Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tales from down under

There are places you will visit in your life that will make you stop and ask the following question: “If there is such a beautiful and lovely place to live such as this, why do I chose to live where I do and not here?” Of course this question is completely devoid of such practical considerations as what it might be like to work in this beautiful and lovely place, or rather if one could even get work in one's given field. Or how long and how easy it may be to get something such as a telephone installed, a tattoo removed, or to learn Icelandic. And lest we forget the most important consideration of all - is it a place that Amazon might deliver books to?


I ask myself this question (minus the practical considerations) every time we travel abroad and visit a hot sunny place that has sea views, friendly waiters, and plenty of fresh fish on the menu. Of course there are probably more mundane realities to these places when one looks beneath the surface, but one so seldom does.


So yes, Port Douglas here in Queensland – which is situated in rain forest terrain - is most definitely such a place. It is tropical and lush and filled with extraordinary animals, and scenery. The people here are however very strange. And by very strange I mean they are friendly and lack the paranoid cynicism that every self-respecting Londoner has beaten into them by one too many encounters with nutters on the underground, or superficial city slickers.


Just today we were in the small town of Port Douglas itself and fancied a bit of Japanese food for lunch, though had no idea at all of where one might find such a place being visitors and all. We walked into the nearest shop, which just so happened to be a betting establishment – at this moment I might just add that I have never been into a betting shop before, and had the (quite possibly ignorant) view that they were dimly lit cigarette smoke shrouded places, populated by ill-tempered people blowing their weekly wages or their kids college funds. To my surprise, it was a well-lit friendly sort of place, with a friendly young woman behind the bar (it was a betting shop and a bar), and she told us not only where the best Japanese restaurant in town was, but ordered us a taxi to take us there.


In fact, the Australian people we have met so far have all been friendly and helpful like this, going above and beyond the call of duty to assist you, which leads me to believe that living in a big city may not be the best thing in terms of fostering one's belief in the goodness of mankind. At Mark and Sophie's wedding, an exhausted and severely jet-lagged Robert and I asked one of the bar staff if she could call us a taxi to take us home ahead of the 1am coach. She explained that getting a taxi would be extremely difficult at that time of night (Mc Claren vale is a small small town), but that as she was heading off home at the end of her shift, she would gladly run us back to our hotel on the way. People visiting London should not expect such a thing to happen to them there. Ever.


However, although it is best not to be cynical and paranoid as a rule, one should always be mindful wherever one goes, as we discovered this morning. We were so lulled into a false sense of security by the friendliness of the locals, that we accidentally got chatting to a small leathery middle-aged woman who turned out to be the resident lunatic. Sitting at the adjacent table of the ice-cream parlor we visited, she began firing questions at us from the moment we sat down. It started innocently enough with where we were from, but rapidly veered towards her firmly-held beliefs that all the computers in the world land up on large waste piles in India, and that the world would be a better place if more people fasted.


She asked Robert if he was of the Christian faith, a question I have come to learn almost always indicates trouble to follow. I generally avoid any further discussions by saying I'm a Catholic, which more often than not ends things there and then. Although I am not a practicing one, I find most people don't choose to argue with a person who is prone to wearing effigies of a man dying an excruciating death around their necks. I'm not proud of this, but sometimes, especially in the face of a lunatic, a small alteration of the truth is better than the ensuing debate.


Ah, but not my Robert – he's too decent, and honestly responded that he was an agnostic. She didn't like this response at all, and started to tell him how he and the world at large would be better off with Christ in their lives, and strongly advised him to institute prayer meetings at work. She also instructed him to return to England, and make an appointment with Charles (as in the future king of England) and Camilla at Clarence house, and implore him to introduce prayer, and a one meal a day fasting practice for all citizens. It was when she started on her opinions of condom wearing (we never did discover if she was for or against) that Robert stopped being so polite, informed her we had people to meet, and abruptly herded both of us out of there. He's a good man, and not prone to lying, but even the best of us need a lie on occasion to get us out of the grasp of the unreasonable.


Yesterday we went along to Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. No relation at all to Jonathan Hartley who is a very respectable non-crocodile owning friend of ours, who also happens to be a very clever computer programmer.


Hartleys is not just a crocodile farm - the kind you might laboredly wander around in the heat, being lucky to spot one or two crocodiles lazily taking in the afternoon sun and not doing much at all. No, Hartley's is more of a crocodile experience – with a strict timetable which includes the opportunity for you to see estuarine crocodiles (which here means large, fierce, salt water creatures one wouldn't want to encounter while out taking a dip) being hand-fed by insane/brave handlers. You also go out on a boat in the lagoon and watch more large crocodiles swim alongside. But best of all, has to be the crocodile attack show which has an even braver/more insane handler show you how the crocodile attacks – using a live, large, and very frightening estuarine crocodile male as a presentation assistant.


I filmed quite a bit of the latter on my camera and will be putting up the nail-biting footage here upon my return. But before I do that, let me paint you a picture: One barefoot man, a small pole (which here refers to a long stick as opposed to a Polish person), and the aforementioned large scary male crocodile in a not very big enclosure.


The chap tells stories of terrible things that have happened to silly people who have ventured out into well-known crock infested waters (a large number of which are surprisingly well-informed locals as opposed to poor lost tourists), while using the croc and some rope to demonstrate how these unfortunate people may have met their ends or near-ends. The last story involved a man who had been dragged out of his camp in the middle of the night but one of these large males, and was saved by a 60-something year-old granny (his mother-in-law I think), after the brave old girl jumped onto the reptiles back and wrestled him. This is a true story, and one that was in the news not so long ago. I don't know what's more surprising – the fact that a 60-something year old woman would take on such a large lethal creature, or the fact that a mother-in-law would try and save her son-in-law.


