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Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.

England’s win over Colombia as celebrated by a ‘naked’ Ross Kemp

TV soap actors aren’t really acting. They’re just cast to play themselves in a studio setting. This is why Shane Richie gets to be Red Coat on EastEnders, Hollyoaks is about middling students learning to get a job, Emmerdale is no longer called Emmerdale Farm – how many actors know the right end of a sheep? – and Ross Kemp can play a bullet-headed, muscular meat sock on EastEnders with genuine empathy.

So here’s Kemp reacting to England beating Colombia in the World Cup:

This sums it up well:

Posted: 5th, July 2018 | In: Celebrities, Sports | Comment


Naked Becky Vardy fat-shaming no-comment

becky vardy naked

 

Becky Vardy has issued a no comments. In “Vardy hits back”, Jamie Vardy’s wife is wrapped in the England flag. As patriotic as Britannia – albeit more demurely dressed (Britannia bares a naked breast on the silver and gold coins) – over pages 6 and 7 Vardy has a no comment for the Wags who troll her.

“Have they got nothing better to do? It’s probably a massive fat Russian that doesn’t have any mirrors in the house. They just do it to get a reaction. They won’t get one from me.”

becky vardy naked

 

You can read Becky’s non-reaction on page 1, 6 and 7.

Posted: 2nd, July 2018 | In: Celebrities, Tabloids | Comment


Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne split Bear

liam-payne-cheryl-split bear

More than anyone can Bear

 

News that Bear Payne — offspring of former One Directioner Liam Payne and former Girls Aloud hair model Cheryl Cole (see tattoo) – is to be divided between his estranged parents is odd. “CHERYL AND LIAM SPLIT,” says the headline. “They’ll share Bear.” Share Bear sounds a bit like Care Bear, the cutesy 1980s dolls, or Hair Bear, as in The Hair Bear Bunch!, a 1970s American animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera. Share Bear could be a new toy and tribute to marriage guidance: a soft Bear that rips in half, allowing both parties on a break-up to take one part each – Liam gets everything above the waist; Cheryl the lower half.

The Sun adds on Page 5 that Bear is Liam and Cheryl’s “Whole world”. It’s Bear World, a place of dirty nappies, spit-ups and gurgles. We also hear that the split is “amicable”, which says something about the level of passion their love affair, and how the split is down them being in “differing stages of their lives” – he is in shorts; she is in rollers.

The couple first met on the X Factor, where Cheryl was a 23-year-old judge and Liam a 14-year-old contestant. When they got together, love was so real, true and lasting that young Liam told us, “I celebrate Valentine’s Day every day.” Each morning there Mr Valentine was in his tux clutching a bear tied to a heart-shaped helium balloon. Eventually, of course, the thrill of popping to the shops for a teddy wears off and you make the choice: garage forecourt flowers or a Bear that actually grows and vomits.

Posted: 2nd, July 2018 | In: Celebrities | Comment


Clean Bandit: for Jeremy Cobryn and Azerbaijan

Compare and contrast the following news on Clean Bandit (the soundtrack for Marks & Spencer – the bands rider is Marks & Spencer mozzarella salads and quinoa) – fronted by a couple of poshos, including Grace Chatto. In 2017,  Chatto wore a pro-Jeremy Corbyn t-shirt for a BBC broadcast. In a bid to retain its commitment to political impartiality, the Beeb blurred out the slogan championing ‘Jeremy Corbyn’, the former star of Iran’s Press TV. Chatto, a keen Corbynist, talked about that and the band’s headlining of Jez Fest. Chatto told the Huffington Post:

“Well, I think the BBC has shown, you know, they showed a really terrible bias against Jeremy Corbyn in the run-up to the general election, and that [censorship] was just part of it…

[Labour] had that huge triumph in the election, and I think the media’s been a bit different [since the election result]. But now the BBC bias is kind of like creeping back a little bit. I think, anyway…

“For me, I’m not that interested in reading newspapers, for example, so the Labour Live event is a really good way for me to engage in party politics and hear speeches and have discussions. It’s all changing.”

In 2015, Clean Bandit were at another politically infused festival: the European Olympic Games in enlightened Azerbaijan. That’s the country where “dissenting voices are practically absent from mainstream media and critical journalists risk arrest and imprisonment”.

“President Ilham Aliyev has been waging a relentless war against his remaining critics,” Reporters Without Borders said in 2017. It said “independent journalists and bloggers are thrown in prison if they do not first yield to harassment, beatings, blackmail, or bribes.”

Musical interlude:

 

 

Emin Milli had something to say about the The Games:

UK band Clean Bandit, the supposed stars of the closing ceremony, did not even mention their appearance to their thousands of social media followers…

The regime decided it would target the messengers, banning journalists and human rights activists from the Guardian, Platform and Amnesty from entering Azerbaijan during the games.

t seemed like a public relations disaster but perhaps Aliyev doesn’t care anymore. His people have even started issuing threats to Azerbaijanis abroad.

Last week, I received a message from Azad Rahimov, Aliyev’s sports minister: “We will get you wherever you are and the state will punish you for this smear campaign against the state that you have organised. You will get punished for this. You will not be able to walk freely in Berlin or anywhere else. You must know this.”

It would appear that Azerbaijani journalists and activists are not safe at home or abroad.

