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the long face of celebrity: SJP and those horse pics

21 Nov

I got told to get over myself the other day.

It all started with a tweet. A tweet about a website this person had sent out as “the funniest thing (they’d) seen in a long time”. It was your usual web fare –  a mash up of Sarah Jessica Parker and various horses, a chance to expound her equine similarities.

My issue wasn’t that these mashups were, frankly, rubbish, but that I just found the whole thing, well, a little bit mean.

What if SJP was your sister, daughter, friend – would you still laugh? Maybe you’re having the same reaction as my fellow tweeter did – “Lighten up Milk, it’s just a bit of fun!”. But is it really okay?

Of course, the “Is she fair game simply because she’s in the public eye?” debate is nothing new, but is this kind of behaviour becoming even more normalised in a virtual world where it is easy to make and distribute this stuff and where anything goes as long as it’s funny? Does this easy, laissex-faire medium turn all of us Guardian-reading liberals into digital Bernard Mannings?

I’ve done it. I’ve giggled at the lesbians that look like Justin Bieber or Female celebrities that look like men, so I’m not sure why it took SJP to make me stop and reconsider.

Maybe I am taking it too seriously but I do wonder what it teaches our society about how we should treat people? That it’s okay to criticise, take the mickey, guffaw at another person if they’re in the public eye, and especially if the medium is an intangible, virtual one? That you can rip the piss out of someone, anyone as long as it’s typed on Facebook and not said out loud in the playground?

Thankfully I’m well into my 30s now, my heat-buying-days are over,  and I honestly don’t care whether Cheryl cole is suffering from premenstrual zits or Claudia Winkleman has forgotten to wax her tash (made up, don’t sue).  So shouldn’t us Tricenerians be setting the bar for the younger ones and reminding them that while it may be attractive comedy fodder, not everything goes?

I think i’ll stick to Cats that look like Hitler and Vegetables that look like penises. It’s what the Internet does best but without the laughing at someone’s expense.

Amy Winehouse and a foolish disregard for life

1 Aug

Image courtesy of whatculture.com

So we’re still waiting to hear what caused the death of the very troubled Amy Winehouse. Was it drugs, drink, a last ditch attempt to give them up? Somewhere in there I’m guessing was addiction, no doubt fuelled by low self esteem, maybe even depression. A tragic loss of life. But should we have sympathy for her? Or did she bring it all on herself, and so deserve none of our pity?

Quite a few people were quite scathing about her in the aftermath, some even cracking jokes as the news came in. “I don’t have any sympathy for her”, “Like, finally! Been waiting for this to happen for ages”, ” Should have gone to rehab!”, “She had money, why didn’t she just buy herself out of addiction?”.  I was quite taken aback actually. I’m always sad whenever a life is lost early, whether it’s through illness or something (arguably) of their own making – addiction, suicide etc  (Actually i don’t think addiction is anything of the sort, far from it actually). In any case it seems a lot of people don’t agree with me.

One of my friends was quite harsh, and initially it surprised me. But then I got it. She had survived cancer. Twice. She had fought so hard for her life, battled her way through harsh and sickening courses of treatment. Clung on to life, hoped for, cried for it at her lowest, and there was someone who seemingly, churlishly had just thrown it away.

I can understand that.

Like I can understand the pain and anger for someone suffering infertility of watching tens and hundreds of people around them terminating their own pregnancies. Or for someone with an hereditary liver disease watching another drink themselves into oblivion.

It must be so hard to watch something you have agonised over yourself, something elusive and yearned-for being mistreated by someone else.

I still think Amy Winehouse is deserving of our full sympathy, just as I feel for any addict, or mentally ill person who takes their life, or any victim of a lifestyle-related illness.  I also believe that life is sacred and should be cherished every moment of every day.  Life is full of these dichotomies, complications and hypocrisy. The best we can do is try not to judge others too harshly.

What can bring one person pain and heartache, can be the solution to another one’s dreams.

Tongue-tied

11 Mar

Isn’t it funny how some people tie you up in knots from the minute you go to open your mouth? Not because you’re embarrassed or nervous particularly, nor because you secretly fancy the pants off them. There’s no obvious explanation for it, except that words never flow freely when you try to engage.

