Saturday, September 30, 2006

Some Of What I'm Reading This Month

Howard Hughes: Hell's Angel

Darwin Porter

Darwin Porter brings The Aviator down to earth with a crash. The story of Howard Hughes billionaire, aviator, movie mogul, lunatic and lothario is laid bare in graphic detail in this new biography. The story of Hughes achievements in business and aviation would themselves make for an excellent story but added to this Hughes descent into madness and his systematic seduction of what seems like every major Hollywood star male and female and you have an explosive read.

Hughes literally slept his way through the 20th century’s most beautiful women from Gloria Swanson to Marilyn Monroe and many of its men as well including his most enduring relationship, with Cary Grant. Whilst he may have had a reputation for seduction he seemed incapable of relationships, probably as a result of an incestuous bond with his mother and his neurosis would eventually lead to paranoia and madness. From the dizzying heights of an America’s aviation hero to a sordid and squalid death after years of lunacy Darwin Porters epic and meticulously researched biography covers every aspect of Hughes amazing life and as a consequence runs to a massive 800+ pages but grips you from start to finish.

Highly recommended

***** Stars


Diana Vreeland

Though not an autobiography in the usual sense DV is a collection of vignettes from one of history’s most stylish and stylized women. Miss Vreeland’s famous wit, style and sense of the absurd are all brought to the fore in this conversational and gossipy memoir. Not afraid to mince her words she makes outrageous pronouncements that are as individual as her famous sense of style.

Vreeland was editor of Harpers Bazaar and Vogue and was THE fashion maven for 50 years long before Anna Wintour and her ilk. Referred to as the Empress of Chic she literally shaped what the world wore for from the Second World War almost till the end of the century. As well as the delightful name dropping and witty stories, what really comes across in this book is Vreeland’s curiosity and her passion for life and people.

A delightful insight into one of the 20th Century’s most chic and eccentric personalities.

**** Stars

Life of the Party:The Biography of Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman

Christopher Ogden

Christopher Ogden vividly captures the life of the last great courtesan Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman the self driven plain daughter of a minor British aristocrat who propelled herself into money and power via a series of relationships with some of the world’s greatest men. Her husbands included Randolph Churchill, son of Winston. Leland Hayward, theatrical impresario and Averell Harriman, political saviour of the Democratic Party.

At home in the best male circles in England Europe and the US, though often despised by the women in those circles, she numbered Gianni Agnelli, Aly Khan, Elie de Rothschild, Rob Murrow and Bill Paley amongst her lovers, despite being a somewhat plain woman. Unlike many great courtesans, it was her final years that saw her

greatest triumphs after what was described by some as the worlds greatest facelift, she became as a tireless campaigner for the democratic party in the US and was instrumental in getting Bill Clinton into the White House. As a reward she would end her days as the US ambassador to France. Very few can claim to have been on first name terms with both Clinton and Winston Churchill but Pamela was one of them, a fascinating story of one of the 20th century’s most driven and ambitious women.

A fascinating read.

***** Stars

Buy these books at Amazon US

Buy these books at Amazon UK

Friday, September 29, 2006

Tom Cruise Shrinking As Fast As His Fan Base!

At first I thought Suri Cruise was up and walking already. Untill I realised the toddler in tow with katie Holmes is actually her husband Tom!

Now I always new Tom was on the diminutive side but who knew he was that much of a midget? I will concede he's walking behind her so the angle is less than flattering but he can't be that far behind cos they're holding hands, unless katie has 12ft arms of course!

Time for Cruise Control to invest in some lifts for him and some flats for her and quick!

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Kate Moss And Pete Doherty The Car Crash Continues

Seems Kate Moss and Pete Doherty just can’t stay out of trouble. First at a Babyshambles gig in Dublin this week the pair both flouted Irelands strict anti smoking laws by lighting up on stage. Then Pete was spotted in a Dublin chemist buying syringes, not a good sign less than a week after leaving re-hab!

