Monday, 29 June 2009


You see, anyone Googling "who is the most beautiful woman in the world?"will be led to this opulent new post, and good thing too.  Because it is true.

Anyhoo, I was getting ready to go out on Saturday night, and I had the television on and it was Who Wants To Be a Millionaire (C. Tarrant in the chair) and it was a real eye-opener.  Other people have described it as a real eye-closer, but they are the ones ready for swinish sleep at 1900 hours and have no place in this discourse.  There was a man answering the questions, 30-ish, not too ugly, quite common.  He was struck dumb by the following:  which of these artists shares a name with a town in Lincolnshire?  The choices were Lowry, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Hockney.  He gazed at the selection as if seeing the Rosetta Stone on autocue.  Then he gazed at his interlocutor.  Then he made a vague mumbling noise and looked up to the heavens.  He stood to win £20,000 for the correct answer; if he fucked up he would be back to a grand.  "Is anything ringing a bell?" asked keen campanologist, Tarrant.  "Noh reeely", said the dolt, "but I got a ninkling".  His ninkling was that it was most likely Hockney.  Hockney, the well-known Wolds town, famous for bespoke linoleum,  and Hockney Hardcore, the local delicacy, a sort of pemmican made from mashed yeast and boiled bronze.

So, he was royally stuck and he'd used up his Ask The Audience on a car question and his 50:50 on a tricky one about tropical fish, so he phoned a friend, and his "friend" was his mother-in-law, which most of us would surely regard as mutually exclusive, but hey.  Needless to say, his MIL knew nothing and said she hadn't heard of any of the artists, and if only the county had been Worcestershire she would've been ok, and then she hung up.  So, that was that.  But he still went away with 20 grand, which is a result in anyone's language.  But it had made me cross and distracted, and I must have sprayed myself with Ange ou Demon for about two minutes and I stank like Portsmouth on pay-night, but I didn't care.  How dare people be so dim?  And how dare they go on game shows and make a virtue of being dim?  Who would want to advertise dimness on prime-time television?  The whole thing is beyond reason.

That is not to say that I would denigrate game shows; far from it.  Or, at least, not game shows of old.  Some people have commented cruelly on my love for Guy Lux, and other people (K. Musgrove) rag me mercilessly about Michael Miles, but I turn the other cheek.  Key references here include Criss Cross Quiz, The Sky's The Limit, The Golden Shot and, crucially, Double Your Money.  Everyone remembers Monica Rose, but hardly anyone recalls Julie de Marco, which is barely understandable.  She was almost ludicrously sexy, and when I didn't want to be Kathy Kirby, I wanted to be Julie de Marco, because even at that age I could see a bottom like that could take you very far.  It is a glorious maxim I have carried with me all these years.  

I would gladly volunteer for Ask The Family, if some of you kind people would agree to be my kin.  Kevin could be my husband, and Scarlet and Emerson Marks could be our toddlers.  We would win the lovely Dartington Crystal Rose Bowl in a trice.  Most of all, though, I see myself on Family Fortunes.  Daphne could be my aunt, Gadjo my troublesome cousin.  Inky could be my foster-child and Pat could be my twin.  And Scarlet could make up an opposing team with some of the appalling deviants who frequent her grimy site.  My team would win, of course, and we could all pile into the cerise Punto, which is always the star prize, and wave gamely from the smeared windows.  It is my dream.

I was lucky enough to witness the FF episode where the two grandmothers went head-to-head over the buzzer.  The question was: name something, or someone, who people believe in, even though its existence has never been proved.  Mine host was B. Monkhouse.  He was expecting the nans to say something like Father Christmas or the Loch Ness Monster; he expected too much.  Grannie One said "Ay-dolf  Itler" and was gonged out.  Gran Two (who  was on industrial doses of  Haloperidol) said "Driving Licence".  It was magnificent.