Something else for censorship-busting Chatto not to read about in the papers she doesn’t read.

Posted: 1st, July 2018 | In: Music, Politicians | Comment


The plot to kill Prince George

The National Enquirer’s “world exclusive” is unequivocal: “ISIS Kill Plot Foiled! Sniper Caught Stalking Prince George!” An ISIS sniper in London got that close to the heir? How close? Well, there’s photographic proof. “This chilling image shows the heart-stopping moment that little Prince George cheated death!” thunders the magazine of record. A figure at a window “appears to be holding a rifle and looking down at the two royals.”  The caption chills: “Under the gun!”

 

national enquirer prince george kidnap

 

Well spotted, NE, because to the rest of us the gun looks uncannily like a camera. The ISIS sniper is also disguised. The bearded, gurning loon looks like a bloke with what might be a smartphone. He’s having a gander at George as the lad is trotted off to school surrounded by men with gun that look like guns.

It’s another lucky escape or G. It was only last October that the NE uncovered a plot to kidnap him. Terrorists were going to snatch Prince George and demand a $50million ransom to his safe return. “This is as real as it gets!” a Royal “insider: told the Enquirer. “It could have been the biggest disaster in the history of the monarchy. For Prince William and his wife, it must be a living hell!”

 

prince george isis

ISIs

 

A bigger disaster than Prince Edward’s Royal It’s A Knockout, Princess Diana dying in Paris tunnel, the English Civil War, King Edward VIII being a Nazi, King Harold being shot in the eye, the pathetic sight of King Canute trying to hold back the waves,  Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson? This:

This?

national enquirer apoogy dodi diana sex

 

“According to the information, which is being kept from the public, a small terrorist cell spent weeks hatching a plan to snatch George, either at school or on the 3.5-mile car ride to or from his family’s home in Kensington Palace,” says the source, publicly.

Of course, the NE knows that something might happen. The fantasy needs a kernel of fact to keep the readers reading. After all, Princess Anne was almost kidnapped. In May 2018 an Islamic State supporter named Husnain Rashid, of Nelson, Lancashire, wanted young George to be targeted. He posted a photo of George’s school superimposed with silhouettes of two masked jihadist fighters. He wrote:  “Even the royal family will not be left alone. School starts early.” He also mused on poisoning fruit, vegetables and ice-cream in stores.

Rashid got no closer to George than a post on social media. When police arrested him, the jihadist pretended to faint. He lived with his mum and dad. He was 32.

But it could happen, and should it let now-one say the NE never warned you…

Posted: 28th, June 2018 | In: Celebrities, National Enquirer, Royal Family | Comment


Gender Pay Gap: Haim fires agent over male band getting 10x the cash

haim gender pay gap

 

There is indeed a gender pay gap out there. Some of it is – whisper it gently though we must – entirely justified. Women do tend to take career breaks, there is what is called occupational segregation – people deciding to pursue careers in different occupations – and it does tend to be men who are stupid enough to think that success at work is the be all and end all of life. There are other times it’s entirely justified too – no one is going to be surprised that Tom Cruise gets a higher paycheque than whichever blonde is the arm candy this time around.

There’re also times when it’s rather less justified. And the answer there is for women to take matters into their own hands. To complain and demand that is. Which is exactly what Haim have just done:

All-female band Haim say they fired an agent after discovering they were paid just a tenth of the amount of a male artist on the same bill at a festival.

The US rock group – made up of sisters Este, Danielle and Alana – called the pay gap “insane”.

For those who don’t know these things, band pay at a festival will vary wildly. There will be those there just to get the exposure and maybe thereby get onto the radio. There will be others whose presence on the bill is what sells the tickets to the whole gig. Those latter will gain very much higher pay of course:

“We had been told that our fee was very low because you played at the festival in the hope that you’d get played on the radio,”

Well, that’s OK, as long as everyone knows the deal on the way in.

“We didn’t think twice about it, but we later found out that someone was getting paid 10 times more than us. And because of that we fired our agent.”

Maybe that is OK and maybe it isn’t. But that is the correct answer even so. Not to complain to the world nor to insist that the law must be changed, but to fire the person who negotiated the price you didn’t like.

Of course, it’s always possible that demanding more money means no bookings to play festivals but as these things work out this would also mean no gender pay gap, wouldn’t it? For we do only measure the gap among people who get hired. Those entirely unemployed aren’t included in our numbers.

Posted: 27th, June 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, Music, News | Comment


Now Mag’s disastrous interview with Gemma Collins is a must read

In Now Mag read the story of Gemma Collins, the really irritating/ bubbly one of TV’s The Only Way is Essex.

 

gemma collins now mag

 

What’s the best advice you give in the book?
Well, if you read it, you would know, so… I think wait until you get a copy and then you’ll be able to embrace the book. It’s hard to do an interview if you haven’t done any research on the book or been sent it. I’m going to get them to send you a book and you can read up on it and then maybe we’ll do this another time. Because we’re meant to be doing an interview on the book, but you haven’t got the book in front of you, so you don’t know what it’s about.
(PR: Do we have the next question?)
(To the PR:) Do you see what I’m saying? It’s hard for the girl to do the interview if she hasn’t got the book and stuff.
(PR: Absolutely. So what was your next question for Gemma?)

