Monday, March 12, 2007

Five Things You May Not Know About Me

1. I have had minor cosmetic surgery on Harley Street.

It was expensive. I've never regretted it.

2. I never, ever, ever blowdry my hair.

Not even at a hairsalon. I would rather walk out with wet, freshly cut, unstyled hair than have my head super-heated with warm air. My hair is very, very, very black (almost blue-black), and also very, very, very thick and heavy, dead straight and absorbs heat to such an extreme, there is always the risk I will pass out in the hairsalon chair if my hairdresser attempts the arm-breaking task of blowdrying the black mass on my head. So, no blowdry. Ever.

3. I have never climbed a tree.

I've vaguely swung on a low branch but have never had both feet off the ground or been higher than two or three feet up the trunk of a tree.

4. I smoked for 8 years.

From the second I turned 16 up to midnight 31 December 2004, I smoked Marlboro Lights, maximum 15 a day. I had a brief period of smoking American clove cigarettes with sugared filters. Towards the end of my tobacco tenure, I rolled my own cigarettes and was smoking only two or three tiny daily roll-ups for a while. My husband then quit very successfully with the Alan Carr method and I felt confident I'd quit and stay smoke-free too, so for the last month or so before my date to finally stop, I smoked all sorts of things in one last smoky romantic fling: menthol cigarettes, roll-ups made with liquorice paper, with menthol flavoured filters, different brands of rolling tobacco, different brands of cigarettes, cigars, shisha pipes... then I stopped. I have not smoked for over two years.

5. I don't wear a wedding ring.

We didn't manage to organise wedding rings in time for our ceremony and still haven't managed it. I wear my engagement ring. My husband has an unadorned hand.

That's all for now. More to come if I think of anything else.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bradshaw, BAFTA, Bloggers and Exceeding The Discipline and Ethics of Print Journalism

Thanks to the lovely Ms Banks who is currently working her fingers to the bone at The Guardian, myself and 3 Londonist chaps were invited to a debate entitled The Role of the Film Critic in the Digital Age at BAFTA, jointly organised by the newspaper and the academy. We were able to chat to our favourite film critic Peter Bradshaw and Mike had a his moment of shameless hustling with Nick James, editor of Sight and Sound.

While I'm not a reviewer or critic of film, I consider myself to be both regarding live art, and the debate was fascinating as well as frustrating to me, even though it was not my particular art form. The mediums in which I write - this blog, Londonist, my private longhand journals, the articles that will hopefully one day be included in mainstream print media - are all at a point of change. The growth of online self-publishing and the abandonment of established editorial discipline and ethics is unnerving.

But to me, it is also exhilarating. What a privilege, to be at the forefront of this change! I embrace the challenges, I exult the contantly shifting goalposts, I think it's wildly exciting to be part of the team that says "Well, we're going to do it differently and we're going to do it like this..."

I was dismayed at the end of the debate to find that there was so much fear and trepidation in the room, and it was such a pity because I thought that fear and nervousness, as is so oftent he case, was based on ignorance.

I contributed several paragraphs in the Londonist post here.

And The Guardian has its take on the event here.

Well. What do you think?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

"Bad Photo, Great Haircut"

Still loving my new haircut. I've avoided having a fringe for years as the idea of it reminded me of the pudding bowl haircut I had throughout my childhood. But, just the other night, I was getting ready for bed and caught sight of myself in the mirror and thought, "Damn! That's a great haircut! You rock that fringe as much as Louise Brooks and Pulp Fiction-era Uma Thurman ever did!" So I stood and took pictures of myself until I felt a bit silly and went to bed.

Meanwhile, I'm still digesting the extremely detailed scene-by-scene account of Babel as given to me by my mother last Friday. She mentioned she had watched it with Chinese subtitles and I casually asked, half-interested, what she thought of it and what happened in the film. 45 minutes later, she was at full volume, full speed, and had only described to me the first third of the film. She kept mixing up Morroccans with Mexicans so I got very confused, and has re-christened Brad Pitt as Blad Pettar which I love dearly. For some moments, I thought she was talking about Blue Peter which was even more confusing than mixing up Morroccans and Mexicans in the context of this film.

I don't think I'll watch it after all. It just wouldn't be the same without automatic shouted-out Cantonese audio-description with simultaneous running commentary about who in our family is getting married next, what my dad thinks of my proposed career change from employed to unemployed and why did I want to cut my hair to look like Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra? She got really fat later in life, and she's friends with that creepy Michael Jackson. He's a paedophile. He killed his monkey because he thought he was going to prison and he didn't want anyone to look after it but then it turned he had could sell his theme park and move to Dubai to become a Muslim and repent...

And so on. No film is really complete without it.