Thursday, August 28, 2008

" The Times We Live In" ( part 2: 14 Months Later!)

It's cool getting compliments. And it's extra cool when they come from one's son. One of mine says he REALLY liked my June 19th (20007!) posting ( " The Times We Live In") when I trawled the Times for juicy news.

SO in his honour, I had another go today, while eating lunch and watching the return from maternity leave of Newsreader Sophie (who looks very well; I like her blonder look) as she read The One Oclock News . Here goes. I hope that son of mine is concentrating.

Hmm. Boodles is selling a twirl of diamonds on a delicate platinum chain ( from £9000) Sorry, I got stuck on page 3; it's an Ad, obviously, and its gorgeous glitter socked me in my eye. But forget that.

This One Is Important: Foreign Secretary David Miliband has a new haircut. He's lost the famous white tuft at the front of his fringe. I bet he looks about 17 now.

AND did you know: M/Chester is 2nd Happiest Place In Britain ( after Powys, Wales)?? A Powys inhabitant says: " We don't have a single Tesco ( though we've planning permission ) and we don't have M&S. Perhaps that helps." ......
Oh Dear! I can name a few Per Una-ites who'd be far from happy about that. There'll be a lack of colourful cardigans/merry mismatched buttons / floaty assymetrical skirts on the average Powys sheepfarm . But then what they've not had, I don't suppose they miss.

The research is by folk from Sheffield and M/Ch (!) Unis; they assessed data from the British Household Panel Survey and the last census. I won't say who was bottom, just that It Wasn't In England, Wales or Ireland...

NEXT: A doctor who can't hear is actually leading research into ear cells that hold a cure to deafness. That's fantastic! He's John Brigande of Oregon and he hopes very much for success in his lifetime. I nearly said" I bet he does" ( but then I didn't) Hopefully this work will aid tinnitus sufferers too; I know this can be a nightmare.

Back to Politicians: it seems ***( see end of post) Mayor Boris, criticised for his flapping jacket at the Olympics Closing Do, said: " I reached instinctively for my middle button and then thought, sod it!" So his jacket flapped as well as his hair... but he did a great job flapping the flag, didn't he?

Now A Serious Note: A Ryanair plane flying to Ireland had to land in Germany: mushroom soup leaked on a passenger from an overhead locker, causing him/her to suffer an allergic reaction...( glad it wasn't leek??) Hmm. Oh Dear.

NEXT: The brilliant Matthew Parris has discovered The Best Age Of All. It's 59. Did YOU know? And to celebrate this birthday, he's horsetrekked, paraglided, chased alligators, caved with vampire bats ( that's just for starters) Until now, Parris thought no age could beat 18. THIS such positive news is heartwarming and will be appreciated by many..

WORLD NEWS: An elderly lady at a Stockholm airport, was whisked down a luggage shoot by accident. She got her check-in instructions wrong. She lay down on the belt but was discovered in time.Perhaps she was just tired with all the hanging about.

And a Swiss Witch ( try saying that!) beheaded in 1782, has been exonerated. It was declared that Anna Goldi, last woman beheaded in Europe as a witch, had been a victim of " judicial murder". I hope her family is pleased.

AND in Times2, there's a great piece by Alice Thomson. She writes about the raising of boys in today's society. It's worth reading . Having had brother/sons/grandson, I feel that so much of it is SO right.

AND TO FINISH: see " The Last Word": It quotes an African proverb: " If your mouth turns into a knife, it will cut off your lips..."
Scary, but true...

**And back to Mayor Boris: his " Who Do You Think You Are?" on TV last week, gave an inkling into a rather different guy than the one we think we know. It was more revealing than it realised.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Saving Something Golden"

The Olympics "gladdened our hearts". I was more thrilled by them than ever before. There's been sporting prowess to marvel at, spectacle that left us breathless and a sense of pride that's been almost overwhelming. And folk I know are already planning visits to Stratford in 2012. ...
BUT I hope things are kept in perspective. I hope Lord Seb and Mayor Boris (and all the other luminaries) will watch the pennies and make sure we ALSO have coppers for other things.

Take this example: I know St Ives in Cornwall well. I know the special quality of its light. I know its crowded August streets, its thronging beaches. I know the drama of its biting February winds, its freshness in April when air is suddenly scented again and I know its beauty in September when summer is Indian and cliffs are orange with monbretia, when air smells smoky and sky is as blue as a child's painting. I've sat on the terrace at Porthminster in haziest June, listened to seagulls, watched them wheel and squall acoss the bay to the harbour. I've seen grey days and black days and nights when the chill was biting. I've walked on Porthmeor on a golden New Years Day and watched towering waves whip across the Atlantic and I've sat outside the Sloop ( great pub!) in late November and sipped wine and felt the kindest of sun on my face. I went first in my teens and hopefully I'll go last in my nineties; any older would probably be poetic licence!
OK, you've got it. St Ives is my favourite place. And the above raving has been merely a prelude to something I think is worthwhile and particularly valuable in its own special way...

