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Showing posts from June, 2018

Melvyn Bragg on Love Island, Gemma Collins' book and the bath puff fascinator

So reader - the question to chew over as you peruse this reporter's latest scrawl is, in 2018, is Britain still a country of cumbersome, yet endearing, oddballs, or have we simply declined into thoughtless stupidity? Let's see...

Melvyn Bragg appears to think the latter. The broadcaster and Labour peer, in an interview for the Radio Times, said Britain is becoming a stupid country (you see) except for 'certain highlights'. He blamed much of this decline on the country's university system, which he said, despite being the best in the world, was being slowly and carelessly destroyed.

Mr Bragg also referenced Britain's television output, saying he saw some hope in the work of actors Hugh Grant and Benedict Cumberbatch in 'A Very English Scandal' and 'Patrick Melrose' respectively, but he feared 'Love Island' was a dismal sign of the times - but curiously, did not rule out watching it.

He said: "The popularity of series like Love Island…

Multi-bagging, the Trump tube strike and female football commentators

Crashes in, flings something large and unwieldy into the corner of the room and flops down into her desk chair.

Reader - this reporter is having a mare. She has had to drag that thing - points, inexplicably, (deliriously) towards the ceiling - up stairs and down stairs, on and off the tube, and if she had a pound for every person who shouted "Watch it Grandma" she would now be as rich as one of Nigel Farage's hedge fund mates.

But we must dwell no longer on this reporter's self-inflicted dramas. We are here today to talk about "multi-bagging". Now this reporter firmly suggests you do not let your mind wander over what this could actually be - it is neither good for mind, body - nor soul.

She feels it expedient to bust down the wall of confusion tout suite and explain "multi-bagging" is the act of carrying around more than one bag. Yes, it really is that simple. And it's become a fashion thing thanks to pop star Rhianna who was 'caught'…

Shell suits, coleslaw and "Where's Boris?"

It comes to something when coleslaw is provoking heated discussion but that is indeed the case in what appears to be the greatest school dinner-related uprising of public contention since Jamie Oliver outlawed turkey twizzlers.

It all began when £24,000-a-year private girls' school St Paul's announced they were holding an austerity day which would see jacket potatoes served up for lunch. So far so 'tone deaf' responded critics of the move which was seen to be far removed from actually helping alleviate other children from economic difficulty.

But when it was revealed that the jacket potatoes were to be accompanied not only by baked beans but also a serving of coleslaw, the mood on Twitter became apoplectic. The mayonnaise-laced dish of shredded cabbage and carrot was deemed an absolute luxury for any school canteen on any given day and begged the question what the pupils of St Paul's were usually dining on? (Poached peacock).

Continuing on with an 'eateries'…

The 1930s People's March for Paul McCartney

It's Monday and welcome to another week where we are set to be boiled alive by Thursday, with temperatures out to rival Spain. ("Coming over here with your EU weather...") Whilst the mood is distinctly 1930s.

This reporter would like to quote from the Financial Times, which says: "The 1930s keep pressing their relevance. Mr Trump's efforts  - and those of European populists - to defeat integration borrow many of the tactics of that notorious decade. The 1930s playbook involved segregating minorities for crimes they did not commit.

"Mr Trump says the same about Hispanics. On Tuesday, he said the Democrats would allow illegal immigrants to 'infest our country'. By Thursday, he was accusing them of creating 'a massive child smuggling network' and of sponsoring an 'extreme open border policy. Data shows that areas of concentrated immigration in the US have lower crime rates than the average."

On the other side of the cultural divide, po…

Moon milk, a neutral Meghan Markle and Melania's jacket

A cup of moon milk my compadre? It's what they're all drinking over on instagram. And this story is spiced with a little more sensation than perhaps you heretofore realised, as it has quite radicalised the "trendies" approach to all things diary.

Being lactose intolerant was previously a badge of honor. Simply looking at a cow at 50 paces brings you out in hives? - You're in. But now the lustful status of food allergies has well and truly been questioned with the introduction of this moon milk. (There's not even a vegan option - this milk comes from the real-life, for-to-mentioned, moo cows).

