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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.

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


Alleged drink-driver Ant McPartlin has been banned before

It turns out that TV presenter Ant McPartlin might not be “squeaky clean” after all.  To go with the story of alleged drug taking, Ant’s been charged with drink driving. McPartlin was, as you know, arrested following a car crash on Sunday. The 42-year-old will be at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on 4 April.

And it’s serious. If found guilty, possible sentences include six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a minimum driving ban of a year.

And he’s been banned before. In 2002, McPartlin earned a 30-day driving ban for shifting at 127mph by an unmarked police car near Bowburn, County Durham. “It was silly and I have learnt my lesson,” said McPartlin after the hearing.

Or not..

Note: According to Government figures, drink-driving is all too common.

The second provisional estimates for 2015 show:

between 180 and 250 people were killed in Great Britain
at least 1 driver was over the drink drive limit
there has been a rise in overall drink drive casualties of all severities from 2014, a 3% increase to 8,480
there was an estimated 180 fatal drink drive accidents
the total number of drink drive accidents of all severities rose by 2% to 5,740

If he is guilty of drink-driving, Ant McPartlin should count himself lucky.

Posted: 21st, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


Ant McPartlin drops into the therapy trap

At what point did a private man in a private vehicle involved in a collision in south-west London become a “scandal”? Ant McPartlin was driving when his vehicle collided with two other cars. He’s ok. His mother was in the passenger seat. No, not Meghan Markle in a state of undress. His mum Christine. She’s alright, too. A family of three and two work colleagues travelling in one of the other vehicles involved in the prang are also ok. None were hospitalised, although Shilpa Dandekar did suffer a cut lip, and her husband, Faheem says the whole thing has been a “nightmare”.

 

ant mcpartlin scandal

 

Ant was carted off to the police station to help police with their enquiries. There are allegations that he failed a roadside breath test, and he has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.

 

ant mcpartlin scandal

 

But in what way is any of that a “scandal”, as the Daily Star calls it on its front page? Is there public outrage at Ant’s accident? Surely not. If there is, well, get a grip. Ant’s back in rehab, where, according to the Sun, he will spend “months”. Maybe if it’s scandal were looking for we should gawk less at Ant McPartlin and more at the therapy industry, which operates behind a soft-hinged revolving door. Does anyone ever graduate from pricey therapy suites, or is it all designed to keep you coming back for more, replacing the patient’s initial obsession with one that keeps medics in jobs and business booming for whoever makes monogrammed towelling gowns and slippers?

 

Posted: 20th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, Tabloids | Comment


Biased media won’t save Ant McPartlin from drink-drive shame

The Press has been very much on the side of Ant McPartlin, 42, “getting over an addiction to painkillers following knee surgery”; separated from his wife Lisa, to whom he is prepared to give half of “his fortune“; his condition connived into a campaign we all can take heart from, turning McPartlin from a man who deserves a private life into a role model; his plight told in his own words; a “source” assuring Sun readers that divorce would be “the right thing for his health.” This is “freakishly clean” Ant who in 2013 admitted to having taken drugs. Good old, Ant, then. But things have changed. Ant has been nicked for alleged drink driving.


ant mcpartlin drunk driving

 

McPartlin was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving when his car was involved in an accident in Richmond yesterday afternoon, not far from his London home. He allegedly failed a breathalyser test at the scene. He was taken into police custody at a South London police station.

Worse still: the Mini his Mini collided into was carrying a couple and a three-year-old girl. McPartlin was in the car with his mother, Christine.

Sympathy for Ant will be in shorter supply. But not yet. Old habits die hard. In the Press, the same old tired reporting holds sway. The Mail notes:

The divorce from his wife of 11 years is believed to be costing the star around £30 million of his estimated £60 million fortune.

His fortune. Not ‘their’ fortune.

And in the Sun:

After his rehab stint, which was revealed by The Sun On Sunday, Ant announced he was divorcing wife Lisa, 41, after 11 years of marriage. Legal experts say it could cost him £30million.

Let’s see how long this episode can be spun for?

Posted: 19th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Ellen Barkin gets a lift to Terry Gilliam’s Harvey Weinstein apology

When not teaching us how make Monty Python-style stop animation, Terry Gilliam is opining about Harvey Weinstein. The killer line comes: “Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey — that’s the price you pay.”