There are those where the conversation is effortlessly fluid, seamless, easy. All the words come out in the right order; you sound confident, articulate and persuasive. Conversation bounces back and forth in perfect tandem, easily and playfully. You feel as if you’ve known them for a lifetime and you never have to explain yourself to get them to understand. In their precense you are Joan Collins – sassy, confident, sharp.

There are others where you always go to speak at the same time, and follow it up with awkward silence. Where the right words are never at hand, and you grapple around until having to make do with the vocabulary of a pre-schooler. Where you can’t make them understand however hard you try; you just feel and behave like a schmuck without them doing or saying anything.

Is this what they call “interpersonal dynamics”?

It amazes me that so much can be going on below the surface, and that it can impact even before you make any physical or verbal contact. Body language, gesture, eye contact, power struggle – facets of behaviour and comparative self-perception that are largely unconscious but can drive every single interaction we have with that person. And so out of our conscious control.

I find it unnerving and it frequently frustrates me. Why can’t I be Alexis Carrington all the time?

over-tweeting

18 Dec

image courteousy of SWNS.com

What is it about twitter that people say stuff they wouldn’t dare say in real life. Is it the spontaneity of it, the fast paced banter? Does it make you more impetuous, fire you up into something you’re usually not? Do we tweet before we’ve really thought it through? You’re probably thinking “she can talk” having come fresh from a post about loving a debate. But the point is i rarely say anything online i wouldn’t say in real life, given the right circumstances.

Chris Evans and Alan Sugar were at it a week or so ago. What started innocently enough soon got them all fired up, and soon they were throwing poisined darts across the ether. The most bizarre of couplings behaving in a way you’d never imagine them doing in “real life”. So out of character. (I say that, apparently Lord Sugar’s a resident twitter tirader).

Before that it was Denise van Outen and Natalie Cassady challenging eachother on their respective parental merits. I can’t imagine they’ve even met eachother in real life, and yet something happens and they unleash their inner Ginas through the tap tap tap of their keyboard.

Usually so consumed by their own egos, the importance of how other people perceive them, of bad press and shady journalists twisting their words, but when it comes to the little blue bird – celebrities go at it like a bunch of toddlers locked in a room with a yard of track but only one Thomas. Usually so screened off by their PR machines, they finally free themselves unbridled and uncensored. And we’re not talking about my favourite kind of healthy debate, we’re talking petty squabbling.

And then a few days ago, Liz Hurley announced her split from her husband on twitter, following a few weeks of flirtweeting with ego-maniac Shane Warne. Arrguably the most public sphere on the planet and people behave as if they are in room alone with the other person. It’s like some weird dichotomy. A medium so exposed, and yet regarded with false (and dangerous) intimacy.

It’s true that twitter and wine can be a fabulous partnering. Fabulous in a slightly unhinged kind of way. So were these celebrities suffering from some kind of inebriated over-tweeting? I’ve shied away from “twitter parties” for precisely this reason, not because i think it’s a crazy, sad-arse idea (though really i should and would have a year ago, but alas i’ve been spanked by the twitter bug), no, it’s because i’m worried i’d down a bottle of prosecco in my dressing gown while simultanesouly offending the wallflower in the corner with insensitive banter and flirting outrageously with someone I later find out usually goes under the username of chunky_cheese.

Perhaps these celebrities need to take a leaf out of my book, go to bed quick smart and sleep it off.

Naughty Milk

19 Oct

I was having a conversation with @seasparkle_x the other night discussing, with some shame, how Aiden from X-Factor was really quite cute. Obviously the subject of age came up. I’m 33, so i was hoping to find out he was somewhere in his early to mid 20s. That seemed reasonable. Just about.

In fact he’s 18. I’m a little shocked. Shocked i’d feel even slightly attracted to someone who could be my son. Admittedly i’d have to have started pretty early (15) but feasible still.

This has come a week after admitting, on Facebook (why do i do it?) to a secret crush on Zac Effron from High School Musical fame, except i felt the need to elaborate that i no longer fancied him because “he looks a bit old now”.

