Friday, July 27, 2007


They are some things in life that neither money nor Mastercard can buy: Bush posing as O.J. Simpson being one of them. He never ceases to make me laugh when he is not making me wail. As if socks and sandals wasn't the ugliest look ever invented, Dubya has to top the look with Crocs. But what has he ever understood about anything?

If there is one thing that seems interminable beyond this summer's monsoon it's waiting for George Bush to get his comeuppance. Living through the dying days of his presidency is starting to seem like some horror film in which the hero is the country, and the president is this disturbing, pig-headed, oblivious villain who makes things worse and worse and worse. Poor Gordo literally camped up with him this weekend.

On that note let's get thinking about better ways to spend our time with the 36th edition of City Slicker's "Week's Action, Weekend Reaction":

1) Has today's news about Asbos made you desperate to misbehave? React by heading to The Queef of Terence, a new play with no manners, from the comedy sirens behind the Bird Flu Diaries. Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High St. Sunday 7:30PM. 020 7482 4857.

2) Does the thought of a traditional village fete summon up images of Springfield Retirement Castle? React by checking out the V&A's hipster version manned by 30 designers and creatives (provided they find their way west from Hackney). The V&A, Cromwell Road, Fri 6.30-10pm, Sat 1-5pm, £3.

3) Have you have always fancied yourself a fan of Keats' cockney poetry but never made it to his erstwhile home in Hampstead? React by heading there this weekend before it closes for renovation and in time for a one-hour play, "Keats in Hampstead" about the old Romantic. Keats House, 10 Keats Grove, NW3 020 7435 2062. 3PM Sat + Sun. £3.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What a croc!

There are women other women love to hate and women other women hate to love. And then there are women other women would love to hate but need a reason: enter Kate Middleton. Sorry but who goes to Mahiki clad in nautical stripes? Perhaps the same press pimping princess who dare be cast under the curse of Crocs. The hideous things look like clumsy rubbery clogs with large perforations. They're called Crocs because they resemble a reptile's snout.

But really I am not that petty. My now overflowing (think Tewkesbury) dislike of Kate M (not to be confused with the beloved Moss) has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with farce. Lest you forget Toiletgate. From the start their break-up just didn’t smell right. She has always had the look on her face like there’s a bewildered canary fluttering behind her pearly white grill.

Now it's all back on between Kate and Wills and the press is left with egg on its face. Bluff, double-bluff. Just weeks ago Kate was making new paparazzi complaints and today she is the centrefold of a state-sponsored photo op. You didn't for a second think that after the recent BBC fake pictures scandal the meedja would risk printing anything not signed, sealed and photo shopped by Her Royal Majesty, did you?

But maybe I am being harsh. After all, how is a practicing princess to get noticed in today's media scrum? It's not as if she can start flashing her bits around like Britney. No wonder she had to resort to charity.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bummer of a summer

It's hard to believe that in July last year Britain was basking in record-breaking heat as temperatures soared above 35C. I know, I know - summertime in England is supposed to be drab and rainy, but not this drab and rainy, and certainly not for this long.

At least we seem to have avoided another hosepipe ban. But, what ever happened to global warming doing what it says? You can say what you like about his foreign policy, but the weather was much better under Blair. Brown needs to get a grip.

But enough condemning our so-called "summer", it's time for the 35th edition of City Slicker's "Week's Action, Weekend Reaction":

1) Has today's news about how much we are spending on illicit affairs left you shocked and awed? React with a cheaper "pass the butter"(and I am not talking toast) moment of your own with a Last Tango in Paris. Various times, check BFI website.

2) Has the recent demise of cold war diplomacy left you feeling part of a mutual spitting competition? React by hiding out at the exhibit Paper Baglady and Other Stories. It's the perfect disguised art show for a rainy summer in a jittery country. Timothy Taylor Gallery, Dering Street W1, Sat 10AM-1PM, to Aug 31.

3) Does the reopening of the "shoot to kill inquiry" remind you of the blindness of sectarianism? React with a comedic take on the Troubles and catch Mojo Mickybo, a tale of two boys growing up in 1970s Belfast who fancy themselves as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Trafalgar Studios, Fri 6:30 & 9PM, Sat (last day) 2:30PM & 7:30PM. From £10.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Some dislike it hot

Maybe it's because I am American and we are rumoured to be filled with 'unbridled optimism' (feel free to substitute the second word at will) that I tend to prefer reviewing theatre which I have enjoyed not just endured. For this reason you have not seen a review here of Harold Pinter's Betrayal currently on at the Donmar, nor his play the Dumb Waiter back when it was on at Trafalgar Studios. Please don't read any moral overtone to such self-imposed editorial line; it's just, well, I could never compete with the wonderful West End Whingers.

But, as today is press day for the NT's production of Pinter's The Hothouse you will likely be sandwiched armpit deep on the tube next to someone reading an Evening Standard review (or Guardian depending on your train's demographics). And after sitting/sleeping through the performance last night I feel obliged to offer up a disclaimer: there is good reason it was written in 1958 and not produced until 1980. It's just a shame it didn't stay gathering dust.