No word from the disgraced movie mogul, last seen nipping into The Meadows in Arizona for treatment to whatever syndrome his behaviour can be filed under. “The Meadows exists to heal your trauma,” oozes the reassuringly expensive clinic, where Weinstein has been housed since last October. We wish him well with his morbid attraction to actors and plant pots.

And here to help Harvey get well is Gilliam, who tells AFP:

“It is a world of victims. I think some people did very well out of meeting with Harvey and others didn’t. The ones who did, knew what they were doing. These are adults; we are talking about adults with a lot of ambition.”

Variety adds:

Gilliam also claimed that some of the women didn’t actually suffer, but used Weinstein to further their careers, and that he knew women who walked out of meetings with the mogul before getting sexually abused.

Meanwhile… on twitter, Ellen Barkin – who starred in Gilliam’s 1998 film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – tweeted:

 

 

Whatever can she mean?

terry gilliam weinstein

Posted: 18th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, News | Comment


Snapchat invites users to think about assaulting Rihanna

Snapchat wants to know if its users would prefer to “Slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown”. There’s no option ‘c’, but if there were it would most likely be: do we know which marketing boffin thought it wise to turn criminal assault into larks? You’ll no doubt recall that in 2009 Chris Brown used his fists to put his then lover Rihanna in hospital. Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault.

Nine years laster, and domestic abuse is rebranded as a leisure activity.

 

rihanna slap

 

Snap, the company that operates Snapchat, tells the BBC that the poll was published “in error”.

“The advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines,” says Snap. “We immediately removed the ad last weekend, once we became aware.”

 

 

Rihanna used her Instagram account to respsond:

Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain’t my fav app out there! But I’m just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess! I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV [Domestic Violence] victims and made a joke of it!!!! This isn’t about my personal feelings, cause I don’t have much of them…but all the women, children, and men that have been victims of DV in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet….you let us down!  Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away.

And just like that Snap’s stock tumbled 4%.

 

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


RIP Jim Bowen: When Gameshow TV Hit The Bullseye

Jim Bowen RIP Bullseye

 

So it’s farewell to Jim Bowen, my Bullseye Tumblr muse. He was the engine of that show, propping up hours of awkward banter with shy contestants like Colin the carpet tufter from Dridlington (my favourite ever contestant name town and occupation combo) shuffling in their seats, eyes down. They had only come to win a dinner service, maybe a luggage set, they didn’t want all this razzle dazzle.  He chatted to them about their home town, their family, their job, and would valiantly press on whenever the banter couldn’t overcome the nerves and didn’t land, as it once didn’t with a shopkeeper from Diss who took umbrage at Jim saying he had DISS-satisfied customers. The man disagreed (DISSagreed!) Jim explained what he meant. “I know what you meant,” he muttered irritably; right, on with the show!

 

 

Jim really came into his own during the quiz portion of the show, routinely asking anyone who responded to a question with a self doubting tone “are you asking me or telling me?” They would confirm that they were indeed telling him and he was duly appeased. Except for one time, when a woman threw him by saying “I’m asking you”. He paused and in a low sombre voice said “I’d prefer it if you’d tell me”.

He wasn’t very consistent bless him, oscillating between violently and unnecessarily shushing the always silent audience whilst the contestants considered their answer and then occasionally jabbering all over their thinking time. My favourite such occasion was when he asked a woman about a cathedral that had burned down “…which cathedral was it?…it was a cathedral…but…but it’s got another name for a cathedral” MOOOOOOOO. Thanks for that Jim.

 

 

Another classic was when he spent a man’s thinking time telling him he looked like Rumpole of the Bailey. The man looked annoyed at this comparison and then came Bully’s roar which annoyed him further. Afterwards Jim apologised to the glowering contestant for offending him but maintained that he did look like him.

 

 

That man should count himself lucky that at least he didn’t get the I’m surprised you didn’t know that” treatment on a question about STDs.

 

 

The quiz section led to everyone’s favourite part of the night; the famed prize board. Where Jim would get to announce such bizarre prize hauls as “pound puppies and fine wines” (GAMBLE!) and physically drag people to what they had won and also to what they hadn’t won. Like when he pushed two unhappy contestants up onto a beach set and made them sit unhappily in cane chairs so they could watch footage of a holiday they had failed to obtain, having lost all of their other prizes in the process. But they had a good day and that is all that matters. Plus you got a tankard win or lose.

