Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I've posted about Streetwise Opera before so thought I would bring Streetwise: The Opera to our attention. It is a Radio 4 programme which will be broadcast on Friday 1st December, at 11am, and will only take up half an hour of your time. I will be following homeless and ex-homeless people from Newcastle and Gateshead as they sing their first notes of opera - in preparation for a production at The Sage concert hall alongside top professionals. Between rehearsals, we hear of the group's hopes and ambitions. There is nothing low key about their performances either, no concessions are made, and professionalism is expected from the cast. Somehow though, opera = self-esteem, and it is really interesting to find out how.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

4 Weddings = 4 months

On 7/18/2006 Pamela Anderson informed us; "I'm Getting Remarried!!!" Following up with these words; "Yes. I'm finally getting's been a whirlwind...spontaneous but well thought through. Feels like I've been stuck in a time warp. Not able to let go of MY family's been sad and lonely and frustrating....I've raised my kids alone in hope of a miracle. Well my miracle came and went. And came back and came back because he knew that I'd wake up one day and realize that I was waiting for nothing. I'm moving on.

I feel like I'm finally free....I'm in love. I'm happy....I see the light...sounds dramatic but it's true.....I know some women can relate to this....My children are getting older. They know the truth and they are strong, smart kids. They love their Dad. They love their new Step Dad who they've known for years...time will pass. Wounds will heal. Some people may never grow up. Actions speak louder than!"

Then there was the wedding, well 4 weddings in fact, which seemed a bit bonkers at the time, now even more so that we learn (via Pammy's website again) on 11/27/2006 that Divorce looms. 4 months later; "Yes, it's true.Unfortunately impossible." So what of those children now?

Is this the kind of mad world they are supposed to know the truth about, and how enduring commitment is? I fear that child-of-a-famous-person syndrome beckons along with all that, that can entail.

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The Cold War is Back

Now perhaps all those personnel, currently deployed elsewhere, can get back to seeking out the REDS UNDER THE BEDS & leave the rest of the world alone.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Liz Hurley Cooks

Q. Why; I don't think she eats very often?

A. She's promoting a fundraising recipe book; In Great Taste.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Rain in my Heart

I read today that"...worrying about drinking, yet not doing anything about it, is an early sign of alcoholism.". I worry about it all the time, until I have another glass of wine, and then it doesn't seem so bad. I've assumed that the 14 units rule is just abitary really, and even that cirrhosis isn't anywhere on my horizon, then I watched Rain in my Heart. I've stored it on the Sky+ box in case I ever get too cavalier. I sometimes wonder how pickled my liver is already and know that my tendency to depression means I have know some of those monsters the subjects were shutting out by becoming inebriated. Sometimes I drink too much, and I shall now be stopping when I start worrying, but before you begin to fret, I drink mostly just because I like wine, as well as after a hard day, but just too often more than my share of units....
The Family and Sylvania Waters are recognised as the first fly-on-the wall series and reality TV show respectively. So their Paul Watson's new film was eagerly awaited and was mesmerising. I share some of the hesitation about how involved he was with his subjects, and whether he was ethical, but I think he shares those concerns. Alcohol is dangerous, not only for the addicts it kills, but for all the A&E cases, fights in town centres, and risky sexual activity engaged in when mind is not engaged.
Paul himself wasn't very impressed with the Gillian Wearing installation I saw in Birmingham this year, but it is a different audience, even if as he put it "Her agent - this is artists today - her agent wrote to me. 'Gillian got this idea, seminal film, wants to include it in her art form.' Turns out she's got two rooms, a telly inside and episodes of The Family showing on it." He throws his hands up in mock despair. "That's my fucking cutting. I put it together, and she says it's her art." Then he laughs his irresistible laugh again and dismisses it with a wave. "I mean really. What can you say?"
As Nancy Banks Smith wrote in The Guardian; “Paul Watson was keen to follow the lives of four alcoholics - until they started to die. Paul Watson was on the phone wheedling.” It's a serious film. I make documentaries about real things that happen. No, no, no! That's reality television. This is a serious look at real people going through an illness while the National Health Service looks after them. It's not an investigative piece into how you run the hospital. No, not at all. I'm sorry to have wasted your time ... Bugger, bugger, bugger." You need calculus to calculate how many hospital doors were slammed in his face before he found a small, brave Kent hospital, Medway Maritime, and Dr Smith-Laing. Or, as Vanda, put it, "Dr Laing-Smith or Smith-Laing or whatever his bloody name is".”

