Thursday, 28 May 2009


For some reason that last post came up as 23rd May. No idea why. Sorry.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

More Guilty Pleasures

As promised! : Guilty Pleasures 2 - Son of Guilty Pleasures.

This one is a lot more difficult as, with film and TV, one man's guilty pleasure is another man's CULT VIEWING. These are the ones I genuinely feel slightly guilty about.
Film :

Ratatouille. God I love the rat. My secret kitchen alter ego.

Murder On The Orient Express. I spend far too much time perfecting my Wendy Hiller impersonation : "You will have the goodness to bring me.. the poached.. sole. With one small new.. poTAto. And a grrrreeen salad." And Sean Connery saying to Poirot "Can you give me your word - as a foreigner..." And, most importantly, the fact that even though Poirot works out who dunnit, he lets them off because JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED. I always get a lump in my throat at the end where they're all drinking champagne. "Her name was, I believe, a Miss FrrreeBody."

The Amazing Mr Blunden. Made in 1972 by the same crew and producers as The Railway Children, and with an amazingly similar look and feel: strangely 20-something girls playing 13-year-olds in Edwardian pinafores and tam-o-shanters. Great plot though - all about ghosts, redemption, etc... makes me cry every time. A great Bank Holiday film. Also stars Diana Dors as a gin-soaked old hag with a very stupid, very pretty, blonde daughter - slightly poignant as 20 years earlier she might have played the part herself.


Oh this is a hard one to admit to, but luckily there's just the one - My Super Sweet 16. I am so embarrassed by this that I may as well have a bag on my head as I type. I usually hate reality TV of all kinds, as while I thrive on schadenfreude I hate the fact that everybody looks a fool, a pompous twit or a bully, regardless of their intentions. I have friends who are TV editors, and I am starting to think they're probably possessed of some kind of evil genius; editing is key to how someone looks on TV. That and appropriate soundtrack (amazing what the Benny Hill theme can do to, say, a dignified solicitor or adoring parent).

The fundamental point of this programme is to show, in all its blingy horror and grotesque excess, the lengths the VERY RICH will go to to ensure that their (for the most part) unprepossessingly spoilt offspring have the best 16th birthday party of all their peers. Action is invariably as follows: scene in a vastly overpriced dress boutique (it's always a boutique, never just a shop) where daughter screams at her friends for wanting to wear the same dress. Instance of daughter shrieking "I HATE YOUUUUU" at whoever happens to be handy (parent, BFF, boyfriend). Plan for party to be Moulin Rouge themed, only to remember that cow Kelly had the same thing for hers. Sulk. New theme for party (LA Gangsta!!! Great, we can all dress in as little as possible and dance in a way that our parents will disapprove of!!!) proposed. Invitations ostentatiously only given to less pretty girls and every boy in school. Guest list lost by bouncers. Tantrum. Tantrum. High spirits, saucy dancing, embarrassingly obviously hired cast members from Hollyoaks to boost popularity rating. Boyfriend misbehaves. Tears in ladies' loo. Then the high point of the evening - DADDY'S BOUGHT ME A PORSCHE!!!!!!! Credits roll.

I'm so humiliated by admitting this that I need to lie down. Off to watch series 4 of "The Wire" now to remind myself that I do have taste really...

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Guilty Pleasures (not technically a meme)

Lovely Foxy emailed me a link to a Guardian article about how top chefs secretly love crisps/salad cream etc. Actually quite fun (and secretly reassuring) to read, although I say Spot The Pseud. I don't think homemade blueberry pancakes count as guilty - doesn't a REAL guilty pleasure have to have a brand name in front of it? So as a tribute (mostly to Angela Hartnett - I think I love her) I am giving you a selection of guilty pleasures. Not really guilty pleasures, because obviously I'm too embarrassed to admit to them (lard! Marion Zimmer Bradley! "Clouds Across The Moon" by The Rah Band! Aaaaaaarghh!!!) but the socially acceptable ones...

Food : BabyBel cheese. Walker's Prawn Cocktail crisps. Fanta. Findus Crispy Pancakes. Hellmann's Mayonnaise. HP Sauce. Lemon barley water. That horrible (yet compulsive) tinned chicken supreme you can get from M&S. The chunky peanut butter KitKat. Cheap shish kebab in limp pitta with hummus and extra pickled chillies, hold the salad. Bearing in mind that I'm on a very low carb diet, most of these are things I have feverish withdrawal dreams about (as are pasta, roasties and toast).

Books : How dangerous is it when you work in a bookshop to admit that while you do mostly read interesting and worthwhile literature, sometimes you crave the book equivalent of a bag of crisps? To which end:

"Gone With the Wind" - a pot-boiler, true, but the absolute queen of pot-boilers. It has transcended its pot-boilerdom in the same way that Bizet's "Carmen" has.

-anything by Jilly Cooper - to be read behind the adult equivalent of a bikeshed, chewing your hand so you don't shriek out loud with delighted schadenfreude as she blithely describes inner-city comp school children as "black and terribly sweet really", and play Spot The Hero (he's inevitably the one with a dog - also English, posh, charmingly slobbish) Or Villain (foreign, greasy, cruel to animals, into kinky sex).

And. With a deep breath, I will admit that I am currently sniggering in secret over "Fools Rush In" by Anthea Turner. It was notorious in my W*terstone's days as the book that sold about 47 copies nationwide (well, in W*terstone's, anyway), never even made it into paperback, and ended up mostly pulped. It is, nonetheless, an object of awful majesty. It cost me 1p plus p+p on Amazon. Not only is it a testament to the most hilariously twee, self-congratulatory personality I've ever come across, but it is also ghostwritten - and even that didn't stop it being compellingly terrible. Only a genuine fool would ask a very very bad chick-lit writer to ghost her autobiography. Some choice phrases: "My little hand strayed to the chocolate box" (she's in her 30s at this point), "My eyes filled with tears as I watched him drive away in his Jaguar" (good to know that as your One True Love drives out of your life you can appreciate a fine automobile) , "The gentle British holidaymakers (this is in Magaluf! - ed.) were devastated by the news of Princess Diana's death. I gave them what comfort I could." She also has a disturbing tendency to refer to her more successful sexual encounters with the phrase "It was good to be in experienced hands". I am torn between recommending it (seriously, it's a whole Fray Bentos steak 'n' kidney pie of awfulness) and really not wanting to give it any more press than this. Examine your consciences. 1p on Amazon. I will say no more.

Music/TV/Film: - I think I'll do that next time. I'm exhausted by the literary equivalent of a binge on salad cream and tinned pineapple rings.