Hit And Run: Mad to let her go

Can it be true? Can Joan Holloway, office manager at Sterling Cooper, the fictional ad agency in Mad Men, really be leaving the company to be a housewife ministering exclusively to her vile husband, Greg? This is terrible news. Fans of the show have got used to walking through the open-plan offices of Sterling Cooper, sitting in meetings and chatting by the water cooler, and it was always a treat to run into Joan.

We've grown, as Professor Higgins says in My Fair Lady, accustomed to her face. Such a lovely face. And her huge blue eyes, which always fixed on her interlocutor's like heat-seeking missiles. We've admired her red hair and her remarkable gait, which she attributed, in an interview, to wearing authentic 1960s undergarments, all girdles and straps and, you know, rubbery bits and so forth.

We liked the way she sassed the boys without ever giving the impression that she found them ridiculous, and the way she radiated a helpless fondness when talking to Roger, her boss and long-term lover. We liked the way she advised and comforted the secretaries in Series 1, then hardened up in Series 2 and banned any more weeping in the Ladies. As she approached her mid-30s and marriage, she began, almost unconsciously, to become more careerist, discovering a talent for editing TV scripts and schmoozing clients. She's become as much a role model as Peggy, the show's only female copywriter.

And yes, since you ask, we shall miss the breasts. Not since Jessica Rabbit undulated onto the screen has a bosom so mesmerised the TV-watching audience. In LA, they joke that the city has given Joan's breasts their own zipcode. A big Facebook group is titled, "I'd like to engage in wanton and unchaste activities with Joan Holloway." In fact the only man who seems not to be drawn towards her voluptuous frontage is her husband. The first time they were seen necking on a sofa, he kept his hands studiously clamped to her arms. (Was he mad? Or unwell?) In bed, he claimed to be too overworked to contemplate removing her silk nightie. (We groaned.) In the agency one evening, he had sex with her against her will, on the floor of Don Draper's office, clearly working out some inadequacy issues. It's a masterstroke to make Dr Greg Harris such a prize bastard. We have to save her. Can she really be lost to home-making, children, Greg and Betty Crocker cakes? Can she hell. It would be too cruel. Come back soon, Joanie. See you by the water-cooler.

John Walsh

Design diplomacy gets ugly

With its boxy shape, high-security moat and waterfall-of-glass facade, US architect Kieran Timberlake's design for the new US embassy in Battersea, London (above), is hardly cutting-edge design – particularly when compared to proposals by other short-listed firms (LA-based Morphosis, for example, are un-afraid of violently abstract shapes). Timberlake's glass cube, unveiled this week, is conservative even in comparison to the capital's existing embassies. The current US embassy on Grosvenor Square, by Finnish-American Eero Saarinen, has been praised for its imposing, almost neoclassical presence; architect/ designer Arne Jacobsen's Danish embassy on Sloane Street combines modernity with blending in. A 30m-wide "stand-off zone" will make the new US embassy stick out like a sore thumb. "It could have been a lot worse," says Will Wiles, senior editor at Icon architecture and design magazine. "We already knew that security was paramount in the design – it's a big factor in the Americans wanting a new building in the first place. Any design would have this 30m setback, defined by the blast radius of car bombs." And any future British embassy designs aren't likely to win any Pritzker Prizes. While Tony Fretton's starkly modern embassy in Warsaw has won plaudits since opening in October, the Foreign Office was criticised by the National Audit Office earlier this month for wasting cash on fancy embassies and scrimping on their security. So our mandarins should get used to living in bunkers after all.

Rob Sharp

The Filofax strikes back

Shoulder pads. Bodies. Double denim. The thirst for all things Eighties seem unquenchable at the moment, and the latest retro resurgence is the Second Coming of that yuppies' must-have, the Filofax. Selfridges has reported a 25 per cent increase in sales of the organiser. Apparently, it's us ladies snapping them up as an alternative to those horrid, masculine mobile phones and BlackBerrys. Given the butch leather cover and OCD-tastic inserts of the Filofax, I'd have thought it was a pretty blokey buy, even now. But then I really wouldn't know – I have the perfect contacts book, calendar, notebook and Tube map. It's called an iPhone. Stonewash jeans not included.

Rebecca Armstrong

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick