Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The fabulous life of Lily Cole

You know you tell yourself that you can't have it all, well for some people maybe that's not true.

I'd never heard of Lily Cole up until a couple of weeks ago.

That's hardly surprising as she's a model and what I know about fashion could easily fit on the back of a post-it note.

So how did I get to hear of her?

Well I sometimes see the articles on msn after logging out from my e-mails and there it was a list of the richest people under thirty.

Lily Cole isn't even 20 yet and has signed a deal that sees her as the new face of M&S.

She was the youngest model to appear on the cover of Vogue when she was 16.

But I started off talking about having it all, well not only does Cole have a multi-million pound modelling career, she’s off to Cambridge University in October.

She's even in St. Trinian.

Jealous, maybe just a little bit.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Another reason to love Alan Bennett

Alan Bennett proved he was a man after my own heart when he said on an interview for Radio 4's Today Programme that he thought Public schools should be abolished.

I've thought this from the moment that I found out that fee paying schools existed.

Bennett referred to the self confidence that seems to be in bred into public school students, which I too encountered for the first time when I went to University.

Essentially you are setting up parallel realities for people, dividing society from the very earliest point.

I was introduced to Alan Bennett as a teenager doing my Drama GCSE.

My Drama teacher played us an excerpt of his Talking Heads series.

Even from that short clip I thought they were lovely: tender, moving and realistic.

I saw some more on TV quite a few years later and I keep meaning to dig out the full set.

Then my mum encouraged me to go and see the stage play of The History Boys, unfortunately it was all sold out, but some time later they brought out a film version which I did get round to seeing.

I enjoyed The History Boys, but still prefer Talking Heads.

Alan Bennett writes about every day people so it is perhaps not surprising that he is championing the aspirations of every day people as well.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Exciting Valentine's drinks

I've been doing The Insider for The Independent Money section yesterday and today.

It's basically writing short blurbs on products that readers should be spending their money on.

Among the array of, mainly Valentines themed, products there is a selection of quirky wine and spirit bottles from Vom Fass.

They are shaped like boots, hearts and male and female bodies and I love them.

I'm not a big one for Valentine's day I prefer to send Valentine's messages to my friends rather than one special man.

However, with such exciting gifts on offer I might just re-assess my position.

Plus Vom Fass don't just fill up the bottle with whichever alcoholic beverage you like, you can also choose oils and vinegars too.

And they refill the bottles with whatever else you want when you finished the first lot of contents, how ecologically sound is that?

Sadly I don't get samples to convince me to write nice things about them, so if anyone out there loves me that's what I'd like for Valentine's Day - preferably the chocolate liquor variety.

The full article will be coming out on Saturday.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

State of Play goes State side

I was quite dismayed to read that Paul Abbott's State of Play is to be turned into a Hollywood film.

Don't get me wrong it's a brilliant series, I'm just not sure that complex six part drama will be done justice by a, at best, three hour film.

Plus Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck are currently set to star, I'm even less convinced.

This is intelligent political drama I'm really not sure that Affleck is up to it.

Why not just show the American's the State of Play series?

If you're an American and you're reading this invest in the State of Play BBC DVD and then if you must watch the film at least make sure that you watch the BBC version first.

And while you're at it check out the British Channel Four version of Queer as Folk.

Monday, 21 January 2008

How to find an Exorcist

I've been doing work experience at The Independent since last Monday.

My first morning was very quiet and I was beginning to wonder whether I'd be given ANYTHING to do when Alice, the woman co-ordinating my work came over.

She said Johann Hari was on the line and wanted to know whether I could help him with some research for an article.

I was more than eager to do anything so she put him through to me.

Johann explained that he wanted to do a comment piece on Exorcism and would I track down an Exorcist for him to interview.

So began my mission.

I first rang up some specialist Catholic papers to see if they had any contacts of the Exorcist variety.

The first guy I spoke to was very helpful and gave me three numbers to try, but he warned me that they were about three years old.

Indeed they proved useless, some didn't even ring through.

So I rang another Catholic paper and was told that it was best if I rang each diocese individaully and asked them if they had an Exorcist.

So I started searching dioceses, in my quest I found a site with a map of Britain with links to each Catholic diocese on these shores.

The first diocese I tried said they would get back to me.

The second had a very lovely old woman who told me that yes they did have an Exorcist called Father Anthony Hayne and she kindly supplied me with his phone number telling me that if I didn't have any luck there was another retired Exorcist in the area that she could get in touch with for me.