 

gemma collins now mag

gemma collins now mag

 

Spotter: . Read it all on NOW.

Posted: 26th, June 2018 | In: Celebrities | Comment


Will Ant McPartlin get half of Lisa’s fortune?

Want to know the “truth” about “the hours” before Ant McPartlin went drink driving? The Mirror thinks its readers do, leading with the story of the build up to Ant’s crime. On page 9 we get the facts: Ant had a row with his wife Lisa Armstrong. They argued over – get this – who had first dibs on their dog. One of Ant’s “pals”, of which he seems to have many and all of them unnamed and with a hotline to the tabloids, says, “Lisa is no angel in this. She would been giving it back, and then some.”

The “pal” then calls Lisa “stubborn”, stating that the rows are all “rooted in the fact Lisa refused to believe the marriage was tover”. News, indeed, to anyone who thinks the rows were “rooted” in Ant rooting the PA, taking drugs and drunk driving.

Anyhow, “hours” after the row over the dog, Ant crashed his Mini into two cars while well over the drink-driving limit.

 

ant mcpartlin divorce

It’s her money as well

 

The story has one spot of new news: divorce lawyers are trying to decide how to “divide Ant and Lisa’s fortune“. Finally! All that guff about him giving her half of his fortune has stuck in the craw. The Mirror gets it.

 

ant mcpartlin divorce

Good old Ant sharing his money with his wife

 

Dec is away.

 

Posted: 21st, June 2018 | In: Celebrities, Tabloids | Comment


Ant McPartlin, monstered Lisa and the blonde ‘rock’ who saved telly

Ant MacPartlin’s drugs habit and drink-driving have kept the papers busy. And now we read about his lover, one Anne-Marie Corbett, a 42-year-old married mum-of two. She used to work as a personal assistant to Ant and his wife Lisa. All tawdry and predictable stuff: married TV star takes drugs, drinks too much and shags blonde. But what’s interesting is how the tabloids are taking sides. You can tell which side they are on – Ant: the one who might give you interviews, sell newspapers and secure TV exclusives; or Lisa: the woman who won’t.

The Sun is Team Ant. Describing Anne-Marie as Ant’s “rock”, the Sun produces these photos of the trio:

 

ant mcpartlin anne-Marie Corbett

The Rock and the Hard Face. Ann-Marie is “upset” says the caption. Poor Anne-Marie.

 

ant mcpartlin anne-Marie Corbett

The photo the Sun chose to show of Lisa, who is not a drink-driver, has not taken drugs and has not been comforted by another

 

ant mcpartlin anne-Marie Corbett

The happy couple – look how happy Ant is. And we want him to be happy. He’s on the telly.

 

The Sun also adds that “blazing rows over his £62 million fortune have made it [divorce] increasingly acrimonious”. His fortune? Not their fortune? Childhood sweethearts Ant and Lisa have been married since 2006. This is about Ant and us continuing to like him. Good old Ant:

 

ant mcpartlin divorce

Good old Ant sharing his money with his wife. Waddaguy!

 

The Mirror leads with news that Lisa “suspected” Ant was with Ann-Marie “months ago”. Poor Lisa. Let’s take a look at her:

 

ant mcpartlin anne-Marie Corbett

 

ant mcpartlin anne-Marie Corbett

Page 5 family – Lisa looks pretty good

 

ant mcpartlin anne-Marie Corbett

Lisa Armstong in “torment”

 

ant mcpartlin anne-Marie Corbett

The hard-faced blonde

 

The Mirror says Lisa and Anne-Marie were “pals”. Anne-Marie split from husband Scott in October last year. But that has nothing to do with Ant, say “insiders”. Perish the thought. Ant and Lisa broke up “10 months ago” –  “long before he started dating his new love”. Ten moths ago was September 2017.

Over in the Mail and Lisa is looking happy. Ant is looking happy. Anne-Marie is wearing a “blue summer dress… with a plunging neckline, wedge heels, red lipstick and a Lulu Guinness tote bag”. She looks “glamorous”. The Express says Anne-Marie wore her “blonde hair loose”.

The final words is with an “insider, who tells the Express that Ant “could decide to to return to I’m A Celeb. That’s how far  things have changed thanks to Anne-Marie”.

Rejoice! Ant is happy. The show will go on.

 

Posted: 20th, June 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Tabloids | Comment


Breaking: Posh and Becks STILL married

More ‘no news’ news on the Sun’s cover: David Beckham and Victoria are still married. Yesterday they held hands at a London fashion event. It was a “show of unity”. North and South Korea have nothing on this.

Inside we see Beck and Posh sat either side of Edward Enniful. He’s not a marriage guidance therapist. He’s the editor of Vogue magazine, the monthly advertorial album for big-spending brands.

The Sun is very much on the side of the lucrative couple, hoping their front-page presence sells papers in the same manner as Jade Goody once did. But while Goody was dismembered and stuffed for our entertainment, Posh and Becks are dipped in aspic, the only signs of change being a new doodle on his head. But – what’s this? – the Sun says it’s got a photo of Posh “SMILING”. She “breaks into a rare grin”. Want to see it? Here you go:

 

victoria beckham grinning

 

So happily married, so never-changing are Posh ‘n’ Becks, as constant in the world of brand mascots as Tony the Tiger and the Laughing Cow, the only newsworthy option is o splinter into two separate companies.

