Saturday, 15 September 2012

Topless Sunbathing? How Very Eighties...

So what's it to be, Prince Harry's testicles on the front page of The Sun or Princess Kate's blurry breasticulates in a foreign gossip rag? It's a question many of us have surely been asking over recent days. Well, my answer would be neither over breakfast, if you please. As a washed up housefrau, the decadence of it all appalls me. Just put your clothes on, kids, you'll catch a chill.
 "There's a couple of freshly laundered fleeces on top of the radiator and those t-shirts you wore yesterday have got another day left in them," would be my words to them, even before I start worrying about the poor royals' human rights.
But it does strike me these blue-blooded Monarchs-in-waiting are indulging in some terribly old-fashioned hobbies.
I didn't realise anybody played billiards anymore...and since when was it fashionable to do topless sunbathing? I tried it once, aged 19, in the South of France, of course. There's something about baguettes and berets and terraces littered with Pagnol novels that make even the meekest of students throw their TopShop crop top to the four winds. But it is so terribly eighties. Breasts are as milky white as the Elizabethans now, surely? It's all Lily Cole and that pale one from the Sugababes, isn't it?
Anyway, as for the moral outrage, well, Harry was asking for it. It may have been different if a dodgy paparazzo had flogged a picture of him having a crap in a hotel toilet, but he needs to choose his party mates better if he doesn't want to be photographed. Sending him to Afghanistan seems a little bit of a harsh punishment for this lack of judgement, but that's the Clarence House disciplinary for you.
As for Katie, well, of course she could reasonably expect privacy. Where does one draw the line - pictures of her flossing her immaculate teeth through the bathroom window? Shots of her squeezing her spots in her boudoir taken on hidden camera by a treacherous servant? Is it all in the public interest? However, the thought of her basking in the sunshine with her t*ts out, no doubt reading Flowers in the Attic or whatever while I graft my arse off and freak out over my bank balance daily does grate a little. (Ok, so it grates a lot, but I'm still coming out in support for her over all.)
Anyway, so the point is, they may be naff and rich and make me angrily jealous at their gilded lives, but they have to have a chance to let it all hang out (quite literally).
Clarence House regularly tries to keep the press at bay with its approved photocalls and interviews. Skiing, touring an orphanage, relaxing with family at Christmas, etc. In years to come, should we expect to see official shots of Harry in the shower or Kate and Wills in the bath? Perhaps they could do a "Hello" spread and make some additional dosh by having some Molten Brown product placement.
At least they're not politicos. At least they are young and attractive. Certainly, that's part of their problem. The Sun has dozens of shots of prime ministers picking their noses and chancellors eating beefburgers wearing clothes from Cotton Traders. All of them far too unpleasant to publish.

Monday, 10 September 2012

The End of It All

It was the defining moment of the summer for me. Tears were welling up in my mother's eyes as we stood for the German national anthem. 'How silly,' I thought as I looked over to her, 'what kind of idiot British person would cry during the German national anthem? Has she forgotten the war?'
But at the same moment I had this slightly xenopobic thought, I was urgently suppressing a tear from my own left eye. The sheer excitement and noise of the Olympic stadium, even during a relatively boring morning athletics session, had moved us to tears. It only took a few strains of the Deutschlandlied to send us over into "ridiculous weeping women" territory. I can't even remember which German had won a medal.
We soon pulled ourselves together and got on with some calmer admiration of Iraqi dwarves throwing javelins. But from that point forth, we knew we had finally cast off any remaining shreds of cynicism towards the "Summer Like No Other" or however the Olympic jamboree was branded.
And of course, it's over now. Already I am looking for the cracks reappearing in the transport networks, the rubbish accumulating on the gleaming streets of Hackney and Newham, a return to misery as usual. So many words have been written, so much over-excited puff consumed, an unsustainable suspension of all criticism must, at some point, end. We are not North Koreans after all.
What we must remember is that London is amazing city. It was before the games, and will be afterwards. Just because the papers aren't telling us what to celebrate every morning doesn't mean we won't find our own reasons for joy. We will just have to find them ourselves. Which is surely more fun.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Multi-Tasking Miller

So, the moneyed elites have returned from holidays to Tuscany and the squeezed middle are scraping the mud off their supermarket camping equipment. And just days into the new school term it is very much business as usual. There was no easing back in to the infuriating statements and pathetic posturing of Government. No hors d’oeuvres to the great stinking dirty political wash-bin that we will witness in the lead up to Christmas. The 24-hour news channels bristled with tanned cabinet ministers spouting off in the gardens around Westminster, bathed in bright autumn sunlight. It was all free schools and Gove and that hotly-anticipated reshuffle.

Yes, the re-shuffle. Who would have thought it – a woman with an annoying voice and moles on her face replaced after ten months by chubby-chops Patrick McLoughlin. Swiftly dispatched to the far flung corners of international development (where, you may remember Blair stuffed that trouble-maker Clare Short) where she will not upset whatever plans young Cammers has for Heathrow.
And then there was the bombshell. This blog’s favourite private-school gimp: Jeremy Hunt, shipped into health, I expect as a salesman for the “nasty” NHS reforms. The populace has generally bought the “all in this together” line on the economy. But the Government now needs a bell-bonging, Murdoch-snogging Charterhouse chap to put a happy face on the privatisation of our beloved NHS.
Maria Miller – who will replace Hunto – is expected to multi-task. As well as culture she will be minister for “women and equalities.” God forbid that women should have a dedicated minister of their own.
A lot has been said about the casting out of some high-profile women, such as Caroline Spelman and Baroness Warsi. The cabinet is now even less representative of the population than ever before. But I have the hunch that Cameron knows this won’t piss off the voters as much as it does The Guardian newspaper.