Monthly Archives: December 2014

15 party tracks to welcome in 2015

2014 has been a wretched year: a lot of plane crashes, misery, violence and Mel B resurrecting her career, so I’m sure I’m not the only one glad to see the back of it. See it out in style with this playlist of danceable tunes, old and new. Follow the link to my playlist on Spotify below.

NYE

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My 5 Best Moments from Festive TV

1. Charlie Brooker describing Ed Miliband as having the “face of a rubber ear and the voice of an enchanted plimsoll” on his 2014 Wipe last night. Rarely has such a surreal description been so apt.

2. Miss Poogy. The hard as nails Miss Piggy impersonator from the Muppet movie. Every time he/she talked I cracked up. I’d forgotten how funny the Muppets are. Another highlight was poor Animal in therapy for his drum addiction, monotoning “in control”, with a collar round his neck. A good-natured and knowing film.

3. Double friendly, double Cockney Danny Dyer going double mental after Linda’s revelation on ‘Enders. He stormed down to the pub like the Hulk of West Ham and physically bundled his customers out then unceremoniously hurled the bust of Quen Vic at the back bar. That bust is more trouble than its worth, it’s been involved in at least one murder and now this. It always gets it when it kicks off. After that explosion, you’d think his customers would stay away that but as the Vic is the only pub in Walford, they were back again the next day.

4. Finally watching Atonement all the way through. It’s a beautiful, haunting film, still troubling me days later. And of course, Keira Knightley’s outfits are gorgeous. You also see Benedict being Badbatch for once.

5. Harry and Paul’s Story of the 2s. Hilarious rundown of the 50 year history of BBC Two. Worth a watch, available now on iPlayer.

The Best Dressed Woman of 2014: Blake Lively

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Researching the best outfits of the year, it became apparent that a disproportionate number of the contenders belonged to one woman: Blake Lively, so I had to give her style its own article. Some of her choices have caught my eye before, but this year she has really come into her own – clearly having fun with being her own stylist. She may come across full of herself but then you need to be to carry the clothes she wears. I want her wardrobe.

Above are some of her many fashion highlights. From left to right, top to bottom:

Embellished Giambasta Valli at Cannes, May. LOVE this dress.

Gucci leather dress at Gucci’s Chime for Change celebration, May

Gucci maternity dress at the Angel Ball, New York, October.

Gucci Première dress, Lorraine Schwartz jewellery at The Costume Institute Gala, New York, May

Gucci Première monochrome dress at Cannes

Chanel Couture dress, Lorraine Schwartz jewellery, Sophia Webster shoes at Cannes, May
Michael Kors dress, Lorraine Schwartz jewellery, Casadei shoes at The 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards, June
Wearing Michael Kors at the designer’s Fall 2014 show, February
Valentino coat, Christian Louboutin shoes on the streets of New York City, May. I am so crazy about this outfit.
Gucci coat, Christian Louboutin shoes at Gucci’s Chime for Change celebration, May
Lindsey Thornburg coat on the streets of New York, November
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The 10 Best Outfits of 2014

2014 has not been short of high glamour and eye-catching outfits. Here are my top picks of this year’s celebrity style.

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1. Lupita N’yongo stole the show at the Oscars in January. Amidst a sea of nude, red and black she stood out in pale blue fairytale Prada and Fred Leighton jewellery.

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2. Keira Knightley in Chanel Couture, at the premiere of The Imitation Game at The Toronto Film Festival in November. A demure yet charming confection of chiffon and tulle shows off Keira’s English rose style perfectly. Simply beautiful.

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3. Blake Lively: I’ve not seen anything she’s been in but she gives incomparable high-glamour, high-sexy red carpet. Here she is showing her fashion chops in Gucci Premiere at Cannes.

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4. Never one to disappoint sartorially, Rihanna modelled sugared-lilac tweed at the Fall 2014 Chanel show in March. All accessories also Chanel, save for the optional Cutler and Gross Cubist sunnies.

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5. Diane Kruger in Roland Mouret in June. I love this outfit – from the studded two piece to the colour-pop stilettos, she looks sharp, sexy and memorable.

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6. Kate Moss in her own design at her Topshop launch in April. This Seventies-style gold pin striped suit shows off Moss’s effortless chic at its best. That’s how to do a work look.