As if that wasn’t enough Kate was pictured in The Sun with what appears to be some kind of white coating on the inside of her nose….now what on earth could that be?

The Sun offered several suggestions including talc, toothpaste and spot cream! (after helpfully pointing out Kate was suffering an acne outbreak!) Do we detect a little sarcasm over at The Sun?

Well it could certainly explain her erratic behaviour and subsequent leaping onstage. I’d be erratic and jumping around too if I had toothpaste or spot cream rammed up my nose!

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The Simpsons Sisters Invade London

Ashlee Simpson joined the growing list of Z list celebrities who have been drafted in to star in the west end production of Chicago this week. Following in the footsteps of Bonnie Langford, Marti Pellow, The Hoff, and Claire Sweeney. By all accounts Miss Simpson is one of the better Roxie Harts London audiences have had foisted on them and her opening night was something of a mini triumph.

Joining her in the audience was "famous" sister Jessica. Seems Ashlee's happiness at the success of her opening night was not shared by her sister, who reportedly arrived in a foul mood and sulked all evening! (Obviously not enjoying all the attention being paid to her younger prettier sister!) Judging by this picture the grouchy looking Jessica would be ideal for another west end musical Wicked! As she is one miserable looking witch!

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You Tube Favourites - Mrs Slocombe's Pussy

You Tube is a bloggers dream especially when you can't be bothered to post much! There are some real gems on there so I thought I'd post my favourite each month. This months gem comes courtesy of Mike who asks the question. How the hell did they get away with this stuff? How indeed!

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Liza with a Z - In Person

So it was off to The Vue Cinema inLeicester Square last night for a special screening of the newly remastered Liza with a Z ! The legendary Liza Minnelli concert directed by Bob Fosse, first shown on US television in 1972 and now available on DVD. The film received a rapturous reception and rightly so, it is Liza at her peak and is testament to her colossal talent.

The screening in aid of Crusaid was packed out and the highlight of the evening was the appearance of Liza herself! She introduced the film and then answered questions from an audience almost entirely consisting of delirious queens.

Not only was it great to see Liza up close and in the flesh she was looking pretty good for a woman of 60 held up by two new hips. She was also lucid and far saner than recent reports would have us believe.

Many of the questions verged on the reverential and Rank & Bile resisted the urge to ask about recent rumours about herpes and alcoholism (If slimeball ex husband David Gest is to be believed!) though she was forced to turn down a proposal of marriage, guess there must be limit to the number of gay men even Liza can marry!

Best of all was the news that Liza is planning to do a concert over here next year. She may be an old ham but Rank & Bile will be first in line for tickets!

Do yourself a favour and go get the DVD at:
Rank & Bile Recommends US
Rank & Bile Recommends UK

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nicole Richie's Denial Knows No Bounds

I promised myself no more Nicole Richie/Karen Carpenter posts this week but this news takes the biscuit.

Nicole has now reached a level of denial that is truly scary! After CNN wrongly reported that she had checked herself into re-hab to tackle her eating disorder, Little Miss stick insect issued the following statement on her official MySpace page:

"Contrary to CNN's false accusations, I did not check myself into an eating disorder rehab. I don't know why or how this rumour started, but I am home, in LA, and very happy. I do not have an eating disorder, and I don't know how many times I have to say it. I've repeated myself so many times, I feel like a broken record. Whoever started this rumour is evil and mean, but it's not true. I am happy, and healthy, and living my life."

Has she not seen herself lately! She is obviously beyond help!

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If Heidi Had been A Slut

Is there no end to the tackiness of Parasite Hilton?

This time the vapid heiress was dressed as a slutty version of Heidi, in Germany, of all places, to promote wine in a can! Classy!

Well now her recording career has bombed she's gotta make a living some how I guess.

At least this time she managed to get the name of the product right, unlike at the launch of a mobile phone, video game, named after her. Where she forgot the name of the game! Err hello it was named after her? Even lindsay Lohan can get her own name right!

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Babs Baps Get An Airing!

Good grief! What on earth was Mental Yentl thinking?!