Some of these crocodiles are almost six meters in length, and have been known to reach weights of 800kgs. That's a lot of crocodile. They can also live up to 100 years old, and go for a year without food. One of the more famous residents is called Paul – who is between 50 and 60 years-old, weighs 700kgs, and was eventually captured after years of sticking his head out of local waters and biting off the heads of cattle watering themselves.


Watching these chaps hand-feed or do demonstrations with the crocodiles is a very strange experience. It's one thing watching a show at the circus where the lion tamers do tricks with the lions or some big guy carries a python around his shoulders. Yes, they are dangerous animals, but they are also vaguely trainable. A crocodile, on the other hand, is a purely instinctual creature who is programmed to survive, which generally involves killing and eating things, and there is no bonding experience between the handlers and these animals. They are smart enough to know that at a certain time of the day some chap will come in with food and do things with them – because they seem to become a bit more animated around these times. But in the demonstration we saw, the handler kept his eye on the crocodile at all times and once or twice looked genuinely scared when he got a bit too close. It was like watching a trapeeze artist peform without a net.


The personal highlight for Robert and I was the opportunity to hold a rainbow python – which we were told are not poisonous, but can bite. These snakes tend to wind themselves around their prey and strangle them to death. Bearing this in mind I chose to take his head while Robert got the tale end – just so I could keep a good eye on that mouth and those fangs. I don't quite have the instinctive horror and revulsion some people have when it comes to snakes, and the chap we held was incredibly smooth and somewhat cool to the touch, and didn't seem to mind the attention at all. I think the old saying is quite true with these and most animals – they are more frightened of us than we are of them, and should always be treated with utmost care and respect. I also think that if you plan on having children, with the risk of one of two of them being boys, things such as snakes are something a future mother should get used to.


Today it has been mostly raining, which as we are staying within a rain forest is perfectly reasonable and to be expected from time to time. Tomorrow we are due to go out on a sail boat with ten other people to explore the Great Barrier Reef, which we are both incredibly excited about. We have already bought our underwater cameras and sunscreen. And although crocodiles have been known to cover great distances in the sea, we've been assured where we're going is not one of those places.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Letters from Australia

After more than 30 hours of travelling, Robert and I finally made it to Australia (via Korea) for Mark and Sophie's wedding.
Oh, and they lost our luggage. Well, lost isn't the right word - basically our luggage didn't make it from Sydney to Adelaide. I was beginning to think it was groundhog day, as this sort of thing has happened to us four times now. But considering we flew from London to South Korea, South Korea to Sydney, and Sydney to Adelaide - it's pretty good going that our luggage made it at all. Which it did. At 11.30pm the day we arrived in Adelaide and were in the middle of a deep jet-lack induced sleep.

Still, this time we were prepared - there are only so many times your luggage gets lost without it teaching you a valuable lesson: Pack a spare change of clothes, about two sets of undies, and a selection of those mini-cosmetics that are not going to get confiscated when you go through security in your hand luggage. Oh, and I packed my dress, shoes and handbag for the wedding too, thanks to that little voice in my head when I was packing back in London which told me something like this may happen. Some may call it a first rank symptom of schizophrenia, I call it good old intuition.
The wedding was beautiful, and lovely - held on a wine farm, complete with sheep, barns, and lots of blue skies. The bride looked stunning in a floor-length white Armani, and Mark looked pretty handsome too in his white tie. Oh, and Robert was a first-rate MC :-)
Yesterday we flew from Adelaide to Cairns, and had a car meet us to bring us here to the Thala Beach Lodge in Port Douglas. The driver warned us of all the dangers that awaited us in a jolly sort of way: Salt water crocodiles, lethal jellyfish making the sea un-swimmable at this time of the year, spiders, snakes, sharks etc. So much to look forward to I thought, trying very hard not to vomit due to the winding roads causing motion sickness I've had since I was a kid.
When we arrived at the lodge, we were informed that this is indeed jellyfish season and that we need to stay out of the sea. No swimming at all, not even romantic walks in the waves. This isn't a problem as neither Robert nor I are big sea swimming people, and prefer to walk on the beach and swim in bodies of water that do not contain things with large teeth or electric tentacles. We were told that when we go and do our snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef later this week, that divers go out earlier in the day to check the area is in fact jellyfish free. We also wear full body suits - just in case. Looking forward to that, and plan on getting a disposable underwater camera.
Tonight we are attending the Aboriginal cultural evening - then there's Hartley's crocodile experience "Feed the crocks!", plus the coconut plantation visit, bird watching, and of course copious amounts of beer drinking pool-side. It's a tough job - but I think I have what it takes.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Stuff that's going on

Britney out on the town last night. Photo c/o X17 online

Leona Lewis wins X-Factor

Yay! The queen of ballads Leona Lewis won the X Factor title last night. I didn't watch it because I was out at the last of our Christmas/Birthday parties this year, but fortunately Perez was all over it.

Here's one of her performances, 'I will always love you', that secured her the title. Dolly would be so proud.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Slob Evolution


Remember the Dove commercial - showing us how they make a beauty poster with all the lighting, makeup and photoshop? Well, someone just came up with its antithesis - Slob Evolution. This is classic satire - brilliantly executed, and very funny. Thanks to the luscious Louise for the tip.

PS: Robert just showed me how to insert You Tube code into my blog, so I'm like way thrilled :-)

World's tallest man saves two dolphins

Strange and kind of cool story of how the world's tallest man saved two dolphins by sticking his incredibly long arm into their stomachs and removed dangerous plastic shards. Continue reading.