I will leave you with a clip of Jim being serenaded by some very 1980s men for far too long. His face in the middle is wonderful.

 

 

Thank you Mr Bowen for all of the awkward moments, the great chat, the deliberately bad jokes, and for a show that I always find gives me the biggest of hugs whenever I watch it.

James Bowen (born Peter Williams; 20 August 1937 – 14 March 2018).

Posted: 15th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Salma Hayek dresses like a Daily Mail reader

The hard working Daily Mail Reporter was helping readers sat in their Comfi-Gowns and support stockings identify the “Worst dressed women” at the Oscars.

Eyes are drawn to Salma Hayek, who came as a “Shiny disaster”. Her “dress was baffling to behold… serving as more of an eye sore than a style statement”. What a horror show.

 

Salma Hayek daily mail horror

 

And you too can get the look because just one line down, the same readers are told: “Shimmer in sequins like Salma wearing a Gucci gown… Whoever said sequins can’t be worn all over on a maxi gown must’ve not seen how good Salma Hayek rocked this one at the 2018 Oscars.”

Who said it? The Daily Mail did a moment earlier.

 

Salma Hayek daily mail horror

 

Baffling stuff.

Price on application.

Posted: 14th, March 2018 | In: Celebrities, Fashion, News | Comment


Stormy Daniels will reveal all about her candlelit romance with Trump if he returns $130,000 hush money

You know how it goes: you shag the billionaire and take his hush money. Then the billionaire becomes president of the US of And you realise you undervalued your services. And so it is that adult film star Stormy Daniels says she not longer wants the $130,000 she claims Donald Trump paid her to remain tight lipped about their affair. She thinks it best that she return the cash and place her story on the public record.

 

Stormy Daniels

Hush ‘n’ tell

 

Daniels, nee Stephanie Clifford, has laid out her plan in a letter to Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen. She has set a deadline of Friday for the return of the cash. She will then be at liberty to “speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the president and the attempts to silence her and use and publish and text messages, photos and videos relating to the president that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution or legal liability.”

“This has never been about the money,” Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told NBC New. It’s the principle, right? “It has always been about Ms. Clifford being allowed to tell the truth. The American people should be permitted to judge for themselves who is shooting straight with them and who is misleading them. Our offer seeks to allow this to happen.”

 

Generous it is, indeed. And should Trump fall into a a trap marked ‘TRAP’ with huge arrow pointing at it, we can all marvel at how a man who outlined his mating ritual as “Grab her by the pussy” really treats women he fancies.

You can read Daniels’ letter in full here.

 

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


Kardashian balls: Kylie Jenner’s billion dollar tweet

All power, then, to Kylie Jenner, 20, half-sister to Kim Kardashian, who has issued the first billion dollar tweet: “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?”

Her message was liked more than 250,000 times. Around the same time, shares in Snap, which operates the social media app., dropped 6 per cent ($1.3bn).

Such is Jenner’s power that a role as share tipster must beckon. Kylie tips a few companies for greatness and  – waboom!- their short-term share price rises sharply. You can debate why anyone would follow the advice of a woman who called her first child Stormi Webster later. But they do. So there.

Of course, there’s more to it that just Jenner’s tweet. Citigroup analyst Mark May has seen a “significant jump” in negative reviews of the app’s redesign. Over one million names appeared on an online petition asking Snap to keep the old look.  Maybelline New York asked its followers if it should bother staying on the Snapchat platform.

But the story is out there – “Kylie Jenner’s pop at Snapchat wipes $1bn off value” (Times); “Reality TV star Kylie Jenner wiped $1.3bn off Snap’s stock market value after tweeting that she no longer used its Snapchat messaging app” (BBC);  and “SNAPCRASH -Kylie Jenner wipes £1BILLION off value of Snapchat just by saying she doesn’t use the app any more” (Sun).

When later on Jenner tweeted “Still love you tho snap”. The stock did not rally. Last night shares in Snap closed down $1.13 at $17.51.

Still, it’s good marketing for Jenner and Snapchat, which now appears to be relevant. It’s almost as if – as if! – it was all a spot of PR…

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


Jennifer Lawrence’s puckered flesh gives Red Sparrow a leg up

Jennifer Lawrence showed some skin as she lined up with her Red Sparrow co-stars for a press call. The men showed no skin. The Mail  says the looks sparked “controversy on social media”. Helen Lewis, for one, was upset by what came to be called – get this – “WarmCoatGate”.