Moon milk, to give it its proper introduction, is a warm drink derived from Ayuverdic traditions and typically made from a mixture of honey, cinnamon and (whispers) milk. The drink, and this reporter quotes, is used in the ancient holistic practice of Ayuverda as a remedy for sleep deprivation and is usually consumed before bed. (We're all with this so far aren't…

Bottling it, cashmere and purchase of the week - the co-ord.

This reporter wonders if anyone else is finding summer dressing increasingly problematic? She declares she feels very much like a hyperactive puppy chasing its own tail when it comes to assessing the various potential weather conditions of the day and trying to dress accordingly. Only to find she has sufficiently clothed herself for a day which occurred earlier in the week and today's clothes will indeed be more appropriate for the weather conditions a fortnight on Thursday.

In her despair, this reporter has turned to the sartorial self-help bible which is Vogue, which is declaring the co-ord our fashion saviour this summer. Now, this reporter would immediately like to reassure her readers she has not spelled 'cord' as in corduroy wrong (now that would be a seasonally inappropriate fashion blunder). No co-ord (and she apologises if she is preaching to the already initiated) is short for co-ordinated - a co-ordinated outfit akin to a suit but slightly less formal in fabric …

Stormy Daniels' truth elixir, peace on a precipice and the Prada shearling lined sandals

Cough, cough, splutter, splutter. You must excuse this reporter. She's just been down to her local perfume counter to check out Stormy Daniels' brand new fragrance Truth.

You see, this reporter was curious to see what it was all about and, after being squirted from top to toe in the stuff, it's fair to say she got a little bit more than she bargained for. In fact, this reporter is pretty sure Donald Trump gave a similar excuse in regards to his own encounter with the porn star.

To remind you, lest you have forgot, Ms Daniels is the one suing the American President after he denied "having relations" with her in 2006 shortly after his youngest son was born. Ms Daniels, in good old entrepreneurial spirit, has decided to fight Trump's denials not only through the proper legal channels but, so it appears, through the perfumery shelves.

What most intrigues this reporter about the fragrance is whether it will indeed cause the wearer to speak the truth, the whole tru…

Netflix glances, America's first ladies united and the Burberry graffiti skirt

"Am I pointing it the right way?" will be the constant refrain at film studios now Netflix has introduced a 'five second rule' on set to stamp out sexual harassment post-#MeToo.

In complete contravention of this new rule, let's take a closer look...

Netflix, the streaming devise, has introduced a whole raft of anti-harassment measures in wake of the #MeToo social media uprising against the likes of film producer Harvey Weinstein. These include not looking at anyone for longer than five seconds, no lingering hugs, no flirting and no asking for a colleagues phone number. Also any 'unwanted' behaviour should be reported immediately.

An on-set runner, speaking to the media, said: "It has sparked jokes with people looking at each other and counting to five, then diverting their eyes."

There is of course the worry about how actors will ever 'get it together' and thus fill our gossip pages. But this reporter is first and foremost concerned abou…

Christopher Chope, Jezfest and the Rosamosario Peter Pan dressing gown

Cue Rocky theme music - duff, duff duff duff, duff duff duff, duff duff durrrrr...

In the red corner we have Christopher Chope MP, decked out in velvet smoking jacket, puffing nonchalantly on a Hamlet cigar. In the blue corner we have This Reporter, resplendent in a Rosamosario Peter Pan, feather-trimmed, crystal-embellished, silk dressing gown - in manner of an (albeit rather fancy) boxer entering the ring, you understand. Because this reporter can tell you dear reader, she is fuming and bruising for a fight - as they say.

She will tell you for why.

It all began back in the Houses of Parliament on Friday when it came to the passing of a bill to make upskirting - the voyeuristic act of putting a camera up a person's skirt and taking a photograph of their knicker gusset -  a specific crime.

An offender would receive two years in prison as the result of a hard fought battle by the bold and brilliant Gina Martin, who decided to campaign for a change in the law after police refused to…

Bolt's dibs on Buckingham Palace, Trump's torn document slaves and the Chopard watch

Usain Bolt, unequivocally the man with the world's fastest feet, may have proved himself a little slower on the uptake this week when, during an interview, he expressed his desire to purchase Buckingham Palace.

Mr Bolt, who holds the world records for the 100metres, 200metres, and the 4x100metres relay, was being interviewed for The Evening Standard when he was posed the question, which property would he most like to purchase in London? And instead of a nice swish glass-fronted apartment overlooking the Thames River or a three-storey town house with original Georgian features in Chelsea, he plumped for the Queen's house.