Photo c/o swimatyourownrisk.com

Leona Lewis to win X-Factor - fair and square

Anyone with half a brain, and that has ears on them, will know that Leona Lewis is not just the deserved undisputed winner of The X Factor, but is unquestionably one of the best talents to be discovered ever - right up there with Mimi and Whitney Houston.

But, hey, some people out there probably have bets on someone else winning the show, so what do they do? Plant rumours that the show is fixed and that she'll sleep with Simon Cowell to further her career. Why is it whenever a woman is successful the mode of attack is that she slept her way to get there?

Please - in what way does this girl - who is not only in another league, but on another planet from the other contestants in terms of her talent, need to have the show fixed or sleep with old high pants Cowell to win? You only have to listen to her sing to know she's amazing, and not only deserves to win the shitty show - but to go on and have a very long and successful career in music.

And if she doesn't win, then I'll have to agree the show is fixed.

Vote Leona!

Robbie Williams v. Elton John

Robbie Williams - god love him. I'm not a big fan of his music, but on some level there's something about his character which I quite like. His latest stint, aimed at pissing off Elton John (someone he apparently has a frosty history with), involved telling fans at his concert in Australia what Elton's room number was at the hotel they were both staying at.

Elton was apparently furious (when isn't Elton furious these days?), and his errand boy boyfriend, David Furnish, said the prank was "irresponsible delinquency." As a means of retaliation, Elton reportedly posted a bitchy note under Robbie's door which read: "Dear Robbie, Take That... No 1 single and album. Great result, love Elton." - mocking Robbie's decision to leave the band. Continue reading.

Maybe it's just my warped sense of humour, but I found this very funny.

Photo c/o swr3.de

J Edgar Hoover cross-dressed and other (in)famous celebrity rumours

Because it's Friday, and you really should be taking it easy at work, here's a great little read (care of nerve.com) which includes 40 of the best celebrity rumours ever. Forget Britney's crotch - there's a lot of stuff here I hadn't heard of before. Definitely worth a browse.

Photo c/o ralphmag.org

Stuff that's going on


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dodi and Diana; Another enquiry

The outcome of yet another enquiry into the death of Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana is due imminently, and reports are leaning towards the following outcome: An accident, pure and simple. No conspiracy theory folks, sorry. Unless the conspiracy was to get their driver very drunk and high, and chase him by the paparazzi so that he drove too fast and lost control of the car. It's possible.

I don't know why it is people have such difficulty accepting this outcome, when so many thousands are killed each year as the result of speeding, and drink-driving.

What this very tragic and unfortunate event does teach us is (a) Wear your seat belt (apparently they weren't wearing theirs), (b) Do not drive when you are drunk, and (c) Don't let someone who has been drinking drive you. And finally, yes, the paparazzi are an evil bunch of bastards who invade people's personal space sometimes to the degree that they endanger them. This really does need to be addressed on a legal basis.

See here for some of the more well-known conspiracy theories.

Photo c/o: wwtdd

Natural is best


Far be it from me to make litigious remarks about the dangers of plastic surgery/too much botox. So I won't.

Pictures c/o
wwtdd

So not a good joke

Note to people visiting the UK: We've got some freak on the loose, aka the Ipswich Ripper, and he's killing woman. So far - five in total. We don't find this amusing, and in fact, I fail to think of any joke you could make about it, because in all seriousness, it's pretty frightening, especially as the guy is still at large and may kill again.

Unfortunately no-one appeared to have briefed Oliver Stone as to the sensitive nature of this, and he stuck his foot in it last night at the British Comedy Awards by saying:
"It's great to be back in England. I feel like Jack The Ripper days are back. Nothing ever changes here."
Unfortunately for him, according to Yahoo New, his attempt at gaining a cheap laugh resulted in jeers and gasps of horror from the audience. Continue reading.

Sorry Oliver - stick to the over-long dramas in future.

Photo c/o celebritywonder.com

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ipswich Ripper - another two victims

Two more bodies have been found in the Ipswich Ripper case, bringing the total to 5 women now dead.

According to Yahoo news:
"All five murdered prostitutes were found close to the A14 dual
carriageway which links the Suffolk port of Felixstowe with the Midlands."
Continue reading.
The question I'd like to ask, is how many more women have to die before they legalise prostitution, including soliciting? The profession has been around since the beginning of time, and there’s clearly a demand for it, otherwise it wouldn't exist. So why not legalise it? Ensure that the areas these women work in have CCTV surveillance - and thereby stop forcing them to work in the dark outskirts which makes them prime targets for rape, being beaten up, and worse - murder, which is what's happening now.

I imagine these women would like nothing more than to have a nice decent job like everyone else, but are forced into making their choices through circumstances such as poor or no education, drug addiction, and the basic need for survival.

Let's put our high and mighty moral judgments aside (so easy to make from the nice, clean, and safe confines of a privileged position), and get these women safer working conditions. Regardless of what we perceive as right and wrong, no person deserves to be treated as some sort of object to be used and tossed aside like refuse.

And let's pray to god they catch this bastard before he kills again.

Pictures of Angelina, Brad, and family now up

I'd go and buy the magazine, and scan in the pictures for your perusal, but it looks like people who have already done so are being asked to take them down. Perez has kept his up, though they are marred with his usual shitty artwork. Nice to see little Shiloh who is gorgeous - and has her mothers lips! Check them out here.