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7. Jennifer Aniston in Proenza Schouler Spring 2014 at the premiere for We’re The Millers in London, August. Jen looks pretty in this playful yet grown-up floral.

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8. Jennifer Lopez in Reem Acra at The American Music Awards in November. It’s revealing but then if you look as good as Jennifer does, why not?

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9. Beyoncé goes for old-school Hollywood glamour at the Grammys in January, wearing Michael Costello cream lace.

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10. Zooey Deschanel in her own design for Tommy Hilfiger, May. This dress perfectly captures Zooey’s retro, quirky vibe.

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Weekend TV Review: Strictly and Apprentice Finals

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Strictly wrapped up for another year, won in spectacular style by bookies’ favourite Caroline Flack, who is the first person ever to gain full marks on all three of her final dances. They were so good that just full marks didn’t seem enough. The show stopper, billed as a contemporary rumba, was more like modern ballet than ballroom, with some truly original lifts and heartfelt expression. It was probably the best bit of dancing I’ve ever seen on Strictly. Simon and Frankie were good but they couldn’t compete. It was amazing to watch someone I’d previously known only for being a slightly annoying B-list TV presenter blossom into this incredible dancer: sexy, intense, with the best leg shaping out there. The final itself was bursting with warmth and glitter: Darcey looked spectacular, like every little girls’ fantasy outfit manifested into real life. Bruno made his entrance from a cloud of dry ice, of course, possibly the campest entrance ever. It was fun and entertaining, but took about four hours to play out, it could have done without all the padding and been about two hours shorter. But that is the nature of the beast.

Last night, Lord Sugar hired slippery antipodean anti-hero Mark Wright as his Apprentice. To be honest neither final candidate blew me away with their business idea: Bianca Miler’s was original but she priced herself out of contention by expecting people to part with £24 for a pair of tights. Mark’s idea was boring: digital marketing. I would have thought The Apprentice would have turned up better ideas than it has done over the years. I think the best candidate was Felipe, but Lord Sugar’s own ego prevented him seeing that. I guess Sugar wants an Apprentice to obey rather than outshine him.

TV Review: The Fall Finale

I broke my darkness embargo for one night only to watch the finale of The Fall last night and it did not disappoint. The feature length episode starts with Specter in custody for the abduction of Rose Stagg. Specter has no truck with the trussed-up brunette lackey Stella sends in initially and demands to be interviewed by the big dog herself. Cue the face to face meeting of the two outrageously sexy stars: dilated pupil to steady ice-blue iris. Specter talks of his god complex, his lonely childhood (“Aren’t all children lonely?”), how he lives more intensely than Stella could imagine through murdering. It’s an unsettling but mesmerising exchange in which Stella gains Spectre’s confession but not before he has accused her of incestuous feelings towards her father and labelled her a “barroom spinster”. Dornan’s performace in this scene is great: repulsive yet fascinating, turning his handsome face into one that makes you shudder.

In a subsequent scene, Stella is scrawling notes while drinking a whisky, dressed in her trademark silk, this time a robe. The camera pans out to reveal a sleeping Anderson, the fit detective, in her bed and I could not help but wryly smile at the high octane, silk-clad seductress snaring another one.

The denouement involved Spectre finally leading the police to Rose Stagg, who is miraculously still alive after being locked in the boot of her car for god knows how long. The series reaches a shocking conclusion as Specter is shot by the murderously disgruntled husband of the woman Specter persuaded to find shelter away from his violence. I didn’t see that coming. The series ends with Stella holding Specter while he is dying from a gunshot wound to the belly. It’s left like a cliff hanger that they could continue, but I think they should leave it there, leaving the viewer to assume he’s got his karmic desserts.

I enjoyed the acting and plotting but I especially loved Stella’s character: cool, hard, determined. Every shred of emotion in her was composed and when she did show it, it was with a poise and force that knocked those around her down rather than compromising her dignity and professionalism.

 

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Dog scarf

Kate Bosworth’s husband keeps their pooch from getting his paws wet during rain in LA in this adorable photo. The dog looks pretty happy to be used as a scarf, but like even he’s tired of being papped. Also, can you legitimately wear sunglasses in the rain? I don’t know.

