Monthly Archives: October 2008


Bond reminds me of Sunday afternoons when I was a little girl, asking my father to explain the plot over the noisy action scenes, in the days before video.

It clearly irritated him beyond measure, especially when I didn’t understand the explanation either.

He probably felt uncomfortable watching me copy him laughing at the sexual innuendos too.

Bond: I can feel a stiffening coming on.

Me: Hahahahahahahahaha!

Incidentally, when I Googled sexual innuendo in Bond I found a website where a chap called Brian posed a question I have copied below because, how can you not love a responsible parent?

My 9-year-old son is a spy nut and knows of James Bond. I would like to rent one of the videos for him but want one that won’t scare him to death. I don’t mind sexual innuendo and chase scenes, but I’d like to minimize the blood and guts and overt violence. Any thoughts?

Anyway, there’s been a tiny bit of publicity out for the new one but in case it doesn’t hit the mark MGM have hired 1 million hitmen to hold a knife up to the throats of the British Public, suggesting they go to see it. Each man is responsible for terrorising 50 people, to make sure the population is covered (the few million they will miss are in the industry and have already seen it).

And I’m confident it will be a jolly way to pass a couple of hours, even if it’s hard to look at Daniel Craig without thinking of Zoolander.

Yet not as confident, it would appear, as Olga Kurylenko, who I stumbled across in a BBC news website interview and who left me thinking not of stunts and gadgets so much as Hallowe’en.

Because this woman is COMPLETELY TERRIFYING.

Firstly, I would like to say I like her eyebrows a lot. They are audacious and sexually threatening, in a good way.

Secondly, I enjoyed the sound of the interviewer’s little ‘Mmm’ noises, as he tried to agree it’s a shame Bond girls have to get their kit off instead of portraying the character. Very professional.

Here is the link:

But this, assuredly, is self-assuredness on a whole new level.

An actress who laughs in the face of rejection (‘Too bad for them!‘), who never breaks eye contact (except to gesticulate meaningfully) and who would bollock an interviewer for asking her a question wearing the wrong colour jacket (whilst stroking his groin with her stocking-ed foot).

This woman did not do a casting for the film.

She walked into the agents’ office in 5 inch heels, kneed him in the balls and shoved her telephone number down his boxer shorts. She thinks breakfast is for wimps and has never paid for dinner in her life. When she sleeps she does so in silk briefs and needs only four hours. She home-schooled herself to an IQ of 987. She flies first class everywhere because she thinks jets are environmentally irresponsible even though she has a pilot’s licence. She only packs a toothbrush and lipstick when she travels. Her sunglasses are never smudged. She uses her tear ducts to emote for roles only. She campaigns for pandas, eats steak raw and thinks Angelina Jolie is lazy. She never has to repeat herself. She never has to apologise. She never has to repeat herself. She drinks rare brandy but only ever one glass. She doesn’t smoke but if she did it would be small cigars. She isn’t afraid of death. She has no fillings. She swears judiciously. She doesn’t believe in serendipity. She can’t be shocked or manipulated or given naff presents at Christmas. She speaks 23 languages and reads Proust between takes.

She has never been to the toilet.

This time next year they will be selling an ‘Olga’ costume in the shops.

And I, for one, will be trick-or-treating in it.


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Elves Stitch Small Fortune for Down-At-Heel Shoemaker

The air is heavy with the scent of Jo Malone candles, while underfoot you may trip over yet another empty bottle of vintage Dom Perignon.

Because under the low wooden beams of a village chalet in the Swiss mountains, Christmas has arrived early.

As an elderly shoemaker and his wife absent-mindedly toss another fistful of Euros onto their log fire, life couldn’t be sweeter.

And yet as recently as two months ago their drawn faces told a different story.

For forty years the couple enjoyed a modest but comfortable lifestyle, hand-crafting luxury footwear, using traditional methods.

Whilst never celebrating the profits of mass commercial success, they took pride in the care invested in each unique pair of shoes.

But as their small business felt the chill of the global economic slowdown, sales withered.

It seems Swiss villagers think Sarah Jessica Parker looks like an angry horse and failed to pick up on the shoe fetish sweeping across many European cities.

With remnants left to make only one more pair of shoes, the couple gloomily resigned themselves to a retirement on out-of-date Toblerones.

But just as the bailiffs were due to come knocking on their door, they found hope in the form of an exquisite set of ready-made, black, Cuban heels.

Studded with rhinestones and polished to a shine, they were fine enough to make Prince howl.

‘At first we thought it was a hidden-camera TV stunt.

Then we realised someone had deliberately left them and I sunk into professional jealousy, while the wife started on about breaking-and-entering.

Eventually, we cleared the air with a good row and knew we’d hit pay dirt,’ said the old gentleman.

Sure enough, the following day a local drug dealer snapped them up and the shoemakers had enough money to buy more of the materials they would need to hammer their way out of penury.

But that night the same thing happened again, without them lifting so much as a finger.

And the night after that and so on and so on.

Until one glorious day, the old couple were able to buy Lindt Excellence again.

They claim that each morning it was a wonderful surprise and deny leaving the un-made shoes and a couple of Pro plus under a night light, on purpose.