Whether your tipple is a sophisticated martini at a hotel bar, a glass of wine or 2 with friends, a cool beer, a G&T, or a fruity cocktail on holiday, this was indeed a salutary tale.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Noises Off

The folk of Aldeburgh are much exorcised about this beautiful scallop by Maggie Hambling, perhaps is it just those pesky children being noisy and climbing all over it (& I know the smiley faces look weird, but I can't do pixels). I think this is the perfect way to do sculpture; touching, using, playing.
I'm off to find out what those folk are made off, if I can tell by just being in an audience with them, and sharing their space! Meantime I leave you with the haunting words.

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Kate's as a Slag!

Yeah but no but..and anyway that Vicky Pollard said that my Pete's a good for nuffink nobody but what does she know .. silly cow!

KATE Moss looks every inch the model chav - as she stars as Vicky Pollard's twin sister in a Little Britain Comic Relief special.

The audience cheered as she stepped onstage last night as Katie Pollard in a blue tracksuit top and black leggings.
Matt Lucas, playing tearaway Vicky, told the crowd Katie was the pretty one of the family. And Kate, dating junkie rocker Pete Doherty, quipped: "I'm the easy one. Total slag. I'm anybody's for a packet of Quavers."
As the model left the stage, Vicky yelled: "Katie, lose some weight you fat bitch."

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

RIP Nick Clark

Others will write much more articulate tributes to the journalist Nick Clark, whose death was announced on the World at One today, but I was truly saddened by the news. I thought he was 'better', back, and just trying to cope with losing a leg. Nick was a novelty in the media because he never became the star of the show, the issues were not overwhelmed by his personality, and his forensic questions often homed in on an unexpected angle. He will be missed, but more importantly, he will be remembered.


What do you mean IF?

OJ has been cancelled, a misguided effort produced a book which was to tell us how he would have killed his wife and her friend. He keeps the advance, let's hope some of it goes to the families who still are owed compensation after he was found guilty at a civil trial.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Readers of the Daily Snail have taken it upon themselves to use this image as a way of opening the abortion debate, I won't be doing that, & will instead be enchanted by this image!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

