29.12.11

Totally appropriate family viewing

In previous years, Boxing Day was the day that my family went to the local pantomime. But since multiplex took over from humble theatre, we instead found a play to see on the 23rd and went to the cinema on the 27th to see the much-anticipated Hollywood version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Giving a book that is macabre, gritty and complex to Fincher was probably the best option when giving this series the Hollywood treatment, and from the Bond-style opening credits and the first few notes of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' melancholy, minimalist score, you are comfortable that you won't be witnessing a butchering. A combination of a subtly starry cast, led by a well-restrained Daniel Craig, some stunning shots and the exception Rooney Mara, who deserves at least an Oscar nod if not the statuette itself for her cold, clinical yet strangely vulnerable and often bitingly funny Lisbeth, carry the film through a tense and engrossing two and a half hours that you barely notice dragging.
Murder, family feuds, Nazis, sexual violence and a whole lot of body piercings would not normally be considered festive fayre. But when the package is this good, the performances this strong, and you get to watch, in the manner of Carey Mulligan in 'An Education', a truly star-birthing performance from Mara, you can definitely afford to take a break from the sloppy festive tv schedule for a while. 
Also, they have a beautiful cover of my favourite Bryan Ferry song in the credits, so that's also a win.

24.12.11

Merry Christmas


May you get all you desire.

18.12.11

I will love you 'til the end of time

There's been a lot of talk about Lana Del Ray and whether or not she's fake. How strange she looks with her bubblegum beauty, puffy lips and sullen, sultry voice. Is she really like that? Who even cares, when she sounds this good?

9.12.11

Generally rad things

This week has been about generally rad, rock and hardcore things.
Number One - blackberry lips. Stylist allowed Nigella Lawson to guest-edit an issue, and while the majority of the written content was Nigella and cohorts waxing orgasmic about steak and caramel, the beauty shoot, naturally inspired by edible things, exposed me to yet another stunning piece of brilliance from the Stylist beauty team (I'm 99% sure that their beauty features rung rings round pretty much every other magazine out there).
Phwoar. Yummy. Blackberry lip for the win (the printed photo is actually a lot darker and looks, in my opinion, much more appetising). The lipstick and gloss used to create the look are both by MAC, and being the obsessive lipstick fan that I am I hot-footed it to Selfridges to grab the kit. 
And then I got to encounter Number Two - Gareth Pugh for MAC. 

One of my favourite designers (angular, structural, dark, Gothic and Byronic) combined with my second-favourite make-up line? (Sorry guys - Illamasqua's bases are streets ahead) I WAS IN. 
Sadly the collection is relatively modest, with only two colours of each product. I might be buying the oilslick nail varnish to match my beloved oilslick Gucci tote bag, but by and large I'll just be pawing the packaging. Great collaboration though, and in a world heavy with them, it seemed like a natural pairing and a great output. 
Talking of collaborations...I went to the cinema last night and easily the best part of the whole trip was seeing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trailer on a big screen. I'll admit, when I first got wind of this remake, I did the standard 'all Hollywood remakes are shite' inner monologue that my mum trots out all the time, but the more the names started to leap out at me (Fincher, Mara) the more intrigued I became. And the names that got me REALLY excited? Trent Reznor and Karen O, covering 'Immigrant Song' for the film and its trailer. Reznor has also composed the soundtrack. And if The Social Network is anything to go by, soundtrack geeks like me are in for a treat. 
Go this way to watch an eight-minute clip (read 'really long trailer') for the film. Consider my appetite whetted.  
This has been your weekly dispatch of rad. Enjoy. 

6.12.11

We're just Barbie dolls

So you're telling me that H&M, tired of trawling through the cream of the crop to find a model with the perfect body to showcase its swimsuits and underwear sets, was so dissatisfied that it created its own virtual models in Photoshop?

Two conflicting things are going round in my head. One is that today's women are, here, being taunted by a retailer that's sole goal is to keep them interested enough to give it their money that they will NEVER be able to look this good in their clothing, because no-one, not even models, can. And the other is that we should boycott H&M and eat more cake. 

