Archive for the ‘Men’ Category

Seven Days of Positive – Day 117

In Actors, FIlms, Hot Men, Men on February 9, 2015 at 12:14 am


I did something absolutely brilliant today, but I can’t tell you about it yet, as it’s for an article to appear on, a website I contribute to. As soon as it’s up I’ll post the link (with added highlights).

In other news, I continued the mother/daughter film festival with Peggy. She chose Walking On Sunshine, which I wasn’t very excited to see – but boy did I have a nice surprise.

His name is Guilio Berruti.


I think he’s the most gorgeous man who has ever lived. Seriously, the most beautiful ever. He’s just perfect. That body, that face – and blue eyes?

He also has a very appealing on screen presence, not in any way lessened by him spending most of the film in swimwear. See here.

Mother and daughter fell in immediate love. It was hilarious. Every time he came on screen we clutched each other and squealed, probably entirely inappropriately, but it was great fun.

Here are some more pictures of him.


Here he is in some kind of doublet and hose feature.

imagesL9Q1EUEWAnd here, dead casual like, in jeans and a parka, getting a coffee, no doubt, like the Italian dude he is.


Working a pair of shades.


Looking adorable in a duffel coat.

images2Signor Darcy in a cravat arrangement.

nakedStruth! He’s naked!

Screen-Shot-2014-06-02-at-10_57_45And again. These shots were taken for for an Italian safe sex campaign (not a homoerotic calendar).

He was the big attraction of the film, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. There’s no denying it’s an unapologetic Mamma Mia copy, right down to the summer loving beach setting, but instead of the heinous music of ABBA (I looooooooooooooathe ABBA), it’s based around fabulous 1980s pop hits.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. If I Could Turn Back Time. Holiday. Wild Boys. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. And the one and only Eternal Flame.

Every track that came on Peggy yelled ‘Oh, I love this song!’ and I had to stop myself saying some dopey old person thing like, ‘Ah, yes I remember this playing in every shop and bar in the East Village in 1983…this was my soundtrack to the summer of 1982…I danced to this with George Michael, when I interviewed him in 1984…

I thought I showed great restraint, but I held back because I wanted watching the film to be an experience for us to share in the here and now, not make it all about my memories of the olden days. I’m glad I did. I quietly enjoyed remembering those times, without having to bore her with it.

If you just want a couple of hours of completely undemanding, pure sugar entertainment – with a white hot lust object – this will hit the spot.

(As you will see in this clip, he even has alluring armpit hair.)

The first rule of Blog Club…

In Blogging, Men on June 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm


The First Rule of Blog Club: You do not talk about blogging.

Well, I wish it was. It drives me mad the way so many blogs seem to start ‘I meant to blog about this weeks ago…’ or ‘I feel really bad I haven’t posted for ages…’

I really don’t give a shiny shite. If you’ve got something interesting to tell me, get on with it. Never apologise, never explain.

The Second Rule of Blog Club: I’m about to break my own rule.

I sometimes angst that this blog isn’t ‘about something’. Starting from one of the earliest blogs ever to break out – Julie and Julia – having an angle has seemed to be the essential characteristic of a successful blog.

For a lot of them it seems to be nothing more taxing than Look How Fabulous I Am! I’ve got these shoes! I made this cake! Look! A flower!


If it’s done with conviction and at least a modicum of style, I find those me, me and – did I mention? – me blogs very entertaining and get a lot of good info from them.

The best take a lot of serious hard work by the authors. (And the bad ones can give you an evening of screaming laughs with your best gal pal… Why do they always stand with their bloody toes turned in? ‘ickle ickle me…’ SLAP.)


So I keep beating myself up for not having a theme. I jump about from style, to food, to hairdryers, cats, clutter clearing and random pictures of hot men with their shirts off.

I keep trying to come up with a brilliant concept for a theme, but whenever I have an idea I immediately feel trapped by it. I don’t like being tied down to one area. In my thirty plus years as a journalist, I’ve never been able to stick to one thing either.

I’ve been back and forth between food and fashion the whole time, with segues into travel, popular music (that was fun in the early 1980s, let me tell you…) and political op eds.

And my favourite kind of piece to write has always been reportage. 24 hours at City Gym in Sydney (inspired the character of James in my novel Mad About the Boy). Going to Las Vegas with Manpower (hilaaaaaaaaaaaaarious). Following Elle McPherson on a promotional undies tour of Australia (interesting). Going to Dublin with the rugby world cup winning Wallabies in (zooee, mama…)

So I’ve decided the Unique Selling Point of my blog is going to be not having one. It’s just stuff. What I would talk to you about if we met up by the water cooler in an office.

