Shallow Not Stupid

They try to make you go to rehab and if you're daft enough to agree, you meet a new dealer at the Priory and get a massive medical bill to go with your new habit. Or you die soon after detoxing, like Amy Winehouse, Peaches Geldof and my doctor, Dex, who had a sign on his wall saying: Drugs are only a problem when you stop taking them. They became a problem for Dr. Dex when his prescription pad was confiscated and he ended up in a straitjacket.

It's a toxic world and we're living in it. But being addicted to health is just as dangerous when the Whole Foods freaks have more will for war than the shooting gallery sloths. Hairy vegetarians who stink of hemp fight over the last carton of almond milk and fart all over you until you give them the beetroot from your basket. Their pupils are dilated from kale overdose and their teeth rotted from fruit fasts, and they're losing sleep over the lack of avocados — because the farmers are all growing weed.

Overdosing on bananas is totes smelly for people whose noses aren't blocked with coke, but those wacky-baccie weirdos who sit around talking rubbish and eating biscuits all day are even worse. But if men with hairy toes in sandals upset me, those barroom bores who boast about how much damage they're doing to their livers have me reaching for the roofies. If you can't shut them up, you may as well knock them out.

My father has given up kidney dialysis to spend more time in the bar. Instead of being taken to hospital three times a week with "a bunch of old guys in an ambulance," he's downing vodka shots with a gang of potbellied alkies. It's his life and he can kill himself if he wants to, but crystal is kinder to the waistline than carby Cristal. If Daddy gets any fatter, he won't fit in his coffin.

Alcohol's for uncool crumblies and women who work at Vogue. But heroin addiction's never been a career option for me either, having been surrounded from an early age by chunky junkies who defied smack's rep as an excellent slimming aid. Behind every fat druggie there's an enabler — some big burd feeding them fry-ups, keeping them alive for the next shot of woe. As Irene the Slut said while knocking back a valium with her martini, "You can drink and you can take drugs, but not at the same time."

Sugar and fat are just the saddo drugs of the masses who used to get high on God and Santa Claus. Thank father fuck for my fat friend who reminds me every time I see her that people who eat too many cream cakes start to look like one.

Everyone has a poison and water's mine. Blindfold me if you want to, I can tell Highland Spring from Volvic without even swallowing. Vodka may be God's tranquilizer, but I'm addicted to Evian. It's zero calories and odor-free. Next time I get fed up with the world and everyone in it, I'm taking a bottle of Fiji water to bed with me, to drink while I laugh at the sinister selfies of my Facebook friends.

I can't stand people who put coconut in their water or diet coke in their whisky. To be fair, I'm a shallow not stupid sociopath who doesn't really like people unless they're dead, glamorous, or a combination of the two. Dead glamorous novelist Anna Kavan, who died with a hundred lipsticks the same shade of pink and enough heroin to kill the street, had an emergency shot of morphine from her silver syringe while guests were over for dinner. Why bother inviting them?

Whether your poison drips from your pen or your syringe, if they want you to detox, just say no. Don't spoil your tiny acts of evil by feeling guilty about them.

Listen to Vivien Lash read from her evil twin's book, Spying on Strange Men

May 31, 2014 08:41:00
(clockwise) Berlin Wall, Marlene Dietrich, Tiergarten, Adlon Hotel circa WWII

Shallow Not Stupid

When I found out I was going to Berlin for my birthday surprise — Mr. Lash isn't the only spy in the family — I was as excited as Sally Bowles in an Isherwood story, despite my reisefieber, which isn't just the fear of travel. It's a fear that the destination will not be the same as it was before, like an old boyfriend or a pair of flesh-eating pants that you don't love anymore.

Berlin is a city defined by its pasts. The decadent glamour of Weimar survives its sadistic Nazi Gotterdammerung, fading into the schizophrenic years of the Berlin Wall, without which the city is like Hong Kong without the Triads. Demolishing the wall took the tension out of the city, ruining its dangerous glamour. And so the artists move out while the tourists move in.