27.11.11

My first blogger event

So I finally got to move up to the exciting and cool big leagues that is the bloggers' event! Since bloggers are the new journos when it comes to the type the industry wants at its parties, and since I have a friend at a PR agency, I got an invite to the launch of Save The Children's Bag To Save A Life Appeal. Celebs from near and far and from A-list to blacklist (a bag donated by Liz Jones hung next to one donated by Erin O'Connor, the face of the initiative and, sadly, unavailable on the night) had donated their bags, and Chanel, Miu Miu and Christopher Kane hung from the walls, desperate to be touched, tried out and, ultimately, bid on to raise money for the great work done by Save The Children. 
As well as the online eBay auction of each bag, we were free to explore the rest of the store (Mary Portas' Living And Giving shop in Notting Hill), shop away, mingle and drink some bubbly while talking to fellow fashionistas. 
And admire some very stylish shopgirls - Venera, shop manager, and Marta, Volunteer. I do love girls who colour block.
And, of course, pose with the closest thing I'll get to actually touching Tilda Swinton - her Chanel bag. 
Photo by Denrele of Save The Children. Thanks to her and Lauren from House PR for the invite and a great evening!

23.11.11

Just have a listen

Occasionally I just like to share brilliant music with you guys. This chap's voice is reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, and both he and Kimbra are generally underappreciated. Listen away to see what I mean.
UPDATE - two days' later and I'm a) still obsessed and b) still annoyed that this album hasn't been released in the UK yet. 

22.11.11

The magic dress

Every girl needs one. Mine is a long-sleeved, fitted dress with scooped front and back, fitted waist and A-line skirt from ASOS. I have it in mustard and red, and wish I'd bought three of each. 
Kate Winslet's is by Stella McCartney. 
Over the past few years, Kate has blasted her way onto the scene as some kind of mix of (and I hate to generalise, but I will) Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston. Emerging from her defining role as the pampered rich girl Rose Dewitt Bukater in Titanic, tackling more challenging roles such as Sarah in Little Children and Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and putting herself firmly back in the spotlight with her double-whammy of Oscar-nominated films at the award season in 2009, while showing off an enviable body and, in the wake of her hit of the mythical 'Best Actress Curse', a hot younger man. As well as being one of the most talented actresses of her generation, and one of our most beloved exports, she also, famously and hilariously, completely forgot Angelina Jolie's name during an acceptance speech. 
All these things make her worthy of idolising. And her dress sense ain't bad, either. In the manner of Gwyneth with that minidress for the Iron Man promo circuit, Kate is a master of the statement look on the red carpet. And this dress is a demonstration of her impeccable style - simple, elegant, bombshell and flattering with a capital F. Personally, I'm loving the white. And ignoring the horrible haters in the comments section of the site I pulled these images from. 

21.11.11

Sight and Sound

I posted today on one of our clients' Facebook pages about how today is the anniversary of the invention of the gramaphone (I'm a community manager as part of my job) and how music continues to inspire us. I regularly have serious issues with that awful conundrum 'blind or deaf?' But based on some of the wonderful things that have come out of gramaphones and their descendants, I'd find it pretty hard not to be able to hear things ever again.
But then again...
This is a shot from my recent time away - the boyfriend took me to stay in a castle on the coast. The sunsets, the autumn chill in the air, the sound of owls in the woods outside. Yep, the world around us is inspiring, and all the inventions that help us experience and communicate the beauty of the world is man's greatest achievement.

I used to denounce Bon Iver as a sissy wimp. Sure, he still is, a bit. But he makes pretty things, and I never could resist a song with a big ambitious wall of sound (not literally, I know it's a technical term, but you know when the music comes at you in a deluge of different notes, instruments and themes and envelopes you, allows you to pick out all its intricacies for yourself? Like that).