The Hothouse is not, by Pinter standards, a subtle play. (In this sense, it's the perfect Pinter for Pinterphobes.) It is an unusually antic variation on the usual Pinter themes (you know, Fascism, humanity's inhumanity, the unknowability of people, the slipperiness of memory and language). But the NT's production was everything good theatre is not: forced and unoriginal. Following in the existentialist tradition, in addition to writing absurd characters and situations, sitting through a production of The Hothouse felt absurd in and of itself.

It certainly makes Saint Joan the divine option of current NT offerings. And that has nothing to do with the effigy of a French woman being burned at the stake. I pray thee, nothing.

Saint Joan
National Theatre, until 4th Sept
seats from £10, book here

Back to blog

To this site's regular readers, I apologise for my absence of late. I wish I could blame it on the need for a personal wino watch. But things have been particularly dry of late (indoors, that is). And who am I to talk. At least Amy has started turning up again, although - at least according to The Sun - not totally successfully:

Regular service resumes from today.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bored by Beckham

If Los Angeles' newest sports star makes an impact beyond reality television shows and surreal gossip columns, I will stop using lame movie metaphors to describe him, OK?

But, for now, nothing else comes to mind. David Beckham shows up to join the Galaxy soccer team and meet the Los Angeles media tomorrow, and I have but one thought. Becks, baby, where have you been? Your final game for your Real Madrid team was nearly a month ago. Since then, the Galaxy has played four games, and won one. It will play another game before you actually take the field next weekend. Becks, for $32.5 million, couldn't you have caught an earlier flight?

Baffled by Beckham.

One of the most publicised sports stars in the world shows up tomorrow more than six months after he agreed to the contract, and excuse me if I can't find the chills. He is clearly showing up not as an athlete, but a celebrity.

Beckham is past his best years, and has the sort of subtle skills that rarely fuel revivals, particularly on lousy teams. The Galaxy has won three of 12 games; I predict he won't take them anywhere but to the bank. Did you know that LA's newest sports star has a cologne, called "Instinct?" Right now, my instinct is that it smells like a yawn.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dead on arrival

'IF YOU WANT to save the planet, I want you to start jumping up and down. Come on, mother-[bleepers]!" Madonna railed from the stage at London's Live Earth concert Saturday. "If you want to save the planet, let me see you jump!"

You just can't beat that. What else could capture the canned juvenilia of a 48-year-old centimillionaire — who owns nine homes and has a "carbon footprint" nearly 100 times larger than the norm — hectoring a bunch of well-off, aging hipsters to show their Earth-love by jumping up and down like children? I suppose she could have said, "Now put your right foot in / Take your right foot out / Right foot in / Then you shake it all about…. That's what climate change is all about."

Actually, I think the "Hokey Pokey" makes more sense.

But, hey, I don't want to bash Live Earth, which is not to be confused with Live Aid (1985, dedicated to eradicating African famine) or Live 8 (2005, promising to relieve African nations' debts). So with the African continent so well-fed — and debt free! — who can blame the Celebrity Concern Industry for moving on to its next big success?

The avowed point of Live Earth was to … can you guess? That's right: raise awareness about global warming. Considering the energy required to put on the show, the nine Live Earth concerts doubtlessly raised more CO2 than awareness. But such high-minded objections sail over the chief source of Live Earth's lameness. The acts were mostly fine. But the outrage and passion felt so prepackaged you half-expected to hear from the adverts "this moral outrage is brought to you by GE's 'Ecomagination.' "

Indeed, one could say that Live Earth is proof that global warming has jumped the shark, except for the fact that the phrase "jumped the shark" has jumped the shark.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

End of a shambles

Randomly stab a bloody syringe into a tabloid paper these days, and the chances are you’ll skewer at least five pics of my favourite dishevelled rock star, Mr. Peter Doherty. Despite officially making drugs look even less cool than when that idiot from Keane pretended he had a coke addiction but really went to a diet camp for a few weeks, I have a soft spot for Pete.

So I was rather distressed with the news of late. No, not the amusing images of him lighting up on the first day of the smoking ban, it seems that they’ve actually got some genuine Pete news today.

As the piles of blood portraits, guitars and pianos being hurriedly carried into a van outside Kate’s London pad shows, it seems that the rock star-loving pin-up has kicked Pete out for good. No reports on how many kilos of cocaine and heroin the movers transported, but it was likely enough to get the poor saps offed by Colombian kingpins. Now Pete is said to be crashing in a caravan park in North London (pictured here).

Of course, nothing is certain in the world of these two, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if they were papped canoodling in some trendy spot before the end of the week. But with Pete, according to newspaper reports, cheating on Kate with another model (cheating on a model with a model, alright for some, eh?) and being forced into rehab after his latest court appearance, there does seem to be an edge of the “final” to the whole shebang.

And I must say I’m upset. Heck, the two have dated off and on for two years, forming a great, perpetually drugged-up couple in PeteMoss.

But no longer, it seems. Gentlemen of rock ‘n’ roll beware – the tiger is loose!