Nicholas Serota (Director of the Tate) said:" "Nothing matters more to a fisherman than having a decent dry space, and for an artist good daylight in which to work" ...
And the picture above is Porthmeor Artists Studios. For years, they've been a special link between St Ives artists colony and its fishing heritage. They're crumbling and greystone, and they fall ( almost literally; they've been there since 1815) on to Porthmeor beach. And now they're elderly and decrepit and in need of help. Their history is illustrious; Ben Nicholson painted here as did Patrick Heron, and countless others painted and drew and sculpted in the studio's lofty spaces.... while fishermen tended nets in theirs. And outside, days fell into nights, while sky, sea and sand were vivid and magnificent... and the sea roared and was at peace and then roared again...
Renovation plans have been drawn up by the Borlase Smart John Wells Trust. ( ) Their aim is to restore the Studios to attractive health ...and thence to establish Porthmeor as a hub of creative excellence. Their plans are exciting and the people of St Ives unite in its support.
The Studios need 3.7m. Arts Council England have allocated 1.2m. Talks are happening with other major Funders. Planning permission has been granted.

THIS is a chance to save something special, to assist a project of which we should be very proud...

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Get Out Yer Wild Tartan, Girls !"

Back to clothes again, folks! I hope you're not TOO bored yet!
BUT I think virtually EVERYONE I know will be OK for Next Season's "Look"..because have you seen the choices?? A myriad, I reckon. ...
YOU can wear "LACE" ( preferably black) or "FORTIES"( cinched waists, longish skirts...I'm OK for hem but I'll be sausage-like waist-wards) or you can wear "TEXTURE" ( with "organic" feel!?'re probably best sticking your hands into a feathery nest or stroking Granny's old fur? My cats will Come Up Trumps)
OR you ( yes, you!) can wear "GLAM-TAILORED" ( includes sequinned harem pants? sooooo seductive..) or "GRUNGE"( I'm absolutely OK there..) or "TOWN+COUNTRY" ( NB. Must help my elderly tweed jkt to Johnson's ASAP ) or you can try "THE COCOON LOOK" ( cocoon?? Is it a hat?) ....and Heavens, I nearly forgot THE COSSACK, THE TARTAN and THE LONG LEAN SILHOUEETE...( can't even spell it) but it's me out anyway....

BUT WAIT: I think there's actually even more "looks" to choose... but I'm totally worn out now and I need a cup of tea and the windowcleaner ( a nice Pole in Communist-type blue overalls....hey, THAT'S an idea!) ) is about to want to be paid and ANYWAY, that juicy lot gives you absolute permission to wear absolutely anything you want.
(IF by any chance you're soooo sad that you actually NEED permission to wear anything you want...)

And PS. ( in case they're listening) that excludes all MY friends!
And the Vogue cover is by Norman Parkinson ( Red Rose Aug 1956)

Friday, August 01, 2008

"Behaving Properly in Beijing"

Yesterday, the day before... and even the day before that, we read in the press re Gordon and David's dress sense.

Today the 15 million people of Beijing ( according to "The Times" ) have received THEIR own instructions on the matter....and it's not JUST re their dress sense, it's also about their behaviour. These instructions have been handed out by the Capital Spiritual Civilisation Construction Committee, in readiness for the Games. There's an official website ( 9 pages) and 36 areas of behaviour are targeted.

Would you believe: Feet should be kept slightly apart or in the shape of a V when standing. Men mustn't roll their trousers up or sport white socks with black shoes. Men's hair shouldn't grow over their eyebrows, ears or collars. No men's chests should be seen...uncovered, of course. And clothes shouldn't be too small, as fat people are seen as unreliable...

ALSO women with thick legs should wear dark stockings. They shouldn't appear in clashing colours: 3 colour groups only to be used at once. Everyone is to go easy on garlic and always have a clean mouth, particularly taxi drivers. Leather skirts and transparent garments aren't advised. Fatties should avoid horizontal stripes....And the people of Beijing should have hair combed appropriately for their age, occupation and situation... and they should never, ever, fight over paying a bill OR press others to drink at a banquet..

OK, you may mock and sigh and Thank Heaven for British Freedom.... and yes, of course folk shouldn't be dictated to... and yes, of course it's totally Over The Top.... BUT (hmm) just imagine your own city at the end of a boozy Saturday night: just a little bit of this may perhaps not go completely amiss.....??!