Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Spitting in the eye of the beholder

Don't hate us because we're beautiful.

Hate you because you're beautiful? Are you kidding? It's your only saving grace! We hate you because you're simpering, dunderheaded, simplistic, patronising, trivial, superficial, irritating, offensive, overpaid, insipid, braindead, iniquitous, spoiled, halfwitted, meaningless and just plain stupid. We can think of about 762 reasons to hate you, and being beautiful doesn't make the list.

(OK, if we're honest it might sneak in at 761.)

I scrub up all right, possess a certain sleight of hand, can 'pass' as they say... Friends routinely remark upon the attention that I draw in public...

...I was deputy chief leader writer of the Times at the time.

My life is brilliant.

In straight men the reaction can be still more unnerving (and here I have gone beyond buttock-clenching and find myself nail biting and tugging my hair).
Declarations of love at first sight have been the least unpalatable

My love is pure.

Based on my looks, the assumption tends to be that I am ethereal, unworldly, a receptacle for romantic fantasy; or flighty, provocative, somewhere where lust might be parked

I saw an angel.

or flighty, provocative, somewhere where lust might be parked. Beauty, the scant portion I can claim of it, has proved double-edged to say the least.

Of that I'm sure.

'I know I am attractive, and, yes, when I walk down the street people do look at me. I'm tall, muscular and black

You're beautiful.

'I never feel I look good and in a way it's a good thing. The constant insecurity keeps you grounded.'

You're beautiful.

'People who haven't seen me for 10 years are always really surprised in a "Wow, is that really you?" type way.'

You're beautiful, it's true.

If I go to a bar I am never chatted up, where an average-looking friend would be. Men steer clear. I'd think: "Bloody hell. What's wrong with me?" If you are attractive, men are put off.'

I saw your face in a crowded place,

I'm always supposed to have batted my eyelashes, wrapped someone around my little finger, had my way with them. My looks may help me through the door, but they're a liability once I get in there.

And I don't know what to do,

As an actress of 21, loathing the superficiality of her career and the men attracted by it, Pilar Santelices, 28, opted to become a pre-novice nun,

'Cause I'll never be with you.

No really, we don't hate you because you are beautiful. We hate you because you insult us once a month with consumerist trash. We hate you because you serve us a fucked-up facsimile of womanhood and expect us to fill our faces with it. We hate you because you run features with all the insight, wit and verve of THAT fucking song by that creepy half-pint of whinging, wailing subway-stalking, Cockney rhyming slang-monikered twunt.


The facelift king of America

Oh well, here's a surprise. Just in case you've been left feeling a little less than beautiful by the rest of this month's OWM, the solution is at hand. Just $25,000 for each lift; a further $10,000 to lift the eyes, and $10,000 more to lift the brow. It doesn't say how much to hack off your breasts.

Dr Sherrell Aston tells Polly Vernon the secret of a good face-lift and why, if pushed, he'd happily take the knife to his own daughters

Will give a new meaning to the phrase 'they get their good looks from their father.'

He is certainly rich enough to pursue sexily flamboyant lifestyle choices. He exists in a flurry of hand-tailored Brioni suits and Hermès ties. He has been called the Imelda Marcos of the tie world; he owns loads: 'Seventy-five per cent of which are red, not for any special reason'. His shirts are custom-made, as are his shoes. He drives a Porsche

Whoo! Cracking score on our Polly Bingo cards.

His credentials are astounding. 'He does beautiful face-lifts,' says Wendy Lewis, the leading independent plastic-surgery consultant,

You're beautifu... oh don't start that again.

"I'm greeted at Aston's offices by Bernadette McGoldrick, director of operations for this private clinic; an affable, sweet fortysomething redhead, a card-carrying Aston's Angel.

She apologises effusively for his lateness, and gets me a Diet Coke. I snoop round his suite of rooms, which are ornate, mahogany, Baccarat-crystal and rich-rug strewn, the antithesis of the cold, sterile environments one expects from doctors' surgeries. There are tasteful antiques and objets, many of which, Bernadette explains, are gifts from grateful clients. On the walls are endless snaps of Dr and Mrs Aston and celebrity pals - with Prince Charles (in a kilt) at Buckingham Palace, with the Carters, with the Clintons..."

Oh Polly, stop it you're killing us.

"Then Aston arrives. He's dressed in full double-breasted Brioni splendour, a look which enhances the mannered, Rhett Butler-ish dash. I am instantly charmed - just as his detractors and fans alike promised I would be. He's short, he's wiry, he's got a lot of hair, and a smooth face, but doesn't give away much either."

My love is beautiful, my love is pure, I saw an angel, of that I'm... AAAAAAaaaaaargh

Would I 'have an Aston' when the time came? Would I let him slice into the flesh on my face, peel my skin back like a Halloween mask, rootle about with tissue beneath it, repositioning and readjusting it? All because I can't face the fact of ageing? Would I? I actually don't know. I'll get back to you.

You know the answer, we know the answer, who exactly are you trying to kid?

the quiet life of Kerry Katona

We like Kerry Katona lots here at OWMMS. If you disagree - if you think she's some kind of bad role model, if you think she's just a vapid celebrity and some kind of wart on the face of civilisation, then you're just wrong, OK? We care about Kerry. We cry for her in hard times. We vote for her in the jungle. We might even buy her novel.

(OK, that last one was an downright lie, but you get the picture.)

Anyway silly old me because it turns out Kerry Katona is huge out there in red-top country where the real people live

Oh excuse us while we nip out in our tracksuits to Iceland for a bottle of White Lightning, 20 Berkeleys and a copy of the Sun. We wouldn't want to clutter the view for the beautiful people.

Monday, 10 September 2007

They've got the hacks and jodhpurs. We've got the riding crops.

Jodhpurs and jackets

Odd to think that stretchy horse pants are about to re-enter the heady atmosphere of high fashion, but - viewed as part of the broad move towards sporty, high-tech kit - they do make a kind of sense.

Now we hate to break it to you, but there was a box intended for Country Life, and due to an administrative error it got sent to OWM by mistake. (If it's any consolation, there are a couple of hundred inbreds currently Tally-Hoeing across Buckinghamshire wearing Gaultier bondage pants.) Jodhpurs are hideous.

We know it, you know it. Even MC Hammer couldn't pull it off - and his weren't even beige. We have got no taste whatsoever but we do we know jodhpurs are a mistake. That's bad.

4. A Great Big Cocoon Coat

So what if you do end up looking like a balloon poodle? This is fashion, you dimwits.

We could hardly have put it better ourselves. Well said, Mimi. And I guess if you're going to have a name like a poodle, you might as well look like one as well.

Julie Burchill: What I know about men.

I must say I do find the idea of a piece called What I Know About Men rather risibly offensive. I doubt if anyone would have the gall to run a weekly column called What I Know About Blacks/Whites/Asians. When I read the moaning minnie sob-sisters writing that 'All men cheat/lie/smell', you've got to wonder at the sheer bad luck of these broads to consistently hook up with such stinkers.

Hee hee. That's what happens when you get a real writer to offer an opinion. It won't be happening again.

The rules for the Autumn

Out: cleavage We prefer our cotton shirts buttoned up high. A little styling tiplet for you. It's hard. It's androg. We approve.

Like Hell we do. Step Away From The Breasts, OWM, or we might get nasty.

Is this the most powerful woman in fashion?

She's the 'ordinary' woman who's credited with saving our Great British high-street institution. Kate Bostock, ex-grammar-school girl, 50-year-old mother, and the power behind the M&S revival, tells Geraldine Bedell her trade secrets

...but Geraldine ignores those and embarks on self-centred rant about guess what? Clothes, body image and age.

The incredible shrinking model

As New York fashion week kicks off the latest catwalk shows, the guidelines on model weight are debated more furiously than ever. Emily Nussbaum goes Bkstage and begins to suspect the skinny issue might be more loaded than we

And next month in Observer Woman, Emily goes backstage at the eating disorders clinic at Royal Maudsley Hospital. The hospitality isn't as good, the freebies aren't as good, the parties are bloody awful, but at least her readers will get the other side of the story and hey, she's less likely to bump into Nirpal.

She's worth $100m, runs a $400m hedge fund, has two sets of twins and four nannies ...

We're so bored we jus

A Comedy of Errors

The scene: The OWM office, Herbal Hill, London. Summer 2007.

Nicola: Girls, girls, pop your tushes round my desk, poppets, we need to get the September issue planned - I'm meeting Liz for lunch in 35. Eva, are you back with the espressos darling? Ah yes, there you are. Where's Polly?

Polly: Here I am, Nicky.

N: Oh sorry poppet, I couldn't see you for the coatstand. Good job there aren't any coats on it or we'd have lost you forever. Kathryn? Where's Kathryn?