Which is the obvious cue for this picture:


PS I didn’t need a justification for the picture at the top of this blog, did I? And while we’re at it, plenty to enjoy in this clip too…

The light fantastic

In Actors, FIlms, Men, Uncategorized, Writing on February 2, 2014 at 7:07 pm


I heart Matthew McConaughey. Not for his abs and his chest, but for his acting.

In fact I didn’t get the point of him when he was in all those dopey rom coms and had felt sorry for him right at the start when he was posted on the cover of Vanity Fair as the second coming, as it seemed an impossible introduction to live up to.

And after a few years of meh movies it seemed like the inevitable had come to pass and that he was fading away into another sad Hollywood used-to-be as he got too old to pull off the romantic lead.

Then I saw Magic Mike and fell in love with him as an actor.


I absolutely adored that film – for many reasons, many of them unprintable – but it was McConaughey’s clear pleasure at not being the prime beefsteak in that film which was such a joy to watch. He got to play the old guy, the not entirely likeable one and he did it brillllllllliantly.

I deeply lust after Tatum Channing, but it’s McConaughey’s character I quote from that film.

‘That’s what I’m talking about…’ has gone into my lexicon.

So it was thrilling to see him then segue into a run of really interesting roles where he can flex his thespian muscles rather than his biceps. GQ mag has labelled his come back into proper parts the ‘McConissance’. I can’t wait to see Dallas Buyers Club.


And nowI have another reason to love him. There’s a really good profile of him in the colour mag of the London Telegraph. I normally find interviews with actors total snore-a-thons but this one is full of fascinating stuff – and there was one bit in particular which made me drum my feet on the floor with delight.

They were discussing the first part of his career, when he was really only hired as the eye candy. The male va va va voom. Does he have a problem that he wasn’t taken ‘seriously’ as an actor? No, sir.

This is what he said:

“I said, ‘Hey, do my good looks help me along? Absolutely. Does the fact that my body is considered good and we’re gonna have me up there in a shirtless scene help it along? Sure.’ I didn’t ever go, ‘No, no, no.’ I was like, ‘Yeah! I get that. That’s fun. What’s the big deal?'”

Then we get to the bit I really love…

“If you go deep with the romcom you sink the ship. There’s a buoyancy to the frequency of romcoms. To be light [my italics] is critically always looked down upon – it’s willowy, it’s wispy, it’s nothing. You know what? It’s f***ing not easy to do and a lot of people don’t do it well. A lot of the work in those things is to stay buoyant. To say, ‘Hey, get offa my cloud, man! I’m dancing between the raindrops!”

This speaks exactly to how I feel when people tell me that the books write are ‘chick lit’ ‘fluff’, or ‘dressed up Mills and Boon’, all of which has been said to me by total strangers (usually at drinks parties, when they’ve asked me what I do…) .

I try not to let it bother me, but it does. I have no aspirations to write ‘important’, ‘serious’, or ‘literary’ works. I want to entertain, to distract – to make other people feel the way my favourite books make me feel.

So thank you Matthew McConaughey. I’m not writing ‘fluff’, I’m dancing between the raindrops.


Mary Berry meets Hugh Jackman

In Actors, Men on February 4, 2013 at 10:37 am

Mary and Hugh

One of the things I like best about blogging is the comments. Just like on Twitter, I love chatting to people I haven’t met yet – it’s like being at a global cocktail party – and I really love the great TIPS you give me.

In the past 24 hours Caroline has told me that if you blast your eyelash curlers with a hairdryer before using them, you get a much better curl which lasts longer. In a similar vein, Tracey warned me off having my eyelashes permed, because hers had a ‘weird scrunched’ look after.

Then Lisa told me about this…  Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood on Graham Norton’s New Year’s Eve show last year with HUGH JACKMAN. Shall I shout that again? HUGH  JACKMAN and Billy Crystal and John Bishop.

This can only be filed in the drawer marked TV Heaven. Look at her in the picture above with her hand on his knee… I didn’t think I could adore her more, but I do now. Here’s the clip.

And then because he is just utter heaven, here is a whole lot more of Hugh on the show. He’s funy too. Oh my LORD.

Sound and vision

In Designers, Fashion magazines, Men on February 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

Sorry about the technical glitch. I put a post up and then took it down again.

I’m editing my new novel at the moment, a process best described as re-eating your own vomit. I constantly tell myself how lucky I am to make a living writing books – it’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was six-years old – but the editing part of it is hard. I have to practically nail myself to my seat to get it done. The temptation to go out and buy paperclips, re-sort my receipts, or do the ironing can be overwhelming. Oh look, the light switches need polishing.