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Sienna Miller gets new haircut, Daily Mail has voyeur-gasm

Sienna Miller has been prancing about New York with a new haircut, much to the Daily Mail’s breathless excitement. I’ve never been a fan of hers but have to say she looks the best she’s ever looked, the choppy bob really suits her. I like the sunglasses and lipstick combo in the first pic.

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James Nesbitt’s furrowed brow deserves its own Bafta

Last night’s TV was all about seething turmoil. First there was the conclusion of The Missing on BBC One at 9pm, in which we discovered the tragic fate of Oliver Hughes. Then there was Charlie Brooker’s White Christmas, part of his Black Mirror series, which again featured the untimely demise of a little one. Because nothing says Christmas like a small, duffel coat-clad figure lying in the snow.

There was no resolution in The Missing. Although, we did find out what happened to Oliver from the dying owner of the guest house that the family had been staying at when he disappeared. The owner, supposedly on the wagon, saw Ollie’s dropped scarf as an opportunity to get drunk without his wife’s knowledge. Meanwhile, Oliver was tempted away from his father’s hand by a fox and ran with excruciating timing out into the road down which the drunkard’s car was careering home. Being unwilling to admit to the crime, the owner calls his law enforcement brother who then calls in Romanian thugs to deal with Oliver. He wasn’t dead from being hit by the car, as the drunkard believed, but it seems he was after the Romanian guy went in. However, the brother rudely tops himself before police can get him to talk about it or offer where he was buried. There is a moment, at his ex-wife’s wedding, when you think that Tony has finally gained some modicum of peace and closure, but later that night he is back ringing Julian, the tiniest uncertainty enough to fire his debiliatating hope. The series ends in a place as bleak and chilling as itself – a Russian suburban estate with a haggard Tony banging on the door to a flat and telling a bemused Russian boy that he is his son. The boy looks like he could be Oliver, but since the police who pick him up mention Tony has been harassing boys in other Russian towns, we must assume the boy is not really him. So we leave Tony, destined to walk the globe looking for a son he is never going to find. It wasn’t a satisfying ending, but it was never going to be.

It has been a well acted piece of drama that’s kept us watching for two months. Special mention going to Tcheky Karyo as Julian Baptiste, who brought a warmth and believability to his retired, sympatheic detective and, of course, James Nesbitt and most especially his outraged, disbelieving brow which has put in a striking manifesto both for its own Bafta and against the use of botox. I’ve not been aware of “forehead acting” before but I am now. I apologise if these remarks sound flippant given the weight of the subject matter, but thankfully, none of it was real.

At the same time on Channel 4, Brooker unleashed his dystopian Christmas special, starring Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall sharing Christmas dinner in a mysterious isolated cottage. By drip feed over the hour and a half we eventually learn what is going on, which has to do with “cookies” – digital mini-mes of people – and “blocking”. Brooker does what he always does, which is use the glowing light-box in our living room to point out what might have gone a bit astray in our think-boxes. He takes modern technology and trends then sees them down a rabbit hole to terrifying extreme conclsuions. Black Mirror may be just the other side of what is feasibly possible in technology, but it feels like it could happen and that’s what makes it so disturbing. It was an engrossing yet unsettling watch, a cautionary tale – about what exactly, I don’t know. Our reliance on and unquestioning acceptance of technology perhaps. All I know is I’m troubled by the idea of a sentient bit of data being forced to listen to Noddy Holder’s festive oeuvre on repeat for aeons.

Some of it might not all that believable but it made for appallingly engrossing viewing. Brooker gives a hapless pick up artist a nasty end when his pseudo-philosophical ramblings to get into a girl’s knickers backfire spectacularly. Dark and then some.

And with that I feel a bit dark-ed out. This, coming from me! ’ll always go for tragedy over comedy but even I am feeling the need for something more wholesome. It’s hard, nigh on impossible I would say, to make punchy, engrossing and memorable drama without it being dark yet I’m yearning for some TV that isn’t relentlessly bleak and also doesn’t feature the existential nightmare that is Noel Edmonds – not even the whisper of a mullet hair. Is that too much to ask? Maybe I’ll just read a book. Next on my list is a collection of stories from a Russian author, the Russians are light-hearted aren’t they? Aren’t they??