The wall divided the city not only physically and politically; it created a barrier between the past and present. Crossing the border at Checkpoint Charlie is like stepping into a black and white spy film. Even David Bowie seemed to be under a spell when he recorded Heroes at Hansa Studios in 1977, soon after his strange Nazi salute at Victoria Station.

Hitler never liked Berlin, and the feeling was mutual. His fortune-teller warned him never to go there. The bullets from Hitler’s war are no longer etched into the ruins of the Reichstag, transformed by Norman Foster into a vertiginous tourist attraction. Berlin is now a city of beer bikes.

Of course, Mr. Lash wasn't really taking me to Berlin, but to the Adlon Hotel, where every day's still a cabaret. The Adlon used to be owned by Hermann Goering, a fat morphine addict who locked himself in a suite and played with his train set when the war was lost. There's nothing more depressing than a chunky junkie. It's been refurbished since then, back to the Weimar's swinging days.

Marlene Dietrich's thick thighs in Das Blaue Engel, before she was ordered to go on to the Hollywood diet, were a product of the Adlon's apple strudel. And it was the location for Greta Garbo’s movie Grand Hotel, where she first uttered the words 'leave me alone.'

Like Gala Dalí, I tip when I arrive at a hotel, not when I leave, to give the staff motivation to suck up. I prefer to have a butler like Jaipur Jamal, who hid behind a screen at Oberoi Rajvillas, anticipating my whims before I know them myself.

I had no quibbles with my bathroom, which had just enough black marble to be sexy but enough light to admire myself in the mirror. And a glass jar of bath oil, which smells like the blend of Damascene rose, jasmine, and sandalwood that Mr. Lash mixed for me in Syria.

But I did have to complain about the morning sun. The Adlon's whistling handyman — let's call him Fritz, it's probably his name — materialized to black out my windows quicker than I could say Count Dracula.

Mr. Lash judges a hotel by how many attempts at a classic extra-dry martini cocktail the bartender makes. "Did you see that?!" he asked, horrified, when a waiter at Claridges touched the wrong end of a champagne bottle. But Sabrina Funk — no, I didn't make up that name — got the martinis right the first time without Mr. Lash having to jump behind the bar.

The Red Ladies, who must be in charge of sucking up at the Adlon, were certainly well-prepared for my birthday, but I had to draw the line at the kirsch kuchen with my name on it. Mr. Lash made do with the caviar and champagne from my birthday breakfast.

Of course there's always one try-hard. At the Adlon it's Herr Fassbend, who, judging by his expression, must be in charge of checking the hotel's toilets. He tried harder than a constipated dictator to upgrade us to a suite we didn't want, but Mr. Lash reprogrammed him with his diplomatic skills. I wonder if Herr was on duty the day Michael Jackson dangled his baby from the window.

Being sucked up to gets addictive, but we managed to leave the hotel for a walk in the nearby Tiergarten — where have all the monkeys gone? — and a trip to Kreuzberg, where Mr. Lash lived when he was young and spy-free. The Berlin Wall no longer lurks at the end of the street near his favorite Turkish cafe, but everything else is the same, including the ice cream. You can repeat the past, but why would we want to? It's easier to imagine the future and breathe in the present.

Listen to Vivien Lash read from her evil twin's book, Spying on Strange Men

May 02, 2014 09:53:00

Shallow Not Stupid

A funeral is a party with no guest list, according to my mom Maddie, who gatecrashed Laurence Olivier's do at Westminster Abbey with mini-me as her innocent accessory. We sat next to Sebastian Flyte, Olivier's son in Brideshead Revisited, and Maddie started a rumor that I was Larry's lovechild.

The really cool funerals, like Alexander McQueen's at St Paul's Cathedral, have bouncers and fashion survivors (victim is just a silly word for anyone who can walk in 7-inch stilettos) who battle to upstage each other. The weeping women in waterproof mascara amble up the steps toward the altar — more exciting than any catwalk. To prove the point, Daphne Guinness, dressed like a crow on acid, nearly prostrated herself with assistance from her precarious platforms.

