Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wayne and Coleen's elegant match

It makes J roll his eyes but I can't resist a celebrity wedding. I couldn't wait to get my hands on OK! magazine, featuring the Rooney nuptials.

Now the nasty old press had already been spreading salacious and jealous rumours: they ate pizza! The Rooney cousins were banned! Coleen bought her friends' dresses so they wouldn't look scruffy!

Well, in case you expected the wedding to be tacky and tasteless, I'm pleased to tell you Coleen does have exquisite taste and it was very elegant and restrained. Unlike some other WAG weddings: the Beckhams for example (remember those thrones?), or Steven Gerrard and Alex Curran. Then there were other z-lister wedding atrocities: Jordan springs to mind.

But Coleen's wedding was charming and stylish. Her dress, by Marchesa, was stunning and there's a wonderful picture of her looking pensive in half shade, showing the gorgeous fan shaped folds of the dress.

The bridesmaids also wore white; the flowers were white and the tables were decorated with white butterflies and flowers. I don't recall any mention of pizza.

The location in Portofino was very romantic and it doesn't look as if rain stopped play (the tabloids were also delighted to point out how it rained and ruined Coleen's shoes).

Coleen's friends and both sets of parents looked good, and so what if Coleen paid for their dresses? These are ordinary people; for once this celebrity couple didn't bow to the OK! pressure by stuffing the church full of z-listers they hardly know. They were surrounded by friends and family, and I think it was a nice gesture for Coleen to let her friends shop in Cricket so they could also feel special on the day.

Wayne wore a light brown suit, as did all the male guests, which looked smart and effective. Both he and Coleen looked genuinely overcome at times and very loving. All in all, despite costing £5m, it looked like a simple old-fashioned wedding, the sort to bring a tear to the eye. Let's hope it lasts, like the marriages of their parents.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sir Alan you're fired

The Apprentice, final week

No surprise that Sir Alan Sugar chose Lee McQueen to be his apprentice. I predicted on May 8 that Lee would be in the final three.

It was no more than I was expecting. It's generally accepted Sir Alan goes for second best. Most of the runners-up were more feisty, more opinionated and more successful than the winner, and they've done better with their careers since (Ruth Badger, Saira Khan for example).

Lee wasn't bright enough to play a particular game in the series, unlike Alex who continually tried to undermine everyone and to avoid taking any high-profile team roles. Where Lee succeeded was being so affable and hardworking that he managed to stay low profile for half of the series because he didn't get into the boardroom. Unlike others who made a deliberate strategy of staying out of the boardroom which has in the past annoyed Sir Alan, he was visible enough - by being affable and hardworking - not to come unstuck.

But in the final task, he was carried by Claire. She was magnificent. It's sad that Sir Alan can't cope with a bit of healthy competition, that he has to go for someone less likely to be vocal in his boardroom (or stock room probably more to the point).

As always the final task was an anti-climax.

Lee comes across as a nice bloke but he didn't show any signs of being entreprenueurial or exxceptional. He's a terrible presenter. If you don't have a degree you can still be far more intelligent and insightful than those who have, but Lee didn't strike me as very curious or inquiring. All that gungho "that's what we're talking about" and dinosaur impressions are great at the AGM of the sales division but look a bit shallow in a serious corporate environment.

As for the series, it's a big jewel in the BBC crown now and boy do they milk it. Three programmes in a row on Wednesday night. The programme is starting to look tired and the format is too samey. We know every year that Sir Alan will go for someone mouldable who's good at sales. The producers throw a few people into the mix who make good television, but we know they don't stand a chance. I'd like to see a new "Sir Alan" next year so we get an entirely new perspective. Michelle Mone or Karren Brady would both be ideal. What do you reckon?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lucinda Let Go