Anyhoo, I watched Millionaire to the end, and I truly feel I could win.  My only weaknesses are motor racing, mountains and the films of Matt Damon.  Apart from that, I know everything.  My evening was ok.  I went to the newly refurb'd Boulters Inn at Maidenhead with my grisly old beau, Tullough Kiltpin, the moronic miser of Balbeggie.  At the end of the meal he promised me the Three Words I Longed to Hear and rasped "Separate checks, please".  He is a git.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


For this new, glamorous post, and for this new post alone I am having to come clean hemhem.  Or cleaner.  A bit clean.  A tiny shard of truth.  In the real world I am not the lotus-eater I may appear in my sumptuous pensees, for I have a job.  A proper job; but a difficult one in these recessionary times.  I work in an industry which relies on cynical money-extraction, and it's not easy at the moment.  As a result, I have to visit what we call "branches" and go through "management directives" with "staff" who are not hitting "targets" and whose figures appear "moribund".  I have a small briefcase and a calculator.  I say things like "you should be 25% better on that, so I suggest you remove it, skew that one round, and get another against the wall".  It is thrilling and everyone hates me.  Anyhoo, yesterday I had to visit Brixton, because they have given me parts of London, and not nice parts, either.  Gits.   Mutti, the opulent old harridan, came with me, because she has a cousin in Electric Avenue who she hasn't seen since Abi and Esther Ofarim won the Zoppot Festival and she wanted to spend the day with her, and reawaken old hostilities.  So far, so good.

My mother's cousin, who is called Gefen, was a great friend of Vasa Prihoda, which always makes Mutti see red, believing as she does that Prihoda was a dreary old Fascist.  Some people think he should be forgiven, as he was greater than Heifetz.  Some people (Mutti) think he should have been made to pay for abandoning Alma Rose to her fate, and that he is partly to blame for her memory being traduced in the way it is.  By 11.00 am, they were at loggerheads; by 12 noon, not on speakers, but then I appeared like Grace Darling in Gestuz, to steer them safely through the churning seas of mutual loathing and the dangerous tides of  contested bequests (my grandfather's last will and testament 1979).  I took them straightway to the SW9 Bar at the end of Dorrell Place, and I absolutely insist that you go there the next time you are in that begrimed purlieu.  It is enchanting, no, really, it is.  I know that the mealymouthed will send up their whining ways: But it's a gay bar, Mrs Pouncer!  Yes, it is, and for that I thank the good Lord on high, for there is nowhere more suitable for battling old Yekkes than a backstreet dive run by unrepentant homosexualists.  Mine host took in the vibe at a glance,  rammed us onto a faux-moquette banquette and had his bill o'fare out on the table in one flourish.   It was to sigh.  Mutti and Gefen had Eggs Benedict and a bottle of  Hock.  I had a White Russian, two glasses of Soave and a confit of Landais duck liver.

The two old harpies were delighted with the lavatories - unisex, admittedly, but stinking of gardenia - and by the high standards of cleanliness throughout.  Gefen boldly suggested to the barman that his presentation could be improved by using doilies.  I wish you could've seen our waiter's tan!  Later, I got him by the Gaggia and asked his secret.  Expecting him to say "Gozo: the wages of sin", he let me into a breathtaking confidence.  You hardly need reminding that I am bedeviled with sallowness; I appear permanently liverish, and have to anoint myself daily with fake tan so as people don't think I've given my pall-bearers the slip.  I always use Institut Esthederm Sun Sheen Intense but Victor (my new friend) recommends Famous Dave's Tanning Mousse (Deeply Darkly shade).  Boy, does it deliver!  Google it now and order as much as you can.  Within minutes you will have the look of an advanced Addison's Disease patient.  Who could ask for more?  

We left at about three-thirty, all smiles, no more pijaw about Prihoda, all agreeing that Dr Mengele was a malevolent old murderer.  The point is that Alma Rose was not the bullying martinet of popular depiction.  She believed, with some justification, that if her orchestra was not up to standard, Mengele would have them gassed.  That is why she kept them practising even when they were tumbling off their chairs with tiredness.  It would have been impossible to live through such a ghastly situation and not go mad, although Mengele had the advantage of being mad already. 

What a cheeful lunchtime discourse, to be sure!  Let me end on a lighter note: do look out for Peter Jensen's Chanel-alike cardi-jackets for next season, and Karen Millen's giraffe-print dresses.  If you can afford it, an Alexander Wang contrast shift will help you through the summer/autumn transition.  Everyone should have at least one of these key pieces by September, or be irredeemably frumpy. 

Friday, 19 June 2009


My dear friends

Some of you may recoil in horror and alarm at the title of this sumptuous new post.  Some of you. However, my Sitemeter (which I installed all on my own, no help from anyone, Scarlet least of all) shows me that the overwhelming majority of readers arrived chez moi via these vile words.  Cock rings outweigh Dipsomania by an imperial ton, but it was ever thus, I suppose.  Anyhoo, in the interests of driving traffic, I shall use salacious titles from now on.  My next post, for example, is to be entitled Ass Raised Up Entered From Behind.  It will be about Wimbledon Fortnight.