 

 

Not that Lewis, the Deputy editor @newstatesman, was outside to promote a film. Some clothes are best for popping to shops, others are good for gardening or climbing Everest. Some are good at getting attention.

The Mail couldn’t resist editorialising, telling readers that Jennifer Lawrence “appears to be shivering in a plunging Versace dress”. You can tell if someone’s shivering from a still? Maybe the cold is why the four man are all sporting coats and beards. Maybe the beards are viewed as part of what it is to be a man, just as Lawrence’s cleavage is essentially feminine?

Lawrence got wind of people voicing their disapproval. “This is not only utterly ridiculous, I am extremely offended,” she writes on Facebook. “That Versace dress was fabulous, you think I’m going to cover that gorgeous dress up with a coat and a scarf? I was outside for 5 minutes. I would have stood in the snow for that dress because I love fashion and that was my choice.”

Get a load of all that freedom. And then get another big stinky load of the righteous trying to work out if you can have freedom and enforced equality.

In other news: attractive actress in revealing dress gets film lots of attention. Read all about it!

Posted: 22nd, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, Film, Key Posts, News | Comment


Private Cheryl Cole world to keep the limelight as Liam Payne goes solo again

Like you, everyone else thought Cheryl Cole / Surname and former One Direction extra Liam Payne would spend the next decades together in Instagramed bliss. But, then, we also thought “the nation’s sweetheart” (Cheryl – source: all papers) would hang on in their with her first two husbands.

It turns out that Cheryl and Liam are not getting on well. The pair are “preparing to end their relationship”, in much the same way as mere mortals prepare to end a bath or log off twitter. You know how it is: you pull the plug, see the water circling life’s plughole, call your agent and announce that “crisis talks” with the rubber duck might not work.

A few unnamed “friends” helpfully call the Sun to say that Cheryl is “very private” – see photos of her arse and marriage in OK! – that she is an “amazing” mother to the couple’s child, Bear, has been “left holding the baby”, how she will “battle” on, and open Cheryl’s Trust Centre, a place where “vulnerable young people” can feel her unique brand of love.

No word yet on who gets to keep the paparazzi.

Posted: 19th, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, News, Tabloids | Comment


Lisa Armstrong prepared to part with her half her fortune to get shot of Ant McPartlin

When Ant McPartlin’s lawyers thrash out any divorce settlement with his estranged wife Lisa Armstrong, they may refer to the Sun’s reporting on the family fortune.

In today’s paper the news is that Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon have been “comforting” Lisa and offering “real support”. That news of their good hearts should emerge just as Britain’s Got Talent, the show on which the pair work as judges hits the PR circuit, is surely coincidental and not opportunistic tosh pulled from cynicism’s deepest mine.

 

AntLisadivorce

 

Of more interest is that Sun’s news that Ant is “prepared to part with half his £62m fortune”. You might suppose that money accrued by childhood sweethearts who’ve ben married for 11 years would belong to both of them. The message could be: “Lisa is prepared to part with half her fortune”?

And it’s not £62m. Well, not according to the, er, Sun it isn’t.

 

 

One thing is clear: in the tabloids the money is always his and not hers.

 

Posted: 16th, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, Money, News, Tabloids | Comment


Judge rules: Taylor Swift’s lyrics are too ‘banal’ and ‘unoriginal’ to copyright

Taylor Swift’s lyrics are too banal to copyright. US Judge Michael W Fitzgerald has ruled in a case of alleged copyright infringement against the singer.

Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler claimed Swift’s song Shake It Off stole from their tune Playas Gon’ Play. They argued that Swift’s lyric relied on their lyric, “playas, they gonna play, and haters, they gonna hate.”

 

taylor swift banal

Shakers gotta shake; makers gotta make; takers gotta take

 

 

Fitzgerald was unimpressed. His ruling is golden:

As reflected in Defendants’ RJN, and as Plaintiffs acknowledge, by 2001, American popular culture was heavily steeped in the concepts of players, haters, and player haters. Although Plaintiffs recognize as much, they allege that they “originated the linguistic combination of playas/players playing along with hatas/haters hating…” Plaintiffs explain that the plethora of prior works that incorporated “the terms ‘playa’ and hater together all revolve about the concept of ‘playa haters’” – a “playa” being “one who is successful at courting women,” and a “playa hater” being “one who is notably jealous of the ‘playas’” success.”… Plaintiffs explain that Playas Gon’ Play “used the terms in the context of a third party, the narrator of a song who is neither a ‘playa’ nor a hater, stating that other people will do what they will and positively affirming that they won’t let the judgment of others affect them.