As Flaubert said, sometimes I ‘spend a whole morning putting a comma in – and a whole afternoon taking it out again…’ It’s always fantastically satisfying when it’s done and you know the book is exponentially improved by it, but still… eurgggh.

So this one’s not so much about the words as the pictures.

Here are some videos I’ve enjoyed recently. (And don’t miss darling David at the top there…)

High 50: Can a real man wear a cardigan?

In Actors, High 50, Men, Style icons on November 7, 2011 at 11:47 am


Here is the link to last week’s column on High 50. Couldn’t post it soon as I’ve been hidden away at a friend’s internet-free beach house putting in some serious work on a book. It’s not finished yet, but I am 14,000 words to typing those heady words ‘The End’, so that’s marvellous.

As an added bonus, here are some choice pics of Sean Connery wearing the baby blue towelling playsuit that was forced upon him in Dr No. What were they thinking? And what did he say when they first presented it to him?

Of course, he manages to carry it off – would you look at those brown hairy legs? McWOOF.


The brute power of young men

In Famous people, Men, Youth on August 12, 2011 at 11:05 am


On Tuesday morning it seemed as though everyone in Britain had an emotional hangover from the trauma of the night before.

After staying up until 2 am glued to Twitter and the news, I felt so shaken I couldn’t face going into my office, and cocooned myself at home, to work in bed, eating biscuits.

When I did eventually have to venture out I found my elderly neighbour standing outside her house sobbing. She just couldn’t contain how upset she felt.

Later, as I drove around the seaside town where I live, I felt very nervous. It’s quaint and elegant in different parts, becoming increasingly cool and fashionable, with lovely independent shops and cafes springing up as they do in such places.

But it also has some pockets of severe urban poverty, where for several decades seriously deprived people have lived reproducing very young, bringing into the world generation after generation of a chain-smoking, hard-drinking, drug-taking, benefit dependent, illiterate underclass.

Vicky Pollard territory. Just the kind of place looting could kick off.

As I drove I was also very aware of there being a lot of young men out and about and I felt oddly threatened by them.

I’m a healthy woman, I normally look at young men in a similar spirit to the way I gaze in at the windows of Graff in Bond Street. I don’t want to buy it, but I like to check out the merch.

Give me a shirtless scaffolder to perve on, or the bare-chested love god who cleaned my windows the other week and I’m happy. It’s a passing comfort, like hearing your favourite pop song on the radio. But on Tuesday I saw them in a different light, not sexual – but powerful.

It was seventeen, or eighteen year olds I really noticed. Those hard bodies, all lean muscle and sinew, like perfectly oiled machines. It made me think about what it must be like to suddenly grow a physique like that.

I have a number of gorgeous little boys in my life, children of friends, who are the same age as my daughter. I remember them as cuddly little three year olds, who would sit on my lap for a story.

Now they are nine and have turned into gristly little packets with scabby knees. They’ll turn any stick into a gun and wrestle you for it, but they’re still little boys. I look at them and try to imagine what they’ll be like as men.

It’s really hard to make the mental leap and I have a friend with grown up sons who told me it’s the weirdest thing, the first time you go into their room and see a big hairy leg sticking out of the bed, where the scabby-kneed one used to be.

But while it’s strange enough to observe, what must it be like to experience such changes in your own body?


Of course I can remember my own frame suddenly sprouting new bits and changing shape, but I didn’t feel powerful from it. The opposite. It made me feel vulnerable because ghastly men started look and leer at me, shout things out, or even try to feel me up.

It was horrendous and I took to wearing voluminous smocks until I grew into myself and felt brave enough to face them down.

So how amazing it must be, without any conscious effort on your part, to suddenly morph into being the animal at the top of the food chain. It must be like being a Fiat 500 and then just turning into a Formula One car.

You may not have any money, a car, a girlfriend, or even the vote, but suddenly you’re the fastest, the strongest, the toughest. The top predator. Everyone is scared of you. What a power surge that must be.

It’s why a lot of cultures have initiation rites and ceremonies to mark it. They acknowledge a transition, a shift in the power structure, that affects the whole community and instill a sense of responsibility in the young men who have grown into their new power.

I think we have abandoned all that, to our peril. Initiation for an increasing number of young men in the UK comes via being accepted into criminal gangs. Even in less extreme cases, it’s through binge drinking.

And that’s what made the events on this week in London, Birmingham and Manchester  so terrifying to me. Those mobs of young guys had suddenly and collectively understood the power they hold just by growing up and being fit.

The sooner the rule of law is shown to be more powerful than sheer brute force and numbers, the better.