I apologise for my sluggishness this week, but my consort, Scandinavian restaurateur Lars Torrders, is beginning to bore.  And not in a good way.  He can only express his affection through aggressive display and still believes Rodnina and Zaitsev to be the last word in pairs-skating.  I cannot abide a man who lives so stolidly in the past.  Another prime example of this type is Bob Crow, head honcho of the RMT, whose discourses have been spread across several news programmes like an appalling poultice.  Mr Crow is articulate, but I have found myself lost in the scented mists of time, when the names of Sid Weighell, Mick McGahey and Tom Jackson were known to all.  Who remembers them now?  (Apart from me and Kevin Musgrove).  In those days we would have yawned at the spats we now witness between Mr and Mrs Peter Andre; we were fed on tougher meat.  What we wanted, and what we got, was Joe Gormley v Sir Derek Ezra.  To see Gormley (the miners) square up to Sir Derek (the management) was a weekly treat for any enquiring mind.  Sir Derek would routinely regret the threat of redundancies.  Joe would regret the possibility of a strike.  The audience would regret that the two of them couldn't exchange jobs, since it was always obvious that Joe's grasp of the problem was equal to Dezza's, and was accompanied by a far better memory.  

Also enjoyable was any imbroglio featuring Sir Peter Parker and Ray Buckton (sometimes with Sid Weighell, who always sat to one side, often in profile; his catch-phrase "let me make this absolutely clear" was guaranteed to turn previously transparent water into a dreadful oily silt).  Key references were ACAS, The Terms of Reference, Ratified by Executive,  Violated and Abrogated.  Bob Crow simply isn't in this league.  There has been absolutely no progress made.  It is to cry.  

Everything seems terribly toned down these days; there is no great distinction.  Homogenous is putting it politely.  It is an environmental disaster of the first order.  Everyone looks the same - and I don't just mean Ken Dodd and Margaret Beckett - but assuredly, all our young people strive to be clones.  It is most depressing.   I wonder if there is something in the water?  In the early 1950s the male Jews born in Israel were nicknamed "sabra" after the watery fruit of the cactus.  In physical appearance they were invariably taller than their parents, broader, mostly blond or brown haired, frequently with a short nose and blue eyes.  (The girls, on the other hand, remained physically closer to the European Jewish type).  The young male's most striking feature was that he looked entirely un-Jewish.  The phenomenon was a striking confirmation of the theory that the environment has a greater formative influence than heredity, and that what we commonly regard as racial characteristics are no such thing, but a product of sustained social pressure and a specific way of life.  Professor Toynbee called it "the stimulus of penalisations".  I can certainly see how the dread soup of our modern life has resulted in the ill-favoured and poorly dressed young people we see in places such as Telford and most of Wiltshire.  

Anyhoo, back to the burden of my song.  Lars is on thin ice with me, particularly now that I have met his mother.  Her diet is firmly herring-based, and he overheard me refer to her as Lady MacBreath.  I fear that the stimulus of penalisations may be coming my way.

Saturday, 13 June 2009


I cannot imagine why they gave the Laureateship to that dreary old lesbian when they could've had me, Barry Teeth, Maroon or Iris Noble, the poetess of Moggs Cross who used to work for Hallmark Cards.  The Laureatte's  first official poem is an absolute disgrace, commenting as it does not on the Queen's recent visit to the Carphone Warehouse, Windsor, nor on Princess Eugenie being spotted on a Brompton Road ale-bench, nor yet on the Duke of E'burgh's expressed preference for frozen hake and potato essence, and not even on the knighthood of Delia Smith.  No, she chooses the turgid theme of our moribund economy, and plunges the nation further into the gloom, from which we were so recently delivered by Susan Boyle.  

It is to cry.  See what some faker called Judith Palmer, Director of the Poetry Society, says about it:  "I think that what she has managed to do is capture in poetry the sense of disbelief, the numb despair, which leaves most of us just shaking our heads, open-mouthed and inarticulate".  To this, I can only reply: speak for yourself, Judith.  Only those half-strangled with beastliness would recognise themselves in that description.  I can speak boldly for myself, and for my readership, when I say that none of us stand gaping like codfish at the sight of Mr Jacqui Smith billing us for Anal Boutique.  No, indeed.  Our mouths our drawn shut in a thin line of disapproval, and as for being "inarticulate"!  Kind friends have contacted me over the past month with endorsements and testimonials in support of the amplified stance I took over the Raw Meat III debacle.  "A beautiful purling stream of  opprobrium"  AHKM, Jeddah.  "Your moral compass is truly magnetic!" KM, Manchesterford.  "Speak for England, Clarissa" GD, Cluj. "Hello, Baybee" EM, Burridge.  "I liked Hugh Janus in Anal Boutique but I spilt my popcorn" Miss SB, Bromley-by-Bow.

