Pandora: Westwood Jnr sweats over Government's pornography clampdown
Thursday 28 August 2008
Stand by for fireworks between Jack Straw's Ministry of Justice and members of Britain's "exotic" artistic community.
Ben Westwood, the photographer son of fashion doyenne Dame Vivienne, is leading a backlash among artists against the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which will come into force in the new year.
Part of the Act will outlaw anything which might be considered as "extreme pornography". This will effectively make illegal any image that portrays a man or woman's life as being in danger.
Westwood has thus been informed that, as a result of the ruling, his book of erotic photography, Fuck Fashion, will be banned from sale from 1 January. Furthermore, anyone owning a copy of the tome could theoretically receive a three-year jail sentence.
"Jack Straw and the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith need to be bound up together and gagged," says Westwood Junior. "They are trying to dismantle our basic human rights. We cannot just sit here and take this. We cannot just lie back and watch this ludicrous Act slip in the back door."
Westwood's campaign already appears to be gathering momentum. According to his agent, Lois Hillgrove, he has so far enlisted the support of celebrity chums including the singer Gwen Stefani and the burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, who was once married to goth rocker Marilyn Manson.
Can't buy Madge's love letters
Madonna has (once again) reportedly been on the phone to her lawyers after some intimate letters to her former bodyguard, James Albright, were thought to be appearing in an exhibition about the queen of pop next year.
"Not true. They aren't appearing and were never going to," insists a spokesman for the show. "I don't where this story came from."
Interestingly, I notice the company which owns the billets-doux, Marquee Capital, is curating the exhibition. As an act of goodwill, maybe it could hand them back?
Griffiths sheds the pounds for Big Apple
The actor Richard Griffiths might have scoffed all the pies, but he at least made an effort to slim down for his latest role.
He is about to appear on Broadway in Peter Shaffer's Equus, opposite his Harry Potter co-star Daniel Radcliffe. According to reports, Griffiths has been spotted in the Big Apple looking decidedly less bulky.
"I don't know how much exactly but yes, he has definitely lost weight," says a spokesman when I call. "I'm not sure if it is for the role or whether he has just been on a diet."
It woudn't be surprising if Griffiths felt the need to get in shape for his latest outing. When I spoke to him two years ago, not long after The History Boys had ended its showing on Broadway, he complained that the run had left him in agony. "I am uncomfortable, very worn out and my knee is sore," he said at the time. "I'm not sure I can stand up much longer."
Watch the right hook
Buoyed by Team GB's success at the Beijing Olympics, the Tory MP David Davies is to make an intrepid return to the boxing ring.
A fledgling amateur fighter, Davies – the self-styled "Tory Tornado" – is preparing for a fund-raising bout which will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London in aid of Amir Khan's charity, Gloves in The Community. Davies tells me his opponents will be made up of a group of legal professionals and a British soul singer called Omar.
"I have not met any of them yet so I am still not sure quite what to expect at the moment," Davies says. "But I am back in full training and, like the Conservatives, I'm currently on the up and up."
Dave rapped by Roots
Unlikely as it may sound, the edgy London hip hop star Roots Manuva is the latest celebrity voice to emerge and urge the Conservative Party to lurch back towards the right.
"David Cameron and Boris Johnson have to go," he says. "The Tories should be more like Margaret [Thatcher]. At least she hated poor, work-shy fools like me. David seems to want my vote."
Manuva, whose real name is Rodney Smith, was speaking in a question and answer session for this week's edition of New Statesman. When asked who he would chose to be his top two advisers if he ever became world leader, Smith nominated Nelson Mandela and that long-term Tory cheerleader Jim Davidson.
Give up the pies? Fat chance, Jamie...
For all his cheeky banter, Jamie Oliver's slightly oversized mouth can sometimes land him trouble.
Yesterday, Channel 4 invited a group of journalists to the Skylon restaurant on London's South Bank to watch a showreel of the broadcaster's forthcoming autumn schedule.
Among the clips shown to the guests was one from (yet another) campaign by Oliver to improve the diet of the British public. He was filmed walking on to the pitch, Delia-style, at Rotherham United Football Club to encourage fans to give up their match-day pies.
Sadly, Oliver's efforts were met with ungracious chants of "you fat bastard" from the crowd.
The clip caused much chortling from the hacks in the audience, although I am told the phrase "pots and kettles" may have easily been applied to a few of them.
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