Thursday, 29 May 2014

Queen of Eurovision

Happy birthday, and douze points, today to Katie Boyle (Lady Saunders; born Caterina Irene Elena Maria Imperiali di Francavilla, 29th May 1926)!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Phenomenal woman

“I am a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.”

“I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.
I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life."
I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.
I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“I don't trust anyone who doesn't laugh.”

"The most important thing I can tell you about ageing is this: If you really feel that you want to have an off-the-shoulder blouse and some big beads and thong sandals and a dirndl skirt and a magnolia in your hair, do it. Even if you're wrinkled."

“If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.”

RIP Maya Angelou (4th April 1928 – 28th May 2014)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


From Kidnapped Culture:
She played with contrast, taking aspects of men’s fashion, such as oversized suit jackets, vests, and shirts, and accompanying them with leggings, fishnet gloves, stockings, and studded jewellery.

Never the victim, she was a woman in control of her image, and was a source of inspiration to many young girls, and ladyboys, who wanted to emulate that tough rocker chic. In make-up, the strong retro looks being worn today can be traced back to Siouxsie’s heavily lined eyes and bold coloured shadows. Bow down, worship, and celebrate her today. Without her, we are nothing.

Siouxsie Sioux (born Susan Janet Dallion, 27th May 1957)

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Darling Lilli

From her chapter I Say What I Think in the book Words to Live By, published in 1947:
My mother was born on the river Rhine, where people are gay and easygoing, where they drink much wine and don’t care who likes them. When I was a child I often heard from her a healthy warning, especially when I came crying that someone didn’t like me and demanding to know what I could do to make him or her like me.

“Everybody’s friend is everybody’s fool,” she would say serenely; or sometimes, “Many enemies mean much honour,” or “Where there’s much sun there’s much shadow.”

I have interpreted those ideas in my own way. I don’t set out to antagonize people, or to be aggressive or provocative, but I have never made a special concession just for the purpose of being liked. I’ve spoken my mind even when I knew that what I said might be unpopular, because I believe that to speak your mind is essential, to take part in a controversy is important. It has never been my nature to sit back and keep quiet for fear of treading on somebody’s toes.

The danger of being too sensitive to what others think is strongly illustrated in the play Death of a Salesman. The author makes an important cause of the demoralization of his hero the fact that he cared too much whether he was well liked. He was afraid ever to make an enemy, and this hastened his destruction.

My mother made me immune to that fear in early youth. You can’t go through life only making friends, I realized very soon.

If, for a good cause, you must make an enemy, accept the fact. As long as your conscience is clear, you will find that you have strengthened not only your determination but your character.
Wise words from the beauteous Lilli Palmer, born Lilli Marie Peiser one hundred years ago today.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Great Wall

"I’m interested in the behaviour of penis. It’s soft and hard, up and down, small and large, smooth and rough. It may be the most attractive and intuitive interface."
This kinetic sculpture ["The Penis Wall"] consists of 81 erectable penises that respond to either a viewer's movements or to realtime movements in the stock market.


[Source: Dangerous Minds]

Tuesday, 20 May 2014



She's Not Perfect (But She's Perfect For Us).

Beverly Grace Jones (born 19th May 1948)

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Intemperance and perversion were the order of the day

From the ever-fabulous Dangerous Minds:
Swiss surrealist artist H.R Giger has died. Giger is famous as the designer of the eponymous creature and bizarre sets for the film Alien, and for a lifetime’s worth of beautiful and disturbing organic/machine hybrid body-horror paintings (he called them “biomechanoids”). He also became a part of the music world when his works were used as album covers for the likes Emerson Lake and Palmer, Magma, Celtic Frost and Danzig, among many others. Notoriously his Penis Landscape was included as a poster in Dead Kennedys’ Frankenchrist LP, setting in motion an avalanche of censorship and legal difficulties which derailed the band.

Here’s a 1981 British television interview with Giger and Blondie singer Debbie Harry. The occasion for the seemingly odd pairing is Giger’s portrait of Harry for her début solo LP, KooKoo.

H.R. Giger's surreal designs influenced many outside the cimema and music, such as the avant garde fashionista Alistair McQueen, who produced shoes based upon his designs for Alien.

He also has a museum, and, more importantly, a bar dedicated to him in his native Swiss region of Gruyère:

I would love to drink there.

"My planet was ruled by evil, a place where black magic was practised, aggressions were let loose, and intemperance and perversion were the order of the day. Just the place for me, in fact."

RIP Hans Rudolf "Ruedi" Giger (5th February 1940 – 12th May 2014)

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

I think today should be...

...a "Say Something Hat Day" - don't you?!!

Greer Garson

Anjelica Huston

Jean Harlow

Daphne Guinness

Joan Crawford

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Great Dames

Nancy Walker (10th May 1922 – 25th March 1992)

Dame Margaret Rutherford (11th May 1892 – 22nd May 1972)

"Beauty is less important than quality." - Eugene Ormandy

Friday, 9 May 2014

Don't call him "a National Treasure"

“Books are not about passing time. They're about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, one just wishes one had more of it. If one wanted to pass the time one could go to New Zealand.”