The Apprentice, week 11
It was no surprise when loopy Lucinda bowed out last night, described as "too zany for me" by S'ralan.
I've no doubt that risk manager Lucinda is a solid performer (she is paid the most) but she's a loner. She was only effective when she was managing the task, and couldn't handle direction from any others. That explains why she contracts out her services rather than working permanently anywhere.
In a surprise move, S'ralan then chose to make the four others finalists rather than getting rid of another two. He said they were all strong candidates and it was difficult to choose between them. Personally speaking I would have got rid of Alex and Helene. Alex may seem like a youngster who can be moulded, but he's trucculent, arrogant and defensive. Give him any criticism and he is instantly on the attack, unable to accept it. Helene is another one who doesn't function well in a team. Maybe in the macho corporate environment she describes, but not with women. What I disliked about Helene most though was her contempt for the other candidates - the "gobshites" as she so charmingly put it. And Helene of course is the personification of intelligence and wit, so is entitled to look down on the rest with such disdain. Who's to say that Helene wouldn't look with contempt at those in S'alan's organisation?
In the show earlier this week where the finalists' backgrounds were discussed, Helene referred to her plush office and having cups of tea brought to her. I don't know which US corporate outfit she works for: certainly at mine we do not have plush offices or cups of tea brought to us! I doubt if she will enjoy any of these little comforts at S'alan's box shifters.
Claire performed well in the interviews; I think S'alan is concerned that she may have been pretending to change her ways, but all along she's still very mouthy. I think she'd drive him potty, so my choice would be Lee. He is desperate to win and for him it's his last chance. Claire will do well without the win: she'll probably start appearing on TV just like "The Badger" and Saira Khan without the need to win the title. Lee, who is so desperate to be successful because his father was a milkman, has no qualifications to fall back on and he fits the bill admirably for what S'alan wants. He's a good salesman. I don't think he's particularly entreprenuerial, but I didn't see that either with Tim, the winner of the first series.
I'm a bit disappointed that we will have four finalists because putting them in pairs is just asking for trouble. Each pair will have to win, first of all, but then they'll also have to outdo each other to become The Apprentice. Makes for good TV but I would have preferred a classic head-to-head showdown.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A misogynist fest of weighty matters

The Daily Mail quite often renders me apoplectic with indignation at the way it villifies women (yet conversely claims to be a women friendly newspaper). But today The Sunday Times has got me going.

In their report about the "I'd Do Anything" TV show a male writer tells us that "the competition was won by Jodie Prenger, a size 14....."

And this follows last week's assertion by impresario Cameron Macintosh that Jodie was too large for the role of Nancy in Oliver. Listen Cameron: size 16 is the average in the UK: a size 14 is not fat. Real life is not about size zero women, even if you think it makes it easier for you to sell tickets.

Last night he and the panel were studiously avoiding any mention of weight but were trying to steer the public in the direction of pretty but raw and gawky Jessie from Ireland.

I was a bit of a Jessie fan myself, but in the end I'm glad the public stayed true to their principles. Jodie had never been in the bottom two; the public clearly thought SHE personified their idea of Nancy, not an 18 year old with tumbling curls and an Irish lilt. Or the frightfully bland Sam from the Isle of Man.

But to get back to the size matter: Jodie has lost 8 stone, and hasn't made a big deal about it on the show. Even during the programme's eight weeks you could see she was still losing weight. I seethe when male writers brazenly write about someone's size in the opening paragraph of a story. Do they ever write a man's neck or waist size in stories? No they don't. I don't recall when Paul Potts won "Britain's Got Talent" that the papers introduced the concept of him being fat in the opening paragraph.

I wish we could see an end to the way writers of both sexes perpetuate the warped view that women have to occupy the narrow range of a size 8 to 12 and if they're at the opposite ends of that scale they're too skinny, skeletal etc or too fat, obese, lardy. Even Allison Pearson, who writes in the Daily Mail and has a daughter, thought it was sensible to take a pop at Princess Beatrice, who is not fat but has a curvy figure. The ridiculous Amanda Platell also wrote one of her "analytical" pieces about pear shaped women, and all I can say about that is "pots and kettles."

Allison I hope when your daughter is 19, and wearing a bikini, she hasn't got a pair of bitchy middle aged women spitting venom about her being pear shaped in a national paper.
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