18.11.11

The changing looks of Kristen Stewart

Now, I love me some Kristen Stewart. Despite the fact that she will have to spend the rest of her life rolling her eyes at directors asking her to bite her lip after every sentence, be constantly asked to promote anti-smoking campaigns due to her regularity to do that 'breathy' voice, and constantly be abused by that irritating little ponce Perez Hilton for not grinning like Lea Bloody Michelle every single minute of the day, I am still interested to see what she does. Not that I was a fan of the weird Adventureland, but anyone who impersonates Joan Jett gets a big gold star in my book. 
Plus, the girl is hot. And she can dress.
This week has seen the premiere of her penultimate outing as Bella Swan, as Breaking Dawn hits our screens. Hell, the female population of my office is spluttering in excitement. So once again, all eyes were on the screen phenomenon's easy-on-the-eye (though, from what I hear, light on the talent) trio. Would Taylor wear a shirt? Would Robert look like a stoned tramp? Would Kristen go short or long?
Because the girl is a master at the art of the red carpet, hopping between jaw-dropping floor-length gowns or daring minidresses, keeping at least half her limbs covered at all times. Smart girl. 
With her youth, edginess (read lack of tan and dark hair) and general sass, a ballgown is always going to be a hard one to pull off. Case in point, this princess frock for a New Moon premiere.
Sure, she still looks unflappably cool, but completely out of her comfort zone in all this froth. Maybe putting such a hip hipster in such a Taylor-Swift-wet-dream-style of a dress was a stylist's push too far. 
Hmmmm, we're getting there. Breaking (see what I did there) from convention with a flash of leg and arm, this is a bad photo of a passable dress, and plays up Kristen's edgy side nicely. We're looking, possibly, at the successor to the Maggie Gyllenhaal/Kirsten Dunst quirk crown.
Phwoar, HELLO! That's more like it. Someone's been paying attention to Merlin. While I have faith that Kristen will never fully grow out of her hip twenties, at least as far as her wardrobe goes, this is proof she can do grown-up glam. 
But personally? When you've got legs that good and a complexion that flawless, why not show it off some more?


This girl is a master of the minidress, effortlessly striking the balance between trendy and tarty, and a master at that mussed-up up-do. With her tone she could wear pretty much anything, but by sticking (mostly) to minimal embellishment and block colours, she lets the shape of the dress do most of the talking, and the shape is saying that's a killer pair of legs, a great complexion, and a gorgeous girl in total control of her style. I'd high-five her, but she probably wouldn't like that. 
And, just because this is possibly my favourite premiere outfit OF ANYONE OF ALL TIME, I'll post it again. 




17.11.11

Movie night

I don't often go to the cinema due mostly to expect, but the boyfriend suggested a cine-date yesterday, allowing me to indulge my love of slightly naff-looking sci-fi films with a willing companion.
In Time is actually a rather good film - clever concept well-executed, simple design and, due to the convenient plot detail that all characters stop ageing after 25, everyone in it was young and hot. Nice one, writers. 
It also featured one of my favourite on-screen babes, Olivia Wilde, first flung onto my radar by The OC and bumped up nicely by her stylish turn in Tron - Legacy
Phwoar. That dramatic bob, those piercing eyes. 
Clearly the team behind In Time thought this was a good look, and modelled Amanda Seyfried's leading lady in a similar mold. Poor girl did, however, have to spend most of the film doing chase sequences in ridiculously high heels. 
Along with a lovely, emotive score courtesy of the trustworthy Craig Armstrong, it was definitely a decent night out at the movies. I could plot my next haircut and chuckle at Pete Campbell trying not to be Pete Campbell, boyfriend could covert Cillian Murphy's full-length leather jacket. 

15.11.11

The festive season, covered

I always find it slightly disorientating reading magazines a month early (as in December issues that are out in November and, most disturbingly, issues filled with the promise of the New Year when I'm still putting off buying Christmas presents), but what I do love is that I have beautiful, softly festive magazine covers to prepare me for the winter and the festive season. 
Aside from the very handy Kurt Geiger gift voucher, I'm loving this issue. ELLE have, in my opinion, never done a bad cover (though I don't always appreciate their choice of cover stars) but this one is perfect for the festive season, with Michelle Williams looking like a cross between Tinkerbell and Jadis in her McQueen gown, while the subscribers cover features a different dress and thus, to me, loses the festive appeal.
ELLE's covers, in comparison to the majority of other magazines in the similar monthly bracket, are simple and clean, with the strong silhuoette of the cover star being the focal point, and the cover stories never distracting or cluttering. I keep most of my back issues of ELLE purely to stare at the covers (mainly the Lindsay Lohan one from, I think, two summers ago, which is probably my favourite magazine cover ever), and this one will be added to that pile. 
Vogue, by comparison, had chosen a less than festive shot for their cover, though I loved last month's Rihanna shot (more in the style of ELLE, with a full-length photo of the star - something ELLE always do, consistently and brilliantly) was divine. But here's my favourite Vogue cover of recent times. The fact that it's incredibly similar to the one above is no coincidence. 