RIP Mr. Altman

Of the roster, my favourite is Short Cuts, a marvel of bringing Carver to the screen. Fallible details from IMDB.
A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
Tanner on Tanner (2004) (TV)
The Company (2003)
Gosford Park (2001)
Dr T and the Women (2000)
Cookie's Fortune (1999)
The Gingerbread Man (1998)
"Gun" (1997) TV Series
Kansas City (1996)
Jazz '34 (1996)
Prêt-à-Porter (1994)
Short Cuts (1993)
The Real McTeague (1993) (TV)
Black and Blue (1993) (TV)
The Player (1992)
McTeague (1992) (TV)
Vincent & Theo (1990)
The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (1988) (TV)
"Tanner '88" (1988) (mini) TV Series
Aria (1987) (segment "Les Boréades")
O.C. and Stiggs (1987)
Basements (1987) (TV)
Beyond Therapy (1987)
Fool for Love (1985)
The Laundromat (1985) (TV)
Secret Honor (1984)
Streamers (1983)
Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)
Rattlesnake in a Cooler (1982) (TV)
Precious Blood (1982) (TV)
Popeye (1980)
HealtH (1980)
A Perfect Couple (1979)
Quintet (1979)
A Wedding (1978)
3 Women (1977)
"Saturday Night Live" (1 episode, 1977)
- Episode #2.16 (1977) TV Episode (segment "Sissy's Roles")
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976)
Nashville (1975)
California Split (1974)
Thieves Like Us (1974)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
Images (1972)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Brewster McCloud (1970)
MASH (1970)
That Cold Day in the Park (1969)
"Premiere" (1 episode, 1968)
- Walk in the Sky (1968) TV Episode
Countdown (1968)
The Katherine Reed Story (1965)
Pot au feu (1965)
"The Long, Hot Summer" (1 episode, 1965)
- The Long Hot Summer (1965) TV Episode
Nightmare in Chicago (1964) (TV)
"Kraft Suspense Theatre" (3 episodes, 1963-1964)
- Once Upon a Savage Knight (1964) TV Episode
- The Hunt (1963) TV Episode
- The Long, Lost Life of Edward Smalley (1963) TV Episode
"Combat!" (10 episodes, 1962-1963)
- Survival (1963) TV Episode
- Off Limits (1963) TV Episode
- The Volunteer (1963) TV Episode
- The Prisoner (1962) TV Episode
- I Swear by Apollo (1962) TV Episode
(5 more)
"The Gallant Men" (1 episode, 1962)
- Pilot (1962) TV Episode
"Kraft Mystery Theater" (1 episode, 1962)
- In Close Pursuit (1962) TV Episode
"Bus Stop" (8 episodes, 1961-1962)
- County General (1962) TV Episode
- Door Without a Key (1962) TV Episode
- Summer Lightning (1962) TV Episode
- ...And the Pursuit of Evil (1961) TV Episode
- A Lion Walks Among Us (1961) TV Episode
(3 more)
"Route 66" (1 episode, 1961)
- Some of the People, Some of the Time (1961) TV Episode
"Bonanza" (8 episodes, 1960-1961)
- The Many Faces of Gideon Flinch (1961) TV Episode
- Sam Hill (1961) TV Episode
- The Dream Riders (1961) TV Episode
- The Secret (1961) TV Episode
- The Rival (1961) TV Episode
(3 more)
"The Roaring 20's" (9 episodes, 1960-1961)
- Standing Room Only (1961) TV Episode
- Royal Tour (1961) TV Episode
- Right Off the Boat: Part 2 (1961) TV Episode
- Right Off the Boat: Part 1 (1961) TV Episode
- Two a Day (1961) TV Episode
(4 more)
"Surfside 6" (1 episode, 1961)
- Thieves Among Honor (1961) TV Episode
"Lawman" (1 episode, 1961) - The Robbery (1961) TV Episode
"Maverick" (1 episode, 1960)
- Bolt from the Blue (1960) TV Episode
"The Gale Storm Show" (1 episode, 1960)
- It's Magic (1960) TV Episode
"Sugarfoot" (2 episodes, 1959-1960)
- The Highbinder (1960) TV Episode
- Apollo with a Gun (1959) TV Episode
"U.S. Marshal" (2 episodes, 1959-1960)
- The Triple Cross (1960) TV Episode
- R.I.P. (1959) TV Episode
"Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse" (1 episode, 1960)
- The Sound of Murder (1960) TV Episode
"The Millionaire" (5 episodes, 1958-1959)
- Millionaire Jackson Greene (1959) TV Episode
- Millionaire Lorraine Daggett (1959) TV Episode
- Millionaire Henry Banning (1959) TV Episode
- Millionaire Alicia Osante (1959) TV Episode
- The Pete Hopper Story (1958) TV Episode
"Hawaiian Eye" (1 episode, 1959)
- Three Tickets to Lani (1959) TV Episode
"Whirlybirds" (12 episodes, 1959)
- The Big Lie (1959) TV Episode
- The Challenge (1959) TV Episode
- Experiment X-74 (1959) TV Episode
- Guilty of Old Age (1959) TV Episode
- A Matter of Trust (1959) TV Episode
(7 more)
"Troubleshooters" (1959) TV Series
"Bronco" (1958) TV Series
"Peter Gunn" (1958) TV Series
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (2 episodes, 1957-1958)
- Together (1958) TV Episode
- The Young One (1957) TV Episode
The James Dean Story (1957)
The Delinquents (1957)
The Magic Bond (1956)
The Perfect Crime (1955)
The Builders (1954)
Better Football (1954)
The Dirty Look (1954)
The Last Mile (1953)
How to Run a Filling Station (1953)
The Sound of Bells (1952)
King Basketball (1952)
Modern Football (1951)

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Pretty Boy

Genius, wonder if Becks has seen it, bet Victoria would have it up on the wall. I wonder how she got on with all those superstars anyway, is it all part of her plan for world domination?!



So how did they make them look the same height? I gather the Scientology marriage isn't legal in the US, which won't pan out well for Katie's divorce settlement, but perhaps that's all covered in the pre-nup. Actually, I don’t mean to be catty about TomKat, but The Sunday Times did worry me a little this weekend when I read that Holmes can be in no doubt what Cruise expects from her. “She’s got to be pretty active because I travel all the time,” he said last year. “It’s also important that she can take instruction well. I’ll teach her how to fly a plane and ride a motorcycle.”
Hence, perhaps, the pre-wedding jitters she was reported to have confided to a visitor at a Colorado retreat where she stayed after the birth of her baby. According to the report, Cruise wanted her to stay at home and was keen for her to become pregnant again, while she pined to return to her career. She allegedly told the visitor that she was no longer sure about committing to Cruise, adding: “I don’t have my own life any more. I’m not comfortable.”
Adding up the attractions of Tom's world, I still wouldn't exchange them for being able to walk to the corner shop looking grungy & not being papped!

