Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Blakey poo

While Britney Spears may have been the Exciting Crazy Girl to watch last week, I personally think Amy Winehouse is loads more exciting to cyber-blog-stalk. I could sit around all day F5ing gossip pages excitedly waiting for the next Winehouse installment. However, today, I was truly disgusted with what I read about our poor wittle Amy. Doctors have apparently ordered her to cancel the rest of her UK tour and as the " intense emotional strain that Amy has been under in recent weeks" has started to "take its toll". Talk about understatement of the year. Who would disagree that Amy should be taking time off to heal (a lot of time), but Amy's personal statement of the cancellation of her tour was (how do I say this delicately?) pathetic:

“I can’t give it my all onstage without my Blake. I’m so sorry but I don’t want to do the shows half-heartedly; I love singing. My husband is everything to me and without him it’s just not the same.”

Move over Pete and Kate - the co-dependancy junkies-in-love bar has just been risen. So rather than wait for Amy to get over her precious "Blakey" I went hunting for a suitable replacement: enter Ms. Jones. No, I don't mean the other half of Me & Mr. Jones but rather the soulful voice of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, a Brooklyn-based band making a name for themselves by recreating the sound of '60s and '70s funk and soul. The rich sound might seem familiar as The Dap Kings were shipped in by Mark Ronson to give Amy Winehouse's album an authentic sound, but who needs Wino when you've got someone like Sharon Jones?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Along with being a mother, an actress, and a Saint - Angelina Jolie is now a writer. Oh yes. Jolie was asked to write an article for The Economist for their The World 2008 spin-off issue where the publication makes predictions for the next coming year. Jolie will have a picture and byline to accompany her piece, which describes her as the goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (It did not mention that she gets to shag Brad Pitt whenever she wants.) Surely, it's The Economist’s way of pretending they didn’t use an actress to write about one of the greatest genocides of our time. According to The Guardian, her article will cover, "accountability for the atrocities in Darfur sits alongside contributions from several presidents, an exiled god-king, the head of the United Nations and other political heavyweights".

As for today's other news, Brad and Angie have reportedly purchased a man-made island off the coast of Dubai in the shape of Ethiopia and intend to "intend to use the reclaimed piece of land to showcase environmental issues and encourage people to live a greener life." Because it's so smart and so green to give a country based on oil profits $30 million for a freaking island that’s going to get blown up when Dumbya gets around to invading Iran and the straits get blocked.

Oh, and lastly (or rather ghastly) guess who stars in the upcoming Beowulf adaptation? If you were a cynic, you might think there is no better way to promote a new movie than appearing in The Economist’s The World in 2008, at least for Saint-Angelina. This spin-off issue of The Economist is out today, selling at £4.95, and also features pieces by Nancy Pelosi, the Dalai Lama, and Michael Bloomberg. Get your copy from Odeon, sorry, Amazon.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Secret success?

It's no secret that Charlie Brooker is my favourite columnist. His latest piece had me slumped in a continuous cackle. In it, Brooker claims to be a sad loser -- a "tragic singleton" -- who's "useless at every single aspect of holidays" and is therefore staying at home. Now, some would make this a claim to virtue -- "Save the Earth, holiday at home as I'm doing!" But that would not only be unBrookeresque, it would be unBritish. Never, ever (if you want British people to like you) present yourself as someone ethical, responsible, admirable, aspirational. Never pitch camp on high moral ground. Assume, instead, the position of a pitiful inadequate. Talk often about "my crushing sense of failure". Drop to your knees in front of your readers, weeping and swearing. Punch your head with a spike, no, two spikes. Beat your breast, shouting about your utter crapness, while spraying mace into your own face and...

Sorry, I'm getting carried away. That's how Charlie Brooker would write this piece. It would be filled with cartoon violence, either against himself or others, preferably both. Take paragraph six of his holiday piece, for instance. It's really an entire short story in itself, and the misanthropy it displays is hilariously psychopathic.

But could Brooker's self-deprecation be just a cunningly-disguised sort of self-love, because (in Britain at least) it never ever comes with promises of self-improvement? Narcissism, negative narcissism, same difference. In love with my virtues, in love with my vices, whatever.

So I guess I do part company with Brooker -- and Britain as a whole -- on this question of the toxicity of all aspiration. Certainly, it can't be emphatically "far better to just sit here and sneer at the lot of it".

Of course, it may be that Brooker just wants to make people laugh -- and that's an aspiration not to be sneered at. But can he really be as miserable as he pretends? Is the secret of Charlie Brooker's unsuccess that he hasn't got any? Is his ultraviolence really ultra-friendliness, a desire to see bitter British faces creased and smiling? And is it the rest of us -- with our self-sustaining self-satisfaction -- who are the true psychopaths?

Mid-week pick-me-up

If you woke up this morning and were feeling a bit down about work, and started to feel as if you weren't sure what you were doing in life - perhaps this video can help. Behold Sesame Street's "Women can be anything!" song. While they didn't mention that women can be famous bloggers, it still made me feel better. Enjoy.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Trash in bed?

As a frequent sufferer of insomnia I allow myself the odd trashy celeb magazine purchase. In an effort to stimulate seratonin production some people opt for hot milk or a hot bath while others avoid alcohol. For me there is something about paparazzi snaps of Amy Winehouse running through the streets of London in her tattered pink ballerina slippers, dripping Rimmel liquid eyeliner and blood everywhere that I find soothing.

Soothing, that is, until I opened up Elle magazine the other night to read a writer's account of being sent on assignment to Africa with Bill Clinton. Somehow she managed to stop drooling and quivering to type up her story for the December issue. And whilst she doesn't want you to think that she fancies the pants off him or anything ("The va-va-voom of Clinton's touch has dissipated in the years since I first met him. He appears older than his years. And he knows it.") but the poor woman just can't help herself and blurts out, "He seemed to pulse with pheromones, and a moment's eye contact had been a sexually discombobulating experience." But OH. It gets better. This writer should seriously rethink her career; she'd make a great Mills & Boon novelist.

"At every hotel and every restaurant and on every tarmac, he pauses to press the flesh, and there's always so much to press...His intellectual and humanistic appetites remain voracious, and when his gaze sweeps the dinner table and catches you, you feel as if you have been X-rayed by the eye of Sauron, the flabbiness of your own cerebrum exposed."

Do you feel really heady and uncomfortable, too? Like, you just read someone's explicit diary entry about how they've got a feverish crush on your close friend's father? too. So much for the trash in bed theory. Tonight it's The Economist.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

First ladies and babies

Apologies for the blogging hiatus. But, I am back with a bang: a video clip from The Daily Show that is up there with one of the best things I have ever seen. Apparently Maria Shriver gathered the Presidential candidates wives together for "The Women's Conference 2007", where they discussed their lives, babies, what it's like to be married to men who are seemingly more important than they are and, well, babies. The best bit is when Maria Shriver asks the women if the American public is voting for a couple, or just their husband, and Elizabeth Edwards responds, "I hope they're voting strictly for the candidate." And then Maria Shriver responds, "Then what's your relevance?" HARSH.

I found this whole segment hysterical. I'm sure the women did talk about things other than babies and family life, pot luck and changing tables...I just can't think of what.

And why wasn't Bill Clinton invited?