With her breasts falling to her knees faster than Monica Lewinsky, you’d have thought Babs would have the sense not to leave home without a bra?!

Although a couple of hammocks and a crane might have been more appropriate.

Eww Get that cardigan on quick girl and cover those puppies up!

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Rank & Bile At The Movies - The History Boys

A huge thank you to 20th Century Fox and Centurion for the tickets to The History Boys preview at the Century Cinema in Soho Square.

The story of an unruly class of history students cramming for their entrance exams for Oxford and Cambridge might not sound like much fun but this has to be the best British film I’ve seen for a very long time. The witty Alan Bennet script was brilliantly played by a bevy of newcomers especially young Dominic Cooper and Samuel Barnett (who does a hilarious Celia Johnson impression!) and there is Stirling support from the superb Richard Griffiths and immensely watchable, Frances de La Tour.

What a pleasure to not, have to leave my brain at the door of the auditorium for a change.

For those of you who caught the play at the National or on Broadway (were it swept the boards at both the BAFTAs and the Tonys) you won’t be disappointed as the film stays lovingly true to its staged original.

A superb film that I can’t recommend highly enough, make sure you catch it when it goes on general release on October 13th in the UK and November 24th in the US. (Or get tickets to the Royal World Charity Premiere on 2nd October)

***** Stars

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Travolta Is Always Kissing Other Men - His Lawyer Says

To prove that he’s not gay and totally doesn’t kiss other men for kicks, John Travolta’s lawyer, Martin Singer issued a press release explaining how a photographer caught Travolta kissing another man.

Singer says, "As a manner of customary greeting and saying farewell, Mr. Travolta kisses both women and men whom he considers to be extremely close friends. People who are close to Mr. Travolta are aware of his customary, non-romantic gesture."

Ah well, thats cleared that up then?!

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You Were Never Fuglier - Mischa Barton

Mischa Barton the normally chic and annoyingly perfect, “star” of The O.C. gave hope to all of us who don’t manage to look Dior perfect every time we leave the house, when she appeared in one of the most truly horrendous outfits ever!

For some reason Mischa decided to don what looks like a beige tartan nappy for a recent outing! As if that wasn’t enough to warm the hearts of the stylishly challenged, joy of joys as she got into her car a snapper caught what looks suspiciously like a bit of cellulite!

There is A God!

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Brands Beckham & Cruise Join Forces

Brand Beckham and Brand Cruise are working together.

Lord help us all! The Beckham Brand's story is to be filmed with the help of Brand Cruise

The two publicity minded couples have recently become friends. So much so that when David was sacked as England Football Team Manger one of the first people he called was Crazy Cruise!

David, in a mutual bit of publicity, which must have had both their publicists drooling, described how supportive Tom had been and went on to tell anyone who would listen what a “really positive” person Tom is! (Expect Posh and David to announce conversion to scientology and day soon)

An insider says, "Tom has a brilliant grasp of what the public want to see and thought David's story was wonderful.”A football star emerges from humble origins, there's drama within the matches and romance in his love affair with Victoria at the height of her pop star fame.

"At the time Tom was seeing quite a lot of David and Victoria. The quartet are very close friends and the Beckhams would only be happy about their story being used if Tom and Katie were involved."

Guess who’ll play Posh? …..Yes Katie Holmes!

Katie Holmes to play Posh! She better start throwing up now! That’s like asking Kirstie Allie to play Karen Carpenter.

And speaking of Karen Carpenter……

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Nicole Richie Now Weighs Less Than Karen Carpenter!

Last month Rank & Bile posed the question is Nicole Richie the new Karen carpenter and now it seems Star magazine is asking the same question. In their latest issue they point out Nicole now weighs less than Karen at the height of her anorexia! Although Nicole, unlike Karen is not admitting she has a problem.

Now if this doesn’t shock little miss bag of bones into eating something and I don’t mean just posing for the paparazzi holding a slice of pizza, then nothing will.

This girl needs help before it’s too late!