Eva: I last saw her under my desk, testing something called a 'Dinger'

N: Oh not again. Oh well, let's get started. I hate to tell you this girls, but the chaps on the top floor have been going on and on about values and journalistic standards and all that boring stuff again. Suggested we should do something a little more, ya know, intellectual. Something in keeping with traditions of the Observer or some such guff.

E: But we did the Ethical Special they wanted back in the Spring! You remember, the one where we nominated Simon Cowell as an ethical pin-up?

Kathryn: [from under the desk] Hhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmm.

N: I know, darling, I know. But apparently they want more. So I was thinking, why don't we do something on those funny women, you know, the fat, ugly ones. oh, what are they called? F-F-F-something....

E: French and Saunders?

N: No, no, no. Furries? Fannies? Femidoms? FEMINISTS, that's it.

[everyone stares]

E: You can not be serious.

N: Oh I am darling, it would be a hoot. We could get Greg to take some photos of them burning the new Janet Reger collection.

K: Ooooooooouuuuuuuuuuhhh

P: But I met a feminist once, ghastly girl - wore a sapphire blue Cavalli blouse with green eye shadow!

N: I know darling, I know....

E: And Nicky love, they're just so frightfully boring - always going on about equal this and fair that.

N: Ah, but listen, I haven't told you the best part. First of all, we can't have any old ugly people in the magazine, so they'll all have to be about 25, 26 tops, size 12 max and... now this is the brilliant bit - we give them a makeover!

P: Oh yes darling, I love it! We'll get the clothes from D&G and the slap from Liz Arden and...


N: Well sorry poppets, but I ran THAT idea past Hadley at the Guardian - she once made tea for the Guardian Girls' page ya know. Anyway, she knows the sort and it turns out they wouldn't stand for it. Says it will offend their principles or something - heaven knows what that's all about. So instead, we're going to re-brand them. we'll call them the 'New Feminists!'

[rousing music]

Girls, this is our moment! I have a dream. We are going to change the world for women! We will make feminists fashionable again! We will make feminists sexy! When they see the boys falling at their feet these girls will THANK us. Girls - We must reach for the stars - we are going to get the feminists shopping!

P: Hurrah!

E: Hurrah!

K: GGgggrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

E: Now, Nicky love, that's marvellous, but... err, we're not actually going to let them say anything are we?

N: SAY anything? Oh darling don't be ridiculous! Who knows what nonsense they might come out with! No no, we'll put them on a grid - just like we do with the make-up reviews - and give them about ten words at a time, they can't do much harm that way. Half a dozen questions - Lapdancing clubs - IN or OUT? Men - IN or OUT? That kind of thing.

P: We'll still need one of those big long featurey things though. What's that going to be about?

N: Got it covered, poppet. Nirpal just emailed me some links to some of his chums - just the most gorge boys you could imagine - proper rough, they write really hot blogs about how they treat us girls like dirt, find us disgusting, fuck our brains out then kick us out in the morning....

K: OH YaaaAAAAA BABY!!!!!!!!

E: Hmmm yummay!

P: Oh Nicola darling, have I ever told you, you are brilliant?

K: OOOOOOOOooooh damn, it's no use, I've lost it again. I think it only works when it's on a tongue. Anyone have a spare tongue?

E: Kathryn darling, just use your Rabbit and shut the fuck up.

N: Oh look, it's 11.15 already. Lunchtime, poppets. See you all tomorrow.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

The Return of The Lorax

The rules for autumn 2007

In: Thneeds
Most unlikely fashion item of the season? The Thneed.

Way back in the days when the grass was still green
And the pond was still wet and the clouds were still clean
A very great man with a big thinker-upper
Thunked up yours truly, not long after supper.
I wasn't there until that famous day
When he gave me a name, and then something to say.

Pay me attention - hear well if you please
For I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.
I speak for survival and good common sense
But what I've just heard has been making me tense.
Listen up now, meditate on it later
I bring you sad news of my noble creator.

The Doctor, so clever, so good, wise and brave
Has sent me to say that he spins in his grave
He once wrote a book with a message to fear
So simple and wise it was perfectly clear.
It told of the creatures, the rivers, the breeze,
And the heartbreaking tale of the Truffula Trees.

The Truffula Trees were the loveliest things
The finest example of what nature brings
They brightened the day of quite all who beheld 'em
'Til ignorant imbeciles turned up and felled 'em
Spurred on by money and urged on by greed
They hacked down the Truffula just to make Thneed.

