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23:59 G.M.T. 31/12/ 2009: Looking forward_

Helmut Lang, Autumn-Winter 2001. NEW YORK

Black is the colour of my true love’s hair
Her lips are like some roses fair. She has the sweetest smile the gentlest hands. And I love the ground whereon she stands. Nina Simone – Old folk song




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The Sweetest Thing_ This is the best show since The Wire. I absolutely love this! Definitely warms the cockles and leaves you feeling well… quite gleeful, really. Tender, funny, clever… could go on forever! Its like the final, logical outcome of generations of celluloid Teen America. It draws the line from Grease, Fame and Hairspray through to screwball comedies like Porky’s and more recent films such as High School Musical. The songs are brilliant, acting solid, characters loveable, script ingenious. Not usually my cup of tea this sort of thing but I’m hooked. F**king ACE.



As white as the driven snow…Clean lines. White on white. Minimal, simple and oh, so chic. Just the way I like it. The lovely white folder icons can be downloaded from http://www.samuco.net/SW/. Look for Coloured Folder Creator Pro. About $5. Go on…

Just click the command button + i key on the desired folder you’d like to change to open up the information panel. Drag the new folder art of choice onto the folder icon on the top left hand corner of panel. Easy.

Be very afraid…

Ba‘al Zebûb

Ba‘al Zebûb

As mentioned, in an earlier post, I’ve been watching reruns of 10 Years Younger on Channel 4 on Demand (online streaming.) For those not familiar with the show its basically a make-over show. Our Nicky (presenter of  series 1 – 5, Myleene Klass took over series 6 with less spec-tacular results) basically stalks her prey, downtrodden women who’ve lost their mojo on the fringes of society, and transforms them, with the help of her sidekicks, into swans. The aim is to make them look at least 10 years younger than the age a poll of a hundred people thought they were.

“What’s the problem with that?” you ask.  Well, its just the fact that its a supreme bitchfest mascara-ding as a cosmetic loving shoulder to cry on with the add-on benefit of a Wardrobe Redemption. Brilliant!

team nicky

Cruel Intentions // Team Nicky

Its wicked fun. Nicky stalks her prey in say, Walton-On-Thames, par example. Gladys, fish finger feeder, mother of 10, wife of Gary, frequenter of Aldi [cheap supermaché], guzzler of one too many G & Ts… a life of mid-life misery. More wrinkles than a road map. Drabby chic. A worthwhile cause for Nicky H.J. and her sidekicks. Watch them slice off droopy post-natal flab, chemical peel off the patina of too many nights spent at The Sparrow and The Cockatoo drinking establishment, fix that crooked smile of chattery teeth, revitalise those knackered, thinning locks… Oh, yes, they can do wonders. And watch Nicky team with a theme. Concoct outfits of such sheer colour blind audacity that they would leave Sue Pollard reeling. “You look, fahbulous.” Canary yellow cardi? Natch. Boot cut indigo denims? Oh, yeah baby, we’re on a roll! Lime green faux patent belt – our Nicks loves a bit of waist action, she does. Ooooh, she coos, something’s missing. We need a finishing touch. How about… JADE PLATFORM ESPADRILLES? Perfect for the school run and you’d look smashing queuing at the Job Centre or Post Office. Thank me later, sweetie… Honestly.

Gok, you’re on next, you lanky cocktail straw of sartorial derision. You have been Wan-ed…

specsavers

Team With A Theme// Match your specs to your outfit. Clever, no?


Before

Raw Material// My Life In Wolverhampton or Somewhere Similar

bloodbath

Its a bloodbath…

after

Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful…

Feeling decidedly scroogish, I headed off to Dulwich Village on Christmas day to join a very good friend of mine, her family and her Italian fiancé [stra bello, lui] for lunch. Working a killer look I was – Armani dinner shirt with grosgrain bow detail on the collar, nude silk cardi, embroidered scarf, dark denim and schoolboy shoes. Looked fierce, I must say. Lunch was a bit of a let down we all agreed. I mean, cold Christmas pudding?  Anyway, my friend and her parents, very lovely people, invited  me to spend the night at their cottage in Shere. Shere’s a very lovely village that’s been the idyllic backdrop to many a film, most recent being The Holiday. Jude Law nearly had to have an outfit change in their lounge!

The Love Cats

Gawd, to be out of the city! Real trees! Fresh air! Ahh, this is the life…

Their cottage is actually older than America! Get this, I slept in a room that’s been in existence before Christopher Columbus made that famous voyage! I joked with my friend’s fiancé about how the Italians let go of their discovery. I quipped that Christopher missed mama’s cookin’ so much that he had to make a prompt u-turn back.