“Sometimes there is no next time, no time-outs, no second chances. Sometimes it’s now or never.”

“Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key.”

"Mark my words, when a society has to resort to the lavatory for its humour, the writing is on the wall."

"If you think squash is a competitive activity, try flower arranging."

Alan Bennett - "don't call him 'a National Treasure'; he won't like it," as Frances de la Tour says - is a man Francis Wheen once described as “the nation’s favourite teddy bear”. He (and the nation) celebrates his 80th birthday today.

Tom de Lisle in Intelligent Life described him perfectly:
A founding father of modern British satire in Beyond the Fringe, a master of the television play with Talking Heads, a pillar of the National Theatre with The History Boys, an affable memoirist with Untold Stories and a sardonic diarist on the London Review of Books.

He was a bright boy - a butcher’s son from near Leeds who went to Oxford, got a first and taught history - but a shy one. He was 26 when he took up comedy (via cod sermons) and 34 when he wrote his first play, Forty Years On. The history never melted away: he has turned George III, Auden, Britten, Burgess and Blunt into drama, and led the way in putting words in the Queen’s mouth. He has survived cancer, recorded Winnie the Pooh, given his papers to the Bodleian ("in gratitude to the nanny state") and campaigned for less famous libraries. He is an old leftie beloved of conservatives, a cosy uncle whose pen is a double-edged sword.

When asked by Sir Ian McKellen in 1997 whether he was heterosexual or homosexual, he famously said: "That's a bit like asking a man crawling across the Sahara whether he would prefer Perrier or Malvern water." Nonetheless, he and his partner of twenty years (journalist Rupert Thomas, editor of World of Interiors) "tied the knot" once civil partnerships became law. From an article by Mark Lawson in the Radio Times:
As with much in his life, Bennett’s own civil partnership provoked a comic anecdote. “I’d written about how my parents got married at eight in the morning and then my dad went to work and my mam went home. And I think they went to see The Desert Song in the evening.”

Eight decades later, although Alan and Rupert were among the couples making social history, family history weirdly repeated itself - minus a screening of the movie. “There were just one or two people there, relatives of Rupert. And we couldn’t think of what to do afterwards so we were going to have some coffee and we couldn’t find anywhere. Eventually, we did get some coffee, but that was it. So it was a replay of my parents’ marriage. But it wasn’t a landmark because sometimes we can’t even remember the date of it. At Camden Register Office at that time they were trying to jazz things up a bit. They said, ‘Do you want flowers?’ and we said not really. ‘Do you want music?’ Not really. Disappointment on every score.”
Alan Bennett will be celebrated in a special interview with Sir Nicholas Hytner, to be broadcast at 9pm on BBC4 tomorrow (10th May 2014). A direct clash with the Eurovision Song Contest. Alan probably loves that idea.

Alan Bennett (born 9th May 1934)

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Happy girls are the prettiest girls

The ultimate style icon would have been 85 today...

"I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and... I believe in miracles."

Audrey Hepburn (born Audrey Kathleen Ruston, 4th May 1929 – 20th January 1993)

Friday, 2 May 2014

Photography's alchemist

"It is hard to overstate his influence really. Every subsequent generation of photographers – not just fashion – have looked to him for inspiration."
This autumn the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) will present the definitive retrospective of the work of Horst P. Horst (1906-99), one of the 20th century’s master photographers. In a career that spanned six decades, Horst photographed the exquisite creations of couturiers such as Chanel, Schiaparelli and Vionnet in 1930s Paris, and helped to launch the careers of many models. In New York a decade later, he experimented with early colour techniques and his meticulously composed, artfully lit images leapt from the magazine page.

The exhibition will display Horst’s best known photographs alongside unpublished and rarely exhibited vintage prints, conveying the diversity of his output, from surreal still lifes to portraits of Hollywood stars, nudes and nature studies to documentary pictures of the Middle East. It will examine his creative process through the inclusion of original contact sheets, sketches and archive film footage.

Described by Vogue as "photography's alchemist", Horst P. Horst was one of the foremost photographers of the 20th century, and - along with the likes of Steichen and Beaton - created many of fashion's most iconic images.

Lover of George Hoyningen-Huene and Luchino Visconti, one of the great aesthetes of the Parisian demi-monde as well as an "in-demand" society portraitist, he counted among his friends such magnificent creatures as Elsa Schiaparelli, Noel Coward, Diana Vreeland, Jean Cocteau, Cole Porter and Coco Chanel.

He met British diplomat Valentine Lawford in 1938 and they lived together as a couple until Lawford's death in 1991. They adopted and raised a son, Richard J. Horst, together.

Horst P. Horst died at his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, at 93 years of age (in November 1999).

Horst: Photographer of Style will be at the V&A from 6th September 2014 to 4th January 2015.