6.11.11

A little time out

I'm going away for a bit. A good friend of mine often chooses to put distance between them and their problems, but the problem is they follow you around, wherever you go, as long as you let them. 
But there is only so much you can change about your mindset when you are staring at the same four walls. So I'm going away for a little bit to stare at something different for a while, and spend more time working on my other writing project. I got my inspiration back, after all. 
See you when I get back. 

1.11.11

Stupid like a fox

Took it long enough, but it's finally here.
And even in the concrete jungle, the big smoke, a little bit of autumn colour gets in.
I myself am feeling a series of browns, golds and reds for the autumn, with jewel colours no doubt making a comeback when there is no colour left to emulate. This red-brown polo neck is what I would class as russet - great name. Reason enough to wear it. With matching brown eyeshadow courtesy of Chanel .
As it's also Movember, I thought I'd try a little '70s inspiration of my own to kick off the season. Shot artfully, in the dark, because that's what we have to get used to.

26.10.11

Confessions of a Grown-Up

I've totally lost inspiration.
There, I said it.
Somewhere, along the line these past few weeks, I've totally lost my drive, and my spark. I've stopped living, and am just existing. As a strong advocate of the John Keating theory that 'poetry is what we are alive for', the fact that I've lost my creativity upsets me. Is it laziness, is it apathy? It can't be lack of inspiration - I've got a great, full and wonderful life that I've worked hard for and am beginning to reap the benefits of.
But it's not enough. Classic Little Mermaid Syndrome. What's over the next hill? Do I want it? Do I have what I want, and how do I get it?
The last time I felt like this, I upped and left my home and came to London. I'm not sure where I can go this time, and I'm not sure if running away is the answer. But a dramatic change needs to happen to drag me out of the apathy. I was tempted to dye my hair black last night, a small rebellion and a little shake-up. Thankfully, I got warned off it but I'm still toying with the idea.
Whenever I'm in doubt, sad, scared or troubled, I call my mother. I used to belittle my ex for being unable to make any form of life decision without consulting his parents (he's 26), and I don't expect mine to do that for me, ever. But recently, when I call, wanting to talk seriously, honestly and openly about what's bothering me, the words stick in my throat.
I think it's because I know that she isn't able to help. And that's not her fault. It's just that the one thing that comes with being an adult is having to confront your own fears, your own demons, alone. Maybe the words are sticking in my throat, caught on the tip of my tongue, because my supposedly adult voice just can't say them.
It's an awkward, lonely, inbetween time, this time, when we have to figure ourselves out. I'm not looking forward to it. I'm not happy, and I haven't really been for a while. It's nobody's fault, except the apathy's. I blame the dark evenings, the sad music and my own wretched hole of general uselessness, the fight gone out and the light gone out.
So excuse me while I drag myself up out of the doldrums and back into the wonderful world I worked to get into. I'll come back, when I find what I'm looking for.

23.10.11

A change might do me good

And while we're on the subject of beauty...I've been thinking a long time about changing the famous coif. As horrendous as the prospect of trying to grow out this crop would be, I'm desperate to try something new.
So shall I be Molly?
Shall I be Joan?
Or shall I be Agyness?

22.10.11

Autumn face

Image via Stylist, created by Alex Box
Edie Campbell for Glamour UK
Emma Watson for Elle UK
Coco Rocha via here
Big dark brows, 60s eye flicks, deep red lips, whiter than white skin, peachy cheeks. This is my inspiration for A/W beauty - whether it's a flawlessly painted canvas a la the lovely Illamasqua ladies, or a gently enhanced version of existing beauty (Emma Watson - I am the only one who thinks that that haircut is the best move she ever made). The beauty of colder weather is, unlike summer which causes your carefully applied face to slide sweatily off, the areas you want to enhance are generally brought out. Cheeks pinken, skin smooths and evens out.
Until it gets properly cold though, I'll be faking it with Illamasqua's new season colours, and their miraculous Cream Foundation. 

12.10.11

Shake Him Off

It's hard to dance with the devil on your back...

So shake him off!
God damn Florence and her upbeat lyrics. It's been a ridiculously hectic, stressful and turmoil-filled few days, but thanks to her and her upbeat tunes, I'm strangely galvanised. Also thanks to a second pair of these fabulous Primark trousers, someone asking me if these three-year-old Topshop shoes were Balenciaga, some hair gel (ok a fucktonne of hair gel), and a little (cringe) Coldplay. Judge if you want - it fills me with joy. 

