Diary: Helena shows her true style
Thursday 20 January 2011
Helena Bonham-Carter's outfit for the Golden Globes has caused a schism in the terrifying world of fashion.
Lisa Armstrong, of The Times, awarded the actress's Vivienne Westwood get-up a resounding nine points out of a possible 10 – but then, she does have a funny little purple hat on in her byline photo. Liz Jones, of The Daily Mail, described it as "a breath of fresh air" – but then, she is Liz Jones. The Daily Mirror gave it a mere one out of five, while this newspaper's esteemed fashion editor was distinctly unimpressed by Bonham-Carter's "'I'm mad, I am' whimsy".
Knowing no better, I am inclined to agree with her for diplomatic reasons.
Happily, Bonham-Carter herself couldn't care less. To the question "Who are you wearing?", she responds: "I am not Hannibal Lecter wearing someone else's skin!" Why, she asked an audience at her local cinema in Hampstead, does it matter?
"I make do with what is in my wardrobe. I think one should, [but] I get comments that that's not good enough." I think I'll stay out of this one. Anne Hathaway, though – now there's a dress.
* A big day for Gordon Brown (you remember him) who is scheduled to deliver the prestigious Ted Kennedy/John Harvard memorial lecture in Southwark this afternoon. So who could blame the ex-PM for wishing to look his best? At lunchtime yesterday in north London, Mr Brown was sighted clambering from his people carrier, flanked by a pair of bodyguards, and entering one of the city's leading cosmetic dentistry establishments – a specialist in whitening and veneers. Presumably, Mr Brown hoped to have his teeth cleaned by a professional in preparation for the address, in which he will call upon Barack Obama to help boost education and training for the world's 81 million unemployed young people. I suppose Brown is hoping for some US airplay – and Americans, as I'm sure you're aware, abhor British teeth. "Create a dazzling new smile that you can be proud of," exhorts this particular dental practice's website. Actually, if I were Gordon, I'd try not to smile at all.
* A big day, too, for that other big New Labour beast, Alastair Campbell, whose second interminable volume of just-about-unexpurgated diaries is published today. To celebrate, Campbell is taking a battlefield tour of his former confrontations. This evening, he'll appear on Question Time alongside Dusty Springfield-superfan George Galloway, who is described in Campbell's concise diary as "repulsive". And before that, the erstwhile spinner will be squaring up to his old sparring partner, Adam Boulton, on Sky News. The rivals' notorious post-election showdown at Millbank was not their first such spat, Campbell's latest tome reveals: "Adam Boulton and I had a row" (page 68); "I tore into Adam Boulton, who was getting [his] knickers twisted" (page 559); "I had a bit of a flare-up with [Adam] Boulton because he quoted on air my 'fuck off' response to his bid for a [Tony Blair] interview" (page 610).
* A lacklustre Prime Minister's Questions yesterday was enlivened by the presence of Meryl Streep, who is due to play a dementia-ridden Margaret Thatcher, fondly recalling the Falklands War, in the biopic The Iron Lady – for which Ms Streep was conducting research. A double Oscar-winner with fabulous teeth, she will no doubt prove a finer performer at the dispatch box than either Miliband (E) or Dave (PM) – who reportedly wangled her the ticket. Predictably, her presence also encouraged the Cuban-heeled Speaker of the House, John Bercow, to flaunt his authority with even more eagerness than usual. Señor Bercow interrupted the Prime Minister, no less, in order to perform a brief monologue about his kindly treatment of a 10-year-old constituent, who was shocked by the incivility of MPs. Politics, as they say, is showbiz for ugly people.
* Whither Paxman? The estimable BBC anchorman, I note, has been absent from Newsnight presenting duties since 2010 – leaving the mere mortals Esler, Wark and Frei to fill his shoes. He is working, I'm told, on a new art history-themed documentary for the BBC's factual department, and won't be back until next month. Still, I'm glad to hear that Paxman is not spending that (allegedly) vast salary on something as frivolous as winter sun.
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