Friday, 16 November 2012

Hooray for Hollywood !

There are some exhibitions that you would kick yourself if you didn't go and see. The biggest must see draw in London right now, has to be Hollywood Costume at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Not since Mario Testino's ground-breaking 'Portraits' show at the National Portrait Gallery, have I seen genuine excitement on this level, from such a diverse audience.

Having had to queue (I know - first at Designing James Bond, now here - I hope this isn't a trend !!) I wasn't going to lose my place in the time allocated entry system. Face to face with a sullen faced, joyless cashier, I handed over my £14.00, which I thought was a tad pricey. Looking at my mini-guide, I wasn't surprised to see that the lead sponsor of Hollywood Costume is Harry Winston Jewellery !! Suddenly my £14.00 seemed like a snip !

So about that queue, yes it was unexpected and a little annoying, ( I am way, way too impatient at the best of times) but read on and you'll see why it was worth every moment of the inconvenience. Before I go on with my review however, I haveto warn you Hollywood Costume is yet another one of those exhibitions which prohibits photography. The exhibition is split into three sections.

THE TRAILER Was a cheeky, teasing short movie, that gently hinted at the gems that lay further inside. I actually gasped when I saw Scarlett O'Hara's green 'curtain' dress, beside it Beyonce's dress from Dream Girls, so skin tight, I finally understood why she went on that crazy lemon and maple syrup diet! Other gems included Charlie Chaplin's tramp outfit complete with bowler hat, costumes from the Last Emperor and Joan Crawford's diner outfit from Mildred Pierce.

Costume storyboards, were complimented by final outfits from Oceans 11, Brokeback Mountain, Fight Club, Adams Family Fun. Look out for Indiana Jones iconic adventurer outfit, broken down piece by piece, detailing its use and origin.

Queen Elizabeth I and II was represented beautifully - starting with the contemporary Queen as played by Helen Mirren, clad in Barbour jacket and plaid skirt opposite Queen Elizabeth I in the various costume guises worn by Bette Davis, Cate Blanchett and Dame Judi Dench.

THE MOVIE - Featured hologram costume designers, like the legendary Edith Head (All About Eve, To Catch A Thief, Roman Holiday, Vertigo, The Birds among so many others!!) talking about her work against a backdrop of the stills from the movie and mood boards. Beside The Birds, the ultimate storybook, complete with virtual page turning, tells the story of the Gangs of New York, the characters and their clothes, as if in conversation with its costume designer Sandy Powell.

My favourite, was my seat at the table of Sweeney Todd. Projected onto the table, a blood stained chopping board, complete with a rolling pin and dripping pie. The other 'guests' at my gory table, were director Tim Burton talking about his vision of the movie with its costume designer Colleen Atwood. Pitched against the blood of Sweeney was the brutal bravery of Gladiator Russell Crowe and in complete camp contrast, the original 1936 cape of Ming the Merciless from the original Flash Gordon.

THE MOVIE FINALE - The exhibition curators truly saved the best for last, occupying a legend filled room, starring a cast of superstar costumes from the likes of My Fair Lady, Breakfast At Tiffany's, Titanic, Funny Girl, Atonement (Kiera Knightley's iconic green silk evening gown - stunning!!!!!), Chicago, Basic Instinct, 101 Dalmatians, Pirates of the Caribbean, Blade Runner, Philadelphia Story, Hello Dolly, Kill Bill, My Man Godfrey, Braveheart, Terminator, The Matrix, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Twilight, Black Swan, Independence Day, Frankenstein, Legally Blonde, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and Borat.

Dotted around the room, overhead, on a platform, crouched on a wall and peeking over Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland - Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Catwoman. a poignant note with the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy's original dress, blouse (a replacement for the destroyed original) and her ruby slippers (viewed with the dress as a replacement), but beside Marilyn's Monroe's dress from the Seven Year Itch are a set of ruby slippers actually worn by Judy Garland in the movie.

Just like the dress, the shoes surprised me with their size - tiny. I have to admit to getting a lump in my throat, at the thought that Judy never did find happiness at the end of her rainbow.

But standing here with so many other visitors, all of us congregating together, straining to catch a glimpse of the dress, each one with our own memories of the movie, I hoped that Judy wherever she was, was somehow aware of the legacy she left behind.

Hooray for Hollywood and the V&A for putting together a jaw-dropping multi-Oscar winning ultimate Hollywood Costume exhibition - Loved it !!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

One Tweet Too Far !