But what is the dress code for the funeral of someone you love? What will I wear to my brother's funeral? Losing a sibling is particularly wounding. He's the asexual boyfriend I didn't have to break up with. I mourn the children we were and the adult he may have become. Does it matter what I wear? Yes. My brother would have wanted me to look dead glamorous.

I tried on everything in my wardrobe, but Chanel is too schoolmarm on the pull, Prada depresses me, and Victoria Beckham looks appropriate from the front, but that zip down the back is too footballer's wife. I went shopping but nothing felt right. And I couldn't even decide whether to wear black or white. White is the color of mourning in China, where I spent lifetimes, but my brother's being buried in Scotland.

As Sylvia Plath, who died in an oven, wrote in Ariel: "I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted 
to lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty." It's possibly the best suicide note ever written.

Dress dead glamorous to face your enemies, Maddie told me that as I zipped her into vulgar Versace for grandfather Money's funeral. Mummy's microwaved cleavage was concealed beneath the mink she'd inherited from great-aunt Carmen, whose rubies were robbed from her finger by a gigolo who hadn't been paid on account of Carmen dying before he had finished his shift.

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Mar 18, 2014 11:35:00
Kate Moss by David Bailey, 2013

Shallow Not Stupid

If F. Scott Fitzgerald invented the Jazz Age, then David Bailey invented the Sixties — his Sixties, an iconic black and white world full of glamour and possibility. The decade when everybody could be famous for fifteen minutes was reinvented to include East End gangsters and burds like Twiggy with estuary accents.

Bailey is the sexy East End boy who grew up to marry Catherine Deneuve, an ice queen who never married anyone else. Vogue frizzbomb and ex-model Grace Coddington described Bailey as better-looking than the Beatles, though to be fair, the Fab Four would not have been so easy on the eyes without their mod suits and Hamburg haircuts.

Bailey brought Vogue into the 20th century during an era when photographers had been upper class, or tried to be, like Princess Margaret's husband Tony Armstrong Jones and Garbo's mate, Cecil Beaton. He gave the Sixties their swing, creating the coolest decade of the century. Plus, he invented the first supermodel, Jean Shrimpton, a shy girl with a swan neck whom Vogue at first thought was funny lookin' until they saw his images of her in Manhattan.

The Shrimp became the first model as famous as a pop star like Mick Jagger, who was dating her sister. Without Jean there couldn't have been Twiggy, or even Kate. The Shrimp has long since retired to Cornwall to run her own hotel, but even if you don't know her name, you would recognize her face on a bag sold in the gift shop of London's National Portrait Gallery, where Bailey's photo exhibit has just opened. The title of the show, Stardust, comes from the notion that, as he says, "We are all made from and return to stardust."

Bailey became as famous as the people he photographed and he photographed everyone, from the Beatles and the Stones to the Kray twins. Would the East End gangsters, who probably "did" his father, giving him an ear-to-mouth scar, have been glamorous enough to be celebrities without the iconic Bailey image of them that now adorns a mug at the NPG? Apparently god isn't in the details, he's in the souvenirs.

Like most glamorous people, glamour doesn't interest Bailey. He has an obsession with skulls, which predates that of Damien Hirst, another one of his subjects. Like Chanel, he thinks style is more important than fashion. "Whatever you see in the photograph, whether you call it glamour or edge, it's already in that person. I can't put it there. It's finding it and bringing it out."

What is he bringing out in Marianne Faithfull, photographed alarmingly in her bra and pants, no longer looking like the tarnished angel of her Rolling Stones days? Did Ma Faithfull do something to upset him? 

Stardust, despite covering the entire ground floor of the NPG, isn't even close to representing his entire body of work. Anyway, the dude's still in demand, having recently turned down Lady Gaga because she sounded like a headache. 

His pictures of Kate Moss give her a sophisticated but innocent allure, but a lot of his best pin-ups are boys. Damon Albarn, Noel Gallagher and Karl Lagerfeld are just some of his 21st-century portraits. And Johnny Depp never looked more beautiful that when Bailey shot him showing his Betty Sue tattoo. 