The following morning, after a hearty breakfast of ham, eggs and pork pie, we walked across the fields to a pub where we knocked back a few jolly pints of local ale – the Shere Drop. Mmmmmm, salt and vinegar crisps are THE BEST. There was a power cut and the blazing log fire threw up images of Dickensian England and all sorts. Sore point: people must have been a damn sight shorter in those days. Many an unfortunate encounter with a beam on the ceiling… Ouch!

Mad Dogs

PS: That’s me in the foreground with green wellies. Country Gent.

PPS: I had a very lovely, lovely time.

addendum: By Juicy’s request my Boxing Day outfit consisted of said dinner shirt, now in crumpled state, disheveled blazer, knackered looking nude cardi, Burberry wool trench and… wellies. Green ones borrowed from a neighbour. Size 11’s are hard to come by. Oh, what fun we had traipsing through the fields and puddles of mud. I looked hilarious. And we somehow managed to unhinge a kissing gate. Farmer Giles will not be impressed…

Well Sometimes I Go Out, By Myself, And I Look Across The Water.

And I Think Of All The Things, Of What You’re Doing, And in my head I Paint A Picture.

The Zutons, Valerie, from “Tired of Hanging Around”  2006

24th December, 2009. Hampstead Heath, London. A Georgian townhouse. Nondescript in a street full of Georgian townhouses, all immaculately kept. Christmas lights from Heals twinkling expensively from tall, expensive windows. Hushed. Organic turkeys pre-ordered months ago from an organic farm somewhere in Wiltshire, perhaps. The silence broken occasionally by the sound of a black cab pulling up, the rustle of thick, plush carrier bags from Liberty, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Harrods… “Keep the change,” uttered with a smile and followed by, “Merry Christmas.” For weeks it had been like this. No different to last year.

Valerie St.Claire watched from a first floor window. It had been snowing earlier but now it was just wet. Grim. The word she was looking for. She sighed and turned away.

25th December, 2009. Christmas Day. It started as usual. 7:30AM she woke up and showered. Mark was still asleep. He snored neatly in a precisely timed, not too loud way. Everything about her husband of fifteen years was neat. Neat haircut, hair greying slightly at the temples, neat work suits tailored by Timothy Everest – a new one every year. Neat handmade Berlutti shoes. Yes, neat...

Adrian, their thirteen year old son was still in bed. He’d been up until 4AM on his Wii. Valerie didn’t mind this. She had a few hours to herself. Radio 4. Tea. Muesli. Peace and quiet.

12:30PM. In the kitchen. The turkey had been in for two hours. She was following Delia’s way this year after watching her Christmas special on the telly. Not that she needed to. Valerie was an exceptional cook. Mark and Adrian were downstairs in The Boys Room. A den of sorts in the basement fully kitted out with boys toys – 60inch flat screen TV, Wii for two, battered sofa, table football, Mark’s collection of vintage model cars… They were watching Top Gear on repeat. Loudly. The sound of revved up engines and Jeremy Clarkson sped its way up the stairs. Valerie shut the kitchen door. Peace… and quiet.

Valerie felt nothing. She wondered when she emotionally flatlined, when she stopped being a trophy wife and became a shadow in her own home. Being a trophy wife meant that in some way she still mattered at least. She held up her hand towards the window and watched the light bounce off her wedding ring. Neatly cut sapphire set in a neat silver band. Bulgari. She reached into the cupboard beneath the sink and rummaged for her secret stash of cigarettes. That was the one place Mark and Adrian would never go. She stepped out onto the decking that overlooked the back garden and lit one up. It was cold but she somehow liked the way the coldness felt against her skin. She blew smoke rings towards the sky. Amy Winehouse’s voice drifted from the portable radio, Bush, above the sink:

Oh Wont You Come On Over, Stop Making A Fool Out Of Me, Oh Why Don’t You Come On Over, Valerie…

In a way they were lucky. Mark hadn’t been affected by the credit crunch, quite the opposite, actually. Financial lawyers were being kept very busy… Tim and Phil, the gay couple from next door, often asked her why she didn’t go back to work. She truthfully didn’t know the answer to that. She had been a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum. That was where she met Mark, at a charity ball. He was sat at the table next to her and couldn’t keep his eyes off her all night. He’d asked her to dance and when he put his arm around her waist she knew that very moment that this was the man she was going to marry. It had felt right. He’d won the bid for a romantic stay for two in St. Barts. They’d gone together. That was sixteen years ago, a lifetime. When Adrian was born she never thought it was possible to feel so happy, so complete. Somewhere along the line things changed. She supposed it all started when Adrian got sick. Leukemia. Mark’s side of the family. Valerie reasoned that Mark had felt in some way responsible. He’d laughed at her when she suggested counselling. So many nights spent holding vigil, holding on to hope, waiting for a miracle… In the end their prayers were answered. Valerie quit work to look after their son but their marriage never recovered. Something died. Mark started staying increasingly late at the office, working more and more weekends, spending a lot of time when he was home either locked up in his study or down in The Boys Room. For a while she often wished that Mark was having an affair but she knew deep down that he wasn’t. As terrible as it sounds an affair would have at least given her something to react to rather than this nothingness.