I tried ringing Father Anthony Hayne and was greeted to his answer phone with a mobile number, the mobile number again gave me an answer phone message.

Undeterred I continued ringing round dioceses, mainly being told that they woukd get back to me after they had looked into it.

One guy that I rang in Wales rather angrily told me that the identity of Exorcists wasn't public and was only known by the Bishop.

I carried on and reached a guy in Glasgow who told me that they didn't have an Exorcist as such, but a priest who was considered most experienced was appointed if there were a need.

He said there hadn't been that need in Glasgow for twenty years.

During this endless stream of phone calls I also fired off some e-mails to Catholic friends in the vain hope that they could help.

One friend got back to me with details of a book on Exorcism, "The Dark Sacrament", by an Irish priest called David Kiely and in the course of my phone calls I uncovered another book and interview by Father Gabriele Amorth - The Church's Leading Exorcist.

So I'd rung every Catholic diocese in the country, e-mailed every Catholic friend I had and found out a bit about Exorcist literature.

It was now pretty much the end of the day, so I e-mailed Father Anthony Hayne's phone numbers to Johann along with all the other tit bits that I'd uncovered.

On Wednesday his comment piece came out.

I was delighted, he's managed to get through to Father Anthony Hayne all my effort hadn't been in vain.

Here's his final article: The devilish church practice of exorcism

Sunday, 20 January 2008

The Devil's day

I've hit 666 blog readers since I started this blog.

I got 6 6 6 for my SATs results too.

Good job I don't really believe in that stuff.

She wouldn't say boo to a goose.

Our Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has come out as saying in today's Sunday Times that she wouldn't walk alone round London at night.

When I heard them reviewing this article on the radio this morning I couldn't help thinking, what a wuss.

However I thought she is a high profile public figure she is more of a target.

When I met my friend a couple of hours later he had a copy of the Times so I had a chance to read the full article.

And it transpired that Ms. Smith wasn't just talking about how she currently felt walking the streets of London, but how she has always felt.

She wasn't just talking about dodgy areas like Hackney (no offence to anyone who lives there), but even affluent ones like Chelsea.

She even had the cheek, or rather ignorance to go onto say of walking round Hackney late at night: "Well, I just don't think that's a thing that people do, is it, really?" The Sunday Times.


Has she never heard of night buses?

Who does she think is riding on them, you need to walk to a bus stop you know!

Ok I wouldn't deliberately go for a late night walk round Hackney, but I've certainly walked round the area late at night.

There's another reason that I'm irritated by Jacqui Smith's comments: I kind of feel she's letting the side down.

I couldn't help noticing that the Times had slipped into their article: "Smith, the first woman home secretary," I can't help thinking that they wouldn't have added that detail were it not for the detail of the article - though to be honest I can't be sure as I don't read the Times regularly.

Then to make things worse, she back tracked when her aide rang back the Times to say she: "bought a kebab in Peckham" at night.

Maybe I'm just blissfully unaware of the threat to my own safety when I'm out at night, but I usually feel reasonably safe - I certainly wouldn't bat an eyelid at wandering all over Chelsea late at night.

Jacqui you really need to get out more.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Public transport etiquette

Time for an appeal/moan.

I got on the bus the other night and got stuck at the door, well to make it more clear there were a line of people filling up the lower deck of the bus.

I couldn't get past and plenty of people were left waiting at the bus stop so I suppose I was lucky.

Why my interest in getting past the throng of people at the bottom deck of the bus?

Well I wanted to get to the stairwell.


Because it is my experience that people will fill up the bottom deck of buses without going upstairs for a seat.

Finally some people left the bus on the bottom deck and I clearly saw two people coming down from the top deck so I determindly squeezed past the remaining people to make my way upstairs.

When I got upstairs I found not two but at least ten vacant seats, as I had expected.

Here is the thing the people downstairs were perfectly able bodied, I'm not saying that the disabled, infirm and pregnant should be expected to walk upstairs to look for a seat, they could have easily gone upstairs for a seat or if they were determined to stay downstairs gone up the stairwell temporarily to let me pass and find a seat.

It's very infuriating.

Not only are people denied the chance to sit down when there are seats available, but even worse believing the bus to be full the bus driver will stop other people getting on leaving them in the cold to wait for another bus.

So if you find yourself on the bottom deck of a crowded bus at least go and look upstairs for seats, if you can.