Andy Warhol insisted on going to bed with Bailey when he was interviewed by him for a documentary that was banned. But Andy wouldn't take off his clothes, confiding, "I have more stitches than a Dior dress."

Bailey selected the 250 images in this show himself, so there's no annoying curatorial spin. Only one picture of Deneuve, whom he was married to for seven years, but an entire room is devoted to current wife Catherine Bailey, including nude shots which are more sexy saint than Readers' Wives.

There's some reportage, as well as sculpture influenced by his hero Picasso (whose own sculpture was influenced by Gauguin) included in Stardust, but it's his pictures of monochrome faces that seduce the eye. The camera doesn't steal your soul, but the photographer has a good try. "The camera doesn't take the picture, it's the photographer," as Bailey is quoted on my pink fridge magnet.

"I'd like to have taken more pictures of the old East End, but I was busy having a good time," he said. But Bailey doesn't take pictures, he makes them. In an age when everyone has a camera, everyone has bad pics. Instagram can't supply an imaginative eye. "The silly selfies craze will die out," he says.

Maybe. One craze replaces another. But Bailey's work endures. He isn't interested in nostalgia, but understands that "The 1960s didn't end in 1969." Once the world changed, there's no going back. Bury your past in a successful future. "I'm only interested in now. When this moment is gone, it's another moment...But I'll have a word with the devil at the crossroads and see if I can get a bit more time."

Read more about Vivien Lash in her evil twin Carole Morin’s novel Spying on Strange Men

Feb 08, 2014 14:36:00
Fashion Galore!

Shallow Not Stupid

Fashion Galore! at Somerset House is a celebration of Isabella Blow's life in clothes, a seduction as hardcore as her lipstick in Tamara de Lempicka red. She's no longer with us, of course. When she got fed up with the world and everybody in it, she drank weed killer. Sometimes when I'm fed up, I wear Fracas, her favorite perfume.

"In the end I was just lips and a hat," she said. But Izzy was always more than the MAC lipstick she designed (they wouldn't let her call it Blow Job) and the Philip Treacy hats she wore to stop people from swooping in for air kisses. "Fashion is a vampiric thing. That's why I wear the hats, to keep everyone away from me."

While Isabella had her armor, I have a Please Don't Kiss the Baby sign stuck on my Kelly bag, because hats mess up my hair. Besides, who wants to be loved by the undiscriminating?

I never met Isabella, but I caught glimpses of her enough times to notice what we had in common. And what we didn't. She hated Egypt, and I know that I never want to go back to Cairo, even if it is the only place on the planet to get burnt orange toe paint.

The first time I saw her was in the Tatler office, where I'd gone for a summer job as a sub, but failed the test. "You're not boring enough," the editor told me, as he interviewed me in a closet. "We'll find you something else." I wondered if that meant samples to take home with me. Through a crack in the door, I saw a girl with her sweater open, revealing a black lace Rigby & Peller bra. The queen's lingerie maker never had better publicity than this corrupt angel. "That's Isabella Blow," he said, anticipating my unspoken question.

In those days her name was always followed by the story of her grandfather, Jock Delves Broughton, whose decadent life was made famous by the movie White Mischief, about sex-mad cokeheads in Kenya.

Death always hung over Isabella. This can be seen in Fashion Galore! in scrapbooks and press cuttings about her aristocratic ancestors. When she was a child, her baby brother drowned in a puddle on the grounds of their ancestral home. After his death, her mother moved to London and her father moved on to a new family, disinheriting her.

They never lived in Doddington Hall, but in a smaller house on the grounds. Isabella was homeless in her heart, empathizing with the tramps sleeping rough in Hanover Square park opposite Vogue House. She made art her home, dressing up as a magical installation. "Always accentuate the head and the feet," she said. Her feet belonged to Manolo Blahnik and her head to Philip Treacy, though she planned to have it sent to her father when she died.

Not exactly beautiful, at least in the classical sense, Isabella could have been the Duchess of Windsor on acid with a dash of dachshund on top. Except she didn't need the acid. She had a love-hate relationship with her bipolar self. She must have known she was glamorous, but Crohn's disease and her English teeth filled her with self-loathing.