Now quite possibly this reporter is taking Mr Bolt's answer a little too seriously. Indeed the Jamaican born runner may be fully aware of the manifold obstructions which stand in the way of him buying the property which has been in the royal families hands since time infinitum, or such early date as this reporter can't quite be bothered to look up in a…

Germaine Greer on "naked" Beyonce, Ruby Tandoh on food snobbery and the Khaite wool bodysuit

Please hold caller.

Excuse this reporter one moment. She's just got to take this call. You see, she's set herself up a little sideline - 'This Reporter's Fashion Helpline", an emergency hotline for all your sartorial problems, big and small.

Yes, sorry. How may this reporter help you?
Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh. Yes. I understand. Yes. The daisy square neck wool bodysuit by Khaite. Yes absolutely, guaranteed. Not a problem. Call again soon.

Apologies for that. Just took a call from "In a Flap" from Blackburn. She's been struck down by the fashion trend for tucking in everything, including the chunkiest of knitwear, into the waistband of her jeans and its left her feeling as though she is about to pop.

This reporter told her she sympathises. We never used to have this trouble in this reporter's day. Indeed, we'd do anything to avoid being tucked in, including detention and lines after school. Now for the youth of today it's a case of get tucke…

Tonsils, cacti and purchase of the week - the beach bag

"Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do like to be beside the sea..."

Do you remember the good old-fashioned cool box? The big chunky plastic container with the extractable white handle, which came with two blue ice blocks you had to put in the freezer overnight before any planned picnic or trip to the beach?

This reporter finds herself yearning for the return of one of these retro contraptions as she is bombarded with the news that a designated beach bag is considered de rigueur for any trip to the seaside now.

What's the panic, I hear you exclaim? Just find your old tote bag or canvas carrier and chuck all your belongings in, letting them mix shamelessly with the sand of last year's trip. No my amigos that simply won't do. The fashion world decrees we must splash the cash on a bag specifically purposed for these days out - the words beach and bag are no misnomer.

Vogue, as always, has a list of bags to take pride of place on your beach lounger. This rep…

Chris Packham's 'ecological apocalypse', Christmas toys and the Calvin Klein sleeves

"Two sleeves for a pound, two sleeves for a pound."

Oh hello there. Welcome to this reporter's market stall. I've come up with a genius idea. You see, I've spotted these Calvin Klein sleeves online. Yes that's right. The mega designer is flogging off what essentially are woolly jumper sleeves - devoid of any kind of woolly jumper attachment - for the eye-watering price of £360.

The idea is you can pair them with any kind of top - a shirt, a blazer, a t-shirt - to add a warm and snugly extra layer. This reporter is concerned that for that price though people are going to want at least the semblance of a sweater attached.

The entrepreneurial light bulb struck when she stumbled across a whole heap of old woollies discarded on the ground. She's snipped the arms off and now she's selling them here, "two sleeves for a pound", so us ordinary folk can grab an armful of this latest fashion fare.

The other excellent news is the top children's toys…

Boris 4 Trump 4ever, the Posh and Becks split and Elie Saab's palm print kaftan

Pssst. Pssst. I'm over here. No not there, that's a hat stand. Over here. This reporter's dressed up as a pot plant. Yes. Here I am. A stroke of genius wouldn't you say? This is the palm print kaftan by Elie Saab - perfect attire for flying under the radar.

You see, I want to find out what is going on behind that door. Put one on and you can join me. You will. Ah yes, you look marvellous, very pot-planty. Are you ready?

Now, before we enter, just remember one key thing. Stealth.

Media outlets have been rife with the news that popular culture's original super couple, Victoria and David Beckham have split up. Posh and Becks - arguably the trailblazers of the "modern power couple" who made it evident back in the 90's that there was no finer way to achieve real super stardom than the amalgamation of two famous types together in a 'loving, committed' marriage (a brand of extended-Andy Warholism since taken up by the likes of Beyonce and J-Zay, Kim …

Cocktail rings, the sexist book prize and feel good children's literature

"Thundercats are on the move, Thundercats are loose..."