Photo c/o Hello magazine

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Frat Boys: 0 - Borat: 1

If you've seen Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, you'll remember the scene with the frat boys in that Winnebago (or whatever it is those large motorised homes are called), picking up Borat, and basically behaving like a bunch of eejits.

Well two of them were so embarrassed and ashamed of how they were 'portrayed', i.e. regretting their sexist, somewhat racist comments, they took the case to a superior court judge, asking that their scene be cut from all future DVD and theatrical releases of the film.

According to E Online:
"... the plaintiffs' main argument, which is that, because the film's crew took them to a bar beforehand, they were too drunk to know what they were agreeing to when they signed a release form. And because they were told that the footage would never be shown in the U.S., the pair's complaint states, they engaged in behavior that they otherwise would not have engaged in."
Well the judge thought otherwise, and has decided that their scene will not be cut from future releases of the movie. E Online states:
"Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph Biderman ruled Monday that John Does 1 and 2 (as they are listed in court documents) had failed to show a "reasonable probability of success on the merits" or that collecting monetary damages would not be enough to remedy the situation."
Basically the judge noted that he "didn't see people falling down or unable to articulate what they were saying." Continue reading.

Hmmm, I think they should call this sort of defence 'A Gibson.'

Photo c/o movies.yahoo.com

Picture time

There's not that much to report this morning. So I thought I'd ease everyone in to the day with a picture moment.

Scarlett Johansson is the new face of Louise Vuitton - and the photos are just gorgeous. She looks like some sort of erotic nymph. Great art direction, and if the bags weren't plastered full of that overrated/overexposed chavvy logo, I may even have been tempted to buy one on the back of seeing these. More pictures c/o perez hilton.


Salma Hayek works the Campari campaign, and looks beautiful (as always). More photos here c/o popoholic.


Pamela Anderson poses for the January 2007 issue of Playboy magazine. If you want to see what a really tiny, really skinny woman with great big fake breasts and virtually no eyebrows look like naked - now's your chance, c/o Dlisted.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Thick not fat

(Picture removed at request of owner)

If you're ever perused US dating profiles, some women refer to themselves as 'thick' and hasten to add 'but not fat'. I think they've finally invented a category that Mimi fits into - she's definitely not fat, and she's certainly toned, but she still looks kind of, well, thickish. More photos of her working the beach babe look here.

Picture c/o the superficial

Nicole Richie's weight revealed

The story circling the blogosphere is that Nicole Richie was arrested in the early hours of this morning on a DUI charge. Read more here.

What I found most interesting though, is that the supposed police report puts her height at 5′1″ and her weight at 85 pounds. 85 pounds - that's like 38.5 kilos, or 6.07 stone! Sweet jesus.

Picture c/o X17online.com

The rules of social climbing

Victoria Beckham - it's hard to know whether to feel sorry for her, or have a chuckle. In this week's issue of Grazia (a magazine which covers popular stories as well as hard-hitting new events), there's an article on Ms Beckham and how her social climbing may be backfiring.

Apparently, even her husband felt her weird flying-saucer-inspired outfit at TomKat's wedding was inappropriate, not last of all because her boobs were practically busting out of her dress. That and the fact that she stopped and posed for photos outside the event, something which only family of the couple should have done.

At the rehearsal dinner the night before, she supposedly kept encouraging husband David to go and say hello to Will Smith. David, bless him, said he didn't know the guy from Adam, so why should he greet him. Fair point.

Grazia further reports that VB shamelessly used the wedding reception as an opportunity to network, and made a beeline for Jennifer Lopez. After meeting her she is said to have sent a text message to a friend stating, "I have got a new best friend: Jennifer Lopez!" Her offer to 'do lunch' has however yet to be responded to by La Lopez's people.

But perhaps most embarrassingly, even the bride reportedly told Victoria that she needed to relax and stop treating the wedding as a networking opportunity. The source says Katie said it as though she was joking, but the underlying message was clear.

The central premise of the article is that VB wants to collect more A-List friends to boost her public image, and according to Closer magazine, she's distancing herself from less-famous ones, like fellow WAG Cheryl Cole. Poor Cheryl was good enough to hang out with during the world cup for photo ops, but clearly she has expended her usefulness.

Victoria Beckham reminds me of the girl at school who likes to hang out with you because she thinks you're popular, have nice stuff, or your parents have money. The minute someone new comes along that appears to be even more popular or wealthy, she drops you in an instant. People like that never develop real friendships, and go through friends like Kleenex. The unfortunate side-effect to all this exciting social climbing is that when they're in a fix and really need someone, their equally vacuous newly acquired pals are strangely unavailable. Funny that.

Photo previously credited on this site

A man, his iPod, an airplane loo, and World of Warcraft

This is a great (apparently 100% true) story of what happened to a guy when he accidentally dropped his iPod in an airplane loo. As it turns out, he's a World of Warcraft gamer and was on his way to meet another gamer, when the incident took place. It's very funny and a bit frightening too. A good, albeit longish read. Check it out here.

Madonna loves animals

Sometimes you get the feeling that Madonna likes to stir trouble, just for the sake of it. Oh, and to get column space too, naturally.

She's already the focus of international criticism thanks to adopting a Malawian child, and apparently contravening Malawian adoption laws by doing so. And now she steps out in a controversial chinchilla fur coat.

According to Splash News:
Madonna is already at war with PETA (Ethical Treatment of Animals) for previous crimes, but that didn't stop her wearing fur last night. She stepped out with hubby Guy Richie, wrapped up all cosy and warm in a coat made from Chinchillas (according to the Daily Mail). She added more insult to injury by wearing the animal coat with boots designed by her close vegetarian friend Stella McCartney.
Other sources reveal that while at dinner on the night of Furgate, Madonna and husband Richie had a blazing row. Apparently he accused her (quite loudly) of being controlling. Madonna, controlling? Noooo, surely not!

