limit.

Caprice has admitted one charge of drink-driving but hopes to retain her licence by pleading special circumstances. She faces a driving ban when she returns to Highbury Magistrates Court on Friday morning to be sentenced by District Judge Emma Arbuthnot.

She hopes in vain one hopes; she was in London where cabs are plentiful, I am sure she could have found somewhere to leave her car and am not that concerned about her ability to afford a driver. I don't think she'll be catching the bus anyway. I looked up the anti-biotic Caprice was taking and it said nothing about not drinking alcohol at the same times. To be fair, & doesn't one always want to be fair, I had a bout of cystitis once which made me feel like I had flu & I had half a bottle of wine which was the worst thing ever; the dehydration caused by alcohol left me in agony. Poor thing could have been distracted by pain, I'd play that defence.

TC no longer Top Cat!

Ok, I can't help but cheer, Brooke Sheilds may have forgiven him via an exhange of fruit baskets but I am not so gracious! The TC has taken the lively and Catholic Katie Holmes & turned her into a Stepford Wife, dissed psychiatry and rubbished PND. The Oprah incident was a bit like watching Celebrity Big Brother, which I absolutely love for the insights it offers into the nuttiness that is celebrity. We can't quite get that in a still shot, and Anthea Turner would never have made a comeback unless she had been seen showing someone how to put a duvet cover on in the CBB house.
Actors/celebrities are all self-absorbed, even if they appear fragile and not over-confident, rather than ego-centric. They have to be because their job is all about them and anyone who has read a magazine article about anyone famous knows they all start with how unstarry the star is, but we are not fooled.
Anyone who has had the fame of the TC has become used to considering themselves a maverick, funny, or whatever, without realising that they're surrounded by sycophants, publicists and people who love them who are viewing them through rose tinted paycheques. TC can't really act, is probably gay, is not very attractive, and is definitely too short. Scientology is a bit bonkers, even if I do really like Travolta, & jumping on Oprah's couch was the action of a man who thinks he is spontaneous but, in reality, has just hired his sister to do his PR (though he thought better of that pretty quickly). The only way to hit TC was via his box office, Hollywood is big business; way to go Paramount!
To briefly go back to Z list celebrity, I feel I must share Anthea's top ten tips with you:
Here are Anthea's top ten tips for keeping an ideal home. Follow them and you too can become a perfect housewife or househusband...
You can’t run a home that’s a mess, so first of all you have to de-clutter it. If it’s not beautiful, useful or seriously sentimental, it goes. Charity shop or bin - you decide!
2. There's no getting away from it: you have to clean. People who say "oh, my house is a bit of a mess, but I’m really clean" are talking rubbish because you can’t have a tidy house if it’s not clean.
3. Make the house into a home. Consider your house from an aesthetic point of view. Rearranging furniture, adding some candles, or making even small tweaks can really make the difference.
4. Run a home like you would a small business and treat it with the same seriousness. If you’re job-juggling, then it’s obviously more difficult than if you're a full-time housewife/husband. If you are a housewife, take pride in that.
5. Storage is important. Whether it’s cushions you only use outside in the summer, or blankets that only come out in the winter, you’ve always got to think of where to store them. Try vacuum-packing to save space. Wicker baskets are marvellous for putting things in. If everybody knows where everything is kept you can avoid wasting time looking for things.
6. Think about how you run your home. Could it be done more efficiently? In the series, one househusband keeps all his shoe-cleaning things in a lounge drawer but, of course, he cleans his shoes in the kitchen. Be practical.
7. It’s also about team work. When children get to a certain age they can help by putting dirty washing in the right place and making their own beds. The first rule of management is delegation. Don’t try and do everything yourself because you can’t.
8. Don't use too many household cleaning products which are harmful to the environment. Try cleaning with vinegar, or just use one damp cloth swilled in cold water and one dry cloth. For cleaning windows and mirrors, you can’t beat scrunched-up newspaper, dampened down with some white vinegar and water.
9. Avoid wastage. If you’re cutting up a lemon, put the left-over half into the dishwasher. It adds a little ting and sparkle in your wash.
10. Domestic paperwork (bills, guarantees, insurance) is very important, so don't avoid it! A proper family diary with everyone’s events and parties in it really helps organise the household.
I think it might have been Shirley Conran who said that life is too short to stuff a mushroom, am I just a complete slut or is housework really not that important. Choosing between running a hoover around or going out for lunch, I know which I'd choose. I worry that shows like Anthea's may be making us feel inadequate, but they make me laugh at anyone taking it all so seriously.