 

Posted: 11th, June 2018 | In: Celebrities, Tabloids | Comment


Shop Smart: Save Money the Hampstead and King Alfred’s School way

Fiona Phillips and Gaby Roslin are plugging a new Channel 5 TV show. Called Shop Smart: Save Money, “their new TV show that encourages savvy shopping”, says the Daily Mail. Both presenters are keen to show how they learnt the value of a coupon and special offer from periods of poverty and periods of “financial issues”. “When I was a student, I had £5 a week to live off,” says Roslin.

Even now, she says she still can’t scatter the cash. ‘I have bills to pay like everyone else. Mortgage, gas, electricity, water, car. We all do.’

Prescient stuff. Says Roslin: “My parents weren’t well off and I was brought up thriftily.”

In 2010, she told the Independent:

From the age of three, all I wanted to be was on television. My dad was a Radio 4 newsreader. He was a friend of Valerie Singleton and I used to go to Television Centre to watch Blue Peter being broadcast…

I got into King Alfred’s, a co-ed, progressive school in Hampstead.

King Alfred School is fee paying. It’s located in one of the country’s most expensive places to buy a home. The current fees t the school are:

Reception, Years 1 + 2 (4 – 6 years):  £ 5,177 per term
Years 3 – 6 (7 – 10 years): £ 5,965 per term
Upper School (11 – 18 years): £ 6,241 per term

The Sun says: “Gaby Roslin is well-placed to give advice on how to get value for money.” Here’s a bit more about King Alfred’s:

You were not told who was top or bottom and you called teachers by their first names. At first, you didn’t have marks. I wasn’t very good at maths but they didn’t say: “Let’s drop it.” You discussed it with the teachers.

Cynics would call it the kind of school wealthy kids who don’t need to write CVs go to.

Posted: 9th, June 2018 | In: Celebrities, TV & Radio | Comment


Heinz Salad Cream or Sandwich Cream: the taste of bottled jizz

Heinz Salad Cream is relaunching. The sweetened gunk is to change it name to ‘Sandwich Cream’ because, as the marketing bilge states, “millennials don’t use it on salad.” But they do pour it into artisan bread and avocado sandwiches, apparently. Minds recall the last time Heinz relaunched its product. On 23 March 2000, Denise Van Outen and Graham Norton were at  Jongulars Club in London’s Camden. Norton thought it good to present Salad Cream as the perfect substitute for ejaculating on a woman’s chest. Van Outen then smeared the gloop over the end of a priapic hot dog and offered it to Norton to suck on. Is the motto: ‘Heinz Salad Cream: tastes like bottled jizz’?

 

Heinz salad cream Denise Van Outen And Graham Norton

Heinz salad cream Denise Van Outen And Graham Norton

Posted: 7th, June 2018 | In: Celebrities, The Consumer | Comment


John Prescott is a Clint Eastwood look alike

In the Times news that Hollywood politician and actor Clint Eastwood looks a lot like John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister:

 

clint eastwood john prescott

 

Clint Eastwood, of course, only pretended the punch people in films. Prescott, however…

 

Posted: 1st, June 2018 | In: Celebrities, Politicians | Comment


Morissey’s Right You Know – Hitler Was Left Wing

This isn’t fashionable to say these days but it is actually true. Hitler was, by any economic at least standard, rather left wing. As was the BNP in fat, you could insert the economic portions of their manifesto into that of most socialist parties in Europe and not note the joins.

The basis of this is just that it’s true- Hitler and the fascists were, in their economics, what we would today call left wing. So Morissey’s right:

And as far as racism goes, the modern Loony Left seem to forget that Hitler was Left wing!

And boy isn’t he catching flack for having said it:

The pop star said he now affiliates himself with For Britain, a far-right party created by failed Ukip leadership contestant Anne Marie Waters, who has said she left Ukip after the party’s former leader Nigel Farage dismissed her and her allies as “Nazis and racists”. Morrissey added: “As far as racism goes, the modern Loony Left seem to forget that Hitler was Left wing!”

Associating with Anne Marie Waters might not be quite so wise.

However, on this Hitler was left wing thing. It is actually true. In the academic world the best explication of this was by Goetz Aly. Hitler’s Beneficiaries. The Nazis built a pro-working class state that was several measures beyond what the left has built even in the Nordics. Beyond social democracy that is.

Look through the racism and nationalism – if you can – and in terms of economics Hitler was indeed left wing. Why shouldn’t Morissey say so?

Posted: 27th, May 2018 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


Philip Roth RIP – with replies by John Updike, The Atlantic and Wikipedia

Philip Roth, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1998, has died. He was 85.  Claudia Roth Pierpont said his books looked at “the Jewish family, sex, American ideals, the betrayal of American ideals, political zealotry, personal identity [and] the human body (usually male) in its strength, its frailty, and its often ridiculous need.” And, boy, was he funny.

In 1996 Roth reacted to Claire Bloom’s memoir Leaving a Doll’s House. The actress commented at length on her and Roth’s marriage. “He’s tense; she’s tense,” said Gore Vidal said. “Each is neurotic. They were together 17 years; it couldn’t have been all that bad. It’s always best to stay out of other people’s divorces. And their civil wars.”

