Saturday, 29 August 2015

Saint to whore and back again

"I've gone from saint to whore and back to saint again, all in one lifetime."

"Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better!"

"I was the shyest human ever invented, but I had a lion inside me that wouldn't shut up!"

"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."

"Be yourself. The world worships the original."

It is the centenary today of the birth of the radiant beauty that was Miss Ingrid Bergman, taken away from us far too soon.

  • She was named after after Princess Ingrid of Sweden, who became Queen of Denmark.
  • One of her early Swedish films En kvinnas ansikte was later remade as A Woman's Face with Joan Crawford.
  • After the runaway success of Casablanca, Ernest Hemingway himself declared that when his For Whom The Bell Tolls was to be made into a film: "Miss Bergman, and no one else should play the part."
  • The "scandal" of her extra-marital affair with Roberto Rossellini famously led Miss Bergman to move to Italy from America, where she had even been "denounced" on the floor of the Senate, for almost a decade.
  • Winning for Murder on the Orient Express in 1975, she became one of the few actresses ever to receive three Oscars (two for Best Actress and one for Best Supporting Actress) - despite John Gielgud's bitchy comment: "She speaks five languages and can't act in any of them."
  • Ingrid died in London in 1982 on her 67th birthday.

Ingrid Bergman (29th August 1915 – 29th August 1982)

Thursday, 27 August 2015

A lovely pecker

A rather intriguing statue in a park in Tulsa, Oklahoma, of all places...

...perhaps less intriguing when you realise it's actually a swan.


Saturday, 22 August 2015

What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are

"I'm told leather drives men up the wall. I like wearing it because it because it feels nice."

"Sex scenes - they were more powerful in the Sixties because they were all about suggestion. Now nothing is left to the imagination, everyone humps everyone else, all over the place. I find that boring, frankly."

"Pussy Galore. Ah yes. That name. Not exactly a great leap forward for feminism, was it? I know. The problems I had in America. They couldn’t even bring themselves to say it."

"One does always have to make some effort and I would in any case because I value my person. I don't want to look like an old bag."

Happy 90th birthday to Miss Honor Blackman (born 22nd August 1925)

Friday, 21 August 2015

Rantum-scantum - the Scandalous Lady W

From a review of the book Lady Worsley’s Whim by Hallie Rubenhold in The Spectator back in 2008:
There is a magnificent portrait by Reynolds at Harewood House in Yorkshire of Lady Worsley. She wears a sweeping red riding habit, she looks self-assured and alert, and she holds a riding crop as an allusion to her skill as a horsewoman. In reality... [she] was one of the most scandalous women of her day, the subject of the first squalid celebrity divorce.

Lady Worsley, who rejoiced in the odd first name of Seymour, was a massive heiress. She inherited a fortune of over £60 million in today’s money from her father, Sir John Fleming, who owned a farm in the London suburb of Brompton. Aged 18, she married a wealthy, socially ambitious baronet named Sir Richard Worsley. He set about advancing and advertising himself in the fashion of the day. He became a MP and made lavish improvements to his house, Appuldurcombe on the Isle of Wight.
However, their marriage was passionless, and the headstrong and wayward Seymour embarked upon an affair with the Worsleys' neighbour, Maurice George Bisset.
Seymour became pregnant by Bisset, but Sir Richard, far from stopping the relationship, seemed determined to encourage it. He invited Bisset to share a house with him and his wife when he went on manoeuvres with the militia at Maidstone and then Lewes.

One night Seymour and Bisset decided to elope. This... was an extraordinarily foolhardy thing to do. Seymour stood to lose not only her fortune, but also her reputation, her children and - what she minded more than anything - her clothes and jewels worth a staggering £15 million. The lovers dashed to London and went into hiding in a hotel. Seymour stayed in bed for days, but this was only partly due to passion: she had left all her clothes behind and her mean-minded husband refused to send any. Humiliated and dishonoured, Sir Richard plotted his revenge. He planned to ruin Bisset financially and shackle his wife to him for life. He sued Bisset for crim con or "criminal conversation" - in other words adultery - and claimed damages of £20,000 (£25 million today).