The old woman says it was on their way back from a Spa Day Break that they first realised someone must have been helping them make a fortune.

It took only a few weeks to come up with the idea of hiding behind a door to discover the identity of their night-time helpers.

Of course, the reality they were faced with was a far cry from the Christian Fellowship of Shoemaker Lovers they had suspected.

For the master craftsmen were none other than two diminutive elves, dressed in rags.

‘I’m a simple man,’ says the shoemaker. ‘Gnomes I’m familiar with- they do a great job with the street lighting.

But elves? Don’t talk soft.’

Nevertheless, the pair could no longer ignore the evidence and sat down to discuss how they might reward their miniature benefactors.

The last thing they wanted was to cause offence by offering them remuneration of any sort, said the old woman; telling them they looked like tramps was bound to be better received.

So they set to work immediately on a stunning new Elf wardrobe.

‘Plenty of green and pointy hats. That’s what suits them.’

The couple say the best reward was seeing their merry little faces as they skipped around the room, singing,

‘Oh what handsome boys we are!

We will work on shoes no more!’

Says the shoemaker, ‘The wife gave me a bit of a sideways look when she heard that. But I’ve no regrets.’

As for the elves, they are amused by their sartorial make-over but have no plans to pop up in any more stories, especially- they would like to emphasise- Snow White.

‘I just like helping people,’ said one.

‘I’ve got a thing for leather,’ said the other.


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Apple Tree

In a country garden I would like to be the apple tree

Reposed in solid euphoria

Breathing deeply in an orchard


Stretching longs limbs into the solemn soil

Caked in heavy earth but with my hair

Floating on the air above


Tousled in a wholesome beauty

Whimsical in bloom

Serious as fuck in yield

Flirting quietly in the eerie wind: a flower girl in workman boots


My tarty half-spent fruits in the ruffled canopy of my skirt

Giggling ‘Pick me!’ even as they lie on their backs

Squinting at the sun


Catching the rain with my tongue and

The red heat on my pink cheeks

With my zest and my scent and all my warm promises

Grounded in strength


And when I flash a wink at Mr. Kipling

– filled with years of juicy contemplation-

He would never be quite sure

If I was being sweet


If I meant for him to taste me


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Come here boy

You’ve come undone

There’s lipstick on your cheek

And I can tell you’ve been smoking


Get undressed and I’ll enjoy you later

Get undressed and I’ll enjoy you later

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(click image to enlarge, irony notwithstanding)

Someone curious: What is this photograph of?

Tinyphile: Tiny things.

Someone curious: What tiny things?

Tinyphile: A little girl and a little boy silver pendant; the smallest Russian doll- she doesn’t get out enough; a miniature box of matches; a hand-made paper book; a worry doll; a baby jelly baby (deformed); two china dollies; and a set of outfits I made for the elves from The Elves and the Shoemaker.

Someone curious: I’ll pretend I didn’t hear the last one. It makes you sound unhinged.

What’s the deal with small things?

Tinyphile: I love them.

Someone curious: Do you love them because you think they are vulnerable?

Tinyphile: Vulnerable?

Someone curious: Do they inspire your instinct to protect?

Tinyphile: To what?

Someone curious: Do you think they are magical? Can’t big things be magical? Do you live the rest of your life by cliches?

Tinyphile: I…

Someone curious: Or do you love them because they give you a sense of ownership? Is your love of tiny treasures about making you feel bigger as a person? Do most of your loving instincts come from a dark place?

Tinyphile: Well…

Someone curious: Do you love them because they belong to the realm of fantasy? Does that mean you find reality lacking? Can’t you handle reality? Does it make you feel inadequate? Is there a line you cross from magic realism to real magicalism? Is that where Elizabeth Taylor has gone? Is that where you want to go too?

Tinyphile: Oh, you’re hurting my head.

I find you overly curious and I’m not enjoying this conversation.

Someone curious: I love it, I’ve made you feel small, haven’t I?

Tinyphile: Yes. Yes, you have.


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Nicole and me

Nicole Kidman called me on my mobile last week.

‘Hi, it’s Nicole Kidman,’ she said.

‘Bloody hell, how did you get my number?’ I asked.

‘My personal assistant got it. I’ve seen you around and I like your style. I think we could be friends. I like that thing you do with your hair when it gets in your eyes.’

I was buying aubergines in Tesco at the time. The reception cuts out and I just picked up ‘friends’ and ‘hair’ and filled in the rest.

But Nicole Kidman! I was excited.

‘Cool!’ (I wished I hadn’t said that but my emotions took over. I had to get my Clubcard out and pay the cashier and smile at her and pick an aubergine up from the floor that had rolled out of the bag. I couldn’t think quickly enough.)

‘Shall we go shopping together?’

All I heard was ‘Shall we?’ but I thought, hell yes, whatever Nic wants to do I’m on board. This will be a cracking story for my book group.

‘Yes, please!’, I said. (Again, it’s not really what I would have wanted to say ideally. She didn’t seem to notice.)

‘OK. I’ll meet you in the Hammersmith Broadway Starbucks on Friday morning. Your kid goes to nursery, right? We can do the girly thing.’