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Madge's Hair is As Fake As Her English Accent

Huge sighs of relief all round, recently we reported that Madge's new bobbed hair cut looked like a cheap wig on an 80's hooker! Well the good news is, it's just that, a terrible wig being worn by an old 80's hooker....erm sorry artiste!

Yes the hair is as fake as her English accent.

The fact it's a wig didnt stop the press and Rank & Bile assuming it was her real hair and reporting it as her new look! The Daily Mail even went so far as to claim she paid £750 for her haircut!

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ryan Philippe

The I Definately Would Hunk Of The Month

Ever since we first saw him in 54 and Cruel Intentions Rank & Bile have always had a soft spot for the delectable Ryan and his boyish good looks.

It doesn’t hurt that Ryan has been hitting the gym lately, proving he’s not just a pretty face but a great body too! The new body is mainly for his new movie which casts him and last month’s hunk of the month Channing Tatum as soldiers! Now there’s a movie I can’t wait to see!

With a slew of recent grown up roles under his belt, not least, last years Oscar winner "crash". Ryan has also proved he can act as well, though to be honest who cares when he looks this good?!

Lucky old Reese Woodenspoon for managing to drag this little beauty down the aisle….bitch!

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Brand Beckham Branches Out

Brand Beckham is on the march again!

Although seemingly unable to string anything like a coherent sentence together, both Thick and Thin are pushing their own books, presumably just in time to cash in for Christmas!

Who knew either of the Beckhams could even write?

Posh’s tome is “a celebration of her very individual style” So presumably is about how to throw up your lunch then dial a stylist to come and dress you?

David’s is about “soccer skills” So basically how to kick a ball I guess?

Somehow I don’t think either will be up for the Booker Prize but will probably shift enough copies to keep the dreary duo in Versace for a while.

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Companies We Hate - Warner Brothers

Given You tube’s one million hits a day isn’t it the Perfect tool, for film companies to see what demand is out there for particular classic movies and what should be released? As for movies on release, they have the perfect opportunity to advertise “trailers” to a 1million a day audience at no cost! If you just insisted Youtube users posted a link to an online shop with the clip and that it wasn’t more than a certain length you could have the biggest free advertising site in the world. Most of the film companies have not caught onto the potential of youtube like sites and at best just ignore them hoping it will all go away.

Warner Bros however have decided to go in all guns blazing and get any fragment of their copyrighted material removed. Messages are appearing all over these sites with “removed at the request of Warner Bros for copyright infringement” Well that's great PR for them isn’t it, Goliath like corporations crushing David like Youtube users.

Instead of seeing the potential they have unleashed massive internet based hatred for their heavy handed approach and alienated a large section of internet savvy buyers, exactly the people they want to buy their new film download services from!

It seems they haven’t learned from their partners at Warner’s Music who have insisted on suing anyone and everyone for copyright infringement including, in a recent case, the family of a man who had just died. The resulting internet and news backlash of this PR fiasco forced them, in this case, to back down.

What Warner’s and other of their ilk refuse to see is the huge potential rather than threat in new technology they refuse to release their vast back catalogues on DVD and in so doing are missing out on the sort of boom experienced by the record companies in the 80’s as vast numbers of consumers swapped vinyl for CDs.

Instead they are holding huge chunks of our cinematic history to ransom, locked in vaults and inaccessible to everyone and anyone who tries to make them available will feel the force of Warner’s mighty legal team. For a business they are acting in a very un-businesslike way, its simple supply and demand if they won’t satisfy demand then others will fill the void with pirated copies sold on ebay and clips on Youtube.

The Warner Bros stink site

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An Open Letter To Barry M. Meyer CEO Warner Bros.

Warner Brothers now own the rights to the MGM back catalogue including the last movie ever made by Joan Crawford, Trog. Whilst by no means a classic, for fans of Miss Crawford it is a seminal movie. Warner bros have told us they have no intention of releasing the film on DVD and the video version went out of print approximately 15 years ago. For true fans of Joan it is almost impossible to see this film, as it is almost never shown on television.