Ok, moan/appeal over, sorry to be so dull.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Victoria line to be limited again.

I was shocked while listening to Capital 95.8 last night to hear that they will be restricting the Victoria line service again from the 4th of February.

I use the Victoria line from Brixton tube pretty much every day and was greatly inconvenienced by the last lot of restrictions which ran from July to November last year.

These restrictions will also be lasting till November, though it at least looks like it won't be closed at weekends this time round.

Information on why they are closing the line, again, is in the Capital Radio link above.

So much for any drinks after Uni I've got to make sure I make my connecting train.

There is always the Northern line, but it's horrible at the best of times and is going to be pretty awful with all the extra passengers it's going to be getting.

Curse you London Transport.

Another quick note, I was hoping to be the first one to say this but they pointed it out on Radio Four last night, what have all these details coming out at the Diana inquest actually got to do with the circuymstances of her death?

It is an inquest right?

It's meant to be about how she died not satisfying the public curiosity about the intricate details of her private life.

the mind boggles.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

State of Play

There's nothing that's inspired me in the news today so I'm just going to mouth off about some TV I like.

This Christmas I got an assortment of lovely gifts, one of these lovely gifts was my friend Kelly.

It was a drama called State of Play(careful this link tells you a lot of the plot if you go too far down), which I'd vaguely heard of but not seen before.

So last night I finally got round to opening the DVD up and popping it in my laptop.

I only watched the first episode, because I was exhausted and almost didn't watch it at all, and I was hooked.

There's intrigue from the start and it just gets better.

Plus there's loads of Journalists in it uncovering things and as a Journalism student I heartily approve of that.

Can't wait to watch the next episode, but I wonder if I should pace myself not wizz through it like I did with all four seasons of The Wire (also genius).

I realise some of you reading this may already have seen it when it was on telly, but for anyone who missed it like me run out and buy the DVD now.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Smoking stars give me a break!

Germany's smokers are suggesting that discrimination against smokers is like Nazi anti-Semitism during the Third Reich.

Germany's new smoking ban has prompted the production of T-shirts displaying the Star of David.

More than a thousand of the "smokers' T-shirts" have been sold according to The Independent.

The makers claim that the shirts are "the most aggressive smokers' resistance shirt available" The Independent.

What do they think they're doing?

They're making a mockery of a period of serious Jewish suffering.

No one is going to take you to the gas chamber for lighting up a cigarette.

Plus by encouraging you, banning you even, from lighting up the Government is extending your life.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would think up anything so tasteless.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Shopping is hard work I'll have you know!

Reporting week, a week of sadistic assessment for Westminster journalists, is over and I've been having fun.

First stop, the pub.

Second stop, a posh meal which thanks to me conveniently losing my travel and uni card and ranting I didn't pay for.

Third stop, SHOPPING.

I said to my for these purposes darling mother, hello mum, that I'd like some new clothes.

So she gave me a choice, she braves the shops and gives me stuff for Christmas or she presents me with a crisp cheque and I run around in the sales like a kid in a candy store.

I chose the cheque but what with revising, shorthand and general inertia I didn't reach the shops till Friday - after reporting week.

I met Nargis early Friday morning in Topshop, I didn't leave her company until about 7 or 8.

It was the longest shopping trip I've been on in countless years, I'm normally a very impatient shopper.

I imagined at the start of the day that I would be ambling up and down Oxford Street cursing the fashion industry for not churning out anything that I liked.

After introducing Nargis to Kal Kaur Rai at Topshop (one of my favourite clothing labels) and getting her a nice fitted top from said range we settled down for a coffee and Nargis suggested we go to a place she knew that sold lots of oriental goods.

With my current obsession with Sushi I was delighted by the idea.

So we set off.

Little did I know when she suggested it but the place in question was in Colindale, for those of you that don't know that's the nether reaches of the Northern line.

So I did end up running around like a child in a candy store, well supermarket with candy in it.

I bought lots of Japanese sweets as well as enjoying some Sushi and Sashimi in the food court.

Then after lots of oh look at this isn't it pretty, cute, pointless, we headed back for Covent Garden.

Nargis proved herself a brilliant shopping partner yet again by pointing out a shop to me that I'd never noticed before called Chilli Pepper.

Their clothes are beautiful and they give you really nice material bags for your goods, and we would know as we each walked away with an item of clothing each.