Isn’t it great.

The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal. In the early 2000s, popular culture was adequately suffused with the concepts of players and haters to render the phrases “playas … gonna play” or “haters … gonna hate,” standing on their own, no more creative than “runners gonna run,” “drummers gonna drum,” or “swimmers gonna swim.” Plaintiffs therefore hinge their creativity argument, and their entire case, on the notion that the combination of “playas, they gonna play” and “haters, they gonna hate” is sufficiently creative to warrant copyright protection…

Looking at this this case from a potentially-protectable-short-phrase perspective, the lyrics in question are not sufficiently creative to warrant protection… Even if, as Plaintiffs contend, Plaintiffs were the first to employ the concepts of players playing and haters hating for the purpose of expressing “the idea of not concerning yourself with what other people do and think” …  the allegedly-infringed lyrics consist of just six relevant words – “playas … gonna play” and “haters … gonna hate.” In order for such short phrases to be protected under the Copyright Act, they must be more creative than the lyrics at issue here.

As discussed above, players, haters, and player haters had received substantial pop culture attention prior to 2001. It is hardly surprising that Plaintiffs, hoping to convey the notion that one should persist regardless of others’ thoughts or actions, focused on both players playing and haters hating when numerous recent popular songs had each addressed the subjects of players, haters, and player haters, albeit to convey different messages than Plaintiffs were trying to convey. In short, combining two truisms about playas and haters, both well-worn notions as of 2001, is simply not enough.

At the hearing, Plaintiffs’ counsel offered alternative (very clunky) formulations of pairing a noun with its intransitive verb, thereby suggesting that “[noun] gonna [verb]” was creative in itself. While clever, this argument does not persuade. The argument ultimately only makes sense if the use of “gonna” as a contraction of “is going to” is sufficiently creative, or (as discussed above) one can claim creativity in asserting that a type of person acts in accordance with his or her inherent nature. To explicitly state the argument is to see how banal the asserted creativity is.

In sum, the lyrics at issue – the only thing that Plaintiffs allege Defendants copied – are too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act. In light of the fact that the Court seemingly “has before it all that is necessary to make a comparison of the works in question” … the Court is inclined to grant the Motion without leave to amend. However, out of an abundance of caution, the Court will allow Plaintiffs one opportunity to amend, just in case there are more similarities between Playas Gon’ Play and Shake it Off than Plaintiffs have alleged thus far (which Plaintiffs’ counsel did not suggest at the hearing). If there are not, the Court discourages actual amendment. The more efficient course would be for Plaintiffs to consent to judgment being entered against them so that they may pursue an appeal if they believe that is appropriate.

Judges gotta judge.

Posted: 14th, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment


Wax your pay gap: Love Island mating pairs are not all equal

Love Island finalist Olivia Attwood claims the reality TV mating show does not secure all would-be breeding pairs the same level of income. She’s part of a story that female stars were “reportedly offered less than their male counterparts for the same work after leaving the show”. Yeah, different human beings earn different amounts of money on account of their popularity, skills and reaction to limelight. WTF! It’s the ‘gender pay gap’, dummy. And no, it’s not something you can wax.

The women and men who participated in the reality television show, in which single contestants are sent to an island and instructed to couple up and find love, were given a variety of employment opportunities with outside companies after the programme ended.

Two went to work as sub-title writers for ITVBe, one became the German chancellor and another scored a job testing NHS  orthopaedic treatments on a pro-celebrity ice dancing show.

Although ITV offers an equal prize for winning the show, regardless of gender, stars have allegedly found that other companies they have worked with offered women less money.

Work like…

The jobs on offer included nightclub appearances, paid sponsorships on social media, media appearances and partnerships with brands. Ms Attwood claimed that women were offered less money for these roles than the men who participated in the reality television show.

Might it be that the punters would pay more to see the boys than the girls?

Spotter: Telegraph

 

Posted: 7th, February 2018 | In: Celebrities, Money, TV & Radio | Comment