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

To the women of the Merrie England coffee houses, Huddersfield

O women of the Merrie England Coffee Houses, Huddersfield,
when I break sweat just thinking about hard work, I think about you.
Nowhere to hide behind that counter, nowhere to shirk.
I’m watching you right now bumping and grinding hip to hip,
I’m noting your scrubbed, pink hands in the cabinet of fancy cakes,
loose and quick among the lemon meringues and cream puffs
and custard tarts, darting and brushing like carp in a glass tank.

O women, the soles of your feet on fire in your sensible shoes,
your fingers aflame, spitting and hissing under the grill.
You, madam, by the cauldron of soup – you didn’t hassle us,
just wiped the crumbs from under our genius poems,
me and the boy Smith, one toasted teacake between us,
eking it out though the cold afternoons, our early drafts
hallmarked and franked with rings of coffee and tea.

Women of the Merrie England, under those scarlet aprons are you
naked? Are you nude? Miss July traps a swarm of steam in a jug
as a pearl of sweat rolls from the upper delta of her open neck
to where Christ crucified bobs and twists on a gold chain.
Miss November gives the kiss of life to a Silk Cut by the fire escape.
Miss April, pass me the key to the toilets, please,
I won’t violate your paintwork, desecrate the back of the door

with crude anatomical shapes or the names of speedway stars.
I’m no closet queen in search of a glory hole for gay sex,
no smack-head needing a cubby hole to shoot up –
one glass of your phosphorescing, radio-active orange crush
was always enough for me and the boy Smith, his mother
asleep at the wheel on the long drive back from Wales,
the air-bag not invented yet – just a bubble in somebody’s dream.

Does he pay you a pittance in groats, King Henry, stuffing his face
with hare and swan, his beard died red with venison blood
and pinned with the fiddling bones of partridge and quail,
while you, O women of the Merrie England, his maids,
swab the greasy tiles with a bucket of rain and a bald mop
or check for counterfeit tenners under the ultra violet light –
A tenner! – still two hours hard graft at the minimum wage.

Don’t let catering margarine ease off your eternity rings.
Don’t lose your marriages down the waste-disposal pipe.
Hang on to your husbands and friends – no sugar daddies or lovers
or cafetières for you, O women of the Merrie England,
no camomile or Earl Grey, just take-it-or-leave-it ground or char
served in the time-bitten cups my grandmother sipped from,
hooking the milky membrane aside with a spoon, watching it reform.

I’ve seen you nudging and winking. Look who just dropped in, you
The Man Who Fell To Earth, wanting tea for one and the soup of
the day.
I take the window seat and gawp at the steeplejacks: all gone –
Kendall’s, the Coach House, Leeds Road, The White Lion and the
But you, under the mock Tudor beams, under the fake shields,
under the falsified coats of arms, you go on, you go on,
O women of the Merrie England, O mothers of Huddersfield, O

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Do you think Britney was trying to tell K Fed something with her new website design?! Not only a new bod to exhibit on Letterman, but she's remixed, re-inspired and re-focussed. Where was Madonna all that time when she shoulda been giving her sisterly advice, oh well, at least she woke up now.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Generous George

George Michael has announced a special free concert for NHS nurses at the Round House Wednesday 20th December 2006. I'm not even a fan per se but how great is that? Nurses don't get paid nearly enough to go to his concerts! I bet it will be really special, at least he'll make them feel special methinks, and it will be costing him money you know, or at least losing what he could have made.

The concert will be at the end of his European tour because as George said "almost ten years ago, during the last week of my mother's life, I told my friends and family that if I ever played my own concerts again, I would make sure to do a free one for NHS nurses. The nurses that helped my family at that time were incredible people, and I realised just how undervalued these amazing people are. And so I want to thank them with a Xmas concert, I can't wait. Neither can the tour crew, for entirely different reasons." I think you will already know about his if you are an NHS nurse, but just in case it slipped under your radar, click here to enter!

& if you're not out there saving lives, but have some spare cash, you can bid for VIP tickets on ebay for charity I guess.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Elephant in the Room

Should you be wondering why I'm posting a mixture of art & politics, it is because I think the arts can tell us as much about our history as anything written down in the context of any intellectual arena. History books tell us what the people writing them think of events, art gives us an alternative perspective, & often one which is counter-cultural by its very ability to challenge the status quo. I just found Banksy, later than many I am sure, via an article on Damien Hirst today. His exhibition at the Serpentine sounds interesting, & Banksy's website is definitely worth investigating.

