You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2010.

Mad Tracey from Margate wants a swimming pool on every street corner.

This brings back memories of my alma mater Charterhouse.

The chapel at Charterhouse was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, who also designed Battersea Power Station.

A museum is a ridiculous place to practise censorship. In fact, the art going up at this exhibit is more scandalous than I am!

(Dita Von Teese, Twitter)

The original heading for this post was “Dita Von Teese: Bristol’s Out”, but I decided that this was too lame for a high-minded and serious politico-cultural blog. Or even this one.

Dita Von Teese (a.k.a. Heather Sweet) could be the next Mrs Stainforth if she would only dump that smarmy French count.

Oh, and I’m not making this up. Jack FM is a real radio station.

A row has broken out at Bristol City Council over the appearance of Dita Von Teese at an event at Bristol’s City Museum. The burlesque star was due to perform at the launch party of the Art from the New World exhibition on Friday evening.

The city council says it’s delighted to be hosting the exhibition, which is a mixture of urban and contemporary artists from the new American art scene. The exhibition opens to members of the public on Saturday, May 15. But the appearance of the international star has provoked outrage from equality campaigners and councillors. Bristol’s Labour Party group leader Helen Holland said she was “appalled”, adding in an email to a Bristol resident who complained that, “I would like to know just who in the Council’s officer or political leadership knows about this, and what they were thinking of when they approved it”.

A Bristol City Council legal officer said that the performance did not break regulations concerning equalities, adding that senior members of the council were aware of the performance. But Mrs Holland remains unconvinced.

“I am a gender equality consultant and I have been unable among all my professional colleagues to find a single expert on gender equality who does not agree that this event acts against the interests of women’s equality,” she said. “The Council, unlike private bodies, is bound to consider the impact of its decisions on gender equality. This is not optional: it is enshrined in legislation for a reason. I am appalled and bitterly disappointed at the lack of gender equality awareness demonstrated thus far.”

Campaign group Equality South West told Jack FM: “This amounts to a public body spending public money on the gratuitous debasement of women. Bristol City Council has a legal obligation to promote equality so should be supporting women, not demeaning them. This is a disappointing mistake by Bristol City Council, and we sincerely hope they change their mind and stop the stripper from attending.”

Jack FM – Playing What We Want

If you are one of those people who back a horse based on the colour of the jockey’s silks, these pics of the three main party leaders’ wives may help you decide who to vote for.

Sarah Brown

Samantha Cameron

Miriam González Durántez

His opera was mauled, and his Berlioz song-cycle reportedly had people running for the exits. Yet Rufus Wainwright is to be applauded for having a go, writes Tom Service in the Guardian. Tom himself “has a go” at Rupert Christiansen, who did not attend Wainwright’s disastrous performance of Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Été, but still wrote about it. He then says, throwing in a bit of French (Pretentious? Moi?):

The point is, though, Wainwright was trying. OK, so Berlioz’s fantastically demanding song-cycle might not have been the way to do it, but I think the singer deserves plaudits for not being intimidated by the pointlessly rarefied reputation of la musique classique, and allowing himself the chance to sing a repertoire he loves.

Yes, and thanks to Rufus for allowing people to pay to hear him sing the repertoire he loves.

This confirms all my suspicions about Tom Service.

Tom and Rufus, sitting in a tree …

1979 saw the beginning of 18 years of Tory rule. Within three years, The Jam had split up, i.e. Paul Weller got pissed off with the other two and formed The Style Council. Who wants to go through something like that again?

The current leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, went to Eton.

(Sunday People)

She is Britain’s favourite domestic goddess – but Nigella Lawson, Queen of Gastroporn admits she never watches food shows and hardly ever opens a cookery book. Her no-nonsense approach in the kitchen has made the sexy 50-year-old a household name. But in a frank interview, she confesses TV programmes by celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay leave her cold.

She said: “I have an absolute policy of not watching. I don’t want to be told there is only one way of making something and I don’t want to pick up someone’s ideas. I don’t read cook books either – I don’t like being stuck to one formula. I don’t mind going to restaurants but I would sooner order steak and chips.”

The mother of two shot to fame 10 years ago on the Channel 4 hit Nigella Bites. Since then she has amassed an estimated £8 million fortune and sold more than three million recipe books worldwide. But she has regularly courted controversy by using so much dairy in her cookery, even though it’s blamed for obesity and a raft of other health problems.

Unrepentant Nigella said: “I don’t think there is anything wrong with cream and butter – I see it as moisturiser for the insides. People have gone on for years about butter and how bad it can be but we now realise margarine is much worse.”

She went on: “People get too hysterical when you mention cream. One day I have some and then occasionally I have more – but it is not an everyday thing. Where you have problematic obesity and health issues, I don’t feel it is caused by people who eat butter, cheese or cream. It is caused by people who eat food that is not real.”

Nigella added with a smile: “I do eat healthily but unfortunately I eat for at least five people. People should not be too holy about it all.”

She applauds Oliver’s campaign for healthier diets – but warns against chefs getting too preachy. Speaking as she launched a new piece of iPhone software which sends her recipes to users’ mobiles, she said: “Nobody wants to be told ‘Don’t eat that’ if they are a fat lump.”

These cause earthquakes

A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes. Apparently, he’s serious.

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes,” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

He went on: “Now, if a natural earthquake hits Tehran, no one will be able to confront such a calamity but God’s power, only God’s power … So let’s not disappoint God.”

His challenge has been met. Today is International Boobquake Day.

Jen McCreight on her blog Blag Hag responded to this remarkable claim by urging women to dress immodestly to try and trigger global seismic events:

On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own.Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that’s your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake.

My Personal Assistant, Miss McKenzie, is way out in front of the sistaz on this one, but I haven’t felt anything yet.


A long strange history of understanding earthquakes as a punishment for other people’s sex lives

The self-taught Argentine tenor, star of David McVicar’s new Aïda, talks to Emma Pomfret of the Times.

He is in town for Verdi’s Aïda, directed by David McVicar. It is Alvarez’s debut as Radames, the heroic Egyptian general caught in a love triangle between Aïda, a prisoner, and the scorned princess Amneris.

“I’m very engaged with the production,” Alvarez announces, explaining that this Aïda is no “earthy” Egypt but a mix of evocative ancient traditions: Aztec Mexico, Ancient Greece and samurai warriors. “It looks a little like Stargate.”

“Normally Radames is sung with a big warrior voice: ‘Wah, wah, bah, bah!’ ” Alvarez barks like an hysterical seal.

“I don’t have the body of a young man, but I’m athletic. I can move well on stage.”

“The audience think we are capricious billionaires; 20 or 30 years ago, yes, but not now. It’s not true.”

His greatest vitriol is reserved for opera bloggers, whose continual criticism and sniping gossip, he says, damages singers. “Perhaps you sing one bad performance and these websites attack and blow it out of proportion. They always write: bad, bad, bad!” he rants, drowning out the translator in English. “Some artistic directors read these sites and a lot of contracts go.” This hasn’t happened to him, and he cannot give me a direct example but, he says: “I know it has happened. This is the real cancer of our opera world.”

They know who they are.

“Look at it oozing out.”
“In go the nuts.”

Black Dogs Defined

This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies)

Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

(Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)

This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me.

(Emily Dickinson, This is my letter to the world)

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, Second Fig)

R.A.D. Stainforth

I was born before The Beatles’ first LP and brought up in the reeking slums of Jericho. I am in love with a woman called Hazel and in love with her daughter, also called Hazel, both of whom I met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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