2 months ago I posted a clip of Joan in Trog on Youtube in a very short time it had amassed several thousand hits. I had messages from people all over the world thanking me for posting. This is typical of the many comments posted:

“Thank you so much for posting this I have waited years to see this. I am a relatively young Joan fan and was too young to see the film when it was released. I have read every book about her and they always mention this film and finally I get to see Joan in it. Thank you so much. Bless you x”

However Warner Bros had my account closed for copyright infringement!

Dear Mr Meyer

Can you explain to me how a 2min 31 sec clip of a film that you have no intention of releasing on DVD and which you are not supplying in any other format, proves to be a such a huge threat to your company and it’s profits?

Yours an appalled MGM fan

The Warner Brothers stink site

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Her Madgesty's New Crowning Glory?

Good grief what on earth was Madge thinking?

Her Madgesty unveiled a somewhat brassy bob at the Steven Meisel Photography and Videography exhibition in Tokyo.

At first I just thought it was an incredibly cheap wig, but no, apparently this hair don't, is Esther's own and her brand new look!

Hmm well I spose its better than the Faraah Fawcett flicks of late? Even if it does look like a cheap 80's hooker wig!

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Is Whitney Out Of The Frying Pan.....?

When Courtney Love saw the shocking images of "Whitney Houstons's Crack Den" and the accompanying story in the National Enquirer, she was spurred into action.

According to the new issue of Us Weekly, Courtney and Whitney have forged a new friendship and it is with the help of Kurt Cobain's widow that Whitney has kicked drugs

"Courtney has been there and really understands her [Whitney]," explains one insider.

Lets just hope this isn’t a case of the blind leading the blind!

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Elizabeth Taylor Fed To The Sharks!

Elizabeth Taylor who was at pains to point out recently, that she isn’t dying has been proving the point by literally looking death in the face. The 74 yr old Icon was lowered into a cage to swim with sharks!

Later describing the experience as the "most exciting thing" she has ever done, La Taylor allowed herself to be barricaded into a 10ft by 6ft Plexiglas cage which was lowered below surface level. For the occasion she wore just simple diamond bangles and victory red nail polish!

Who knew you could feed sharks whale meat!

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lindsay Lohan Loves Notting Hill - There Goes The Neighborhood

Be afraid be very afraid. Lindsay Lohan is planning to move to London!

She has been house hunting in Notting Hill (well there goes that neighborhood!) Ho-han is quoted in The Daily Mail as saying “I just love Notting Hill it has some really cool shops and great restaurants, I’ve been looking at some properties while I’ve been here and we’re hoping to buy something soon. I can see me and Harry [Morton, her boyfriend] really fitting in there.”

Hmm well I’m not sure about fitting in here given that she was rushed to hospital twice this weekend, with a fractured wrist, this is the 5th time this year she's been rushed to hospital!

She might bear in mind waiting queues in London hospitals for accident and emergency rooms (ER to those of you over the pond) are about 5 hours minimum!

She might also like to bear in mind if she keeps flashing her gusset to all and sundry, we actually have a law against that kind of thing!

Not that I’m trying to put her off…….honest!

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Simply Barbra - Simply Marvellous

This weekend Lulu and I were lucky enough to catch the wonderful Steven Brinberg at Soho’s Too 2 Much. For those of you haven’t caught Steven’s show Simply Barbra, I urge you to book while you can.

Steven is the foremost Barbra impersonator and his affectionate take on La Streisand is uncannily accurate, in fact close your eyes and it’s Babs herself. Even Marvin Hamlisch and Streisand herself are fans!

Lulu and I have been lucky enough to see the show four times over the years and there are always new songs and bits of business to see each time.

So if you don’t fancy having to rob a bank to buy tickets for the real Streisand at only £17.50, Simply Barbra is a far more reasonable alternative and much more fun.

Simply Barbra is at too 2 Much Thurs Fri and Sat this week. Check the website to book.