A Thneed was quite useless to man and to beast
But that didn't stop 'em, no, not in the least.
One after one, the trees fell to the axe
So greedy designers made cash to the max.
The Truffulas slaughtered and turned into Thneeds
A silly invention that nobody needs.

I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.
I speak for the birds and I speak for the bees
I bring you a message from someone you trust
My brilliant creator is sick with disgust
At a vile magazine called Oh Doubleyoo Em
Famous for making its readers spit phlegm

He thought up the Thneed as a valuable lesson
He really did mean it he wasn't just messin'.
The Thneed he imagined with anger and passion
Is now up for sale in the temples of fashion.
Could it be true that the marketing folk
Would market a Thneed as post-modern joke?

High on his cloud up in genius heaven
The Doctor is shedding a tear now - or seven
In deepest depression, the great Dr Seuss
Has tears on his cheeks and his head in a noose.
In one final gesture of deepest despair
He buckles his knees...
...And he steps off his chair.

I am the Lorax, now listen - you must
All that I stand for has crumbled to dust.
To those who advise what to wear for the Autumn
To those who have made 'em and those who have bought 'em
Think on this story. Remember it well.
Think on it hard as you're burning in Hell.

(We would offer the usual apologies to Dr Seuss, but under the circumstances, it's probably not us who should be apologising.)

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Probing the G-Spit

OWM writer goes shopping shock:

"These days, shopping for an erotic dvd and a pair of fluffy handcuffs is just like browsing at Dolce and Gabbana, says Mimi Spencer"

It's called porn you plummy-gobbed twazzock.

We spoke to D & G and they said next time can you mention them 5 times instead of 3, oh and that they hope you like the dress.

Opinion is divided about this feature round at OWMMS. One side of the sofa says it is pretentious, voyeuristic, immature and annoying. The other side of the room says it's pretentious, voyeuristic, immature and annoyingly well-written. Mimi - move on. You can do better. You don't need to write the 952nd article this year about women's new-found sexual confidence.

Buy porn and sex toys - yep, we've all been there. Corsets and lingerie? Who hasn't. Extracting a finger from the backside of a handsome gentleman lying prone in a basement in Piccadilly? Hell, that's a quiet Saturday night.

Kathryn Flett

"Well it hasn't happened to me-but if thats what the G-spot really stands for then I'd be delighted if someone enterprising decided to help me locate it. Ideally in this lifetime"

Kathryn, meet Mimi. Mimi, meet Kathryn.

Seriously, shall we have a whipround to send dear KF to Amora, and find a volunteer to guide her to the interactive G-Spot locater?

And to Mr Anonymous -we feel for you. You must have been *so* bored.

Giles Deacon - How I Get Dressed

"There are probably about six different people I amalgamate into one muse."





EVERYBODY'S... rushing to get seats on EOS - it's the glam way to fly to NY

Cost of one EOS flight to New York? $6,499. Number of passengers on one EOS Boeing 757? 59. Number of passengers on any other 757? 200. Number of pages devoted to ethical consumerism in the April edition of OWM? 68. Catching out OWM in their rampant, selfish, elitist hypocrisy? Priceless.

Look, even we can remember what we said in April. And we've been drunk the entire time. Just how dim are you people?

My big fat gay wedding.

Ooooh, this could be interesting...

Oh. It's an article about a frock.

(no link at the moment - maybe Ariel saw the company she was keeping...)

Gwen Stefani interview

Ooooh, this could be interesting...

Oh. It's an article about lots of frocks.

"I'm like every other woman. I'm super-vain. I have issues"

No Gwen, you're not. However you have captured the entire spirit of OWM in two short sentences. For months we have been asking who the hell OWM is aimed at - and now we know. Gwen Stefani IS Observer Woman. We've had to strike her from the future fluffer shortlist.

dolly is devastated.

Got nothing to read? Don't cry. We've got all the words you need...

Just filling our beer tanks, sorry for the delay still recovering from our pre holiday waxing (and we got home on monday)

won't be long

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Look into our eyes. We still hate you.

Don't think you can throw us off the scent by hiding your tawdry magazine inside a fake cover. And is it just us, or does Katharine Hamnett have a look in her eyes that says: 'if you even think about using my photo in this car advert I'm going to rip out your liver with a spoon and feed it to my cats.'

We know it's common but we love it anyway

3. Woobs. Like Moobs - man boobs - but on women. They're everywhere!

Look, we know most of your friends have either starved themselves to the shape of a chopstick or else had their breasts hacked off, but moobs on a woman are called 'boobs.' They used to be quite fashionable. Now stop talking wollocks.