Photo c/o
Splash News. Photographer Tony Brady

Another Jack the Ripper?


The body of a third prostitute has been found here in the UK, sparking fears that we may have a serial killer on our hands. Continue reading.

Update: A fourth woman has gone missing. Police are appealing to prostitutes to stay off the streets in Ipswich. Continue reading.

The story of perhaps the most well-known and never caught serial killer, who also happened to favour prostitutes as his victims, continues to fascinate us in a macabre way. The Crime Library tells the compelling story of Jack the Ripper. A gripping read for lunch time, though I'd advise you eat your sandwiches before you read. Check it out here.

Picture c/o myclassiclyrics.com

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The world's most attractive woman revealed

Thanks to a survey that Grazia magazine did (polling 4000 people), we now know what men, well at least UK men, think is the perfect woman. This information is of vital importance to every woman out there, and your life will be that much more rich and fufilled if you read this.

In summary, the perfect woman would be:
"... a nurse from Sheffield who looks like Angelina Jolie, and has hair like Kelly Brook. She is not too good-looking as it 'terrifies men' - but has legs like Gisele. She wears floral dresses, pencil skirts, fitted blouses, red lipstick, and drinks Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc."
The more detailed report reveals:

Interests
Men like women who like:
Cooking (74%)
Going to the gym (74%)
Playing golf (74%) - huh?
Fine wine and dining (69%)
Going to the pub (46%)
Housework (33%)
Watching sports on TV (29%) - phew!

They don't like women who:
Never exercise (98%)
Collect things (94%) - bang goes the Barbie collection
Likes the Internet/MSN (88%)
Go on about the environment (86%)

Grooming
Men like you to:
Shower daily (96%)
Wax your legs (80%)
Wear natural-looking makeup (79%)

They don't like you to:
Ditch the makeup (91%)
Get or aspire to cosmetic surgery (97%)
Have your teeth over-whitened (97%)


Personality
Turn-ons:
Fun-loving (82%)
Makes him laugh (79%)
Confident (70%)
Laughs at his jokes (66%)

Turn-offs: (no stats supplied)
Broody
Loud or brash
Moody
Needs a father figure
Too chatty

The hottest celebrity would be made up of the following attributes:
Best face: Angelina Jolie
Hair: Kelly Brook
Body: Scarlet Johansson
Legs: Gisele

As for blokes, the most attractive one would be,
"A doctor from Newcastle who looks like Johnny Depp, has George Clooney's hair, the body of Daniel Craig (amen), and Vince Vaughn's humour. He loves cooking, and wears cashmere sweaters in winter and flip flops in summer."
Check out the 11 December issue of Grazia magazine for more.

Sunday night news update


Friday, December 08, 2006

Stuff that's going on

New Year's resolutions

It's that time of year again, where people start planning their New Year's resolutions; how they're going to quit the fags, drink less, start actually using their gym membership, see more of their family, etc.

When I was a kid, this time of year also meant a new school year ahead, as each one started in January. I'd go along and buy new stationary, and plaster my pencil case and books with pictures of whichever band or celebrity I was into at the time, and which I felt most strongly projected my true, inner, complex character. The truth is while pictures of Kylie and her ilk would have been more appropriate (secretly I was a pretty happy well adjusted kid), I sought out ones of Robert Smith (from the Cure), and Nina Hagen, who was supposedly a Satanist.

With the advent of each teenage year, my new years resolutions inevitably included at least one promise to be more dark, complex, and depressed. Strangely, these character traits only presented themselves when I was around friends who were genuinely dark, complex and depressed thanks to unfortunate wiring on their part or early problems with drugs and alcohol. But when I was alone, there I was happily restyling my Barbie Doll, knitting doggie-jerseys for our poodles, or practicing 'plastic surgery' using tissues (for skin) and a manicure set, on my doll's face. She got a really really nice nose thanks to me.

Nowadays, I'm old and cynical enough to accept the fact that I'm lazy and useless when it comes to sticking to New Year's resolutions, and it's not worth wasting time or a piece of paper formulating them to begin with.
To make myself feel better though, I've decided I'm going to take up smoking again (at least 20 a day), make sure I drink alone, with company, and pretty much for any excuse, become an untidy slob, shop a lot, and chuck my gym membership. I mean, why not outline the things I'm going to land up doing anyway? This way at least I can feel good about the fact that I have follow-through.

Check out the top 10 New Year's resolution list.

Photo c/o
hollywoodfyi.com

Bad hair day

I'm not putting up this image to make fun of the guy - because who knows, perhaps in his neck of the woods, this kind of wolf-man hairiness is considered very sexy. He may have the girls lining up, and is having the last laugh at all those hairless guys out there. In fact, this may be a photo of him taking a much-needed post-coital nap. Who are we to know?

This is however ammunition for all us women out there who have the occasional hairy armpit or bikini-line day. Guys, to a lesser or even greater degree, from time to time, we have to deal with the above sort of hairiness from you. So think of that the next time you react to a hairy armpit (with two days growth) as though you've just seen someone vomit or the worlds biggest spider.

Source: Thanks to Derya for the tip. No idea where the image is originally from as it came via a group email.

We are so relieved

I don't know about anyone else, but if a single issue of Hello or OK! magazine goes by without David and Victoria Beckham denying rumours of his affairs proclaiming their enduring and undying love for each other, I get a bit worried. Fortunately we can all breathe a sigh of relief, as they'll be doing just that (again) in this week's issue of Hello magazine.