Too 2 Much Website
Simply Barbra Website

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You Can Never Be Too Thin....

Madrid's Fashion Week, the Pasarela Cibeles, announced last week it was banning models with a Body Mass Index, or height to weight ratio, below 18.

“The fashion industry's promotion of beauty as meaning stick thin is damaging to young girls' self image and to their health," Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said Saturday.

The mayor of Milan, Letizia Moratti, has said she will seek a similar ban for Milan Fashion Week -- starting in seven days time -- unless it can find a solution to "sick" looking models.

So how has this weeks London Fashion Week responded? By sending even more mal-nourished, emaciated stick insects down the catwalk. Despite the furore the British Fashion Council, which organizes London's twice-yearly Fashion Week, claimed it didn’t influence designers in their choice of models and that anyway it was too late for replacement models to be found.

Errr this is London every other girl you meet is a model they litter the streets of Hoxton and Shoreditch like emaciated rats, no the problem is many of our top models don’t fit the new healthy criteria and the industry simply doesn’t want to change.

Just look at some of the fashion mavens who run the industry, lets face it Anna (nuclear) Wintour and her ilk are not exactly obese are they? Fashion Week cancelled its opening photo shoot to avoid giving the issue more publicity, but presumably that was only because none of the models involved had a BMI over 18!

Someone better get those gals some pies! Or at this rate they’ll all be out of work!

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Train Rage

Those who know me well know I’m not all that good with Tubes and Trains and wherever possible I stick to my trusty Black Cabs. However it was my Fathers birthday last week, so yesterday I set off (with a rather fetching Hugo Boss tie I’d bought him) for Burnham in Berkshire. I had toyed with the idea of driving but as my car only ever leaves home to visit my Mother at Christmas my driving is rusty to the point of being a hazard. So I ventured forth on the Tube to get a train from Paddington, so far so good. Then it all went drastically wrong.

I arrived at Paddington to find a scene reminiscent of a refugee camp at Darfur, un-daunted, I purchased my ticket then glanced at the departure boards. Horror of horrors every train out of Paddington cancelled! Not even a whiff of an announcement and a queue longer than outside a national health dentist, for the information desk. Finally a tannoy emitting the voice of a person who I swear was gargling at the same time, announces the line to Cardiff and beyond (who knew there was anything past Cardiff?) has been closed due to a fire at Langley. Now having been to Langley, a blemish on the face of Slough, if thats possible, the news that it was ablaze would normally be welcome but not when my train is due to pass through!

The helpful if un-inteligable tannoy announced we should try alternative routes via Waterloo. So I hopped on a tube (mistake number two!) Having filled to the rafters with Paddington refugees I stood in sauna like heat for about 20 minutes with my face jammed into the armpit of a man who obviously hadn’t showered for years. Only to have the announcer tell us the line was now closed due to a defective train ahead! So en masse the refugees got off in search of alternative routes.

Over an hour later I finally arrived at Waterloo, where a sweaty woman with a remarkable resemblance to Margaret Rutherford informed me the journey to Windsor would take 40 minutes. As she was dressed in a hideously unflattering polyester uniform bearing the legend Great (ha!) Western and had an honest face I foolishly believed her! 1hr and 20 mins later I finally reached Windsor having stopped at every damn place in the Home Counties on the way. I arrived at my Fathers nearly 3 hours later a hot dishevelled mess.

After a pleasant visit it was off to the station for the journey home. We approached Slough Station with trepidation to be told the trains were working-ish. Working-ish turned out to be not working at all and after waiting for an hour and a half for a train I finally boarded a packed train for Paddington. I had to stand all the way and my joy at hearing there were no scheduled stops before Paddington was quickly erased by the realisation that due to points failure we were going to crawl all the way to London.

Then to add insult to injury I boarded the Tube for the final leg of my trek home, only for them to announce half way home….yes you guessed it….. due to a defective train! I finally got home after another 3 hour trek thanks to "Great" Western!

It’s time to get my car out of moth balls I think!

So how was your Sunday?

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