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.
Minted tax-exile Bono, aka Paul Hewson, aka the stately Mr G21, has not been wasting his bath time. He’s thought up a new way to irritate everyone: the U2 singer will wave the EU flag on stage when the band begin their European tour in Berlin. It’s “provocative”, says Bono in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.
“I’m told a rock band is at its best when it’s a little transgressive: when it pushes the bounds of so-called good taste, when it shocks, when it surprises,” he writes. “Well, U2 is kicking off its tour in Berlin this week, and we’ve just had one of our more provocative ideas: during the show we’re going to wave a big, bright, blue EU flag.
With a rebel yell, Bono will wave the EU flag that pokes a finger in the eye of those elitist, conformist swine in Catalonia, Greece and Portugal. Waving the flag of those lands’, let’s call them the oppressors is, says Bono, a “radical act”, something akin to buttering your bread only on one side and taking one bottle into the shower.
Stop Press: In other news, the EU plans to keep the same flag after Brexit, with the UK’s star being adopted by planet Bono.
Did you “remember Madeleine McCann” this summer, heeding the advice of Mirror columnist Fiona Phillips to not “let your holiday be the one we all read about”? You all must of because the papers did not make single mention of any new child getting kidnapped on holidays, let alone launch into a voracious feeding frenzy as the media did in 2007 when Madeleine McCann became ‘Our Maddie’. Eleven years on, Operation Phillips is a success. Cheers, Fi, we don’t know how many children your advice to “forgo all of the adult holiday pleasures all over again to make sure our kids were safe” saved. Maybe none. Maybe one. Phillips has a story:
I thought of this when I read about Janet Alexander who’s suing Thomas Cook after her daughter was “abducted” from a holiday kids’ club.
Was the child abducted or not? Pull up a sun lounger and play detective.
She left five-year-old Rose at a supervised play area at their hotel in Turkey while she took her other daughter scuba diving. When she returned an hour later there was no sign of Rose. Janet thought her daughter was dead or faced being abused.
Thankfully, another guest spotted Rose near a main road with a strange woman wearing a hijab.
It seems a pretty safe bet to say that Janet doesn’t wear an hijab and this was not a case of mistaken identity. It might also be that women in hijabs arouse more suspicion among columnists than those who do not, or are very good at helping kids who have wandered off cross the road. Discuss.
And here’s some more, also via the Mirror:
A frantic search for the child was then launched and Janet has described seeing staff turn to a woman in a hijab and speak to her in Turkish…
It is believed the ordeal came to an end 40 minutes later when another hotel guest spotted the blonde youngster walking with a woman in a hijab near a main road within the hotel grounds.
If only we knew what colour hair the hijab woman has we could form a better opinion of her intentions. Blonde hair: likelihood of innocence high (see Myra Hindley); dark hair: likelihood of guilt high (see Mother Teresa).
As that legal matter grinds on, we rejoice in the news that the case of Madeleine McCann has been “SOLVED!” So goes the National Enquirer’s front-page headline, which heralds the the story of a convicted pedophile who allegedly stole Madeleine McCann. Who is this wine? Well, he’s dead. He died a year ago. His name? Dunno. But he is “This man kidnapped little girl & sold her into slavery!” Fact! And where’s Maddie? “She’s still alive,” declares the Enquirer. But where? Dunno. Maybe they’ll find out in time for next week’s deadline.
Meanwhile, the South West Londoner website has conducted a poll:
We went out into the streets of Wimbledon and asked: “Should the government stop spending money searching for Madeleine McCann?”
Yes: 72% No: 28%
How many women wearing the hijab were questioned is not stated. But you just know most of them who were said ‘NO!’
Finally someone has had the guts to stand up and say it: “Nazis aren’t good people.” Well done, Billy Joel:
— The Hill (@thehill) July 24, 2018
Billy Joel, the singer, thought it a good idea to wear a yellow Star of David stuck to his jacket during a concert to remind President Trump that “Nazis aren’t good people”. The stars are not yet official tour merchandise but give it time.
In the meanwhile, should all people who don’t like Trump wear the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear on pain of enslavement and death under the laws of the Third Reich? Or might it be that if you keep evoking Nazis, turning the horror of the Holocaust into a live event, you demean what went before, you reduce the horror and turn genocide into a routine happening?
The Hill notes:
Joel told CBS News that the president’s comments after a woman was killed last August when a suspected white supremacist struck a crowd of counterprotesters with a car “enraged” him.
“The president said, you know, ‘There’s some good people on that side …’ No, Nazis aren’t good people,” Joel told CBS in an interview that aired Sunday.
“It really enraged me, actually. My old man, his family got wiped out. They were slaughtered in Auschwitz. Him and his parents were able to get out. But then he was in the U.S. Army during the war and fought with Patton and was shot at by Nazis. My family suffered. And I think I actually have a right to do that.”
You don’t need murdered relatives to advertise your opinion that Nazis were bad dudes. Plenty of Germans whose family were Nazis – real ones – agree with you. But you do need to wonder how calling a prat like Trump a Nazi serves the victims of the greatest crime? Is Trump gassing people to death in industrial ovens? Are racial laws banning untermensch from marrying Gentiles and owning property on account of their race? Are we so needy and lacking in direction and moral purpose that we eye the Holocaust with envy, and invest huge power in every act of racism by some dickhead so that the knowing are elevated to the rank of saviours? It looks like it.
This crass, historically illiterate narcissism destroys the past. It undermines the truth. It buys into the nastiness that wonders why the Jews and the gypsies and the gays didn’t just fight harder. It makes the dead weak and complicit and the living their betters. It turns the Nazis into something eternal and magic, an anti-human that can be summoned at any moment and never beaten. What a low opinion of humanity that is.