The next time I saw her, she arrived hat-first to an art opening and effortlessly upstaged the artist Tracey Emin. "Who's that?" Mr. Lash asked. I told him the story about Isabella Blow's wedding dress, which was, like mine, designed by Nadia la Valle, a designer not heard from before or since. Isabella never managed to escape her marriage. Like Dorothy Parker, she could have left the husband and kept the name.

My last glimpse of her was through the window of her apartment in Eton Square. Her black head bowed over a pile of olives she was arranging on a plate, she looked like a sad majestic bird from an Edgar Allen Poe story, or the sculpture of her by artist-couple Webster and Noble that opens Fashion Galore!

A few weeks later she jumped off the Hammersmith flyover. She didn't die that day, but she couldn't wear Manolos anymore, a fate worse than death to a trivial but profound soul like Isabella Blow. It was only a matter of time before she finished the job and became a beautiful corpse dressed by Alexander McQueen, who joined her a few seasons later.

Before that, McQueen paid tribute to his mentor and muse in his show La Dame Bleu, creating a Bird of Light through which the models entered the runway dressed as Izzy lookalikes. This is recreated at the end of the Somerset House show. It reminds me of the moment in The Great Gatsby when Meyer Wolfsheim declines to go to Gatsby's funeral, saying, "Show your friendship to the man while he is alive." Or, reward the woman's contribution to your career by offering her a job when you get the top job at Givenchy.

Next time I wear my white fur coat, I'll spray it with Fracas and think of Isabella Blow.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!, November 20, 2013 - March 2, 2014, Somerset House

Read more about Vivien Lash in her evil twin Carole Morin’s novel, Spying on Strange Men

Nov 27, 2013 22:42:00
Rick Owens, spring 14

Shallow Not Stupid

Who wouldn't love Rick Owens and his women warriors? However, I'm shallow and prejudiced, and the evil twin in me wonders if big models are as useful as blind pilots. She whispers that clothes don't look good on chubsters. Diversity makes real life more interesting, but fatties on the catwalk, even cool girls, feels like sexploitation. Size-ploitation?

I bet my Louboutins I'm not the only one seduced by schadenfreude when I see people plumper than me on the runway. And there's that delightful burd who, fair play to her, has edited UK Vogue for yonks. No one in England gives a spotted dick what they look like, right? I know, I know, I'm a terrible person.

It's an aesthetic opinion, not a purge. I'm not saying that anyone above a size zero should be executed (just digitally altered). That would be signing my own death warrant. I'm a size 2. I eat! I also lie a lot and drink vodka ice-cream. Clothes just look better on coat hangers — human or plastic. Who wants a mannequin with an ass on display? That's a blow-up doll, which has a different function entirely.

Wearing clothes in real life is a different activity from selling them — which is what runway and advertising is for. Fashion is a business, not a counseling service. Is fat all that's left to wake up the front row from their appetite-suppressed stupor?

Now that I'm older and more idealistic, apart from a greater dependence on vodka and valium, I understand that taste is subjective. You can't be too rich or too thin, as skinny Wallis Simpson said. But Cristina Ricci springs to mind.

Thighs aren't allowed in movies anymore, and is that really such a bad thing? Carrie was a horror movie in more ways than one, with the director's wife cast as a cheerleader with thighs wobblier than my auntie's sponge cake.

Yes, chubsters need clothes and want to look as good as possible in them. The way to achieve this, apart from the obvious (surgery!), is for designers to stock shit above size 6.

Of course the devil in me wonders if this bias toward small sizes may not be a social service? If the only way to get a decent dress is to lose a few inches, maybe that's motivation to stop carby chow? And the money you save not having a heart attack can be redirected to the fash budget.

Just to prove that I'm not perfect, I will share a humiliating story. There I was in Selfridges, wondering whether to try on Vicky Beckham's zip dress first or cut to the chase with Roland Mouret, when I found myself in that no man's land, not quite a size 2 and not yet a size 4. I left the changing room in despair and saw a crazy lady in red knickers walking toward me. As she got closer, I noticed she was wearing the same Louboutins as me, and the rubies Mr. Lash gave me.

