Sunday, 24 June 2012

Words of Advice to the Stars (Part 2)

On the Red-Carpet 

Women: overweight is really only acceptable if you represent a minority suffixed by [blank]-American and have some actual acting or singing talent or are a British actress over forty who's done Shakespeare or a Ken Loach, kitchen-sink melodrama set somewhere in the wife-beating North of England or anywhere in the narco-states of Scotland or Wales. Even if you can't see the camera: hand-on-hip, tilted in side-thinning-profile with leading foot forward at all times. Whore shoes – high-rise stilettos – and as much side-boob as possible (without revealing the tell-tale enhancement surgery scars). Only go frontal cleavage reveal if your chest doesn't look like the asymmetric ribbed caging of a tiny monkey cage which has had its bars bent on one side where if fell off a rickshaw and got run over by a school bus. Opening-fingered, tiny-flex baby-wave every time you see a camera flash.

Men: you should try to achieve the debonair look Donald Trump imagines he sees when looking in the mirror (though obviously not the tangerine dream, omnidirectional thinning-hair sculpted actuality). If you lean to the Obama-hugging left (which is most of you), just imagine Robert Redford examining old photos of himself instead.

Words of Advice to the Stars (Part 1)


Women: yoga, pilates or yogalates are acceptable workout sessions to be “caught” leaving – kick-boxing is fine if you're cultivating “edge”, but remember: toned is attractive; HD muscles are for men and seafood restaurants only. Always be seen exiting the gym/studio holding a next-generation mobile phone, a bottle of water and keys to an expensive sports car – ideal colour black or silver (seriously – no bicycles). With regards to the bottled water, it should not be full; nor should the brand label be facing towards the paparazzi, unless, of course, you have a sponsorship deal. Make sure it is just water and not one of those vitamin-juice-flavoured variety – it shows you are serious about hydration. Don't go cheap and, even without the label on prominent display, they'll know by the bottle shape. Layered two-tone Lycra is the optimal wear, avoid garish patterns and horizontal stripes and, for the love-of-god, no sweat patches and fix your make up before leaving: you want to look like you work out and not like you've been working out. Spray tan by all means, but after the “workout” - you don't want to look like a chocolate cake left out in the rain. Keep rib-thin, only risk the fat if you've got an exercise video deal or just had a baby – I mean LITERALLY just had a baby (make sure the caesarian stitching is covered and not seeping).

Men: pecs out, shorts hung low at the waist but go full Brazilian – the spider-legs look is perv-creepy and you really should aim for the "clinical" look that invokes the porn-star imaginings of both the ladies, male homosexualists and the and bi- and tri-curious. Underarm hair is acceptable but shouldn't look like a roosting nest for pterodactyls. Styled facial shadow is mandatory; though you don't want to look like you just didn't bother to shave, but you also don't want to look like you didn’t bother trimming. Go baggy, long-leg shorts, but not too baggy, leave a hint of the budge-smuggling-bulge; enhance if needs be but not with actual live avian prosthetics. Unlike the ladies, we want to see you in action: pumping, flexing, squatting … the whole nine yards. Feel free to sweat, but don't go car wash: sleek and slippery: not monsoon surfing (a light oiling with Vaseline or extra-virgin oil will achieve the desired effect). And men, leaving on a motorbike (sans head safety-gear) is acceptable; indeed, preferable to the car – again, no push-peddles, though it can work for lesbians or those women targeting that demographic because of their “perceived” tom boyishness (slightly masculine jaw-line). Always use tan beds and not the spray – it tends to smudge when Vaseline is applied over the top; leave the spray for face-only, slicked-hair and tux red-carpet events. And men, finally, stick to track and weight training, avoid yoga or pilates or yogalates unless you're filming a rom-com or musical or are Woodrow Tracy "Woody" Harrelson and are cultivating “outside the mainstream conventionality” (and have, on occasion in the “liberal press”, supported pot-smoking as a medicinal herb for glaucoma relief and private beach parties).

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Junk Diet

The funny thing about progress is the paucity of its evidential basis – there seems to be things we can point to: technology for one; then other things, more nebulous, like social advancement, improvements in education, collective wisdom, etc., which are not. Are we smarter than the ancient Greeks? Are the more modern Greeks smarter than their fore-bearers? What brought this brooding on is the concern, while flipping through my selective collection of books, music and videos, of the danger we are losing – collectively speaking – in the miasma of the vast information depository of the Internet – the battle to discriminate against trivia. Trivia is a brief entertainment – and I love it as such – but is not the necessary diet of fruit, meat and vegetables. And progress is a concept that is often used to eclipse the question of what is good. They are not synonymous.