A shadow in her own home. Adrian had changed too. She didn’t recognise her son anymore.  To have come so close to death so young… At some point her son began resenting her. It wasn’t just teenage angst. That she could handle. This was something else. Something dark, furtive and disconcerting. A shadow...

Valerie put out her cigarette, ran it under the tap just in case and put it in the bin, making sure that it was hidden under a layer of rubbish. What happened next was something she couldn’t explain. She turned the knob on the oven to maximum as the turkey sizzled away happily in its juices and nearly two packets of butter. The Delia Way… She then opened the door of the fridge and retrieved the two bottles of champagne, three white wines and Adrian’s bottle of diet coke she’d put in earlier. She uncorked the champagne and wine and unscrewed the lid of the diet coke. Hiss… Carefully, slowly she poured the contents of each bottle down the sink and placed the empty bottles back in the fridge, labels facing up, perfectly lined. Neat.

The potatoes! She grabbed the roasting tin, laden with Desirées pre-boiled and pre-bashed with semolina, from the specially commissioned work surface, placed it on the top shelf in the oven and turned on the grill. She liked the way the sudden blast of heat felt against her skin.The turkey would soon start to blacken…

Quietly, she walked upstairs to their bedroom. In sickness and in health… She reached for her coat, Michael Kors, black cashmere. Coat belted, black calf skin boots on, Valerie grabbed her passport from her dresser and slid it into a pocket. Quietly, she walked downstairs, left her house keys, wedding ring and mobile phone on the marble topped table by the front door in a neat line. She had her purse – Bottega Veneta, last year’s Christmas present – with her credit cards and a hundred pounds in twenties in it. More than enough. Quietly she let herself out without looking back, gently shut the door and walked down the street. She hailed a cab when she got round the corner. “St. Pancras, please. The Eurostar terminal.”

* * *

Postscript. Yes, I know, our heroine would have known that it was impossible to travel on the Eurostar due to the disrupted train service this Christmas. However, for the sake of narrative let’s suspend belief. I like the idea of personal redemption and a metaphorical up yours being marred by franco-anglais incompetence. Life can be so cruel…

‘Tis the season to be jolly, etc, etc.

How best to celebrate than by paying homage to fashion’s Literary Golden Girls? The Trinity: Sarah “La Mower” Mower [style.com], Suzy “La Quiff” Menkes [The International Herald Tribune], Cathy “Whats the 501s” Horyn [The New York Times]? Gawd bless ’em. Where would we be without their kind, soothing and sometimes reproachful but always insightful words? Eh? I wait with bated breath for a whole new year of reviews and critiques. Take it away girls!

Jingle belles, jingle belles…


Santa’s Angels

Have a good one, dear reader

Le Fist

PS: How AMAZING would a Vogue cover a la Naomi, Cindy, et al be? Anna, are you listening?

I must say,  the Christmas windows have been a tad bit disappointing in the City of Lights. Galleries Lafayette: Le Shocking!! I mean, super tacky. Worth the trawl through the scrum to make it to the food hall, though! Yumm!


Anyway, I just had lunch with a darling friend of mine – my second lunch of the day; all I seem to be doing is eat, eat, eat!

Anyway, she’s done the most beautiful window artwork for Monsieur Red Soles. Simple and playful and yes, very festive. Very talented, this friend of mine. Finally! A window worth looking at. It seems to be doing the trick and pulling the punters in. Very lovely shop and the Louboutin cobblers further down in the arcade is a very sweet touch. Great to see a brand with personality.

Anyway, seems like I’m finally going to be able to leave Paris. Booked on a morning flight. Bloody Eurostar!!! Merde!



About bloody time, that’s what I say! Just downloaded Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In the Name without even listening to it first. Might be jumping on the sonic bandwagon but me does not care, sweets. The Chronicles of the Desperate Climb of a Tweeny Twerp called Joe Mcelderry. Blaaahhhh.

Enough of this senseless aural torture, of having to listen to glorified departure lounge music Every. Bloody. Crimbo. As some whiney, desperate newly crowned “Star” gives their bloody tonsils a workout in criminal bid to get to number one. Go on RATM, I’m right behind you. At least you’re a real band and not some obnoxious creation from the bowels of Simon “Lucifer” Cowell & Co. Jeeez, its enough reason to bring back public execution at the Tower of London. Off with his HEAD!!! Now that would make my Christmas No.1.

Don’t even get me started on the human mop that goes by the name of Cheryl…

I am something Livid!

[Actually, more to come on Crispy Cole and her Dubious Wardrobe Decisions]

Mornin’, folks. Just had breakfast. A lot of American ladieeees downstairs. A teachers convention. Time to pack up, daily grind an’ all dat.