When i say fancy, i don’t mean in any kind of sexual way (i never think of anyone else besides Mr Milk in that way of course). It’s like i’m 18 again with a silly teenage crush. I’m looking at this boy and i’m fantasising about how i know i would have felt at 15. Lamenting my lost youth. So i’m more saddo than cradle snatcher really.

But it’s got me to thinking, are our preferences programmed to mature as we get older? Is the natural order of things for us to fancy pre-pubescent boys before we are ourselves “awakened”, lust after 20-somethings as young adults, secretly fancy a bit on the side with greying Malcolm from Accounts, and will we find Percy a bit of a Jack-the-Lad when he’s flirting with us from across the room in the nursing home? By considering a youngster even slightly attractive, am i deviating from the norm? Going against nature?

Looking around at my friends and their husbands, tastes have definitely changed as we’ve aged. Many of the men are now hirsute and dressing more and more like Mr McGregor, my physics teacher from high school. In fact, what i would have put down to really sad taste in clothes in my teens (corduroy, brown leather shoes) i’m looking at now in wonderment at the particular nuances of offbeat fashion. And i know from the total lack of street walking attention that i’m no longer a 20-something’s object of lust, though i would hope on occassion to still being my husband’s.

But deviation from the norm obviously does happen. Boy marries mother’s friend. 18-yr old girl falls in love with 50 yr-old man. It’s not common of course. But is that because our tastes usually conform, or because we’d be too embarrassed to admit to an irresponsible crush?

If it’s the latter, am i resigned to a life of hiding my amorousness from my son’s friends? Luckily, these moments of irresponsible fantasy are rare and shortlived, I’m really pretty certain i’ll never find spotty Darren from scout camp an absolute dish, and i do have to admit to finding maturing Mr Milk much more attractive than the drunken student one.

So i think i’m safe, for now. I just better watch out for those mid-life hormonal changes. I’ve heard they can do all sorts.

Paparazzo or pervert?

25 Sep

Photo courtesy of bruniroquai at flickr.com

If i was walking along the street and a random guy decided to lie down on the pavement and take a good look up my skirt what would my husband say? He’d just shrug his shoulders of course.

And what if i had no knickers on? (ok so i always wear knickers, but you know in a different world i might be having a kinky day). Well he’d just say “Oh well dear, if you’re gonna go out with a bit of loose change and no purse to keep it in you’re asking for it really”. Of course bloody not.

So why is it okay for lowlife photographers to thrust a camera up a “celebrity”‘s skirt to get, what i can only imagine they refer to as, the “money shot”?

Surely it’s assault? Or invasion of privacy? Or just down right morally wrong?

So who would blame Russell Brand for getting a bit agro when some seedy pap tried to get his lens in close proximity to his lady-wife-to-be’s dinglies? Well apparently its his actions and not those of the photographer that require the long arm of the law.

I just don’t get it.

I can’t even imagine opening up a magazine or newspaper and seeing my flower peeking out from amongst the leaves. And that’s putting it politely. Usually it’s a slightly hazy picture (enlarged 10 times of course) of a few folds of skin reminiscent of a shar pei’s neck. The title screams “Miss X goes out without knickers and shows a bit too much”. Well if you shoved a zoom lens in between my legs while i was getting out of a cab i’d probably show a bit too much of my ladybits too. With or without knickers (let’s face it they’re usually displaced / swallowed up from all that wobbling while on the move anyway).

Perverts masquerading as paps?

Burn the paparazzo pimps and all their filthy tabloid customers.

Smile please. No really, can you smile please.

5 Aug

In my early twenties when plastic surgery started to become more well known, i used to consider that i would probably never have it done, but it scared me that one day i would be the minority, and just how would i compete? Of course, i didn’t need it then. But now when there are certainly a few things i could improve, i still know that i would never do it.

It’s true i’ve always gone for a more natural look. I’ve never worn much make up. Never shown much cleavage. Or leg. A bit of midrift i think in my pre-child days when crop tops and baggy bottoms were all the rage. (oh yes, they were, once). I’ve never had my nails done, never used fake tan, and never dyed my hair.  So i’m probably not the most likely candidate for plastic surgery to be fair.

