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Click to embiggen Nigella Lawson

(Source: Telegraph)

Nigella Lawson has called in lawyers to deny claims that she bought “under the counter” foie gras at Selfridges in London.

The Queen of Gastroporn and Caramel Bukkake vehemently denied a newspaper report published at the weekend suggesting that she bought the controversial French delicacy from Jack O’Shea, a prominent butcher, at his former concession in the department store.

Although production of foie gras – made from the enlarged livers of force-fed geese – is banned in Britain, it can be sold legally and is stocked in a number of London shops.

Selfridges banned it on animal welfare grounds two years ago after a high-profile campaign led by Sir Roger Moore, the former James Bond actor. Mr O’Shea, however, continued to offer it for sale to a select group of customers who requested it using the code name “French fillet” (reminding me of the sinister butcher of Royston Vasey, Hilary Briss, from The League of Gentlemen). He who said he prided himself on his animal welfare standards, and was unrepentant after his dismissal from Selfridges last year. He said at the time: “I couldn’t give a damn, my conscience is clear. Stuffing a goose with grain is like stuffing me with Guinness.”

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An Opera Singer

Rupert Christiansen reviews Rusalka at the Royal Opera House

I only hope that the furious booing with which it was greeted at the curtain call means that it will be returned to sender at the earliest opportunity.

Reactions to Rusalka

Yet another shit let’s shock production of a very dull opera …

(The Daily Telegraph, 31 October 1948)

Celebratory Gunfire in Syria and Jordan Welcomes State of Israel

After more than 2,000 years of wandering and persecution, including six million deaths at the hand of Nazi Germany, the Jewish people have finally established a homeland, Israel, a place of safety and peace nestled between Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

“No longer will the Jewish race live in a constant state of fear and endangerment, its very existence threatened at every turn by outsiders,” said David Ben-Gurion, the new nation’s first Prime Minister, addressing a jubilant crowd at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. “Here in Israel, we are safe, far from those who seek to destroy us.”

For two millennia, the Jewish people have wandered without a home, facing an endless series of hostile enemies. With the establishment of a sovereign Jewish state in the stable heart of the Middle East, Israeli officials believe this 2,000-year ordeal has at last come to an end.

Mr. Ben-Gurion himself said that he looks forward to years of harmony and co-operation with Israel’s neighbouring states. “Last night, from my window, I could hear great explosions coming from the Gaza Strip. How wonderful of the Palestinian peoples there to celebrate our arrival with fireworks.”

In an official greeting to Israel yesterday, Egypt’s King Farouk issued the following statement: “Egypt does not and will not ever recognize the so-called state of Israel’s right to exist. Israel is a land built on Jewish lies and the spilled blood of countless Arabs.”

As a token of goodwill, the Syrian authorities presented Mr. Ben-Gurion with a burning Israeli flag and a telegram reading: “May you be swifly driven into the sea and drowned.”

Mr. Ben-Gurion said that without the need to defend itself from enemies, Israel will be free to spend tens of millions of pounds on domestic development that other nations would be forced to earmark for a defence budget. Military expenditures are expected to account for a mere two per cent of the country’s overall budget, as Israel will be a place of peace, not war.

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 …

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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