11.10.11

Cheer The F*** Up Day

My colleague and I were discussing how stressed/tired/angry/upset people are around this time of year and we decided that today was going to be official 'Cheer The Fuck Up' Day. I chose to celebrate it by getting tonsillitis and needing a day in bed. But inside, I am cheering up.

8.10.11

Trouser season

As autumn has finally decided to grace us with its presence (currently sitting here in a woolly jumper typing this) it's time to put aside the mini-dresses and embrace the trouser.
And thankfully, Topshop's new season is happy to oblige with some flattering smart cuts in suitably autumnal colours.
After last year's love affair with my mustard ASOS dress I picked up the shade again and plan on (much to the delight of my mother) working a series of autumnal shades - yellows, oranges, reds and browns. With a few sneaky colours thrown in (watch this space) and of course, my fail-safe black. 
Oh who am I kidding. I'll dress exactly as I want - no accents, no specific colour palettes, no agenda. 
Except great trousers. Like these budget beauties from Primark.
I made it my mission to wear heels (admittedly, mostly kitten to start with) every day this week and succeeded (with a few stumbles and wobbles, of course), in part of my ambition to live up to River Song's descriptor 'Hell in high heels'. I've experienced my fair share of hellish experiences and hellish as it is walking on the balls of your feel with no cushioning, there's few easier joys than the extra poise one gets from walking in a well-made, gorgeous, comfortable, empoweringly high pair of heels. 
I also replaced my beloved black heeled brogues, as my old ones have been polished so many times they are more green than black. Summer is the time for comfy flats. Winter is all about treading softly...four inches taller than before.

30.9.11

A Real Human Being

I have lots of reasons to be happy at the moment. Work is slowly beginning to feel comfortable again, I've moved into a lovely new house with two good friends, and I'm finally starting to feel settled in my home. I've been in London over a year now - it's flown by, and what a huge, impactful, fantastic, terrifying year it's been. 
I'm also happy that the Stella Artois 4 ads are everywhere again, and in the last flush of summer (the first weekend of October is likely to be spent at BBQs and in pub gardens, not watching leaves fall) I got the opportunity to wear my favourite dress of the summer again. 
Yeah. People were putting their sunglasses back on even in the shade as I walked past. 
The beauty of working in a creative office is the very varied, diverse, and generally rather good music taste. Currently I'm a little bit addicted to this (from the Drive soundtrack). 

19.9.11

Illusions of Gender

'I would rather be handsome for an hour than beautiful for a week' - Tilda Swinton
I gather that androgyny is back in for the new season, this I gather from the catwalk shots of gorgeous, leggy models looking feminine and beautiful in mens' suits, trying to introduce the mass-market to the trend. Even the most feminine, girly woman, these models say, can look beautiful while dressed like a man. I applaud their effort. 
I've been becoming more adventurous with my hair and makeup of late (beauty post to follow) and have opted to create more masculine styles - slicked down, high-buttoned shirt, black skinnies and brogues. A character in Sex and the City, a photographer exhibiting a series of drag photographs of women dressed as men, maintains that gender is just a beautiful illusion.
I do not agree that gender is entirely an illusion when it comes to behaviour, traits and treatment. Whether they like it or not, regardless of how good they are at what they do, an individual is judged first and foremost on their gender, just as (as I said in a previous post) they are defined by their relationship with others, by their interractions with people of the same or opposing gender. Because we are animals, and this is what drives us.
As a result, the option to break out of the norm of how our gender is expected to appear is an incredible amount of fun. Ever since I became interested in the clothes I put on my back I'd play characters. Even on days when I'm slumming around at home I always have a character in mind when I dress, a role I want to express or play through my costume, a part of my mood or personality I want to enhance. But you can generally divide my wardrobe into two looks - masculine, or feminine.
Why do women dress like men? Is it to capture some power? To hide inside a different skin, to be taken seriously? A woman who dresses like a man has one of two options - the 'sexy' look as displayed by, say, the Estee Lauder 'Sensuous' campaign featuring a variety of (long-haired) sex kitten models in unbuttoned mens' shirts (another good example is the current Jigsaw print ad), designed to convey the sense of ownership that comes with a woman wearing her man's clothes, or the 'masculine' look as displayed by Annie. Throw Annie, Tilda Swinton and David Bowie into a pot, give it a shake and they will all come out a muddled mix of what traditional gender appearance is, messing with your perception.
Are women attracted to men who dress like women, and are men attracted to women who dress like men? 
Just once, I'd love to go on a blind date all 'androgynied' up, just to test this. It's just as much fun to dress up in a very feminine dress as it is to wear a suit, and make people look once or twice at what you are. I used to be bullied for looking like 'a man' (as one tactful young gent described it). Getting around it was easy enough - dress like everyone else. But I like that now I can harness the idea, can change how I appear, chameleon-like, that I can take a lifetime of insecurity (a lifetime that will never end as long as identikit Sloaney girls exist to sneer at me) and turn it into an illusion. Part of a costume. And I'm hoping that soon more women will open their minds and embrace this costume. It's a far better fit than a corset.