I particularly liked these images of the checkpoint in Israel, & was moved to post them after hearing the the sickening news that the US vetoed a UN vote against Israel; the elephant in the room in the middle east. The US has vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution condemning an Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip that killed 19 Palestinian civilians. These were real people & it is hard to believe anyone can vote against such actions. Excuse my rant here, or not, but what is it with the USA? Funding the IRA for years, refusing to vote for any number of UN Sanctions which Israel only breaks without any punishment? The suicide bombers have made life a great deal more difficult for everyone, but surely it isn't rocket science to understand how some will be the reactionaries of any population, & others will just be those desperate to have their voice heard when they have not been able to find another way.
This is not the first time you will have heard man's freedom fighter is an other's terrorist, or vice versa. I don't condone their actions but neither did I think bombing Lebanon was a wise move frankly. I guess have to hold my hands up to being the most pro-Palestinian Jew I know! Maybe it is just the result of being a card carrying liberal on all counts, but maybe it also has to do with a really simplistic view of not understanding how a persecuted people can persecute. I know the history, theology & philosophy behind the State of Israel, we in the UK have a lot to answer for, & now we should broker peace. Enough already.
& just because I'd hate Banksy to be caught up in my middle eastern rant, here is something which shows you how he is quite simply a supreme surrealist.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Good & The Sad News

There is hope! The Democrats take Congress and look like they might take the Senate, it is like 1998 all over again, let's hope we are not as disappointed. Those that know such things, say that it will make little difference; the President has a power of veto over most of the important issues, but it might make him think twice. If nothing else it is a vote against the war in Iraq.

Sadly, today a construction worker confessed to the murder of Adrienne Shelly. I feel for the worker as well as her family; he sounds as if he lost it when he was scared of being reported for the noise Adrienne was complaining about. Who knows what happened, but he tried to cover up his crime, which suggests immediate remorse and guilt rather than pathological killer. I found it hard to think it might have been suicide if only because she was working in her studio which would be incongruous if she was planning to leave the world. It was also odd to think she could leave her toddler, but people do, so really I found it hard to believe for a combination of circumstances I really know nothing about. What I do know is that she was luminescent in Trust and The Unbelievable Truth, I hope Hal Hartley writes an obit, and I hope it is small comfort to her family that she treasured by some others as well as them.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An Unholy Mess

"Every thinking person in Israel - and, I will add, in Palestine as well - knows today precisely the outline of a possible solution to the conflict between the two peoples. All thinking people, in Israel and in Palestine, know deep in their hearts the difference between, on the one hand, their dreams and wishes, and on the other, what they can get at the end of the negotiations. Those who do not know that, whether Jews or Arabs, are already not part of the dialogue. Such people are trapped in their hermetic fanaticism, so they are not partners."
You might have guessed, from a previous post, that peace in the Middle East exorcises my brain from time to time. My thoughts are not best aided by a Jewish heritage which mixes awkwardly with a left wing bent. A state of missed opportunities was originally a speech given at the Rabin Memorial ceremony, Tel Aviv, Israel, on November 4. Today, David Grossman's words appear in The Guardian.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Cruise Control

Tom buys his own job? Even Katy and Brooke making nice couldn't have saved him from being sacked so did he have to own the studio before he could do what I can hardly call acting. I think he and Mel (Gibson) share more than just alienating us; their doctrines are also unacceptable to a viewing public. Tom Cruise was misguided to discuss postnatal depression, or psychiatry for that matter, in the way that he did. Despite the fact that Scientology seems an entirely spurious doctrine to me, I would have (given the opportunity!) shown his beliefs some respect, which is more that the Mel and Tom show have done for anyone else's.
It is almost funny that they use their power to communicate their point of view, and now are down on their knees asking us to restore that power; there is no power without our lowly selves handing over the cash. The acting is another matter though, and even if he is a lovely chap who is technically very adept on a set, I don't think Tom Cruise can act. Cruise has for years just been making promotional vehicles for a notion of celebrity which takes money at the box office, now he is a control freak in charge of his own product; himself. It is not really a surprise that he might get married at Il Duce's old place!

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Don't Sponsor a Child!

Now that The Daily Mail has stopped slagging her off, I'm guessing Madge has won her PR battle, despite the soft focus version of Newsnight. I'm not so sure that Kirsty was awestruck but the Ghost chairs & swathes of ruched fabric were an odd touch, I suspect they were in some ropey looking BBC studio which needed dressing!

For the record, sponsoring a child can offer more to the donor than the child. Christian Aid, for example, advocate a policy of donating to a community because singling a child out is not always beneficial for them. It is sensible theory, nothing to do with adoption, but worth thinking about for those of us who can donate £'s a week rather than Madonna's millions! I wanted to write, engage and see photographs of how 'my' child was doing, but was utterly pursuaded to set up a direct debit instead.

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