It’s not that i don’t like glamour. I’ve just always been a bit shy of glamming it up. To be honest, now i’m in my 30s, I think i probably should have played around a little bit more, had a bit more fun.  In fact i am having a kind of rebirth, and have found myself buying dresses, good god.

But i still stand by the fact that natural (with a bit of help) is best.

And i have never seen a single person who didn’t look anything but bloody ridiculous with botox. I just don’t get it. Surely it is character that elevates someone above pretty to attractive? Charisma that creates sex appeal? Yes you can look stunning but if you have no personality, what is the point? I spent much of the other night sitting with my jaw on the floor watching The Rachel Zoe project with morbid fascination.  Why hasn’t anyone told her she looks ridiculous? Oh yes,  because she employs them.

Why would anyone want to wipe all evidence of character from their faces? Blank canvas taken too literally. A steely gaze.

I don’t have much more time for other forms of plastic surgery either. Except where it’s done to correct a deformity, or make a difference to someone that is severely hampered by low self-confidence. I’m talking someone who’s been born with an unfortunately large nose, or a lady who has failed to develop at all in the chest region.  Or poor women with huge breasts whose backs are crumbling. I can even see the benefit in uplifting breasts that have fallen to belly button height from breastfeeding. And gastric bands. To me, these are worthy cases.

But messing about with a perfectly acceptable face because it isn’t quite perfect. Or 15 yr old jessica who only has a b-cup and “needs” to look like Jordan.

As i write this post Gordon Ramsay is all over the news with his new stick on dentures and airbrushed face. All set for the American market.

“But if it makes you feel better, who are you hurting?” I hear you cry. Well i’ll tell you who. The next generation of girls who need to know that confidence, strength, knowledge and passion are what will get them through this life, not fillers and veneers. At some point, we need to start setting the right example.

And today it is being reported that the government has refused to enforce the labelling of airbrushed pictures. The genuis being interviewed all over the news tonight is Marie O’Riordan, editor of Marie Claire.

And she says, to quote “Magazines present a view of perfectionism for people who want to be exported from their everyday lives”. No, love, your magazine isn’t celestial art, it doesn’t open a window to heaven  like Blake’s poetry or Michelangelo’s art. It’s a fashion magazine whose sole purpose is to present fashion and beauty for people to lust after, and it seems nowadays, false, unrealistic images for readers to compare themselves against in a fit of self-loathing.

I wrote a comment on another blog the other day describing my disbelief that health and beauty companies were allowed to advertise their products using false representations of their effects. Hair extensions to portray glossy hair after shampoo use, digitally enhanced eyelashes to represent the effects of the latest mascara. If the financial services market is so tightly regulated to ensure we are not enticed to invest money without proper information, surely it should not be open season to entice consumers through misleading them about a product’s effects?

Looking back to the fears i had in my 20s about plastic surgery taking over the world. Well, it certainly hasn’t yet. There does seem to be a little of a “them” and “us” thing going on.  A team of ladies who will never be swayed. Thank God. But it is becoming a lot more prevalent. And the perfection it strives for has certainly taken over the media world.

I just thank my lucky stars i no longer need to compete.

Kinky sex with the Terminator

17 Jul

The comments i had on my earlier post about flying dreams got me to thinking about other recurring dreams and whether other people share them.

My friend over at What will Julia do next? mentioned this one which fascinated me because i have it a lot. Discovering a part of my family home that i didn’t know existed. Usually an attic, or a big cupboard, full of my childhood things. Preserved. Untouched.

I’m also partial to a stabbing dream. (Freud eat your heart out). Usually i am being hotly pursued by a faceless, malicious entity with an unidentified grievance. When i was a little girl i used to play dead, quite effectively really, until the threat passed. Now i usually just keep running. If ever i do get caught i mostly don’t come to much harm. Usually when forced to face my fears, their legitimacy is seriously undermined by the realisation that it was just my granny after all. (or Desmond Tutu, or a.n.other least offensive person that happened to be in the news that day).