The book was trailed thus in the NY Times:

Ms. Bloom was 47 when she began her romance with Mr. Roth. In the memoir, the opening scene of their relationship reads like a parody of the daily life of two cultivated New Yorkers, with Mr. Roth on his way to his psychoanalyst, and Ms. Bloom on her way to her yoga class….

 

But soon there were signs of trouble. Mr. Roth was suspicious and mistrustful, she said, and pressed her to send her daughter elsewhere. In the memoir, Ms. Bloom expresses guilt for having done so. But the real problems began when Mr. Roth had a knee operation, she said, and became addicted to sleeping pills and an anti-anxiety drug. She writes that a terrible depression ensued, and that the couple took refuge on Martha’s Vineyard in the home of their friend William Styron, who has written a moving book about his own depression.

Later, when Mr. Roth wrote ”Deception,” he named the character of the deceived wife ”Claire,” Ms. Bloom writes, changing it only after she begged him to do so. Still, as if teasing his readers, Mr. Roth reserved the name of ”Philip” for the book’s narrator.

In 1999,  when the book came up in a John Updike essay about literary biography in The New York Review of Books, Roth wrote to the Editors:

To the Editors:

In your February 4, 1999, issue, John Updike, commenting on Claire Bloom’s 1996 memoir Leaving the Doll’s House, writes: “Claire Bloom, as the wronged ex-wife of Philip Roth, shows him to have been, as their marriage rapidly unraveled, neurasthenic to the point of hospitalization, adulterous, callously selfish, and financially vindictive.” Allow me to imagine a slight revision of this sentence: “Claire Bloom, presenting herself as the wronged ex-wife of Philip Roth, alleges him to have been neurasthenic to the point of hospitalization, adulterous, callously selfish, and financially vindictive.” Written thus, the sentence would have had the neutral tone that Mr. Updike is careful to maintain elsewhere in this essay on literary biography when he is addressing Paul Theroux’s characterization of V.S. Naipaul and Joyce Maynard’s characterization of J.D. Salinger. Would that he had maintained that neutral tone in my case as well.

Over the past three years I have become accustomed to finding Miss Bloom’s characterization of me taken at face value. One Sara Nelson, reviewing my novel American Pastoral, digressed long enough to write: “In her memoir, Leaving the Doll’s House, Roth’s ex, Claire Bloom, outed the author as a verbally abusive neurotic, a womanizer, a venal nutcase. Do we believe her? Pretty much:Roth is, after all, the guy who glamorized sex-with-liver in Portnoy’s Complaint.” Mr. Updike offers the same bill of particulars (“neurasthenic…, adulterous, callously selfish, and financially vindictive”) as does Ms. Nelson (“neurotic, a womanizer, a venal nutcase”). Like her, he adduces no evidence other than Miss Bloom’s book. But while I might ignore her in an obscure review on the World Wide Web, I cannot ignore him in a lead essay in The New York Review of Books.

Philip Roth
Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut

John Updike reply was slo printed in the magazine:

Mr. Roth’s imagined revisions sound fine to me, but my own wording conveys, I think, the same sense of one-sided allegations.

In 2012, Roth had more words for the World Wie Web. He wrote an open letter to persuade Wikipedia to let him adjust inaccurate description of his novel The Human Stain. Wikipedia refused to accept him as a credible source.

Dear Wikipedia,

I am Philip Roth. I had reason recently to read for the first time the Wikipedia entry discussing my novel “The Human Stain.” The entry contains a serious misstatement that I would like to ask to have removed. This item entered Wikipedia not from the world of truthfulness but from the babble of literary gossip—there is no truth in it at all.

Yet when, through an official interlocutor, I recently petitioned Wikipedia to delete this misstatement, along with two others, my interlocutor was told by the “English Wikipedia Administrator”—in a letter dated August 25th and addressed to my interlocutor—that I, Roth, was not a credible source: “I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on their own work,” writes the Wikipedia Administrator—“but we require secondary sources.”

Also in 2012, Roth wrote to the The Atlantic over an essay’s claims that he suffered “a ‘crack-up’ in his mid-50s”.

“The statement is not true nor is there reliable biographical evidence to support it,” wrote Roth at the time. “After knee surgery in March 1987, when I was 54, I was prescribed the sleeping pill Halcion, a sedative hypnotic in the benzodiazepine class of medications that can induce a debilitating cluster of adverse effects … My own adverse reaction to Halcion … started when I began taking the drug and resolved promptly when, with the helpful intervention of my family doctor, I stopped.”

The letters have stopped. But the books remain brilliant.

Spotter: Dangerous Minds, NYRoB

 

Posted: 23rd, May 2018 | In: Books, Celebrities, News | Comment


Hunter S Thompson’s letter to Tom Wolfe- the ‘pig in the ‘filthy white suit’

Tom Wolfe (1931- 2018), leading light of the ‘New Journalism’, writer of the terrific The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and much else has died. Joseph Epstein writes in his profile of Wolfe in The New Republic: “His prose style is normally shotgun baroque, sometimes edging over into machine-gun rococo, as in his article on Las Vegas which begins by repeating the word ‘hernia’ 57 times.” “He is probably the most skillful writer in America — I mean by that he can do more things with words than anyone else,” says William F. Buckley Jr., in National Review. But if it’s high praise you’re after, getting up Hunter S. Thompson’s nose is hard to top.

