Monday, 22 February 2010

Jose Mourinho

There is something extremely attractive about Jose Mourinho's deep, dark, brooding look.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

A Single Man

My heart sank when I read Stephanie Thoebald's review of A Single Man in The Telegraph, yearning for life after the fashion of Julianne Moore's character, Charley, who works on nothing but her face and her booze all day long. If Stephanie is being ironic, then I can't quite hear her. I am writing this because I don't think she is.

Julianne Moore's character is the most vapid, irritating and pitiful figure in the whole movie. Why is it that the leading female in a film about the gay male aesthetic has to be a kind of stuffed doll who comes out with robotic lines simmering with self-hatred? It's cliche and it's dull. The great joke of the movie is an anti-lesbian jibe delivered by Charley: "You remember that time in London when that old lesbian poured a glass of wine over my head because I asked her if she was hung like a doughnut?" (or something along those lines). Charley and George (Colin Firth) roar with laughter. Charley looks as if she might fall backwards off her chair. Drum roll.

Charley is cut in the style of a dysfunctional fag hag. She comes nowhere near Ann Bancroft in The Graduate or Bette Davis in Dangerous (see Stephanie's review). And as for comparing Julianne's role in A Single Man to the one she played in Boogie Nights - there is no contest. In Boogie Nights, the off-camera suggestions of Julianne's character are exciting. In Single Man, they are dull, predictable and unerotic. Women who have gay male friends are tired of seeing themselves portrayed in this way.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Death of Methodism - Not Quite

I was asked by Guardian Comment Is Free to do a piece on Methodist self-immolation - or the idea that Methodists and Anglicans are in some kind of sado-masochistic relationship...

Friday, 12 February 2010

General Synod

We heard that the press box was empty at General Synod yesterday so I drafted a press release to tell them what they were missing. Press Association (whose religious correspondent is always on the ball) picked it up and then it went crazy:

Wesley’s path to schism
The Times Comment

Methodists declare 'we're ready to merge' with Church of England
The Times Comment

Methodism offers to die, to rise again.
The Times

Church of England General Synod extends pension rights for gay partners
The Guardian (last paragraph)

General Synod: Methodists likely to merge with Church of England
The Telegraph

Leader signals end of Methodism
The Independent

Methodist Church prepared to go out of existence
The Daily Mail

Methodist Church ‘prepared to go out of existence’ for mission
Christian Today

Methodists affirm commitment to a covenant relationship with CofE

Inspire Magazine

God's kingdom more important than denominations, says Methodist President

Monday, 8 February 2010

Ecumencial Relationships

A course of events meant that I ended up at a small Catholic chapel in Hampstead half way through evening mass yesterday. When I walked through the door I was surprised to hear the Catholic priest talking about the Methodist Church. He was telling a story about a Methodist congregation that had forked out for a new carpet only to have two holes burnt in it by someone's misadventure with two candles a couple of weeks after the new carpet had been put in. When the Methodist minister heard what had happened, he reportedly said: “Don't worry, these things happen.” The Catholic priest reflected that he wasn't so sure he would have had the same reaction and it made him think about his own ability to forgive. I assume I was the only non-Catholic in the Church as only me - and two other people - didn't take Communion. My point is that, for me, the sermon was an example of ecumenical relationships working at the level that resonates the most.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

David Cameron On Theology

Ruth Gledhill (The Times) has done a fun breakdown of the David Cameron/Johann Hari interview, which was originally printed in Attitude magazine.

I notice how David Cameron’s take on theology is rather, er, “traditional”. Take a look at this for instance:

(David Cameron) was asked if the Tory party still has a problem with homophobia in its ranks.

“Honestly, conservative parties do always include some people of very strong religious faith, and that is true in the Conservative party. I think it's also true in some parts of the Labour party too, actually. It's always been the case, but I think the idea now is that there is a shared consensus bedrock view that this is a party for equal rights whether you are male, female, black white urban rural straight or gay. Actually I could find you quite a lot of relatively religious conservatives who totally agree that we must never go back.”

So a person of “very strong religious faith” is meant to translate as “bible literalist”. By this rationale, a liberal believer is “relatively religious” and less of a believer in God. That’s nonsense. Just because someone is a liberal it does not mean that s/he is less of a believer than a creationist. And isn’t the Tory party supposed to uphold liberal values? Someone should have a quiet word with Mr Cameron.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Martin Amis Ad Nauseam

Another day, another tiresome picture of Martin Amis on the front page of a national newspaper and another verbose interview.

Today's Independent:

The digested Amis read: “Once upon a time I had a mind-blowing affair with a feminist. I have never got over it. It was the only time in my life that felt like a novel. See if you can guess who she was.”

This theme runs through Amis ad nauseam. I actually feel sorry for him.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

David Cameron on Gay Rights

A great PR coup for the Conservatives today: David Cameron grilled by Johann Hari in The Independent - and coming off well:

But is he for real?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Martin Amis Overkill

Could the press stop falling over backwards for Martin Amis just because he has a new novel out? I don’t see why he merits being plastered all over the front pages of the national press day in and day out. The Telegraph is so enamoured that it has printed a picture of him smouldering into the camera as a young man next to one of his recent quotes: “Have looks ever been more important? There’s a great tyranny of looks now.”

Yesterday we had to suffer him in The Guardian saying that Gloria Steinem turned him into a feminist during one single day in New York: “It’s the rhetorical device she uses throughout, and it’s very effective.” He is never going to say Andrea Dworkin turned him into a feminist is he.

(Gloria Steinem:
(Andrea Dworkin:

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Afro

Isn’t Jasmine Munting’s hair just absolutely fabulous:

I was delighted to see a model with an afro hailed as the next big thing when I opened The Daily Mail today. I have been working a huge brown-grey Russian hat this winter, partly because I think this is the closest I will ever get to having an afro myself, and I've been really pleased whenever someone has mistaken my hat for a wig.

There is just something so warm and magnetising about an afro hairstyle. Best of luck to Jasmine :)