At least a few times a week i have “walking through treacle dreams” where i can’t walk or talk properly. Everything is alarmingly effortful as i try to put one foot in front of the other in painful slowmo. Often i am trying to drive a car. (Why you would try and drive a car when overcome with temporary quadraplegia i don’t know). I’m frantically trying to push down on the pedals or change gear, but my arms/legs are weighed down with lead. Passers by and fellow drivers are becoming more and more of an identified risk.

Most recently, i dream of being on my own. Alone in a big house or hotel, desparately trying to find friends or people i know. To make the dream even more cheery, there is usually a backstory that my husband has left me.

Let’s all have a party! Christ.

(btw my husband and i are very happy thank you very much).

My husband said to me that he thinks all dreams are manifestations of anxiety. Looking at my dream back catalogue i think i might have to agree with him.

So, are dreams our way of working through daily traumas, worries, fears through allegory? Is there a shared cerebral database of “self-help dream templates” that allow us to work things through in a safe and controlled way?

Or am i just a miserable, neurotic bint having miserable, neurotic dreams while you lot are dreaming of kinky sex with the Terminator?

5 things that this week made me go (points finger) **NT!

9 Jul

I know that some, more delicate-hearted readers might be shocked by the choice of this particular swear word, but sometimes, just sometimes, it is the only word that will do.

  • A blogger with an About Me page that read “About the enigma that is xxx”.  No mate, you are not “one of nature’s puzzling secrets”. You’re a 20-something boy with an inflated ego.
  • A mother who ranted for ages at her young daughter why she couldn’t have a Magnum icecream only to guzzle one herself moments later right in front of her daughter’s snivelling face.
  • A lazy-arsed man (well i can’t be sacked again for being fattist can i?) wheezing and sweating his way through an interview complaining (rather agressively) why it was bad for his health to stand outside a pub in the freezing winter when he wants a fag. My heart bleeds.
  • Being subjected yet again to the the world’s most smug song lyrics  “And you slipped through my fingers/No not literally but met-a-pho-ri-ca-lly”.  No, you don’t look clever for fitting metaphorically into a song line, you just look like a pompous arse (i’m purposefully not mentioning the artist by name because he is widely considered to be a God, and calling him a **NT might easily get me hate mail).
  • Carol friggin’ Malone.

Don’t they look old?

5 May

How did everyone suddenly become so old?

I went through my 20s bumping into old friends and thinking “Gosh, they don’t look any different”. And they’d say the same abut me. I felt pretty smug about it actually. 10 years had gone past and i hadn’t aged a bit. hurrah!

Now we’re well into our 30s and suddenly everyone does look different. Definitely older. A few wrinkles around the eyes. A few skin tags here and there, and definitely some grey hair. Just a bit more worn.

And the men all have beards. Sometimes i catch some of my bearded friends (male only, for now anyway) out of the corner of my eye, and i think to myself “This is what my maths/physics teacher looked like when i was at school”. And now these are my friends.

I always rate myself by age compared with people i meet. “Oh, she’s definitely at least 5 years older, look at the crows feet.” or “Ah yes, she’s been around a few more blocks then me”. You get the idea.

Problem is my self concept hasn’t changed for 10 years. So i’ll often look at people and just assume they’re older than me, when in reality they’re the same age, or worse, younger. And i know people do this about me too.

And what about celebrities? Suddenly all the faces i’ve grown up with are looking old. Christ, have you seen Ant and Dec recently? They’re looking positively middle aged.

And that’s not to mention all the ones that are currently dying. Patrick Swayze. Oh The Swayze. And I don’t even want to think abut Dennis Hopper. Only yesterday he was sat in that motorhome all brave and smouldering, stoical and proud in the face of the Walken. He was the cool guy. The sexy mature guy. Now he’s the old, dying guy.

Even Marti Mcflippin Fly is 50 this year…..

And it’s all happened so fast.

No gentle weathering.

Savaged, seemingly overnight. BAM! Just like that.

It’s no wonder i’ve been grieving time now is it? I keep losing it. Can anyone tell me where the bloody hell it’s gone?