The writers exchanged letters, the pick of which is this missive from Thomson to Wolfe dated Mash 3 1971.  Thompson was not exactly chuffed at being shuffled inside Wolf’s New Journalism project:

 

March 3, 1971
Woody Creek, CO

Dear Tom…

You worthless scumsucking bastard. I just got your letter of Feb 25 from Le Grande Hotel in Roma, you swine! Here you are running around fucking Italy in that filthy white suit at a thousand bucks a day laying all kinds of stone gibberish & honky bullshit on those poor wops who can’t tell the difference . . . while I’m out here in the middle of these goddamn frozen mountains in a death-battle with the taxman & nursing cheap wine while my dogs go hungry & my cars explode and a legion of nazi layers makes my life a goddamn Wobbly nightmare…

You decadent pig. Where the fuck do you get the nerve to go around telling those wops that I’m crazy? You worthless cocksucker. My Italian tour is already arranged for next spring & I’m going to do the whole goddamn trip wearing a bright red field marshal’s uniform & accompanied by six speed-freak bodyguards bristling with Mace bombs & when I start talking about American writers & the name Tom Wolfe comes up, by god, you’re going to wish you were born a fucking iguana!!

OK for that, you thieving pile of albino warts. You better settle your goddamn affairs because your deal is about to go down. “Unprofessorial,” indeed! You scurvy wop! I’ll have your goddamn femurs ground into bone splinters if you ever mention my name again in connection with that horrible “new journalism” shuck you’re promoting.

Ah, this greed, this malignancy! Where will it end? What filthy weight in your soul has made you sink so low? Doctor Bloor was wright! Hyenas are taking over the world! Oh Jesus!!! What else can I say? Except to warn you, once again, that the hammer of justice looms, and that your filthy white suit will become a flaming shroud!

Sincerely,
Hunter

Adrian Chen is more succinct on twitter: “RIP to Tom Wolfe, who gave a generation of young writers wildly unrealistic expectations about how glamorous and lucrative a career in magazine journalism would be.”

Posted: 16th, May 2018 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


Daniella Westbrook gets a rib in her face

Headline of the day appears on the BBC website: “Danniella Westbrook’s cheekbone to be replaced by rib.” It’s not a straight swap. The cheekbone will not be reused as a rib. Neither is it a new fashion to reward less prominent bones with increased exposure and promotion. Westbrook will stop short of becoming an ambulatory version of Lou Reed’s Andy’s Chest:

 

 

Westbrook, the former EastEnders star, is best known for her unusual nasal septum, which collapsed because of drug use. She says having a rib put in her face was “nothing to do with cocaine”. “If it was cocaine I’d say it was,” she says “like when I had the hole in my face.”

And who needs an extra one of those?

Westbrook is now someone whose celebrity is based on her looks. Her choices to remain in the spotlight are stark: she either maintains a face with the usual amount of holes, keeps bones where nature intended, relies on her acting abilities and stars in a shelf of fitness DVDs; or she keeps proving her humanity before a TV audience who come to gawk and vote on her likability – she’s appeared on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!,  Dancing on Ice, Come Dine With Me and Big Brother – and stars in a shelf of fitness DVDs.

It all seems horribly brutal.

Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Celebrities | Comment


Hank Azaria says sorry The Simpsons Abu is upsetting

Hank Azaria says he’s “willing to step aside” from voicing the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in TV’s The Simpsons.  Azaria is pressured by a Indian-American comic Hari Kondabolu (The Problem with Apu), who claims the Indian character who knows more about the USA than Homer Simpson (fat, yellow ignorant, child-throttling and lazy) is founded on racial stereotypes. Azaria says his “eyes have been opened” by the debate. No offence was intended. He thought it was a jokey show about a 2D family of yellow-faces and blue hair. But he now knows that The Simpsons is slice-of-life stuff.

 

azaria apu

Not a real Indian

 

Azaria, who also voices porcine Chief Wiggum (a snout-face, slow-witted copper), Comic Book Guy (a fat pedantic slob) and bartender Moe Szyslak (a cranky, wire-haired batchelor) could soon be out of work unless the show’s writers can shoehorn a part for a slim actor who wants to write his own lines.

Azaria goes on the record: “The idea that anyone young or old, past or present, being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad. It certainly was not my intention. I wanted to bring joy and laughter to people.”

He did. He has. He’s not the writer, though. And Azaria’s reaction to criticism explains why actors should be wary of rewriting their own parts. “I’ve given this a lot of thought, and as I say my eyes have been opened,” he continues. “I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers room… including how [Apu] is voiced or not voiced. I’m perfectly willing and happy to step aside, or help transition it into something new. It not only makes sense, it just feels like the right thing to do to me.”

Hear that, Indians. Form a queue.

The Simpsons has been dying on its feet for years.  As Lisa Simpson puts it in reply to this pathetic furore: “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” The camera then pans to a photo of Apu.

(Bart Simpson has been 8 for years – which is both weird and perverted!)