Then finally before I took Nargis to Patisserie Valerie in Soho we made a stop at two comic shops in the area.

And I finally bought the next installment of the graphic novel Painkiller Jane, I've been after it for ages.

Nargis is my new favourite shopping partner.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Sex Pistols Panto...

I read the other day that there is talk of turning a Sex Pistols documentary into a Pantomime.

The Independent reckons this is another nail in the coffin of their credibility.

I disagree.

The Sex Pistols probably did have credibility, but they also had a fair dose of irreverence.

Ultimately though I feel they were a playful band.

I get the impression that Johnny Rotten doesn't take himself too seriously, he might enjoy Panto.

And so might his fans...

What the Sex Pistols probably wouldn't be impressed with me for mentioning is the discrimination case that has just been lost by Nadia Eweida.

Nadia Eweida has been fighting British Airways for discriminating against her for not letting her wear religious jewellery.

I have to say the woman has a point.

You can't let Muslims wear headscarves and Sikhs bangles if you're not going to let a Christian wear a cross.

A cross is surely no more an impediment to the job than a head scarf or bangle.

One rule for all or not at all!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Lenny Henry's back on top

I went to see the first two Radio 4 recordings of Rudy's Rare Records last night.

It starred Lenny Henry as Adam, Rudy's (the owner of Rudy's Rare Records music shop) son.

I was brought up on Lenny Henry, I love Lenny Henry, but in the last couple of years his performances have got a bit predictable.

I enjoyed Rudy's Rare Records immensely.

It wasn't ground breaking, it wasn't the Holy Grail of comedy, but it was funny.

I laughed, a lot.

It was well observed and quite, dare I say it, sweet.

To my mind Rudy was the best thing in it, but there were sterling performances by all.

I've never been to a radio recording before so it was a new experience for me.

We were herded into a small room with a small bar and some chairs where we waited to be called through to get our seats.

The seats aren't alloted so its first come first served and we were lucky enough to get seats right at the front.

Although I must admit, I was a little nervous that we might get picked on, as is the case with Comedian shows.

Indeed the front row came in for a bit of comment.

Lenny refused to believe that most of us were from Brixton.

Just because we is white doesn't mean we ain't ghetto...


Ok, so I'm not funny.

The performance itself was very different to seeing a play.

The actors have the script in front of them and aren't dressed up so you have to suspend your disbelief a bit, even more than on the radio because you're not working from a blank canvas.

It did mean however that I got to see Adam's son's boxers as the actor in question had trousers hanging lower than even my youngest brother's.

It's brilliant that you can go and see shows for free.

I was delighted to find out that we weren't just going to see one, but two episodes, after the end of the first.

The show is due to air in February and I for one will be tuning in to hear it.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Is it convenience?

Technology is there to make life easier, but you have to worry when it gets this easy.

Over the Christmas season when we'd run out of Turkey I nipped to the shops and picked up a stick of garlic bread, quite innocently.

When it came time to put it in the oven my Dad collapsed into a fit of giggles, my aunty Jen smirked and I wondered what the hell was going on.

It transpired that on the back of the garlic bread packet there was a panel which you put alongside a clever oven and it would sort out the cooking for you!

Not enough to just have cooking instructions, just in case you can't read you can get technological wizadry to sort out your cooking for you.

Then the next day I was watching the TV and an advert came on that claimed that 1 in 4 women read their pregnancy test incorrectly.

How hard can it be!

So now there is a new, and probably more expensive, pregnancy test that pops up with a digital message saying Pregnant.

Ok, I need help doing things with my computer sometimes, but I can manage cooking instructions and deciphering the meaning of a blue line.

If you use these...

Never mind, I can't be bothered.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New Year is weird...

I spent my new year in a club in Brixton called: How Does It Feel To Be Loved.

It was a fun night I got my dance on and did lots of twirls with Kelly and Liz.

I didn't get a snog, which is not that surprising but mildly irksome - I hope that isn't a suggestion of things to come in 2008.

Yah I can say that now, we're in 2008, great!


Yes I'm hungover, drank a fair few Sambucas last night amongst other things.

So what can I expect of 2008: well, no more mice (not before they started eating my knickers though), a flowerless Peace Lilly - it's got lots of luscious leaves though, as for the rest..?

New Years bongs were a bit weird when played through a club sound system, I want Big Ben, I want fireworks.

New Years always feels a little anti-climatic anyway, so...

Please excuse me while I crawl off into a corner and rock.