Just like drunk texting, Twitter seems to be the place of choice for aggrieved ex's to go and vent their frustrations about their former partners. The added sting in their rantings, is that it is all conducted in a very public arena.

Worst of all, if the rants are memorable flashes of virtual craziness, before you can blink, someone will hit the RT button and set off a viewing chain, that you can never shutdown.

One of the most notable examples of Twitter ex rant overload, came recently from UK Z-list celebrity Chantelle Houghton.

The riveting transcript of her Twitter rant is in the bold text below - accompanied by my sarky comments in brackets !!

"Ok had enough, I'm putting the record straight. I've been in a bad place for weeks now but reason for that is this:I found text messages on Alex's.. (her ex-boyfriend) when Dolly (baby daughter of Alex and Chantelle) was 6 weeks old, it was to a man and he was arranging to meet up with him as Roxanne (Alex's name for himself, when he cross dresses - which is a bit of a novelty considering he's a musclebound cage fighter!)...for sex.

It wasn't the first time either. So I'm in hell right now but who wouldn't be. And Katie Price...(Alex's ex-wife, who Chantelle thinks he's still in love with!) was right cos now Alex wants half of my money and Dolly's money too, that we put in a trust fund for her from first OK magazine shoot.  

And for the record I've been asking Alex to send me a schedule of when he'd like to see Dolly but he won't commit. He can come and see her whenever he wants to. Oh and yes when I was 8 months pregnant Alex turned my house into a sex dungeon...

(I've heard of home improvements, but methinks Alex may have taken things a tad too far!!)

...and I slept on my flat floor for days because I couldn't come home.  

Now I know what Katie Price went through and she got the blame back then! I will walk to the end of the earth for my daughter and he will not be getting my money nor will he get Dolly's money.   And NO I didn't know Alex cross-dressed regularly cos he told me it was a publicity stunt, I found out when I was pregnant. Not forgetting the hookers he was texting that he'd had orgies with.

(By the time reached this part of Chantelle's rant, I started to wonder when Alex found the time to fit in all this crazy stuff?  Is he one of the very few men out there who can multi-task ??)

Forgive me if I look like bad right now but I am feeling it right now. Whole world was ripped apart in an instant.And I've texted the guy who he was arranging to meet and told him what I think of him too. Sick of him dragging me into this. It's wrong !! "

Yes that's Chantelle's rant exactly as she wrote it, which is pretty scary and so tackily inappropriate that it was clear that poor Chantelle has absolutely no concept of just when to put the keyboard down, and move on !

Today when G RTd me a string of tweets from her not so bright, 'player' current love interest who was 'crushing' on someone else, I have to admit I felt a little sorry for her.  After all here's a guy who's saying one thing to her and then doing a 360 Twitter mambo with someone else. All online  for the world and G to see, so what's the answer?

Instead of a virtual rant, which once online remains like a shining flagpost of the crazy emotions you may have been experiencing at the time - simply take your crazy offline !

There's nothing more bad arse then standing tall and telling an ex exactly what you think of them, when it's all over.  Why hide behind your keyboard !

Not enough people are honest enough to say what on their minds and then just move on... that my friends is what you call CLOSURE.. in real time and in real life  ! :0)

Here I Go Again!

Honest (soundtrack)
Honest (soundtrack) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well I'm back. Having hit the wall three shorts weeks ago, I am now in week two of my new permanent job. Yay BB!!

I'm still a little shell-shocked if I'm honest, but ready to keep my head down and work hard.

Regaining that sense of permanence about work, after missing  it for such a long time in my life, is a real relief.

I'm beyond grateful for the opportunity and mindful that I can't slip back in my workaholic default, where work comes first and I let my personal life go to to wall.

After all if if I haven't learnt anything about the emptiness of being defined by your work; then the last 14 months might as well have not have happened at all.

My big lesson - was that your family and your health have to come first, above work, material gains and that smug satisfaction that sometimes overtakes  you when you're on a roll and stupidly believe your own hype; that whispers nothing will ever touch you.

I'm not that person anymore and am slowly working on that work life balance, I've always been so rubbish at. My 'new leaf' balance started when my nephew took me out for a meal and then a movie - Skyfall - I loved it,  he thought was just ok, on a 'school night'- I know, how crazy am I :0)
For once in my life, instead of texting to say that I was stuck at work, I left on right on the dot. Dinner before the movie gave us the chance to catch up early. Being newly engaged definitely suits him.  He replayed the proposal moment by moment, complete with a ring on his Blackberry - and, well it was soo sweet !

I admire his optimism and total belief in the dream (well for me anyway up to this point !) that love really can conquer all !