Monday, 20 November 2017

Seventy bleedin' years, Lilibet?

Congratulations to HM The Queen and HRH Prince Philip on the occasion of their 70th wedding anniversary!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Twenty-five million, five hundred thousand pounds!

...and yet it looks like a (very bejewelled) soap-on-a-rope??!

The largest flawless, colourless diamond of its type to ever go on sale - 163-carats, no less - has sold at Christie's.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

A richer and fuller life

His stories of escapades as a young gay man in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s were as mischievous and comic as they were a window into an often hostile world, where as second-class citizens homosexual men had to tread carefully on the edges of society.

National Service was "fantastic" [he said] because it was filled with so many gay men.

Cambridge was equally "very, very gay", causing one heterosexual undergraduate to complain to him, through tears, that there was "something wrong with him" because he was attracted to women.

"I think you'll be alright Douglas," Prof Lockyer replied drily.

"There was this semi-secret, sub-rosa network of gay clubs we would go to," he explained.

One bar-hopping friend and ex-lover was Jeremy Wolfenden, the gay son of Lord Wolfenden, whose radical report controversially recommended decriminalising homosexuality in 1957.

"Places like the Rockingham in Soho... was for well-to-do, sophisticated people - it had its own writing paper.

"You had to give your name at the door and I said: 'Jeremy, aren't you a little worried that you give your name 'Wolfenden'?

"He said: 'Oh don't worry my dear I always give your name.'

"So I'm recorded as having a much busier social life when it was in fact Jeremy capering about town while his father made these important recommendations to the government about 'queers'."
RIP Professor Roger Lockyer, historian, writer and one half of the very first couple who became "civil partners" when the law changed in 2005 [they converted their partnership to marriage in 2014]. Of the occasion, he said:
"I think that particularly being a historian… people do know a bit about their own history and what others went through and it makes for a richer and fuller life if they do.

"I remember distinctly walking down the street after the ceremony thinking: 'I am as legal a person as anybody else. I am a full citizen at last.' It was a wonderful feeling."

And finally, when asked about the secret of longevity [the couple had been together for 51 years when he died] he had this to say:
The best way to stay in a long and happy relationship is to want to stay in a long and happy relationship! It helps a great deal if you find the other person very attractive, which of course I did in the case of Percy - he was a young, handsome man - but we also shared so much in common.

I learned quite early on that if you want a relationship to endure, you must not bridle at every possible insult. We’ve both behaved badly to each other from time to time, and I just kept on thinking to myself: “It’s not worth losing this wonderful relationship over things that don’t really count. The little things are the little things; the big thing is the relationship and as long as that’s sound, then to hell with any of the details."

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Brave day sunk in hideous night

From Sonnet 12 by William Shakespeare:

When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silvered o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves

British Summer Time is officially over for another year...

Friday, 27 October 2017

Eeh oop - it's a look

From Time Out:
There’s Scouse girls and their wearing of bangle-width rollers round town before a night on the tiles. Manc girls who – presumably through natural selection – can traverse ankle-breaking cobbles in skyscraper heels with grace. Manc lads in those parkas now synonymous with the warring Gallagher brothers. Geordies who are apparently impervious to the cold. And all that’s not to mention the 1980s casual look, originating on the football terraces of northern England. Hundreds of images come to mind when you think of northern fashion. And so it’s only proper that the region gets its own fashion exhibition.

...Celebrating northern fashion feels right given the wealth of talent that the region has produced. For example, Burberry’s Christopher Bailey hails from Halifax. Agyness Deyn is from Rochdale and bright young thing Matty Bovan grew up in York with his impossibly stylish mum. The exhibition – which is being expanded for its trip [to Somerset House from Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery] – will also look at how the north and northerners are represented in contemporary photography, fashion and art with contributors including Raf Simons, Corinne Day and Gareth Pugh.

Northern style seems to involve a lot of hair-curlers, it would seem...

The exhibition North: fashioning identity is on at Somerset House, London from 8th November 2017 to 4th February 2018.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Adieu, Mademoiselle

"In the years that I have been an actress, I have told the story of my life many times, and I get tired of it, so sometimes I change it a little."

"The stage takes more from your life in three hours of work than one whole day in the film studio. On stage, you are a prisoner, even though it is a lovely prison."

"I think it's despicable to be on display and a fashion showoff."

RIP Danielle Yvonne Marie Antoinette Darrieux (1st May 1917 - 17th October 2017)

Read my tribute to the grande dame on the occasion of her 100th birthday