In a superb moment of courtroom drama, just as Sir Richard thought that he had won his case, the defence revealed that Seymour had taken as many as 24 lovers over the previous four years. One after another her lovers stood up in the witness box and told an extraordinary story. Whenever Sir Richard caught Seymour in bed with her lovers, he showed no anger. On the contrary, he seemed to enjoy the intrigue. He had been caught looking through keyholes. Most damning of all was a story of how Sir Richard had made Bissset climb upon his shoulders to peep through the window of a bath house in Maidstone to watch the naked Seymour getting dressed.

The judge declared that Sir Richard had made no attempt to restrain his wife, but instead had prostituted her. Sir Richard lost his case against Bisset and was awarded a shilling in damages. Seymour had taken the extraordinary step of denouncing herself and destroying her reputation in order to save her lover. Sir Richard was exposed as a sexual voyeur and a pervert. His reputation was in ruins, and he left England for years of lonely foreign travel, amassing a collection of antiquities. Seymour joined the demi-monde of scandalous women, often aristocrats, and waged a vicious pamphlet war against Sir Richard. Cartoonists such as Gillray had a field day, with savage caricatures of Lady Worsley and her seraglio. At least Seymour had the satisfaction of outliving her cold, unyielding husband and getting some of her money back.

It's a fantastic story; a gossip-writer's dream. Understandably, in the estimable hands of the BBC's costume drama department, The Scandalous Lady W - starring (a believably headstrong) Natalie Dormer, (convincingly villainous) Shaun Evans and (milady's eye-candy) Aneurin Barnard - is a thoroughly enjoyable romp through the sordid goings-on and the “rantum-scantum” (sexual peccadillos) of the English upper-crust in an era (between the American and French Revolutions) when a wife was considered in law as no more than a chattel or possession of her husband.

Seymour Fleming, Lady Worsley challenged all that - and we raise a glass to her efforts!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The female of the species

"I meet women today who tell me that they grew up viewing Batgirl as an important role model. If they choose to know me in that context, well, I'll take it."

RIP Yvonne Joyce Craig (16th May 1937 – 17th August 2015)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Nine inches too short

"Overeaters anonymous, it's my only religion."

"I could face respectability over 60. I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful ... But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be artistic, tasteful, patriotic and a progressive religious experience."

"I'm not overweight. I'm just nine inches too short."

"In Hollywood, all marriages are happy. It's trying to live together afterwards that causes the problems."

“Sex is much more fun when you have to sneak around and cover it up."

Today would have been the 90th birthday of one of our favourite irreverent stars, Miss Shelley Winters.

  • From an inauspicious start working in Woolworth's, she began her acting career on the Vaudeville circuit.
  • Her stage name was apparently a confabulation of her favourite poet Shelley and her mother's maiden name Winter.
  • As a teenager she competed for the part of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, but for many years she was mainly cast in “moll" or victim roles before she achieved recognition; her first Oscar nomination was for A Place in the Sun in 1951.
  • She famously shared an apartment off Sunset Boulevard with Marilyn Monroe.
  • Her “conquests" among the Hollywood glitterati included such heartthrobs as Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster, William Holden and Errol Flynn, but her admirers came from a variety of backgrounds. Dylan Thomas, when Miss Winters asked why he'd come to Hollywood, famously said it was “to touch a starlet's tits". “Ok", said Miss Winters, “but only one finger."
We miss her.

Shelley Winters (born Shirley Schrift, 18th August 1920 - 14th January 2006)

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Definitely not a minimalist

"It should be fun to get dressed. I like exciting and pretty clothes that help women feel exciting and pretty."

"I’m definitely not a minimalist."

RIP Megababs' favourite designer (as he was for five US First Ladies, as well as many of Hollywood's most glamorous ladies, Liz Taylor, Joan Crawford, Joan Rivers, Mitzi Gaynor, Mary Tyler Moore and Diahann Carroll among them) Arnold Scaasi (born Arnold Isaacs, 8th May 1930 – 4th August 2015)

Friday, 14 August 2015

Monday, 10 August 2015

Take a piece...

... of cake, anyone?

"All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much." - George Harrison

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Nature's great masterpiece?

"Nature's great masterpiece, an Elephant." - John Donne

“If you do not have a memory like an elephant, leave impressions like one.” - Anon

"I don't know where I learned elephants like their tongues slapped. Whatever turns you on." - Betty White

Elephants of Rajasthan - a festival celebrated every year with spectacular results.