11.9.11

Home

I'm moving again. Packing up my growing number of possessions (though I haven't actually bought an item of clothing in two months - go me!) into an assortment of bags, boxes and bin-liners, and reflecting on this time last year when I was packing my most treasured possessions onto a train from Bristol to London, the city of dreams. I remember cramming myself, a suitcase, a sports bag and a laptop case onto the train and standing in the corridor between carriages the whole way, staring out of the window and watching the future race closer. I can't stop humming this song.
Home is where the heart is, and where you make it. I'm lucky enough to have lived in two good homes in London for the last year, and now it's time to put down down roots in a new one, which I'm hoping will be a more permanent base. Part of the transition from being a child to being an adult is realising that the concept of 'coming home' is fluid and flexible. Some days I get on the train back to Bristol and feel like I'm coming home, and some days I get off the train at Paddington with the biggest smile on my face, knowing that I've found where I belong. The simple answer is I don't know where I belong any more, and I made the decision to feel this way when I left and started new in the city of my dreams with no roots. But look at me now - this time last year I moved to London with savings to last four months, a list of phone numbers, a few internships lined up and the dream that kept me going. And now I've got my job, got a new place with two new friends, and I've got the whole wide expanse of time and the world waiting for me, to see what else I can try and do. 
Home is where the heart is, and my heart had to roam.

'In the bar where the living dead drink all day
and a jukebox reminisces in a cracked voice
there is nothing to say. You talk for hours
in agreed motifs, anecdotes shuffled and dealt
from a well-thumbed pack, snapshots. The smoky mirrors
flatter; your ghost buys a round for the parched,
old faces of the past. Never return
to the space where you left time pining till it died.
Outside, the streets tear litter in their thin hands,
a tired wind whistles through the blackened stumps of houses
at a limping dog. God, this is an awful place
says the friend, the alcoholic, whose head is a negative
of itself. You listen and nod, bereaved. Baby,
what you owe to this place is unpayable
in the only currency you have. So drink up. Shut up,
then get them in again. Again. And never go back.

* * * *

The house where you were one of the brides
has cancer. It prefers to be left alone
nursing its growth and cracks, each groan and creak
accusing as you climb the stairs to the bedroom
and draw your loved body on blurred air
with the simple power of loss. All the lies
told here, and all the cries of love,
suddenly swarm in the room, sting you, disappear.

You shouldn't be here. You follow your shadow
through the house, discover that objects held
in the hands can fill a room with pain.
You lived here only to stand here now
and half-believe that you did. A small moment
of death by a window myopic with rain.
You learn this lesson hard, speechless, slamming
the front door, shaking plaster confetti from your hair.

* * * *

A taxi implying a hearse takes you slowly,
the long way round, to the station. The driver
looks like death. The places you knew
have changed their names by neon, cheap tricks
in a theme-park with no name. Sly sums of money
wink at you in the cab. At a red light,
you wipe a slick of cold sweat from the glass
for a drenched whore to stare you full in the face.

You pay to get out, pass the Welcome To sign
on the way to the barrier, an emigrant
for the last time. The train sighs
and pulls you away, rewinding the city like a film,
snapping it off at the river. You go for a drink,
released by a journey into nowhere, nowhen,
and all the way home you forget. Forget. Already
the fires and lights come on wherever you live.'