Posted: 25th, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Musical David Bowie MetroCards Go On Sale In New York City

David-Bowie-MetroCard-Spotify-NYC

 

There are no photos of David Bowie riding the New York City subway to and from his home near to SoHo’s Broadway/Lafayette, not far from CBGB. Undeterred by evidence – the lack of it – the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority is selling a David Bowie-themed MetroCard for $1 a pop. It’s part of a deal Spotify to create 5 limited edition MetroCards, most with a scannable Spotify code which triggers a sound file.

 

David-Bowie-MetroCard-Spotify-NYC

David-Bowie-MetroCard-Spotify-NYC

bowie-subway ticket

 

Finally, here’s Bow in the Tube in…Japan:

 

David-Bowie-MetroCard-Spotify-NYC
Close enough…

Spotter: Open Culture, Flashbak

Posted: 23rd, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, Money, News | Comment


When Joe Strummer ran the London Marathon?

Did Joe Strummer run the London Marathon in 1983 and the Paris Marathon a year earlier?

 

trummerParisMarathonrace1982theclash

 

As a boarding school lad, The Clash front man was a talented and enthusiastic runner. So maybe he did…

In the documentary Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten, we get to see and hear Joe talking about athletic pursuits in Paris before the release of The Clash’s Combat Rock (1982). Legend has it that Bernie Rhodes, the band’s manager, wanted to create intrigue to boost interest and thus ticket sales by having Strummer vanish for a while. The plan was for Strummer to get lost in Austin, Texas. Strummer was warm to the idea but instead of Austin went to Paris, without telling anyone. And whilst there he ran the Paris Marathon in just under three and a half hours. His keep-fit regime for success: “Drink 10 pints of beer the night before the race. Ya got that? And don’t run a single step at least four weeks before the race.”

 

 

The Paris story remains unsubstantiated. But Strummer did run the London Marathon, completing the course in 4hours 13minutes.

 

Joe strummer London marathon

 

 

Chris Salewicz (Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer) quotes Gaby Salter revealing: “He hadn’t trained. He just bought some shorts and said, ‘Let’s run a marathon.”‘.Antony Genn, who worked with Strummer in the Mescaleros, recalls the runner telling him: “I didn’t fuckin’ train. Not once. Just turned up and did it.”

Spotter: Reddit, Flashbak, OpenCulture

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Music, Sports, Strange But True | Comment


Dale Winton RIP

Dale Winton (born 22 May 1955 )has died at the age of 62. The presenter of daytime telly’s Supermarket Sweep and later the National Lottery has checked out.

 

dale winton died

 

Dale Winton started out as a  DJ in London club circuit. That was followed by a stint at United Biscuits Industrial Radio Station, where he worked on programmes broadcast in factories. Winton went to work at Nottingham’s Radio Trent, hosting the morning show, then to Radio Danube and Radio Chiltern.

In 1986, Dale Winton joined BBC Bristol, where he presented Pet Watch (BBC One), and CTVC (1987). then it was on to Beacon Radio in Wolverhampton, Network 7′ for Channel 4, Home Today on ITV and lots of outings on satellite telly.

 

But Supermarket Sweep made him. Here’s the pilot episode – it really was fun:

 

Posted: 18th, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, TV & Radio | Comment


There’s a car crash on BBC News whilst they’re covering Ant McPartlin’s drink-driving story

On BBC News they’re covering TV presenter Ant McPartlin’s drink driving story. The star is appearing at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court. There’s a car crash in the background:

 

 

In court, McPartlin, 42, was ordered to pay £86,000 after pleading guilty to drink driving – the fine is means tested and based on disposable income. He was banned from driving for 20 months.

McPartlin was over the alcohol limit when the car he was driving collided with two other vehicles in Richmond, south-west London. His mum was in the passenger seat at the time. Five people, including a toddler, were in one of the vehicles McPartlin’s cat hit.

McPartlin has 75 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – well in excess of the legal limits of 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath.

McPartlin told everyone outside court:

“I just want to say I’m truly sorry for what happened. High standards are expected of me, I expect them of myself. I’ve let myself down, I let a lot of people down. And for that I am truly sorry. I’d like to apologise to everybody involved in the crash and I’m just thankful no-one was seriously hurt.”

He got lucky. But, then, he’s enjoyed good fortune for some time. McPartlin’s huge fine was linked to his wage, which stands at £136,000 a-week.

PS – who gets the £86,000? It should all go to the victims, surely.

Posted: 16th, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


How Bon Jovi created that Slippery When Wet album cover

Mark Weiss was Bon Jovi’s tour photographer during their 1980s pomp.  “I was 13 years old when he got my first camera. I was a kid growing up in Matawan, New Jersey, a suburb an hour outside of New York City,” he tells me. “We were a middle-class family – my mother worked in public relations and my father was a door-to-door salesman selling aluminum siding. It was my dad’s experience that helped me in my lawn-mowing business. He taught me: ‘Make them like you. If they open the door you have a chance. Connect with their eyes, then introduce yourself and be sincere. Always let them think you’re there to help make their lives better.’ And that’s just what I did.”

