Friday, 18 September 2015

Back from the dead

This morning, a grey wet miserable excuse of a one, I decided to read back over my blog and a thought struck me - I have MISSED blogging. A lot. I just didn't seem to have time to get my blog on when I was juggling other paid blogging writing and script writing and child rearing and house cleaning and all that jazz.

Plus, (those that know me in the flesh may well be surprised by this comment) I felt like I had nothing to say. There is something about being in a work environment that gets your creative juices flowing and through various chats you come up with a whole range of stuff that you simply MUST blog about. But as I am no longer in full time work, seeing fab colleagues every day and now that my kids are not quite as stressful (though they have their moments) and Husband works from home all the time (he has gone from NEVER being here which did my head in to ALWAYS being here which obviously also does my head in) there aint so much to have a beef with...

I don't find a wealth of material to comment on, with the school run being my main social outing in the day. I haven't been to the cinema for an ages because there is feck all on I want to see - save the Krays film with Tom Hardy (that man can act, if you don't believe me watch Locke, where he holds an entire film driving in a car - no mean feat). I can't even remember the last film I saw - oh hold on - it was Trainwreck, which was so woeful I walked out. I love Amy Schumer (who doesn't?) but dear god this was bad - particularly the scenes when she wasn't on screen - with some bumbling sports star who's name escapes me. I've seen plates of lard with more personality. I'm amping for pre-Oscar season to finally get exited about something film wise - as the new stars wars? Meh.

I've gone from a summer that was nothing short of frantic to an autumn that is oddly quiet. Perhaps I'm just treading water until Halloween, my favourite holiday as you know. This year it'll be filled with fresh troops as I usher in a new set of folk I've met through my daughter, to celebrate with lychee martinis and more decorations than Harrods at Xmas.

One thing you should catch (if you be in London town) is a great exhibition called, Before They Were Fallen that two of my mates put together. It combines portraits and stories of those who lost loved ones in Afghanistan. I went along to the opening on Wednesday and to say it was moving was an understatement.

Often things haunt us - we see something on the news, read a story in a paper, and we just can't seem to shake it. The story that won't leave me is this one, from Humans of New York. It's the tale (in 3 pictures) of a guy called Shane, who was left at a children's home when he was 4. He remembers trying to persuade his Dad not to leave him yelling, 'I'll be good. I'll be good.' In an attempt to stop his Dad leaving he rips at his shirt, so his Dad ends up driving away shirt-less. The imagery of such pain just guts me. Every night I kiss my 4 year old daughter as she snuggles down to sleep and I can't ever imagine leaving her, or bear the thought of her being left. His tale has no happy ending, so if you read it and like me, want to help, his Go Fund me page is here.

So how have you all been? Anyone still reading - be nice to know you're around. I'm gonna try and dip in a bit more. Maybe even find something to moan about...

CM x

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

All over a frock?

September: the air cools, the knits at the back of the closet are reached for once more, the heating goes on and every single newspaper and mag bleats on about London Fashion Week with breathless abandon.

It makes me chuckle when I'm told what 'It' bag (costing enough to feed a refugee family for 5 months) I should be slinging over my shoulder; or that 'culottes are back' when in fact, why did they look good on anybody, ever? "Oh must get a culottes jumpsuit, it's so flattering and warm in winter" said no one, ever. As my photographer  mate Derek said to me in the Sep of '97 as I ran myself ragged trying to get into some inane fashion show, almost trampled by a dozen papps and heeled skeletal women wearing shades indoors, "all this fuss over a frock." Quite.

That's not to say I didn't have a ball when I went to all the shows in London and Paris Fashion Week back in my fashion reporter days. Dame Viv was always good for a cackle, Manolo the nicest man in fashion, and Amanda Wakeley a designer with manners, grace and taste.

I remember feeling high as a kite when I grabbed the first interview with Stella McCartney after her first ever collection for Chloe in Sep '97. I went with Christian Louboutin after spending the morning interviewing him; he gave me the name of Chloe's director: Patrick De La Tour on a yellow post it note and I used this tiny piece of paper to inveigle my way into the show, and somehow backstage - demanding my meeting with Patrick. A security guard the size of an ape, parted the sea of people and brought me through - my cameraman trailing behind me, my mic our umbilical cord. Patrick looked confused, as he would, so I asked the obvious, 'where is Stella?' He pointed over to where she was, exiting a room with Paul and Linda, and I dashed over. She was witty and warm for the whole two minutes I had her, before the room converged upon her and I was squeezed out.

Because you see, everyone takes FASH-ONNNN very seriously. Which is a shame, because the only folk having the last laugh are the big wig companies who are persuading hard working women to part with ££££ to buy something that is 'in' and 'hot' one minute and 'out' the next. The joke is indeed on us. No one has summed up the bizarre notion of fashion better than Dr Seuss, in his book 'The Sneetches.' Read it and see... are we all just craving to be a Star Bellied Sneetch one season and star-less the next...?

Thank the lord for folk like the late, mad, Isabella Blow, (who was hilarious to interview, always wearing a giant Philip Treacy shrimp hat - or some other creation of his - to obscure the back two rows from seeing anything on the runway) or enfant terrible Andrew Groves (ex of McQueen) who had a model wearing latex and a fake fur strut on the catwalk, then open her coat to let out a tonne of flies over the fashion mavens' heads, as she turned and swaggered off, tampon string clearly visible.

I no longer subscribe to fashion for many reasons, not least because my life as a writer doesn't require any fancy heels or pencil skirts or anything other than comfy jeans and trainers. Thank god. All that preening and grooming is such an effort. The best dressed folk are always the ones who just throw things together and don't throw themselves at the mercy of a few editors of dwindling magazines....

That isn't to say I didn't have a blast when I gadded about from show to show and after party. The most memorable being Antonio Berardi's show at Brixton Academy, with Kate Moss strutting down the catwalk wearing plaits and a glittery stetson; or in '99 at Camden Roundhouse, Mel B giving it some oomph at the Julian Macdonald show, cheered on by the rest of her Spice Ladies (minus Geri). LFW was 5 days of eating nothing, drinking anything I could lay my hands on and being asked by frightfully nice ladies like Camilla Morton (Isabella Blow's successor in my mind) if my thrift store dress was 'Versace Versus?' £2 from an All Aboard shop... It was 1997, Labour had just got in, Patsy and Liam were on the cover of Vanity Fair, La Moss opened London Fashion week in a Clements Ribeiro union jack sweater (and avoided all my interview questions, glaring instead) and Britpop ruled the world. London was swinging. It was a fun time to be inspired by all the theatrical shows, chase the attending celebs and star bother the designers themselves at various London haunts like Momos at the Met Bar (where Galliano and McQueen both were charming and agreed to later interviews, but this never materialised in the cold sober light of day).

So as autumn descends once more and fash-pack race around London town ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the latest frock, I can cheerfully say I won't miss it one bit. There is something slightly repugnant in these times to be fawning over mere material, that costs a ridiculous amount of money only to be tossed aside, when the world has much greater needs for your hard earned buck. Are your status items  - your trinkets and toys - the only things to define you? Does anyone ever need to be on a waiting list for a handbag?? I can understand that paying extra for a well cut piece of clothing that will last decades is infinitely better than buying Primark tat that has been made from abusing workers in a far off country. But still. As the dandiest fashionista of them all, Quentin Crisp once said, “Fashion is what you adopt when you don't know who you are.” 

Amen to that. 

Monday, 7 September 2015

Summer 2015

Is finally over. And apart from major anxiety over a script and eternal fretting over juggling childcare and work, it was ACE. I got to spend some excellent quality time with my kids and hang out with those I love. So, for Matt's party and a day in Greenwich; meeting Judy Blume; climbing around Dolby forest with cousins; a York chocolate history treasure hunt with Auntie M; hanging out at the park with C and kids; having H and family to stay (the bar plan to ditch the kids with the Dad's was foiled - next time!); rounders on a sunny beach with the McC clan (#wesowon); dinner at Rathmullan House (and the best breakfast granola I have ever had the pleasure to munch on); Jaws open air cinema with my son at Regents Park (next time remember the blankets!); Nix's wedding (ahhhhhh) and catch ups with C; watching my daughter fall in love with tennis and my son bat at cricket; prosecco at Uncle N and Auntie F's (followed by riverside races); lobster straight from the tank in Portugal (I am going to hell, or coming back in the next life as a lobster); shelling prawns in Portimao; caipirinhas at sundown on Praia Luisa beach; Mark's 40th - glitterstastic; reading Katy's book on the lounger (so proud) ; the best burger of my life at Riding House Street cafe with old schoolmates and a million trillion kids; Munching the best pizza in Ireland with the McK/H brigade in the last of the summer sunshine; walking along by the sea with my Mum on a balmy evening in Ireland (yes they exist); dark and stormies with the entire family at the Jamaica Inn watching the sea roll in and out; M coming to tea (and giving sympathy) and finally, a welcome home lasagne and comfort with the fabulous R's - I thank my lucky stars.