I’m still feeling shaken. And I’ve posted this shameless perve fest of pictures of Zac Efron to console myself…

Truly Glorious Goodwood

In High heels, Men, Older women, People, Shoes on July 30, 2011 at 12:13 am

I’d always thought the name of Goodwood’s annual summer race meeting was rather self-congratulatory. Now I understand it’s simply the most accurate description.

I went on Thursday for Ladies Day and had what I can only describe as one of the most glorious days of my life. The weather was glorious, the setting is glorious, the racing was glorious – and the people watching was truly glorious.

Although it was Ladies Day and Grazia ’s lovely Paula Reed was out with her Channel 4 crew filming the ‘fashions in the field’ (to quote one of my favourite Aussie terms), it was the gents who caught my eye.

And they were ‘gents’. Gentleman of the old school, looking so happy and at ease in their natural habitat and their preferred summer plumage.

Not for Goodwood the painful morning dress of Royal Ascot’s Royal Enclosure.

Even in the smart bit of Gooders – the Richmond Enclosure, my new eden – the dress code for men is nothing more taxing than a suit and tie.


The ideal version being a linen suit worn with a panama hat. They all looked so happy in that get up. Feeling a bit jaunty, but not done up.

The relaxed but chic atmosphere of the event put me most in mind of Henley Regatta, with the big difference that Goodwood is not peopled by a superrace of breathtakingly beautiful love god rowers.

The young men at Henley can make you swoon away – in my early 20s, I could hardly stand it – at Goodwood, I enjoyed admiring the style of the more mature ones.

And it made me reflect, that one of the benefits of growing older is that there is an ever increasing pool of people to find attractive.

Of course it was also fun checking out the women’s oufits, and once again I found I was more taken with the seasoned racegoers, tearing to get to their favourite spot in the stand to watch the race, than I was by the fillies.

Those towering platform stilettos beloved of the under-40s do not look right for the races and they’re so unpractical. I saw a lot of sh’agony – shoe agony – as a result, because you spend your whole time at Goodwood milling about over very uneven terrain.

Over to the parade ring to look at the horses – the true beauties of the day – back to the Tote to place your bet, time for a quick drink, study the form, then over to the stand to watch the race, back to the Tote to collect your winnings, then off to the winners’ enclosure to watch the presentation and generally perve, queue up for some strawberries, listen to the band, and so on.

The whole event is one long passagiata. Which equals people-watching paradise.

I had a wonderful time, not unenhanced by winning on three races and going home £96 richer. Watching the beautiful Gifted Girl romp home, ahead for the whole race, coming in at least four lengths ahead (or so it looked to me…) was a moment of true bliss.

But watching Frankie Dettori, my absolute favourite jockey, collect his second trophy, for winning on a horse I hadn’t backed, was just as good.


I’m already planning next year’s visit. And, of course, I’ll be taking my lucky handbag.


I must add here that I went to Goodwood as a guest member of the press, but that’s not why I’m raving about it. This is my personal blog and I write what I like on it. I can’t be bought – as Giorgio Armani will tell you. He once banned me from his shows for writing a frank and honest review of one I didn’t care for. Not used to being told the inconvenient truth, he got the hump in a big way, but later forgave me.

I’ll be going back to Goodwood next year on my own dollar.


I took far too many pictures to post on here, so I’ve created a Flickr account if you want to have a look at the whole lot (and see what I was wearing ha ha ha).

I don’t really know what I’m doing on there yet, but it’s the ‘set’ called ‘Goodwood 2011’ and you click from shot to shot. They’re all captioned which takes you through the flow of the day.

Take That

In Men, Uncategorized on July 8, 2011 at 6:06 pm

For the first time in my entire life I screamed like a Beatles fan.

I’ve yelled and cheered and hollered and hooted and even gobbed in my long and varied gig-going career, but never before have I screamed. The full aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah shaking your head making Munch faces tearing your hair thing.

That’s what Take That do to me. I can’t help it. I love them. They make my ageing hormones go pop.

So when the one minute count down to their appearance on stage at Wembley Stadium on Monday night (July 4th)  reached zero and there they suddenly were, live on stage, sharing air with me, even several hundred metres away, I screamed. We all did. Eightyfour thousand nine hundred and ninety eight women and about two men. This fabulously amateur bit of video above, from the Sunderland concert really catches the atmosphere (and watching it just now gave me goose bumps…)

And that was just the come back four. The concert was brilliantly divided into three acts. Starting with the material from when Guy, Mark, Howard and….. JASON AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH re-formed back in 2008. All the great tracks like Hold On (swoon…) and Patience.

I screamed, I sang, I danced, I hugged my friend Saska and the total stranger on the other side.