 

Jon Bon Jovi and Mark Weiss, July 1986 in Red Bank New Jersey

Jon Bon Jovi and Mark Weiss, July 1986 in Red Bank New Jersey

 

It gave him an introduction to photography:

“Soon I had a steady list of five customers a week. Still, I was always looking for more. One day I knocked on the door of a neighbor with a seriously unkempt lawn: ‘Hi, my name is Mark. I live down the street. I noticed your lawn is a bit long, can I help you by cutting it?’ The man told me that he cut his own lawn. I quickly responded, with a smirk, “It doesn’t look like it. Is your mower not working?” He gave me a smirk back and told me if I mowed his yard for the whole season, he’d give me a camera. Then he went back inside and came out holding a Bell & Howell Canon FP. It looked to me like it was worth a million bucks. I said, ‘Sure,’ and after a few cuts, he gave me the camera.

Now that I had it, I wanted to learn as much as I could about how to use it. My 8th grade year was ending. There was a photography class with a darkroom at my school and I asked the teacher if he could give me a crash course in developing and printing film. Everything looked so cool to me in that darkroom—entering through the magical, cylinder-like door, it felt like I was being transported into another dimension amid red lights, trays filled with chemicals and glow-in-the-dark timers. I watched in disbelief as a piece of blank paper transformed into an image before my eyes. The whole process was magical.

“Once the school year ended I was bummed that I wouldn’t have a place to develop and print photos anymore. Then on my 14th birthday – June 15, 1973 – my dad took me to Fishkin Bros. in Perth Amboy, the coolest photo store in the area. It was half hobby shop and half camera store—I used to go there to buy model cars and rocket ships. This time I was looking at studio strobe lights and cameras displayed in the glass cabinets. It felt like Fort Knox to me. My dad bought me an enlarger, and with the money I saved from cutting lawns I bought the trays, chemicals and paper. At home I used the bathroom as a darkroom. I had a new hobby!”

 

 

Fast forward to the 1980s. Mark is with Bon Jovi. The band’s album Slippery When Wet needed a cover:

“The album was done. Three-hundred-thousand copies, with Angela in her provocatively cut wet t-shirt clinging to her 34DD breasts, had already been released in Japan. Everything was ready to go in the US. But this was 1986, and the PMRC was in full swing. Record stores were telling the labels to ease up on the explicit content and imagery or they wouldn’t sell the products. Polygram knew they had a smash album on their hands, and they didn’t want to jeopardize that success. They also knew the music stood on its own, so we went back to the drawing board to come up with another cover. Mercury destroyed nearly 500,000 copies before they ever left the warehouse to be distributed in the U.S.

“Jon Bon Jovi had issues with the Angela cover as well. Only in his mind, it was more about the color of the border around the photo than the actual photo itself.

“Recently he told Howard Stern that his thinking was, ‘My career is over if we put out a hot pink album cover.’ But if the pink border was the problem, why not just take it out?

“I asked him what we were going to do and he replied: ‘I don’t know, but this is our last chance or the album gets held up.’ Jon arrived at my studio, walked inside and didn’t even say hello. ‘Garbage bag. Spray bottle,’ was all he said. I followed orders. I propped up the black bag and sprayed it with an oil and water mixture. Then Jon wrote the words SLIPPERY WHEN WET. As he was leaving he said, ‘That’s it. That’s their cover.’ He didn’t even wait to see the Polaroid. The next day I delivered the photo, and the rest is history.”

.

 

Posted: 15th, April 2018 | In: Key Posts, Music, News | Comment


Stormy Daniels vanishes from twitter; Porn Barron lives the dream

Stormy Daniels, the walking aide to masturbation who claims she was squired by Donald Trump –  and to whom Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid a big was of cash to keep from spilling the beans about Trump allegedly spilling his beans in the run up to the 2016 election – has taken to twitter. She seen something unusual – and she’s seen Trump naked (allegedly):

So we did. We searched ‘Stormy Daniels’ on Twitter. We saw the system cough-up some Trump-themed tweets. But we don’t see any tweets from the adult movie actress. Is this a shadowban? The Urban Dictionary explains:

shadowban
Banning a user from a web forum in such a way that the banned user is unaware of the ban. Usually takes the form of showing that user’s posts/profile/etc. only to that user; other users never see them. Considered underhanded chicken-shit behavior.

So much for the tech.

But does anyone else think Stormy would have made a better First Lady than Melania – considering the bonus that the couple’s son would have had embodied the American dream; you know, what with his being a real-life Porn Barron?

Posted: 13th, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, Politicians | Comment


George Michael impostor linked to singer’s death

The London Evening Standard freesheet has illustrated a story on the “disease that killed George Michael”. It’s done so with a picture of someone who is not George Michael (25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016 ). That’s a look-alike, who might well be alive.

 

george michael evening standard

Not George Michael

 

george michael evening standard

Still not George Michael

 

George Michael’s death has been attributed to heart and liver disease. He had dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver. The coroner told us:

“Inquiries into the death of George Michael have been concluded and the final post-mortem report received.

“As there is a confirmed natural cause of death, being dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver, the investigation is being discontinued and there is no need for an inquest or any further enquiries.

“No further updates will be provided and the family requests the media and public respect their privacy.”

Illustrating a story with a celebrity is nothing new – but it’s a good idea to correctly identify the dead star you’re using to fuel the feature.  The Standard says “260,000 people in the UK” suffer from  dilated cardiomyopathy. Let’s hope their doctors are better at identifying them than the Standard is at spotting one victim.

Posted: 12th, April 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, Tabloids | Comment