It's 11am and all is right in the world.

Image c/o Hello magazine

Friends and family plug: PT's biscuits

My friend and some-time employer, Paul, has launched these incredibly good biscuits. I know they are good, because I was one of the tasting guinea pigs when he was toiling away with recipes. "More chocolate, more peanut butter!" I cried, wiping crumbs away from my mouth. To which Paul responded I might think less about biscuits and more about my work. Oh, and another day down the gym wouldn't hurt either.

Seriously though, these biscuits are good. Paul's one of those weird perfectionist types, so he put a lot of effort and fine ingredients into making what he considered to be the perfect biscuit/cookie. They are so good in fact that they are now available for posh toffs in Virgin Upper class. Next it will be coffee shops, restaurants, and from there - world domination.

Check out Pauls PT's biscuit website here, and spread the word.

PS: If anyone else wants me to advertise their wares - specifically really expensive cosmetics, shoes (Jimmy Choo's that sort of thing) and or handbags - please feel free to contact me, and include a lot of free samples that I get to keep. It would be my pleasure, really.

Gina Lollobrigida - wedding off!

I started reading the story that Gina Lollobrigida and her fiance have called off their upcoming wedding, well specifically, he has. And naturally I saw the bit about him being 34 years her junior, and I was like - OK, well, another weird David Guest/Liza Minnelli thing. But then I read some more, and the couple have actually been together for 22 years. 22! That's not some flash in the pan post-cosmetic surgery overhaul crisis relationship - that's some serious shit.

So I thought it was strange that he, Javier Rigau Rafols, called off the wedding blaming it all on the press, saying "constant", "unfounded" and "unlawful" media interference was to blame, according to Hola magazine.

I don't get it - you're with someone for 22 years, someone who has always been in the public eye, you'd think you'd have gotten used to all the media interference by now. I don't know, I'm not buying his excuse. Me thinks watch this space for some younger Lolita coming out of the woodwork in the next month or so.

Photo c/o leninimports.com

Who's the daddy?

So Eddie Murphy and Mel B have broken up, and he's announcing the fact that he's not sure he's the father of her unborn child, not over the phone to her, but in a TV interview.

According to People, during an interview on the Dutch TV show RTL Boulevard, when Murphy was asked about his relationship with Mel B and her pregnancy, he stated:
"We're not together anymore," "And I don't know whose child that is, until it comes out and has a blood test. You shouldn't jump to conclusions, sir."
Mel B responded on Perez Hilton with:
"I am obviously upset and distressed at some of the comments made by Eddie Murphy to the media. I have no idea why anybody would want to conduct themselves in this kind of manner about such a personal matter in such a public way. My main concern is for the well being of my daughter Phoenix and of course the baby. I was astonished what Eddie said - there is absolutely no question that Eddie is the father. My main concern is to concentrate on the well being of my daughter and baby."
There's just something so wholesome and uplifting about this story. I don't know, it gives me such faith in the goodness of mankind.

How to get barred from flying American Airlines

According to Yahoo News an American Airlines flight bound for Dallas had to make an emergency landing, after passengers reported smelling burnt matches.

Turns out a female passenger, who was a bit flatulent, had been lighting matches to mask the unpleasant smell. When asked about it she wasn't forthcoming (i.e. she was deadly embarrassed and said nothing), so for her sins, the whole bloody plane was forced to make an emergency landing - sniffer dogs were brought in, all the luggage was searched etc.

The airline was understandably pissed, and the woman in question was not allowed back on the plane, and has been barred from flying American Airlines. Oops.

Continue reading the story here.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to marry in South Africa

This just in on the radio - apparently Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are to wed in South Africa before Christmas. We've heard wedding rumours before, so we won't hold our breath...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lindsay Lohan wears two watches

OK, there's no real story here, at least not real in the sense that it's something I feel compelled to write about. However, The Superficial ran a post on how La Lohan wears two watches - the second of which she bought for some guy who refused to wear it, and now she wears it (in addition to her own) as a symbol of unrequited love blah blah blah.

Anyway, the gist of all this is that The Superficial's ed said he'd never seen a photo of her wearing two watches, and I was like A-ha! I just so happened to notice one in this week's issue of Heat magazine. I can't email those guys, only leave feedback - so I thought I'd post it here and then send them the link. To cut a long and sad story short - some people really wanted to see Lindsay Lohan wearing two watches, and I'm a nice person.

PS:The photo is of Lohan and Calum Best taken during her recent visit to London. It appeared in the 2-8 December issue of Heat Magazine.

Liberty

There I was sleeping off a perfectly good hangover, and having a rather nice dream to boot, and the bloody phone rings. It's Argos, and they are following up on something Roberto is currently in the process of purchasing. It wasn't just getting woken up, it's the fact that when I was so rudely ripped out of the womb of sleep, the shitty headache, sore stomach, ashtray breath, and all the usual hangover-related lovelies resurfaced to remind me what an eejit I had been last night. But that's another story.

I found myself in Liberty's yesterday - which I have to say, if you are visiting London, this is a place to see. The more famous of the two buildings and by far my favourite, is Tudor House. It was built in 1924 from the timbers of two ships - the HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan, and according to their website, the frontage at Great Marlborough is the same length as the Hindustan. Read more here.

It's still all wooden balustrades and small rooms that lead onto other rooms - much how I imagine it was back in the 20's and 30's before the advent of the characterless malls we have today. It's a rabbit warren housing some of the most gorgeous delicious wonderful things, in a gorgeous delicious wonderful setting. If you want to buy things like English soap and silk toiletry bags and that sort of thing - this is the place. I often don't even buy anything, but just go there to be surrounded by the beauty of it all. As my friend Derya says, it has the effect of making you feel like a small child again, in the middle of an incredible candy store. Too right.