Then they went off (after a spectacularly dopy sequence with dancers dressed as fairy tale characters) and some very familiar opening chords boomed out. There he was ROBBIE!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH all over again. Making what must be one of the greatest live entrances of all time. More amateur video follows…

Let me entertain you, he sang, and boy, he did. He hammed it up like the vaudeville star he is. The only person who comes near him for on stage energy is Mr Pop. Robbie looks like he could explode with it at any moment. Leaping around like a fool and singing like a master. God, he’s got a good voice.

I could remember Madonna, the last time I went to that site, back in the 80s to the old stadium, trying to skip about and sing at the same time and so not pulling it off. Get into the, puff, groove, puff, wheeze…

Robbie can sing while he’s doing a cartwheel and he’s nearly forty. The man is a force of nature. I love his music, I adore his cheekiness and I love that we grew up a few miles from each other, it makes me feel like I own a piece of him.

Fancy some pobs, Rob? (sorry you’d have to be a Stookie to get that…)

I also think his lyrics are amazing. If you don’t believe me, listen to Me and My Monkey. A work of brilliance. This one he’s singing below’s not bad either, Come Undone. ‘I’ve contemplated thinking about thinking, it’s overrated, just get another drink in…’

But even solo Robbie pales next to the collective marvel that is the five boys of Take That together. It’s some kind of magical alchemical formula. The whole is so very much greater than the sum of the parts, but when they’re together, singing their brilliant pop songs, old and new, they have an effect on women like no one else.

Nearly two million women (really, there were hardly any men there, it was hilarious) are going to see them on this tour. Not even the Beatles managed that.

I’ve tried to analyse what it is and I can’t nail it. For me it’s a no brainer. I have a fetish for cheeky boys from northern England, where I grew up, because they remind me of the first boys I kissed. Particularly the gorgeous Jason Orange, with his wonderful bony face. No southerners look like that. It’s a particular bone structure and it sends me.

He’s also a wonderful dancer, our Jason, in the great twinkle toes Northern Soul tradition and the hits that first made me like them – Everything Changes But You was the first one I loved – are based on the particular heavy beat and quick tempo of that music. It makes you want to spin on one foot like Jason can. Sigh…

So that’s why I love them, but I don’t entirely understand the mass fetish. I’d love to know your thoughts on it.

And what is particularly interesting to me about Take That AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH now is that they are so much more attractive as a man band, with their lived-in looking faces, than they were as freshly minted hairless boys.

Aren’t men lucky about that?

How I Live Now *

In Friends, Men, Older women on June 17, 2011 at 11:07 pm

The other day I had one of those major Facebook moments. Rare for me as I’m not on Faceache much any more, being so addicted to Tweeting, blogging, breathing etc, there’s no time.

Anyway, I was looking through a very good friend’s friend list because he had specifically told me that a mutual was on there and I wanted to friend him right away because we’ve just met and we’re at that stage of a gay man/fag hag friendship where it’s like a bit of a crush.

(That’s me above right, with my BFF Jo at her stepdaughter’s wedding and below is Peggy at sports day.)

But before I found my new GBFF on the list I saw something that nearly made my tea come down my nose THE AGED FACE OF THE FIRST MAN WHO EVER BROKE MY HEART. And his name. A very particular name. It was definitely him.

(Not the bloke below, that’s me with my husband at Goodwood, at the races, hurrah.)

And the really annoying thing was that even though I haven’t thought about him for years and even then it was more with contempt than longing, my treacherous heart went pitter patter. Bastard.

I sent him a friend request just to see what would happen. He sent me back a reply I consider, in retrospect, indescribably arsey. Roughly: ‘Wow, hello, what a coincidence, those were the days, eh – but I’m thinking of coming off Facebook, so I’m not really taking on any more friends.’

But then with his email address. WTF?

What a total arse. (Not this pic, this is my mum, Peggy Senior.)

But of course I’ve been thinking about it ever since (largely, how I can work this arsery into a book plot ha ha ha) and after such an exquisitely insulting reply I concluded I would never contact him again NOT EVEN TO TELL HIM HE’S A BUMFACE but at the same time I could think of nothing but what I would say to him if I did.

(This is where I work.)

Finally, I decided, if I did ever send a message to that email address – and I so fucken won’t, A-HOLE – I would send him how I live now in pictures. Which would be something like what you see here.

And all the better for not having his mug in it. Bah!

(Peggy at a gymnastics competition thing. She loves gymnastics.)

How I Live Now is the title one of my favourite books of all time, by Meg Rossoff. They’re making it into a film, but do read the book first. So romantic. So original.

(The other place I work…)

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