5. Ice cream vans The chimes thrill us, decades after we should have outgrown the whole scene. This season, we're particularly enjoying laughing cruelly at the youngsters who hang back from the Mr Whippee-inspired frenzy, crying: 'I'm not allowed! I'm dairy intolerant!'

Oh yes, it's hilarious. The only thing more fun is popping by the children's ward and tying knots in the tubes hanging out of the life support machines. If you time it right they turn the perfect shade of blue to match the new Dolce & Gabbana Allyson handbag. What a giggle.

EVERYBODY'S... logging onto

OK, we know the OWM team are desperate but... .

Irvine Welsh: What I know about women

"When we did Wedding Belles we didn't want to do all that Bridget
Jones shit, about shopping and finding the right man, because very few women are actually obsessed with any of that. Few women are that one-dimensional"

You've never read Observer Woman, have you Irvine?

Hilary Duff: What I know about men

"I'm not, like, a crazy feminist. I think women definitely need men. Like, I couldn't imagine having a girlfriend!"

That's, like, more like it. Like, pay attention Irvine Welsh.

When Polly Met Björk

Here at Spitting Mad HQ, we have a little game we like to play whenever we see that Polly Vernon has been sent to interview someone, we like to call it Polly Bingo. The first round is 'kiss and make-up' and the rules are simple: Count how many words it takes from the beginning before Polly mentions the application of make-up or cosmetics.

"Björk ambles around the chintzy suite of a west London hotel, smearing moisturiser into her face in an inexpert manner..."

Woohoo! Ladies and gentlemen we have a new record - only 11 words wasted. Polly is on form today.

Round 2. Designer name drop. Count how many words it takes before Polly shoehorns in the name of a fashion designer.

"Björk ambles around the chintzy suite of a west London hotel, smearing moisturiser into her face in an inexpert manner. She paws at her cheeks and her forehead, she rubs her upper eyelids aggressively, she drags at her skin. She's wearing a long, embroidered kaftan over metallic-silver leggings, a look she's accessorised with a long necklace, which seems to be made of discarded Barbie-doll limbs. A pair of cracked-silver Vivienne Westwood dolly shoes lie a little to one side"

Ding ding ding! We make that 72 words. Slightly disappointing after such early promise but still comfortably within the first paragraph. Good work.

Round 3. See how far Polly gets into the interview before she starts complaining about how difficult this interviewing malarkey is.

And then there's her logic. For example, she'll say, on the subject of her creative process: 'Music for me is like fact. Like algebra.' And she'll expect you to understand what she means.

But we're not getting on very well. We're having a bit of a row. She's objecting to one of my questions - which I thought was mild enough. I asked her at what point in her career she first felt famous; and she's reacted badly. Really badly.

'What a question!' she says. She laughs, angrily. She looks at me. No one speaks.

That's from the fifth paragraph. Polly babe, you're on fire.

Then: 'That's a bit Hello! magazine, isn't it?'

Hahaha. No Björk , that's a bit Observer Woman magazine. It's not just Irvine Welsh who hasn't read it before is it?

Now, she says: 'I think in Hollywood, if you don't wear black Armani, you get executed immediately. But mostly er, I'm surprised it's still a big deal. I'm surprised journalists are still talking about it.'

We don't have much imagination, I explain. Björk laughs.

We like Björk .

I ask Björk about fashion. She's got strong associations with the industry; Alexander McQueen made her a frock for one of her videos, she's often championed the more challenging designs of people like Rei Kawakubo and Sophia Kokosolaki. Does she love fashion?

'Not really. I don't really like it.'

We like Björk a lot.

"I ask her some more searching questions; and she responds well. Björk's been with Matthew Barney for six years; before that, she'd had a series of relationships, some of which were high-profile."

Erm... some more searching questions? Like 'so, are you going out with anyone at the moment?' Polly, Polly, Polly. Just give it up and talk about shopping like you usually do.

"Björk likes me in the end. We talk about shopping"

Lisa Hilton on cheating

"Nothing kills passion like propinquity"

"My lover and I probably spent more time discussing our work, our friends and our ambitions because we were never mired in the quotidian"

"A certain latitude has always been permitted to men, but sexual appetence in women is regarded with deep suspicion"

Blimey. Did someone get a thesaurus for her birthday?

Well our appetence for spitting bile needs more lubrication. We shall disentangle ourselves from the quotidian until we find ourselves in the propinquity of some more booze.

We haven't even got started on
Paul McKenna yet...