I finally found that bottle of night-scented Jasmine that Floris does, and which refreshingly didn't cost an arm and a leg the likes of which a small perfume shop in Sicily were asking. It's the same smell as my mother's garden on a summers evening - and no I'm not waxing lyrical - she really did have an beautiful garden at our family home. And when you sat outside on a warm summers evening that smell of jasmine would hit you in an intoxicatingly dreamy way. My friend Caroline also had it growing in her garden, most notably outside the window of the kids lounge we used to hang out in. I love that smell - it unlocks many happy memories for me.

Photo c/o potosmiki.seesaa.net

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The end of the road for 4x4's in London?

I don't want to diss anyone's ride, and as much as I dislike Ken Livingtson (I wouldn't be a loyal Londoner if I didn't), I kind of agree with the heavy congestion charge he's placing on the Chelsea tractors, aka 4x4's. Those things are very environmentally unfriendly, and if it also leads to less cars on the roads I'm all in favour.

According to Yahoo News:
Sales of off-road vehicles, or so-called Chelsea Tractors, have slumped since owners were threatened with higher taxes. The vehicles were targeted in this year's budget when the Chancellor introduced a new top rate of Vehicle Excise Duty of £210 for the most polluting cars. London Mayor Ken Livingstone echoed the Treasury's sentiments and announced plans to increase the congestion charge for 4x4s from the present £8 a day to £25. Now, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is expected to announce that sales of new 4X4s fell by more than 15 per cent last month compared with November 2005, and have fallen in every month this year except March.
Even somewhere like South Africa where public transport doesn't exist, and if it does it's also known as the place you go to get mugged, there are way too many cars on the road, and it's only getting worse. They now have lanes on the motorway where you are only allowed to drive in if there are three or more of you in the car, because this is considered car-pooling. Of course people ignore it, and it's this kind of 'I don't give shit attitude' that's leading all of us straight into the toasty arms of global warming.

But in central London, where you have tubes, black cabs, buses, mini-cabs, and Ocado, is it really necessary for so many cars? I think not. And if you work out how much insurance and related expenses you pay to run a car in London, it actually works out cheaper to use the alternatives.

I feel for those 4x4 guys, but come on, you don't need a big car to prove how sexy you are. Think electric, now that's sexy.

A hairy issue

Do you remember when that photo of Julia Roberts flashing a, god forbid, hairy armpit at the 1999 Notting Hill premier caused such a stir? Well it turns out she's not the only one too busy to shave, and at a breakfast hosted by the Hollywood Reporter in conjunction with the publication of its 15th annual Women In Entertainment Power 100 list, a few other Hollywood ladies (including Maggie Gyllenhaal) said they too had hairy moments. Continue Reading.


I really like Maggie Gyllenhaal - you can imagine her with hairy armpits, spot cream, and cellulite. Unlike Victoria Beckham who claims to be a girls girl (sheah right!), Gyllenhaal really is one. She's so cool that you can almost forgive her the whole Heidi plait thing she had going a while back.

Re. the response to the Julia Roberts pictures, I'd like to blame it on men, and how they have these double standards - being all hairy and sometimes sweaty themselves, yet giving us a hard time if we do the same. But knowing our healthy firmly instilled sense of self-loathing, I reckon the biggest objectors to Julia's furriness were probably women. I mean, how could she let the team down that way? Shocking.

In the 2006 December Heat annual, they asked a few celebs how they approach their grooming down there and most of the women were into Hollywood (all off) or Brazilian waxes. I'd totally do it again if they put me under anaesthetic that is, but for some strange inexplicable reason, I haven't found a salon willing to do this. If you do, let me know.

Photo c/o chanlilian.net

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

And so and so

I suppose there's something to be said for that fact that despite my thought provoking philosophical gems, my blog never really generates serious traffic. Then one day it occurs to me to link to pictures of Britney Spears's crotch, and suddenly I'm very popular.

I feel like the girl as school who smokes in the loo during lunch breaks, and shows guys her lacy size 32A bra for a fiver. Yes people, I feel cheap - cheap and used, and what's worse - it feels good.

I'm aware that my blog has been more link-blog lately, and less it's usual pedantic self, and for that, I apologise profusely. The thing is, I've been in an awful funk since getting back from South Africa. I spent a week not blow drying my hair or wearing any makeup while I was there, and I think it messed with my wiring.

I realised things had to change when I attended my friend Jane's birthday on Friday night, and instead of getting wasted, flirting, and saying embarrassing things as I usually do, I sat on her sofa smoking cigarettes, and boring the crap out of my good friend Cath with all that I think is wrong with the world. And we weren't just talking spiral perms and blue eyeshadow either. This was serious stuff. Fortunately I managed to shut up long enough to be introduced to a war reporter from Time Magazine who actually knows what human suffering is. It was a close call.

The problem with my depressions is that they don't just extend to my own issues - they take on global proportions. I start thinking about all the people that are dying thanks to religious/money wars, kids and animals that gets their bones broken and worse by sick twisted fucks, the fact that supermarkets in the West throw out so much food every day and there are people on the other side of the world starving to death, the piles and piles of disposable nappies and other garbage that is piling up and is not biodegradable - and the list goes on. I get myself into such a funk that I don't want to leave the house, talk to anyone, and feel enormously guilty if I wake up happy in the morning. It's a bad cycle, and ultimately doesn't do anyone any good - but there you go. While some people prefer a leg iron, I read the papers and smoke.