(Never Go Back by Carol Ann Duffy)

2.9.11

The mysterious concept of confidence

All over the newspapers today has been this story, about a beautician mother who spray-tans her four-year-old girl in order to 'give her confidence'. Often found near to this story is that of a little girl who had a red blemish removed from her nose so now she can lead a normal life; pictures of this girl show her with pierced ears and painted nails. She's three. 

Naturally the mainstream tabloids were concerned about how glamourising young girls like this made them a ready target for paedophiles, without glossing over the primary issue here - why on Earth is a girl as young as three being taught to associate cosmetics with confidence, and a certain manner of appearance with what's socially acceptable, desirable, and the only way to be? 

It continues to disgust me, this lack of diversity in the world. Or rather, the lack of tolerance for the alternatives. Children should be allowed to be children, and people to be people. I'll defend a woman's right to raise their child however they want, because God knows I couldn't do it. But this is the one that gets me - if a mother has found confidence through cosmetics and nothing else, should she teach her daughter the same method, in order to avoid her having to experience the crippling awkwardness of being a less-than-confident child? Should she protect her from youth make-up products, easy-to-apply fake tan and magazines like Cosmo, or let her form her own judgement after stumbling through the youthful minefield herself?

My mother never taught me how to put on make-up, epilate or wax, or how to dress for my shape and chose the right colours. I had to figure it all out myself. And I think that's what's the making of young people. The one person you don't want to learn from is the one person who could tell you everything, if you wanted to know. A personal project I'm working on intermittently at present touches on this. I don't think it's the business of a mother to force anything on a child, but I do think it's in a mother's interest to equip a child with every possible weapon against the things that will bring them down. As well as a bulging make-up bag and a natural affinity with Sun-In, the uprising against vile modern culture should begin in the home. Soon. 

31.8.11

Jubilation


your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.
(The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski)

(I've been feeling exceptionally troubled of late, but a good friend pointed me to this poem. Thanks, friend, for the lift I needed.)

16.8.11

Right in front of you

I know it's going to be utter crap and they're going to ruin the characters, but there's just something about this poster, the ridiculous all-consuming passion that it indicates, like that photograph of the sailor kissing the nurse, the way the world has totally stopped around you while it goes rushing on at the same time. Everyone wants to have that kind of 'can't stop and stand properly on your two feet' kind of passionate love for someone, right?

7.8.11

Happiness on the bathroom wall

Someone had inscribed this on the bathroom wall of the end cubicle of the womens' toilets in Le Pain Quotidien on Great Malborough Street. Thanks to whoever did it. 

An ode to Molly

My esteemed blogger buddy The Glitterbird blogged recently about Pretty In Pink, a film that I had yet to see. I commented that people have told me I resemble Molly Ringwald, to which she replied that I pretty much am her. 
Given the ultimate coolness of the Ringwald, it's a pretty big compliment. But worryingly, it's very true, given Molly's back catalogue. 
In The Breakfast Club, she is the stubborn, bratty teenager who is doted on by her daddy, but despite her pretty little face is a secret wild child, kook and lover of bad boys. 
(Three things: 1. Judd Nelson looks like a parrot on crack, 2. Ally Sheedy is awesome, 3. I had no idea that the kid who plays Brian the nerd plays Jim the douche boyfriend in Edward Scissorhands!)

And then in one of my new favourite films of all time, Pretty In Pink, she's the surly misfit (who, as her principal notes, is giving out a vibe saying she doesn't want to fit in, so she doesn't) who wears weird clothes, loathes generic blondes and is friends with the strangest, yet coolest guy in the whole school. 
And then, completely improbably, she gets the most beautiful guy in school to blow off all his domineering friends to date her. Sigh. Only in a John Hughes film. 
But just because I can't be Molly Ringwald doesn't mean I can't channel looks from her classic repertoire. 
Some friends and I went to see Kevin Spacey (aka one of the greatest actors alive today) as Richard III yesterday, and as one of them pointed out, we were the only non-posh people there. She actually described me as dressing like I'd just left The Breakfast Club. 
As John Bender though...did I mention I love this jacket? 
And then earlier in the week I went for matchy-matchy kookiness. 
Yellow and grey is such a great combination. And with classic Molly makeup of dark eyes (hidden behind shades) and pink-brown lipstick. Adopt the open-mouth pout, doe-eyes and wear something a little bit mad. Congratulations - you're Molly.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch Pretty In Pink again.
PS As a commenter suggested, I've now revitalised my Formspring account.