Sunday, 30 March 2014
Saturday, 29 March 2014
Thursday, 27 March 2014
"All they had to do was put my name on a marquee and watch the money roll in."
"When I die, my epitaph should read: She Paid the Bills. That's the story of my private life."
"Nobody gets anything for nothing."
Gloria May Josephine Swanson (27th March 1899 – 4th April 1983)
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Miss Ross. The Boss.
"With the Supremes I made so much money so fast all I wanted to do was buy clothes and pretty things. Now I'm comfortable with money and it's comfortable with me."
"I don't think getting in and out of a limousine has anything to do with being an icon."
"Icon. What is an icon? When someone is iconic it means they have established a certain kind of legacy possibly, and I think it does come with time. I'm not really sure. But I don't think you are born an icon."
"It takes a long time to get to be a diva. I mean, you gotta work at it."
"In the end, you really just need to believe in yourself."
Diana Ernestine Earle Ross (born 26th March 1944)
Monday, 24 March 2014
Yesterday, we went to see a work of camp genius. Ever since I first saw the trailer for it, I had been dying to see The Grand Budapest Hotel, and the anticipation was well rewarded!
With its incredible star cast (Jude Law, F Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum and Tilda Swinton are all present and correct, along with many other superstars of stage and screen who were previously unfamiliar to me) and amazingly lavish sets, backdrops, costumes and mood lighting, I haven't seen anything of quite this magnitude since Moulin Rouge or perhaps Gosford Park...
The plot is a tale of Ruritanian affairs, murder, mischief and mayhem all revolving around or connected in some way to the fictional "Mittel-European" hotel of the title, located in an equally fictitious principality called Zubrowka. Through the recollections of the now-elderly Lobby Boy "Zero" (Mr Abraham) in conversation with "The Author" (Mr Law), we are spirited from the "Cold War" near-desolation that has befallen the hotel to a world before the war, when decadent randy old duchesses and grandees swirled about the place in their finery, presided over by the masterful, precise and wildly popular (for his "extra-curricular services" as much as his job) M Gustave. Played to utter perfection by Ralph Fiennes, it is the benefits M Gustave is bestowed that finally cause him the greatest trouble, and lead to the farcicial events of the rest of the film - as the adoring Madame D (an unrecognisably made-up Tilda Swinton) bestows him a valuable painting, that her shady family want back.
Wrongly accused of the Madame's murder by her son Dmitri Desgoffe-und-Taxis (a magnificently sinister Adrien Brody, "who...looks born to wear a hussar's uniform", as Guardian reviewer Andrew Pulver put it), and pursued by the police, the neo-"Nazis" and the brilliantly psychopathic hit-man Jopling (played with obvious glee by Mr Dafoe), the adventures of Gustave (prison escapes, madcap ski-chases, atmospheric mountain-top scenes and all) and his trusty sidekick Zero (as a young man, a perfectly deadpan Tony Revolori) are at once slapstick-funny and slightly disquieting, as the body-count mounts.
Needless to say, despite the sadistic efforts of Dmitri and Jopling - ignoring the level-headed appeals for calm from the will's ill-fated executor and cat-lover Deputy Kovacs (a suitably twitchy Mr Goldblum) - to dispose of our heroes, it all (well, almost all) comes right in the end, largely with the assistance of M Gustave's fellow concierges in the secret “Society of the Crossed Keys” (led by Mr Murray, doing his best Jim Broadbent impression) and Zero's plucky girlfriend, the confectioner Agatha (Saoirse Ronan); and the hotel in particular survives (albeit in vile 1960s drab orange hues by the time The Author pays a visit).
This is an utter masterpiece of a film, and one for which its director Wes Anderson deserves all the accolades for which he will no doubt be nominated.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Sunday, 23 March 2014
One hundred and ten years ago, Miss Joan Crawford was born.
Bow before her.
"I never go outside unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door."
"I have always known what I wanted, and that was beauty... in every form."
"I think that the most important thing a woman can have - next to talent, of course - is her hairdresser."
"I was born in front of a camera and really don't know anything else."
"I am just too much."
Joan Crawford (born Lucille Fay LeSueur, 23rd March 1904 – 10th May 1977)
Saturday, 22 March 2014
"Nicey nicey just doesn't do it for me."
"I want people to be afraid of the women I dress."
Examples of the eccentric genius of the late fashionista Alexander McQueen.
Yesterday I attended the unveiling of a "People’s Plaque", sponsored by Islington Council (as a final event to mark Camden & Islington LGBT History Month), at Aberdeen Road in Highbury (where he lived in the early 2000s), and met members of his family - and a sizeable crowd of well-wishers - who were there to pay their respects to this fascinating enfant terrible of couture.
It is a fitting tribute to an enormous talent, sadly gone too soon.
"It's good to know where you come from. It makes you what you are today. It's DNA, it's in your blood."
"When I'm dead and gone, people will know that the twenty-first century was started by Alexander McQueen."
Lee Alexander McQueen CBE (17th March 1969 – 11th February 2010)
Friday, 21 March 2014
A goddess walks amongst us.
Kate Bush has announced her first live concerts in 35 years!
I imagine they'll be quite popular...
Here's one of Miss Bush's finer moments of mad campery - The Man With The Child In His Eyes:
"It's not important to me that people understand me." - Kate Bush
Read more on the BBC
Thursday, 20 March 2014
Erté - Spring Opening
by Thomas Carew (1640)
Now that the winter’s gone, the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes; and now no more the frost
Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream
Upon the silver lake or crystal stream:
But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth,
And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth
To the dead swallow; wakes in hollow tree
The drowsy cuckoo and the humble-bee.
Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring,
In triumph to the world, the youthful spring:
The valleys, hills, and woods in rich array
Welcome the coming of the long’d-for May.
Now all things smile: only my love doth lower,
Nor hath the scalding noon-day sun the power
To melt that marble ice, which still doth hold
Her heart congeal’d, and makes her pity cold.
The ox, which lately did for shelter fly
Into the stall, doth now securely lie
In open fields; and love no more is made
By the fire-side, but in the cooler shade
Amyntas now doth with his Chloris sleep
Under a sycamore, and all things keep
Time with the season: only she doth carry
June in her eyes, in her heart January.
Today is the Vernal Equinox
Monday, 17 March 2014
RIP Clarissa. Now there's no 'Fat Ladies' left...
“We have been eating [butter] for at least 2,000 years and if it were killing us in large numbers I think we'd have realised by now: or died out. But we haven't done either.”
"I would have no objection to eating badgers. I have no objection to eating anything very much, really. Staple food of the population, well before rabbit because rabbit was a luxury food.”
"A lot of people don’t stand up for principles now. I believe we should fight for what we believe in. If you don’t, it’s cowardice. If I put my life at risk, so what.”
“I once had two people attempt to mug me and they both ended up in intensive care. I can handle myself.”
Clarissa Dickson Wright (24th June 1947 – 15th March 2014)