As some of you know, I have been workshopping my new play, Suet Blunders, over at Gadjo's, and there are roles for you all.  The part of Nobby Jellifer is still in dispute, but the piece is now fully cast, with the entr'acte in the steam laundry looking particularly gripping.  I shall probably take it to Edinburgh this August where it will be met with great acclaim.  Naturally, this has left me scant time for my poetry, but I have still managed one about Susan Boyle's downfall and another about Dr Maroon's admission and I am working on four new pieces: David Carradine's auto-erotic demise, on seeing Prince Harry at Chez Gerard, Marlow, the Queen's visit to Carphone Warehouse (someone has to) and Cheryl Cole's pregnancy concerns.  

I will leave you with this exclusive preview:


'Twas in the early summer of two thousand and nine
When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II showed no sign
Of irritation or discomfort as the crowd of queue bargers
Obscured her view of a fine display of top of the range phone chargers.
(another 60 lines follow)


'Twas on the first of June two thousand and nine
When I spotted Prince Harry, the third in line
To the throne, but only if his father and brother have by then died
Possibly of swine fever or some vile act of Regicide
(another 75 lines, yet to be composed)

I do hope you feel elevated, and probably rather envious, on reading these pensees.  Last night I got completely hammered in Warwick, and so I will have a gentle evening, probably involving mange touts, Milk of Magnesia and some Madame de Stael.


Newshounds have contacted me this morning begging me to turn my thoughts to the biggest stories of the weekend, namely Lady Thatcher's broken arm, Madonna's new orphan and the Krankies' house-break horror.  I shall, of course be beavering away after luncheon.


I have just returned from the BP garage on the A4, and was struck by just how ugly and ill-dressed most people are.  It is to sigh.  I am also much exercised by Andrex's new lavatory paper (toilet tissue to the masses) which is "impregnated with vitamin D".  How extraordinary.  I am of the Izal generation; of the hardy daughters raised on roller-towels and surly washroom attendants; of disinfectant blocks.  How have we become so etiolated that we needs must vitaminise our bottoms?  At the official launch, Sir Dave Andrex made the grandiose claim that his new paper "was arrived at (sic) after rigorous consumer research and testing.  We are confident that we have provided our customer with the right solution (sic)".

I am bound to ask: solution to what, exactly?  "No more vitamin-deficient bottom wiping" is a cry never heard in the Thames Valley, although some might say they have heard it in Wiltshire, or parts of the Peak District.  Who knows?  And the research itself is bizarre.  A control group, with their pants around their ankles, each closeted in a lockable cubicle, was given a ticksheet. They had to choose from Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, beta carotene, Riboflavin, Pantothenic acid, Special K or Tocopherol.  They went for Vitamin D, as they felt they could get the rest from Cornflakes.  They were then asked which condition they felt could benefit from regular Andrex use: megaloblastic anaemia, keratomalacia, clinical lordosis, hayfever, Wenicke-Korsahoff Syndrome or hives.  None of them knew, but many asked about haemorrhoids. 

The thing is, one of the primary indicators of vitamin overdose is diarrhea.  We live in recessionary times.  Have the lavatory paper manufacturers found a new, cynical money-removing exercise?  I only pray that I am mistaken.

Monday, 8 June 2009


My dear friends,  I will be using this discourse to showcase my italics, bolds and linkings.  Some of my attempts will fail, but I shall not be downhearted.  I shall press on regardless, a bit like David Milliband or Limahl of Kajagoogoo.