Dear reader, this crazy lady was me. In my distress about not being able to zip up size 2, even after exhaling every molecule of breath, I'd exited the fitting room in my underwear. The moral of the story: if you must have a martini at lunchtime, stick to the citrus twist because an olive has 29 calories.

Read more about Vivien Lash in her evil twin Carole Morin’s novel, Spying on Strange Men.

Oct 06, 2013 10:45:00
Sebastian Horsley

Shallow Not Stupid

No one goes to an art opening to look at the art, especially when the show is a celebration of decadent artist Sebastian Horsley, who was famously crucified with glitter nails in the Philippines at the start of the millennium.

Being nailed to the cross without opiates is a true vocation — or totes bonkers. Either way, unsaintly Sebastian's daring act makes Tracey Emin's condom-soiled bed seem as risky as Auntie Nellie's on the maid's day off. You can almost hear Sebastian take a toke from his crack pipe and exhale, "Blow some gas out of your pompous ass, Trace."

Given that the dress code at the retrospective, The Whoresley Show (Outsider's Gallery, London, August 9 - September 14, 2013), was Dress Dandy, the crowd was a disappointment. Poor Sebastian must have been reclining on his chaise-longue in hell, with a silk mask shielding his eyes from dirty sneakers and bodies, which could benefit from less beer and more calorie-free debauchery.

I wore the Chinese red silk dress I had on when I met the scarlet goth, who got a slap for touching me inappropriately to verify the authenticity of the fabric. He begged me to slap him again with my small white hand and blood-red fingernails, which perhaps reminded him of his Jesus impression. His crucifixion nails are on display at Outsider's Gallery, but disappointingly cleaned of blood.

He died in 2010, possibly by his own needle, though Horsley's friends do not believe he committed suicide — he would have left a note. However, his autobiography, Dandy in the Underworld, is possibly his de facto suicide note. A hilarious and heartbreaking love letter to himself, his story includes incest, love affairs with prostitutes (one of whom was the main beneficiary of his estate), and a perverse relationship with a notorious murderer who reinvented himself as an artist after his release from 'life' imprisonment.

Horsley had escaped his wealthy family in the neanderthal north for St Martins art school and lived in London's Soho for most of his life, with a sign on his front door that read: "This is not a brothel. There are no prostitutes at this address." Though Horsley did write a poem that begins with "I sold my bum in Soho..."

With a life like that, who needs art? Yet Sebastian Horsley's paintings are almost good. With a bit of hard work, he could have been a first-rate painter, maybe. But he didn't have time for early nights. His life was his art: the touchingly vulgar suits and hats, and the decadent habits that seem charmingly old-fashioned in a world where people exercise and drink water to excess. As shallow-not-stupid Sebastian said, "My fate lies not in the stars but in a star — myself."

Death is never far away from glamour for a Soho aesthete. "Soho used to be dirty sex and clean air," Sebastian once remarked. "Now it's clean sex and bad air."

See Vivien Lash play herself in the Spying on Strange Men film

Aug 12, 2013 21:58:00

Shallow Not Stupid

When I was seven my mother hired me to murder my father. I'd always wanted to be an assassin and I had to get the job done before my eighth birthday. Eight was the age of criminal responsibility for children in Scotland last century. Now kids have until age twelve to commit patricide and any other wee job Mom requests.

These days Mummy's evil plot would be nipped in the bud. "They" would have been watching us as she hired me over a glass of Irn-Bru with a knickerbocker glory chaser. (Yes, dear reader, last century I used to eat!)

Is anyone really surprised that governments snoop? It's nice that Mr. Snowden is getting to travel around the world, deciding where he's going to take off his mask, but I pity the poor man in the Pentagon who's reading my text messages. I hope he was never stuck in a loop between myself and my Beijing driver, Gang Bang, whose English is even worse than my Chinese. When I thought I was asking him to pick me up nearby, I was really requesting a big shit. 

The cinema has made us all voyeurs and now Apple has equipped everybody to be a spy. All you need is something to spy on.