Why Oh Why?!

Does Blogger just crash everytime I try to upload a photo, is it my laptop or is it blogger and have I now reached my limit of imagery I am allowed to exhibit. I did have such a nice picture to show and tell today but am thwarted and defeated. Any answers gratefully recieved, I can't ask the bf because I might write something secret one day! Thanks for the comments, I am now inspired to write more ... as soon as I am inspired. X

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pammie's Cake

See this cake, Pammie and her beau are at the 1st of their many weddings, this one in St.Tropez. Being French makes the cake automatically stylish right? But the bride and groom are not, so now I'm in a bit of a quandry. I need to choose a wedding cake, I've got about a year, but I'm really fussy so it's as well to start looking. I don't like those mountains of icing which represent most wedding cakes here (in the UK), so I had started to think about something lovely with chocolate and raspberries. This looks delightful but the wedding so trashy. Should I even be bothered, am I just being a snob, and Pammie actually seems really sweet anyway. I am sure the chef came up with this cake and equally sure my mind should be on much more serious issues anyway; cake or the Middle East crisis, I wonder ... mmm feeling a bit Marie Antoinette-ish now, You do know she said brioche don't you, not cake.

A Croquembouche, très Français!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


It was once a huge surprise to me to learn that the news is a construct, that the media don’t just report what is going on in the world, although I am sure most of you are more media savvy than I was. Now that the scales have fallen from my eyes, I am constantly intrigued by what is printed and what isn’t. There is an agenda and Max Clifford recently said that keeping things away from the media has become a bigger and bigger slice of his business. I am sure the red tops are extremely frustrated by the lack of information available in open court, but I think the Lineker’s deserve their privacy.

That said, I have heard rumours about Gary Lineker’s infidelity for years, more than I care to remember for sure, and I am sure the newspapers must know if I do, so we could consider why they haven’t published anything and may still not. In these days of Hello magazine and a plethora of fuzzy paparazzi shots it is easy to think that we have access all areas, but stories are still spiked. It is interesting to consider why nothing has been written about Gary Lineker’s, is it just the knowledge that his Mr Nice Guy image is something the public don’t want to see dismantled. Or is it an image that is too much of a cash cow for anyone to risk shattering it. Vertical integration is rife in the media and damaging a brand has huge repercussions.
This is in stark contrast to the way Heather Mills McCartney has been pilloried for having a life. Whatever the reality is, the NOTW now perceives her to be a wanabee we are ready to see brought down. She soared to dizzy heights when accompanied by McCartney’s fame, so has far to fall now that she no longer has the protection of his money. I seem to recall they weren’t that nice to Paula Yates once, but then she died and they had a tragedy to report on. What happens when if HMM has a purely human reaction, one I might have, and decides everyone hates her, on top of her failed marriage. What if she stops being able to hold her head up high, take care of her daughter, or survive; does it matter that the press has a hand in her fate. The whole of Fleet Street (as was) has always had material sitting in safes, waiting for the right moment, either to cash in on circulation or when the ‘public’ will find a story palatable.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mel Gibson

As Christopher Hitchens just pointed out on the BBC, Fleet Street (UK) journalists have spilt more in a pub session than Mel Gibson had drunk the other night. He was just over what was is a very low limit; the limit is as it should be, but he wasn't very drunk. It is with some sadness that I realise I think he thinks what he said. I also think it will affect his box office returns, but I expect he has enough money to retire with, even though that won't stop his publicists trying to rescue his career.