Public transport bedevils us all.  My close, personal friend Inky Inkermann tells a gloomsome tale in his latest post about fear and loathing on the chemin de fer.  And rippling sportsboy Kev Musgrove oft-times finds himself becalmed in a sea of bustickets and nacho napkins on the 34D to Ancoats.  For myself, public transport remains a distant memory, some of it sweet and nostalgic, some of it vile-smelling and with bright green flies stuck to it.  There was, for example, a wonderful bus of the Thames Valley Traction Company that used to ply its trade from Broad Street, Reading, to Sonning Halt.  The 44A.  No longer.  The evil that is Arriva has taken over that floribund route and now steams along the Old Bath Road, the passengers gaping dolefully through the begrimed windows, screaming inwardly as the feckless driver takes the Thicket Roundabout whilst lighting a fag.   But I digress.  I shall not be taking a bus in the foreseeable future, for which I am heartily glad.  Taking a train is punishment enough, particularly with this loathsome new Virgin rule that allows any type of prole and pleb to sit in First Class if there are no seats left in steerage.  It really is beyond reason.  They quote Health and Safety!  How dare they?  They say that the companionways must be kept clear at all times in case of fire, fundamentalist bombing attacks or a sudden rush to the buffet car for an Intercity Sizzler.  Two weeks ago, en route to the glorious Thames Valley from Paddington, I was obliged to sit next to a man in polyester who read a low-life tabloid very slowly, his finger tracing the line of text.  "Did he stink of drink?" asked an aunt later.  No, he did not, and for that I was sorry.  I find the stink of drink reassuring and humbling.  I also find it galvanising and motivating.  There is nothing like the stink of drink to get me moving.  No, he stank of Hall's Mentholyptus, which was depressing and deflating on several levels.

I am suddenly laid low, and feel bored and distracted at the thought of more linking and bolding.  Forgive me if I revert to type (a pun, and quite a good one) for the rest of this discourse.

Two bus journeys of my youth stick in my mind.  Once, I was travelling from Hendon to Kilburn (West Hendon, Staples Corner, Cricklewood Broadway, Kilburn High Road - the 32, I think) and the Conductress was most drole.  She assumed the role of an air stewardess, and told us we were welcome aboard the 32 Edgware to Kilburn High Road.  "It's a Routemaster 1254, and we will be travelling at a speed of 12 miles an hour, contraflow at Brondesbury allowing.  I have asked the pilot for his height and position, and he tells me he is 5 foot 10 and sitting down.  The weather in Cricklewood is reported as being mild, with balmy breezes blowing in from Pinner".  We gave her a round of applause and she curtsied and told us it was her last day on the buses as she had taken a clerical position at Brent Town Hall.

Some years earlier, in Liverpool, I was queuing with six others for the 99 (Penny Lane to Gillmoss), when four young men gave us a small cardboard box each.  Inside was a bread roll, made with green food colouring, filled with beetroot, a blue cake and a pink cocktail Sobranie.  They said "that's your lunch".  It was extraordinary, but it was Bill Harpe.  I wonder what happened to Bill, and his wife, Wendy?  Goodness, they were clever.  Richard De Dominici is doing something similar with his latest installation, but the Harpes were better.  They made the food themselves.

Bon voyage.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Mes chers amis, more glorious weather in the Thames Valley!  How I revel in the God-given microclimate that is our lot in the Royal County!  You will be excited to hear that I am still in bed, trying to shake off a heavy one with the assistance of Anadin Extra and a tiny bottle of Angel Springs.  Also, I have a hangover to tackle.  My bedside table, I don't mind admitting, is a veritable mare's nest, and my task today is to fine down the detritus.  I know you will cheer me to the echo when you hear that Numb's nixed, and I am now on the arm of the well-known Scandinavian restaurateur, Lars Torrders.  I imagine he will be banging on the door of my boudoir before he's much older,  and it is essential that my bedside assemblage gives the right impression.  Here is what I have collected:

Bedside table, tulipwood, slightly bloodstained, no key to secret drawer:

2 books (The Eunuch of Stamboul and A Sock on the Jaw by Brass Williams)
Small brandy glass (empty)
Unopened letter (Inland Revenue)
Burt's Bees Hand Salve
A porcelain piglet
Perpetual calendar (stuck on 6 March 2007)
An emerald bracelet, a tiger's eye ring, a black diamond cuff
Minor pharmacopeia: Codeine, Luminol, Xanax, Klonopin
Photo of Guy Lux in silver frame

A hideous and frightening confection indeed.  The drawer, however, hides grimmer secrets and speaks of postcards from Climping,  perished rubber and the state of my sinuses.  

God bless you all.


I have decided to start writing poetry in a singular style.  Rush over to Dr Maroon to see my first attempt which appears in the comment box of his most recent post.  This is to be my new hobby.