When billionaire art collector Charles Saatchi appeared to be strangling his wife over Sunday lunch, it was the couple's private business, ccording to some columnists. (And am I the only Noseyparker who can't help wondering what they were eating?) But if you put your hands on your wife's throat then flatten her largish nose in front of the paparazzi, you make it the world's business.

It was only after these pictures were published a week later that Big Nigella felt obligated to flee the Chelsea coop she shared with Chas for a £10,000-a-week apartment. Could the moral busybodies pontificating on Twitter have forced her to make a stand? To take off her wedding ring, cook a big batch of brownies, and down them in one?

Nigella gives good schadenfreude because while she's considered hot as a muffin by lots of men, she is lardier than most ladies want to be. The director of her hit US show allegedly bends over backwards to avoid shots of her rear end. To quote the New York Post, "Nigella has way overeaten. The result is a butt like a horse." Horse isn't the animal that springs to mind, but my lips are sealed in sisterly solidarity — or do I mean smug delight? — that I'm ten sizes smaller than Pigella without even holding my breath?

Will Saatchi, a shadow of his former size a decade after marrying the chef who advocates gluttony, now go out on the pull with Rupert Murdoch? Was Nosegate a stunt to stop the media speculating about Mrs. Murdoch's alleged affair with Tony Blair? Tony's "people" have issued a denial on his behalf, but conspiracy theorists note the use of the present tense: "He is not having an affair with Mrs. Murdoch." But did he shag her senseless last week?

And is this just distracting us from the real issue, that Blair, Murdoch, and Saatchi are all past their sell-by dates? Power may be an aphrodisiac, but bad hair needs a better barber. Wendy Deng (pronounced Dung) is possibly the only woman on the planet who dresses worse than Cherie Blair, who has the additional disadvantage of looking bonkers. 

Mr. Lash called security when the ex-Prime Minister's wife advanced, grinning, at a party. The Spice Girls had the same reaction when she appeared backstage at a concert. I'm sure she's a nice lady, she just happens to look like a nut-job who'd be more at home in a straitjacket with a stomach staple than a black-carpet do.

What next? Is Rupert going to give Nigella a show — Pigella Bites Back? — or maybe ask her out for a spit-roast? And will Snowden be offered a new face so that he can hide better, as a reward for distracting the media from marriage meltdowns? 

Snowden becomes more visible when he disappears. Garbo understood that wanting to be alone would just make her more famous, lying in bed reading her press cuts. Being visible contains the desire to be invisible. Garbo fantasized about dying in a car crash wearing a green hat. I want to be blown up, leaving no trace.

Even in death nobody's safe from the camera's lens. Princess Diana couldn't, like Marilyn, die in the nude. Somebody would have been there ready to snap her cellulite. And I'm over the idea of being a beautiful corpse. You would just be unable to resist kissing me goodbye.

See Vivien Lash play herself in the Spying on Strange Men film

Jul 07, 2013 10:20:00
Zelda & F. Scott Fitzerald

Shallow Not Stupid

Nothing is ever as bad as it used to be. (Even flared pants look better reinvented than they did on the thunder thighs of 1970s stars, before it became illegal to be filmed if you were above size 2.) But nostalgia for things forgotten has ensured that Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby had a good kicking from the critics, before they had even seen it. They prefer F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel (which most of them probs haven’t read) or the 1974 version of the movie starring Robert Redford in the title role.

Ok, Leonardo DiCaprio is a bit Fatsby compared to the young Rob Redford. But Luhrmann’s Gatsby has a manic energy similar to going into the Burberry shop and trying on all the metallic trenches in the Prorsum range. You can’t decide which color to pick so you buy them all! Surely a movie about a morally bankrupt world full of violence, betrayal, and good old vulgar money needs to be a bit flash?

Poor Baz hasn’t had a massive hit since Moulin Rouge and nobody criticized him for jizzing up Paris in that. But The Great Gatsby is a masterpiece and there’s a theory in the movie industry that trashy books make good movies and good books are hard to film.

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May 14, 2013 11:05:00

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