In the post-Savile era, the BBC is so desperate to look decent and worthy that it broadcast live a police raid on an innocent man’s home. The celebrity in the Beeb’s cross-hairs was Sir Cliff Richard, who had been implicated in an incident at a Billy Graham evangelist rally in Sheffield in the 1980s involving a boy under the age of 16. The Metropolitan Police’s Operation Yewtree shoved the allegation on to South Yorkshire Police in June 2014. A month later the police and the State broadcaster colluded in the interests of “breaking news” and PR to show us Cliff’s home being turned over. He was out at the time. It was revolting stuff. But it wasn’t out of keeping with the BBC and police’s frenzied pursuit of salvation and purpose, in which accusers became ‘victims’, accusations are considered “credible and true” and the accused branded guilty without any need for such nuisances as evidence, proof and a trial.
Sir Cliff, who was told in 2016 that he’d face no charges, sued. And yesterday the 77-year-old singer was awarded £210,000 in damages. More damages are sure to follow. South Yorkshire Police has already paid £400,000 in damages.
Mr Justice Mann told the court:
“The material at trial demonstrated not only that people were very excited at the prospect of this scoop, but also that they were very keen to preserve it as their own. The latter point is demonstrated by a number of things, including the very questionable (in contractual terms) exclusion of ITN from knowledge of the launch of the helicopter and the fear, expressed in emails, that Sky News might pick up the event.
“I think and find it likely that this is what motivated the BBC in relation to timing at the end of the chain of events. It was important, if possible, to get the news to broadcast for 1pm (ITN would have a lunchtime broadcast at 1.30pm), rather than waiting any longer.
“That led the BBC to truncate, unfairly, the opportunity for Sir Cliff to get in a reply before the first broadcast.
“I emphasise that I am not finding that there is anything inherently wrong with a desire to beat a rival to a story. What happened in this case was that that view unduly skewed other judgments that had to be made.”
This was the stodgy BBC engaging in competitive journalism with commercial broadcasters. It wanted to use Sir Cliff to prove that in the new arena it too could shout “First!” The police used the reality show to trawl for more ‘victims’.
BBC News director Fran Unsworth has issued an apology, albeit one with a sympathetic back story and mealy-mouthed lament:
“We are sorry for the distress that Sir Cliff has been through. We understand the very serious impact that this has had on him. We have thought long and hard about how we covered this story. On reflection there are things we would have done differently, however the judge has ruled that the very naming of Sir Cliff was unlawful.”
Why name an innocent man? Was he a danger to the public? Was Cliff more Pied Piper than Peter Pan? What evidence did the police hope to find at his unoccupied home? What would this compelling evidence look like on the telly? Where was Sir Cliff – wasn’t he the story, rather than his house?
“So even had the BBC not used helicopter shots or ran the story with less prominence, the Judge would still have found that the story was unlawful; despite ruling that what we broadcast about the search was accurate.”
Man has home searched. Fact. Broadcasting it live and naming the celeb, who must be presumed innocent to showcase your own sound morals. Sensationalist horror show. This is a pathetic apology.
“This judgment creates new case law and represents a dramatic shift against press freedom and the long-standing ability of journalists to report on police investigations, which in some cases has led to further complainants coming forward.”
Trawling for ‘victims’ on a live reality TV show is not an investigation, at least not one any sensible and circumspect institution should be dabbling in.
And it could be you:
“This impacts not just the BBC, but every media organisation. This isn’t just about reporting on individuals. It means police investigations, and searches of people’s homes, could go unreported and unscrutinised.”
Balls. The BBC went for Sir Cliff because he is famous.
“It will make it harder to scrutinise the conduct of the police and we fear it will undermine the wider principle of the public’s right to know. It will put decision-making in the hands of the police.”
If it is so awful, how the bloody hell did you – top State-approved journalists – all agree it was a good idea? Why didn’t the BBC apologise earlier? Why did the BBC fight the case? Has anyone been sacked? Will ‘lessons be learned’?
Ubiquitous Tory MP Anna Soubry has called for “Cliff’s Law” to ban media from naming suspects before they are charged. Oh, the sick irony of Sir Cliff having his own law, thus cementing his name with an accusation of which he is entirely innocent. Bad practice makes for bad laws. Soubry is as vain and monocular as the BBC reporters who sought to make names for themselves on Sir Cliff’s back.
“We don’t believe this is compatible with liberty and press freedoms – something that has been at the heart of this country for generations. For all of these reasons, there is a significant principle at stake. That is why the BBC is looking at an appeal.”
Ha. So much for the apology. The show goes on…
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:
— Ross Kemp (@RossKemp) July 3, 2018
This sums it up well:
£1.50 well spent pic.twitter.com/JJTXIkkQOj
— Alistair Coleman (@alistaircoleman) July 3, 2018
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.”
You can read Becky’s non-reaction on page 1, 6 and 7.
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.
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.”
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.
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!”
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!”
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:
“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…
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.
In Now Mag read the story of Gemma Collins, the really irritating/ bubbly one of TV’s The Only Way is Essex.
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?)
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.
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.
Dec is away.
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:
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:
The Mirror leads with news that Lisa “suspected” Ant was with Ann-Marie “months ago”. Poor Lisa. Let’s take a look at her:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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’?
In the Times news that Hollywood politician and actor Clint Eastwood looks a lot like John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister:
Clint Eastwood, of course, only pretended the punch people in films. Prescott, however…
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.”
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.
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, 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!)
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.
Finally, here’s Bow in the Tube in…Japan:
Spotter: Open Culture, Flashbak
Did Joe Strummer run the London Marathon in 1983 and the Paris Marathon a year earlier?
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.
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.”
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 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: