Friday, August 31, 2012

Elizabeth Hand / Hungerford Bridge

Elizabeth Hand
Hungerford Bridge
by Elizabeth Hand

CONJUNCTIONS:52, Spring 2009

 I HADN’T HEARD FROM Miles for several months when he wrote to ask if I wanted to get together for lunch. Of course I did, and several days later I met him at a noisy, cheerful restaurant at South Bank. It was early February, London still somewhat dazed by the heavy snowfall that had recently paralyzed the city. The Thames seemed a river of lead; a black skim of ice made the sidewalks treacherous—I’d seen another man fall as I’d walked from Waterloo Station—and I wished I’d worn something warmer than the old wool greatcoat I’d had since college.
     But once settled into the seat across from Miles, all that fell away.
     “You’re looking well, Robbie,” he said, smiling.
     “You too.”

Life and style / Tom Jones / The scent of a woman

Tom Jones

Q&A: Tom Jones

'My fancy dress costume of choice? Dick Turpin'

Interview: Rosanna Greenstreet
Friday 31 August 2012 22.59 BST

Tom Jones was born Thomas Jones Woodward in south Wales in 1940. He left school at 16 and married his wife Linda a year later, just before the birth of their son Mark. In 1963, he joined his first band and two years later his career took off with It's Not Unusual, his first hit in the UK and US. He went on to have success with the classics Green, Green Grass Of Home and Delilah. He has sold more than 100m records. He was one of the coaches on the TV talent show The Voice. His latest album is Spirit In The Room and next week he releases the single (I Want To) Come Home. Tomorrow he performs at Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park.
When were you happiest?
When I was able finally to get out of bed when I had TB – after two years.
What is your greatest fear? 
Being locked up in jail.
What is your earliest memory?
I can see the kitchen in the house where I was born – so think I was in a high-chair having some nosh.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
The Queen, for her loyalty and determination.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Bad sense of time – on the clock, not in music!
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
I was in the toilet somewhere on the M1, sitting with my trousers down, and some girls jumped over the door.
What is your most treasured possession?
My voice.
What would your super power be?
What makes you unhappy?
Not being able to sing.
What is your favourite smell?
The scent of a woman.
What is your favourite book?
The Rise And Fall Of The British Empire, by Lawrence James.
What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
Dick Turpin.
What is the worst thing anyone's said to you?
"I heard you were paid off." Early in my career there was a rumour that I was paidnot to play at some club – which was not true. It still rankles.
Cat or dog?

Is it better to give or to receive?
By giving you receive – it's a good deal.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Winston Churchill, both of my grandfathers – whom I've never met – John Wayne and Boudicca.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Any and many swearwords.
What is the worst job you've done?
Twelve-hour shifts in a paper mill.
When did you last cry, and why?
When I listened to one of my [The Voice] team members sing.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being knighted by Her Majesty.
What keeps you awake at night?
Knowing I have to get up early.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
I haven't given it any thought.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a helluva singer.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Don't make decisions when you've had too much to drink.
Where would you most like to be right now?
Wherever I am, breathing and well.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paul Bowles and Master Musicians of Jajouka

Photographer, manager and producer Cherie Nutting talks about Paul Bowles, and Master Musicians of Jajouka

“The image stops time. It is the first primordial thought. We are here. Music is pre - image...It’s vibrations form both the image and all parallel realities...”
Cherie Nutting:  Moroccan perfume of desert
Cherie Nutting was born under the Taurus sign in Massachusetts, USA. She is a photographer and musical artist manager, known for her photographs of expatriate author and composer Paul Bowles. Bowles and Nutting collaborated on the book "Yesterday’s Perfume: An Intimate Memoir of Paul Bowles" (2000). The book, an impressionistic collage of many of Nutting's photographs and reminiscences of her close 13-year friendship with Bowles, and which also includes some of Bowles' journal entries, new essays and previously unpublished writings.

She studied photography at the New England School of Photography and at the New York School of Visual Arts. In February 1989, Nutting married the Moroccan musician Bachir Attar, and she became manager for both the Master Musicians of Jajouka Featuring Bachir Attar. Nutting also helped to arrange logistics and Tangier location for the June 1989 recording sessions of the 'Master Musicians of Jajouka Featuring Bachir Attar', and the Rolling Stones, for the song "Continental Drift" on the Stones' Steel Wheels album.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paul Bowles / Interview / David Seidner

Paul Bowles

Paul Bowles
BOMB 4/Fall 1982

The productive climate throughout Europe from about 1900 on, was based, more or less, on the promise of a new world that industry would provide. The political movements, and ensuing wars and revolutions, served both to destroy and calcify idealism in the arts. As we approach the 21st century, we can clearly see that our hopes have been dashed; we grope blindly for a new set of ideals upon which to base a new ideology. Our links to this glorious past are quickly disappearing. All us youngsters (anyone under 50), can only dream of Paris in the twenties, the luxury of sea travel, stately old hotels in undiscovered corners of paradise, and the efficient hush of servants. In a country where underwear is still ironed, and villages spring up overnight, Paul Bowles, one of those links to the past, has chosen to make his home. Despite television, one still has the sense of being isolated in Morocco.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paul Bowles / The Art of Fiction

Paul Bowles


The Art of Fiction No. 67

Fall 1981
Interviewed by Jeffrey Bailey

 The Tangier that once greeted Bowles in 1931, promising “wisdom and ecstasy,” bears little resemblance to the Tangier of the 1970s. The frenetic medina, with its souks, its endless array of tourist boutiques, its perennial hawkers and hustlers is still there, of course, though fifty years ago it had already been dwarfed by the European city and its monuments to colonialism: the imperious French Consulate, the Café de Paris, luxury hotels in the grand style (the Minzah, the Velasquez, the Villa de France), the now forlornly abandoned Teatro Cervantes, and the English church with its cemetery filled with the remains of knight commanders, baronets, and the prodigal sons of former empires. The days of Tangier as the wide-open international city of intrigue are gone forever. Today it is simply one city of a third-world country in flux, slowly but steadily coming to grips with the twentieth century.
For those of a romantic bent, however, the power of Tangier to evoke images of the inscrutable East remains potent, despite the ravages of modernity. It still seems an appropriate place to find Paul Bowles. Any American who comes to Tangier bearing more than a casual curiosity about Morocco and a vague concern for music and literature considers a visit with Bowles an absolute must; for some, it even assumes the reverential character of a pilgrimage. In no way, however, does Bowles see himself as an object of special interest. Indeed, such an attitude strikes him as being amusingly naive, if not downright silly.
He lives in a three-room apartment in a quiet residential section of Tangier. His flat, located in a fifties-futuristic building in sight of the American consulate, is comfortably unimposing, though it does testify to his days as a world traveler: souvenirs from Asia, Mexico, black Africa; a bookcase lined with personally inscribed volumes by Burroughs, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Vidal; an entryway in which vintage trunks and suitcases are stacked shoulder high, as if a voyage of indefinite length were perpetually in the offing.
Our first meeting took place in the summer of 1976. I arrived at his door in the early afternoon. I found him newly awakened, his thick white hair tousled and pale blue eyes slightly bleary; he was obviously surprised that anyone would come to call at that hour of the day. As he finished his breakfast and lighted up his first cigarette, his thin, somewhat wiry frame relaxed noticeably. He became increasingly jovial.
Evidently, however, my timing hadn’t been particularly good. The tape recorder had just begun to roll when a series of visitors announced themselves with persistent rings of the doorbell: his chauffeur, his maid, a woman friend from New York, an American boy who’d taken the apartment downstairs, and, eventually, Mohammed Mrabet. Handsome in a rugged and brooding way, Mrabet asked me to bring him, on my return to Tangier, a pistol with nine chambers as there were apparently nine people upon whose elimination he was intent at that time.
As it turned out, I had reason to be grateful for his and the other interruptions. They enabled me to return and talk at length with Bowles that evening, the next day, and two more times over the following year and a half.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fashion names make list of 100 most powerful women

Gisele Bundchen - gisele-bundchen Wallpaper

Fashion names make list of 100 most powerful women

Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, Gisele Bundchen, Miuccia Prada and Angela Ahrendts have all won places on Forbes' latest list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.
The Telegraph

Miuccia Prada, Diane von Furstenberg and Anna Wintour, Gisele Bundchen Photo: Rex/Getty
Designers Diane von Furstenberg and Miuccia Prada, American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts and Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, all appear on the list , which is topped by German chancellor Angela Merkel 
Surprisingly, Diane von Furstenberg beats Wintour to achieve the highest ranking of the four women, appearing at number 33. The publication cites the 65-year-old Belgian designer's fourth term as president of the CFDA, and her upcoming collaborations with Roxy and Evian, as well as her second marriage to media mogul and billionaire philanthropist Barry Diller (who is ranked 804th on Forbes' Billionaires List) as reasons for her positioning.
Wintour, who has edited the US edition of Vogue since 1988, is positioned 51st owing mainly to her increasing political prowess. According to a list published by the US President's re-election campaign organisers earlier this year, Wintour has raised more than $500,000 (£315,600) through various fund-raising events including a 2010 dinner at her private residence in New York's Sullivan Street attended by fashion luminaries Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Diane von Furstenberg; and a dinner co-hosted by film mogul Harvey Weinstein in 2011 for which tickets cost $71,600 (£45,000) per couple. Forbes also makes reference to the opening of US Vogue's revenue-making digital archives in 2011.
Miuccia Prada takes the 67th spot on the list thanks to the $13 billion value of her fashion empire, of which she controls 33.2% of the shares and includes both Prada and sister label Miu Miu. The company was floated on the Hong Kong Stock Exchangein 2011 .
Brazilian supermodel Gisele, who is currently pregnant with her second child , comes in 83rd, but she's noted not just for her wealth - she is still the world's highest-earning model - but also for her philanthropic deeds. She is credited with planting over 50,000 trees in her native Brazil this year through her work as an ambassador for the U.N. Environmental Program, she has donated $1 million to the Japanese Red Cross for Earthquake relief and she has recently launched a model search in Brazil's most impoverished areas in an initiative which aims to boost the self esteem of Brazil's slum dwellers.
Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts also features on the list, at number 45. The 52-year-old mother of three is credited with "infusing the classic clothier with Silicon Valley tech savvy". Other famous faces who appear on the list include Lady Gaga (#14), Beyonce Knowles (#32) and Angelina Jolie (#66).

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nicole Kidman strips off for V Magazine

Nicole Kidman strips off for V Magazine

Nicole Kidman casts her wholesome image, and her clothes, aside for the latest issue of 'V Magazine'.
The Telegraph

Nicole Kidman 'gets cheeky' for V Magazine. Styled by Carlyne Cerf de Duzeele
We're used to seeing Nicole Kidman on the red carpet - elegant, ladylike, demure, are the words that usually spring to mind. But this is not how you would describe her latest shoot for V Magazine 's travel-themed issue. Nicole stripped off except for a bottom-baring Chanel skirt (if you could call it a skirt) with kohl-rimmed eyes and a shaggy Debby Harry-esque bob to further ramp up the sex appeal.

According to the Daily Mail , photographer Mario Testino said all the right things to put the 45-year-old actress at ease. "Beautiful, beautiful," he was heard exclaiming during the shoot, "You are so hot it is beyond! Look at your body! It is incredible."

Nicole dares to bare for photographer Mario Testino MARIO TESTINO/V MAG
It's likely that the shoot was somewhat inspired by Kidman's latest role in The Paperboy , where she plays a trashy woman from the southern US who obsessively writes to prisoners. V Magazine founder James Kaliardos explained his vision for the shoot in an email to New York Magazine , saying: "I wanted to strip Nicole's image bare... I kept saying, 'This isn't Portrait of a Lady'. " He seemed pleased, however, with Kidman's attitude to the shoot: "She barely looked in the mirror and just said, 'Great'."
The Australian actress showed off her sexy side in the V Magazine shoot MARIO TESTINO/V MAG
And going by what she says in the accompanying interview, Nicole should be pleased with the results. "I don't really make decisions, I go with the flow. If I were a strategically minded person, I think I would have a far different career," she said. "But I would be more outlandish if I could. A lot of times you just don't get the chance."
For the full interview and more photos of naked Nicole, head over to V Magazine and pick up a copy of the Travel Issue, out August 30th.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Obituaries / Tony Scott

Tony Scott

A former advertising director who followed his brother Ridley (now Sir Ridley) to Hollywood, his glossy, commercial sensibility powered films such as Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II and Days of Thunder – testosterone-filled movies described by one critic as “visual amphetamines”.
A director with little interest in ideas or morality, he created a visual sheen that lingered in the memory long after narrative and characters were forgotten. Although he was accused of vulgarity and excessive love of hardware, Scott instinctively understood the power of images and was obsessive in his quest for visual impact.
But for all the reviewing community’s artistic unease, Scott was that rarest of beasts: a British filmmaker with a blockbuster reputation. That he lived in Hollywood, collected Ferraris and Harleys and hustled through relationships, only further alienated the sensibilities of his European peers.
He had extraordinary energy, producing and directing movies, making advertisements and, with his brother “Rid”, buying and managing Shepperton studios. Often involved with 20 projects simultaneously, he relaxed by climbing mountains and running. If his films were often accused of having a shiny core where the insight or empathy might have been, no one disputed his contention that his interest lay with “people who live their life on the edge”.
Anthony David Scott was born in North Shields on July 21 1944, seven years after his brother Ridley, and educated at Stockton-on-Tees. He enjoyed painting and rugby, while the proximity of the moors encouraged a love of the wild he retained all his life. Each summer in his youth he hitchhiked to the Alps to climb.
While at grammar school, he appeared as the title character in his brother’s first short film, Boy On A Bicycle. He then studied painting at Sunderland Art School, Leeds College of Art and Design and finally, on a scholarship, the Royal College .
Realising that he was unlikely to sustain a career as a painter, he joined his brother’s fledgling television production company. Ridley recalled: “I knew he had a fondness for cars, so I told him, 'Come work with me and within a year you’ll have a Ferrari.’ And he did.”
Ridley also taught Tony the techniques of making lush, high-quality shorts and, when he left for Hollywood, passed on several gold-tinted franchises, including the Hovis advert, featuring another boy on a bicycle. While Ridley enjoyed early success with Alien and Blade Runner, Tony made thousands of commercials, evolving a singular visual style and winning awards for his work for Chanel, Marlboro and Levis.
After Ridley’s success, and that of fellow “out-of-advertising” British filmmakers such as Alan Parker, Adrian Lyne and David Puttnam, it was inevitable that Tony Scott would try his luck in Hollywood.
But his first feature – the dark, moody The Hunger (1983), starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve – was almost his last. A self-consciously arty, Gothic tale of a vampire forced to find a cure for her rapidly ageing lover, the film was a self-confessed “total knock-off of Nic Roeg’s Performance”, and most memorable for a lesbian love scene between Deneuve and Susan Sarandon.
Despite sumptuous cinematography (albeit compromised by Scott’s fatal attraction to the shorthand of advertising — coloured filters, exquisitely photographed smoke, fluttering curtains, shafts of light streaming through blinds), the film was mauled by the critics and Hollywood insiders. The director recalled that, after the first screening, “on my parking space my name was painted out. I couldn’t get anyone on the phone. Nobody had the balls to tell me I’d been fired.”
He returned to making commercials until the producer Jerry Bruckheimer hired him to direct Top Gun (1986). Initially he couldn’t “see” the movie. “I wanted to make Apocalypse Now on an aircraft carrier. Then I got it. It’s rock-and-roll, silver jets in a bright blue sky, good-looking guys.” Taking his “look” from a Bruce Weber photograph — Scott was a self-confessed magpie — he created the ultimate feelgood movie in which Tom Cruise’s air force recruit tried to pass out top of the flying academy and retain the love of Kelly McGillis.
The film, described by one critic as “a sleek, pulsating paean to testosterone”, took $350 million at the box office, propelled Cruise to superstar status and Scott on to the Hollywood A-list.
He was rewarded with Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), a hugely successful action sequel starring Eddie Murphy’s wisecracking, rule-busting policeman which confirmed Scott as a director capable of delivering high-energy drama loosely attached to a plot.
Both hits were made with Jerry Bruckheimer, who kept Scott’s less commercial instincts at bay, and when Scott made his next film without Bruckheimer, it showed. Revenge (1990) was a darker thriller, a story of adultery in Mexico starring Kevin Costner and Madeleine Stowe. It leaned towards a darker palette reminiscent of the paintings of Francis Bacon that had inspired Scott as a student – and was panned.
Back in the cockpit with his usual producer and a familiar star, Days of Thunder (1991) was Top Gun in a different machine. With fighter pilots replaced by racing drivers, Cruise reprised his role as the talented but reckless young buck who has to control his emotions as much as his motor. But the movie failed to repeat his earlier success, the public evidently taking the view that there was no point in watching the same film twice.
Scott was conscious that he was being typecast as a director of blockbusters, so when he was introduced to a video store employee, unknown scriptwriter and fledgling filmmaker called Quentin Tarantino, he tried to buy the rights to True Romance and Reservoir Dogs . Tarantino refused to sell Reservoir Dogs, using the money Scott paid for True Romance to fund filming it.
But his script for True Romance, a Bonnie and Clyde-themed tale of a hooker and her lover on the run from almost everyone, was sharp-edged and allowed Scott the opportunity to focus on individuals as much as action. Although it attracted a cast including Brad Pitt, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Patricia Arquette, Christian Slater and, in a cameo, Samuel L Jackson, initial reactions were lukewarm — though it attained cult status after the by now ludicrously hip Tarantino blessed it.
Having established his ability to handle the egos of multiple stars in a single picture, the permanently pink baseball-capped, cigar-toting Scott had little trouble attracting Hollywood’s finest to his projects. Crimson Tide (1995) starred Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington as two submariners without radio contact to base who take opposing views over whether they should launch a nuclear attack on a Russian island.
The Fan (1996), which portrayed a baseball fan stalking his hero, starred Robert De Niro, Ellen Barkin, Wesley Snipes and Benicio Del Toro, and was followed by Enemy of the State (1998), a hi-tech thriller in which Will Smith’s hapless lawyer was forced to take on the government machine. An opportunity for the director to pay homage to Francis Ford Coppola’s paranoid classic The Conversation, what Enemy of the State lacked in originality it made up in pace and in Gene Hackman’s beautifully understated portrayal of a tired, cynical investigator.
Spy Game (2001), which had to be cut after the September 11 terrorist attacks, again examined the not always beneficent power of the state. The film portrayed retiring spymaster Robert Redford’s attempts to spring his young partner (Brad Pitt) from a Chinese jail, where he faced execution for spying, despite the refusal of his bosses to help.
Scott’s technical skills and his obsession with cinematography at the expense of narrative were again visible in Man On Fire (2004). This starred Denzel Washington as a tortured ex-CIA agent hired to protect a child in Mexico City who was, to no one’s surprise, kidnapped. Displaying all Scott’s capacity for hi-tech mayhem with hand-held camera shots and jump-cut editing, the hackneyed story bounded along furiously towards its inevitable conclusion.
Domino (2005), which starred Keira Knightley as the heiress-turned-bounty hunter Domino Harvey, was universally panned, as much for its woeful miscasting as for the over-exuberant editing which elbowed what little plausible narrative there was aside.
Denzel Washington also starred in two of Scott’s more recent films, The Taking Of Pelham 123 (2009) and Unstoppable (2010). Latterly Scott had been producing for television as well as films.
For a director of such energy and success, Scott was a surprisingly soft-spoken man who retained his Geordie accent all his life. He indulged his love of fast cars, motorbikes and women, and his highly publicised affair with Sylvester Stallone’s ex-wife and the female lead of Beverly Hills Cop II, Brigitte Nielson, put paid to his own second marriage.
Reportedly a man who needed only three hours’ sleep a night, he awoke to three cups of black coffee and a large Monte Cristo – the first of 12 each day. He was a passionate mountaineer who claimed to be never happier than when “5,000ft up on a cliff face”. An art collector of catholic tastes, he acquired works by artists ranging from Robert Rauschenberg to Guido Reni.
The Scott brothers did not suffer from sibling rivalry; rather, they worked together over Shepperton, understood their respective strengths and rejoiced at each other’s success. “Ridley makes films for posterity,” Tony once observed. “My films are more rock ’n’ roll.”
Tony Scott, who apparently committed suicide by jumping from a bridge in Los Angeles, married three times and divorced twice. His second marriage was to the BBC producer Glynis Staunton. He is survived by his third wife, Donna, and their two children.
Tony Scott, born July 21 1944, died August 19 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

James Thurber / The Bear Who Let It Alone

The Bear Who Let It Alone
By James Thurber

In the woods of the Far West there once lived a brown bear who could take it or let it alone. He would go into a bar where they sold mead, a fermented drink made of honey, and he would have just two drinks. Then he would put some money on the bar and say, "See what the bears in the back room will have," and he would go home. But finally he took to drinking by himself most of the day.
   He would reel home at night, kick over the umbrella stand, knock down the bridge lamps, and ram his elbows through the windows. Then he would collapse on the floor and lie there until he went to sleep. His wife was greatly distressed and his children were very frightened.
   At length the bear saw the error of his ways and began to reform. In the end he became a famous teetotaler and a persistent temperance lecturer. He would tell everybody that came to his house about the awful effects of drink, and he would boast about how strong and well he had become since he gave up touching the stuff. To demonstrate this, he would stand on his head and on his hands and he would turn cartwheels in the house, kicking over the umbrella stand, knocking down the bridge lamps, and ramming his elbows through the windows.
   Then he would lie down on the floor, tired by his healthful exercise, and go to sleep. His wife was greatly distressed and his children were very frightened.

 Moral: You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.