Tomorrow I'm going to go and run on the treadmill at the gym, because my body is full of toxins, and I think the physical pain of sore stiff limbs that will inevitably follow is preferable to the shit that I torture myself with mentally. Oh, and there's always the chance that Britney will go out and not wear any knickers, and then I can continue to deflect by linking to that and other trivial shyte. Here's hoping.

Breakfast at Tiffany's dress sold for £410,000


The black dress made famous by Audrey Hepburn in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' fetched an amazing £410,000 yesterday at the London auction house Christies.

Before you start swearing that some people have more money than sense, the good news is that the proceeds will go to the City of Joy Aid charity, which helps underprivileged children in India.


Dominic Lapierre, who runs the charity, was quoted as saying:

"I am absolutely dumbfounded to believe that a piece of cloth which belonged to such a magical actress will now enable me to buy bricks and cement to put the most destitute children in the world into schools."

According to Yahoo News:

Christie's said the dress set a new world record for one made for a film, but it fell short of the auction house's own world record for any dress. That belongs to the white silk evening gown worn by Marilyn Monroe the night she sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to John F. Kennedy in 1962, which fetched $1.27 million at a New York auction in 1999. Continue reading.
I'd love to know what size it was.

Picture c/o popartuk.com

Gwyneth Paltrow - the new Jade?

Everyone's going on about how she who names her kids after fruit slags off her homeland in favour of Britain. I'm certainly in no position to contradict her - hahaha, just kidding! I think anyone who makes sweeping generalisations is an eejit.

According to The Superficial Gwynie was quoted by the Portuguese newspaper Diario de las Noticias as saying:
"I love the English lifestyle, it's not as capitalistic as America. People don't talk about work and money, they talk about interesting things at dinner. I like living here because I don't fit into the bad side of American psychology. The British are much more intelligent and civilized than the Americans."
Now that her countrymen have reason to hate her even more, she's trying to cover her ass by saying:
"First of all I feel so lucky to be American. When you look at the rest of the world, we're so lucky, and that's something my dad always instilled in me. I feel so proud to be American. I felt so upset to be completely misconstrued and I never, ever would have said that. I definitely did not say that I think the British are more intelligent and civilized than Americans. I am a New York girl, that's how I always think of myself and see myself. I live in England half the time because I'm married to an English guy. It's not like I've left America. This is what I said. I said that Europe is a much older culture and there's a difference. I always say in America, people live to work and in Europe, people work to live. There are positives in both. Obviously I need to go back to seventh-grade Spanish!"
Yes fine, OK - not that anyone cares about her opinions anyway, but is it just me or did anyone else notice that she's rationalising her interview with a Portuguese newspaper, by saying, "Obviously I need to go back to seventh-grade Spanish!"

Hello! Spain and Portugal are two different countries and speak two different languages. Or is she implying that she did the entire interview in Spanish, and the Portuguese reporter just happened to confuse what she said. Jeez - I've heard some lame excuses in my time.

Ask not what your crotch can do for you ...

A big thank you to Britney Spears and her knickerless crotch. It's been a good week. Thanks to all you perverts out there for visiting with us - next time I'll lay on some tea and chocolate digestives.

Katie Price aka Jordan is pregnant

This just in - Jordan and Peter Andrea are expecting their second child together. The latest addition to the Price/Andre clan is expected next summer. Continue reading.

Photo: Wedding picture, which originally appeared in OK magazine.

What to wear when you meet royalty

Katie Price and hubby Peter Andre meeting Prince Charles at the Royal Variety Performance.

According to Yahoo News:

As she was introduced to Camilla, who was wearing a purple velvet Robinson Valentine evening dress, Jordan remarked: "Hello, nice to meet you, lovely frock you've got there."

Camilla revealed how she had watched Jordan and Peter get together in the jungle during I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.

Jordan told her: "We'll be singing for you later." Continue reading.

We here in the UK are so proud of how our classes mix together so nicely. An example for one and all.

A good reason to battle the bulge


According to an article on Yahoo News
A recent study suggests that as rates of obesity soar, cancer is likely to strike thousands more British citizens. Excess weight is believed to be behind nearly 4 per cent of all cancers.

Professor Tim Key, Cancer Research UK epidemiologist and expert on diet and cancer, said: "It is now well established that being overweight increases the risk of developing several types of cancer.

"The effects on breast and womb cancer are almost certainly due to the increased production of the hormone oestrogen in the fatty tissue." Continue reading.

I heard a strange debate on the radio yesterday about whether or not the NHS (UK National Health Service) should fund dance classes for the obese to help them lose weight. People were calling in complaining that the taxpayer would have to fit the bill for something which was essentially a self-induced illness, caused by laziness and greed. Much like treating cancers and illnesses related to smoking.

In principle I think these classes are a nice idea. Exercising alone can be daunting and a lonely enterprise, especially with no-one to encourage you. Also making it fun means people enjoy it more, and it doesn't feel like hard work. But the truth is millions are spent each year on unused gym memberships - and this is something people (who are body/health conscious) actually pay for out of their own pockets and still don't utilise.


So sure - go ahead and put this in place, because there are always one or two people who will benefit. I'd also suggest a nominal fee of something like £2 per class, as opposed to making it totally free. I think if you put a value on something, people feel they want to get their money's worth, and may commit to it a bit more. But, as much as I hate saying it, I'd also not be surprised if the scheme fails to successfully take off, thanks to the fact that most of us are just innately lazy. Which reminds me, I really really need to get back to the gym.

Picture: Richard Simmons