Hello and welcome to the past where suit-clad dinosaurs roam the earth, sexism reigns supreme and women are castigated for stating the bleedin' obvious. There is a silver lining, of sorts. We get to wear cocktail rings again.

So first to the good news, and as this reporter was saying, cocktail rings are making a comeback, big time. The fashion pack has declared an end to minimalist jewellery and instead the mantra is very much "go big or go home".

The rings, which usually feature a colourful gem like an emerald, have been given a mighty great boost in popularity again since the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, wore Princess Diana's Aquamarine cocktail ring to her evening wedding celebrations.

Try the Ophelia cocktail ring, available from Aspinal, for size. But whatever your choice, do ensure the gem is sufficiently gargantuan that its light shines as brightly as the ruby in the Thundercats' sword.…

Why glasses wearers are more intelligent, Missing Melania and the Crayola make-up range

"E, F, P, T, squiggly bit, butterfly, moon man, fairy cake..."

Ah, this reporter almost didn't see you there (wink, wink). Come on in. She's just here at the opticians having her eyes tested. And (lean in a little closer please so she can whisper in your ear) she's pretending she can't see very well so she can get a pair of glasses. She'll explain.

A study conducted by the University of Edinburgh has found intelligent people are likely to wear glasses and so this reporter figures you would be a fool not to go out and get yourself a pair. The new study, published in the journal 'Nature Communications', has found that needing to wear glasses is genuinely associated with higher levels of intelligence and not just a pop culture motif.

The University bods analysed the cognitive and genetic data of over 300,000 people aged between 16 and 102 in the largest ever study of its kind, to conclude that people who were more intelligent - those with a higher co…

The dying art of saying thank-you, Percy Pigs and the Saint Laurent canvas shoulder bag

Oh thank goodness you've turned up. Take hold of this door would you. This reporter has been holding it open for people for ages. In the name of research you understand. She's been keeping a tally chart of how many people say thank-you and her reporter's notepad is looking depressingly bare.

You see, this has all arisen out of a study carried out into how often people from a variety of countries say the words "thank-you" and whilst, as you would expect, Britain, the nation of almost embarrassing deference, has come out top, the actual percentage of times we all thank someone in any given situation is surprisingly, and rather uncomfortably, low.

This reporter is possibly under a misconception that in days of yore we would have said thank-you far more. Maybe even the occasional please.

The study, analysing the interactions between local people speaking a total of eight languages across five continents, found Brits still only say "thank-you" on one out of …

The Jilly Cooper interview, a ground-breaking cure for cancer and the Rock n' Rose hair scarf

"Fame I'm gonna live forever..."

Good afternoon and welcome back to a special, roadshow edition of Fame, the celebrity spotlight televisual programme presented by none other than yours truly, This Reporter.

Here we are squirreled away in a delightful cattle shed somewhere deep in the British countryside waiting for this afternoon's guest to arrive. She is a journalist and prolific best-selling author. With novels including "Rider", "Jump" and "Mount" she is undeniably the queen of the "posh bonkbuster". Here to talk about modern men, starting out and Germaine Greer's latest contentious comments on rape, ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for Jilly Cooper OBE.

Press play on the ghetto blaster Gary.

"Keep rollin', rollin', rollin. Though the streams are swollen. Keep them dogies rollin', rawhide..."

This Reporter: Jilly Cooper. Welcome. Pull up a hay bale.

Jilly Cooper: Why thank-you. (…

The Kim/Trump meeting, crime fighter Cumberbatch and the Nike Fanny Pack Slides

This reporter declares she takes her eye off the news for a mere week and the world has gone stark raving, round-the-twist bonkers (or certainly a few shades further up the bonkers scale it was already quite jollily ascending).

With reality TV stars attempting to run the show globally and the actual real-life Sherlock Holmes crime fighting on London's streets, we have as good as fallen down the rabbit hole and landed head first in Willy Wonka's loony juice. However, seeing as we're all here, let's dive all the way to the bottom and take a closer look.

Our first story quite frankly reaches the absolute pinnacle of current societal mood, which favours bolshy fame seekers of negligible talent over the quietly naturally gifted.

We have already seen how well that goes with current President of the United States Donald Trump. But undeterred we now have entering stage left, reality TV star Kim Kardashian who appears to be channelling actress Angelina Jolie in her attempt to  …