Oh my god, I couldn’t dream this stuff. This is really good.

”Brilliant, Nic. I’ll be there at 9.15.’ (I wanted to say that. I’m happy I said that.)

I didn’t sleep well on Thursday night.

I kept running through all the questions I wanted to ask her. I wondered if she would want to talk about Tom at all. They were married for a long time so I thought she would expect me to want to clear up some basic queries (no pun intended). My sister thought it looked staged when she shouted in elation to the Gods after signing her divorce papers. I wouldn’t tell her that.

‘I like foam on top of my latte too.’

That’s the first thing she said to me. Straight in there, as if we knew each other. She’s so full of class.

And she wasn’t disguised much either, which I thought she might be.

‘Cream’s even better,’ I quipped back.

I’d heard that Nic does this thing where she chews her food without swallowing it, to get the flavour but not the calories. My friend thought it was a great idea when I told her.

So I wasn’t sure if the cream reference would get her on edge- alluding so directly to a foodstuff with high fat content.

It didn’t. She’s a polished act.

‘Let’s head to Primark. You’re surprised I shop there, aren’t you? I don’t. But when in Rome…’

God, she’s got a sense of humour too. I bet she can be really funny.

We walked down the high street together. She’s taller than me and there’s nothing to her. So either she’s chewing and not swallowing or just not chewing in the first place.

I wanted to go to the HSBC cashpoint. But how do you tell Nicole Kidman that?

We just pressed on. She was happy to look at some kitchen sale items in Habitat though. I feel I’ve underestimated her in the past. She’s extremely easy-going.

‘These stripes would look good on you,’ she said, holding up a cashmere mix top.

I tried it on and we agreed I looked like Dennis the Menace.

My Mum called me. I kept losing reception again. She heard me say ‘Nicole Kidman’ and some other random words.

‘I think she looks like a witch these days,’ said Mum.

‘Oh, you’re so wrong, Mum. She’s gorgeous.’

‘What? What are you talking about? Where are you anyway? You’re breaking up. Are you in Tesco?’

I told her I’d call her later.

Nic was rummaging through the £3 basket for some steals. I had to say something.

‘Listen, Nicole, I’ve got a confession to make. I write a blog and the first post I did made you sound aloof. Then I did a conversation between you and Keith that made you both sound a bit Aussie and dumb. In the first one I was trying to be clever and in the second one I was trying to be funny. Sorry.’

Nic leant over to me and for a second I thought she was going to be mean but she just stretched out a slender hand and laid it on my arm. As simple as that. Then she gave me a sweet smile, I think. She’s gone quite heavy on the Botox, I have to admit.

We browsed around for ten more minutes and I asked her some film questions.

She said Baz Luhrmann is an Anglophile and Anthony Hopkins has got a thing for peanut butter. She said Ewan McGregor tried to touch her arse a couple of times and she felt quite open-minded about it. She said Tom Cruise is very heterosexual indeed and seemed to go into a reverie when she said it. She was in love with Stanley Kubrik. She put salt in Cher’s tea once. She’d like to see some amendments to tax duty on Sidney properties. She said so many things. I wished I’d had a tape recorder.

‘You have to realise that most of what you read in the magazines is true, Sophie.’ (She kept saying my name with that lovely lilting voice. I’m going to think of that going to sleep for at least a few weeks now.) ‘People think it’s all made up but it isn’t. We’re as crazy as they say, celebrities. That’s the point of us. Is that your opinion?’

‘Yes, I’d like to think that, Nic. There would be nothing fun in being everyday. It’s like people who win the lottery but say it won’t change them- they still want to live in a caravan.’

Then the alarm went off on my mobile and I told her I had to go and pick Bruno up from nursery. I was already late because I set it to go off at the most last minute moment, to capitalise on our time together.

I didn’t want to leave at all. It didn’t feel right running away from Nicole Kidman outside Marks and Spencers, seeing her get smaller and smaller as I turned back.

But before I went, I plucked up the courage to give her a hug and ask her a question.

‘Nicole,’ I said.

‘Yes, Sophie,’ she replied. She knew something rum was coming.

‘I’ve heard you’ve got male and female genitalia. I know it’s rude to ask. But have you?’

She sort of shook her head like she couldn’t believe how cheeky I was and moved the curls out of her face so she could laugh properly.

‘No, Sophie. That’s not true.’

‘Oh, sorry!’ I said and laughed myself, breaking into a sprint.

‘But George Clooney IS gay,’ she shouted after me and I could hear everyone outside Cafe Nero start to whisper.

Bloody brilliant Friday morning.


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If time is money, worrying is like paying yourself for a session of macabre fortune-telling.

It is without hope, sense and purpose.

It is uncreative, uninteresting and energy inefficient- a Hummer doing the school run.

Moreover, it is 100% unproductive, making absolutely nothing happen.

If a worry is realised, the time wasted on it only serves to compound the catastrophe.

If the worry never happens, the time that was wasted on it is gone forever, wafting around the solar system of Crap Things along with Should Haves and What Ifs.

No-one ever goes to their death-bed wishing they had worried more but worrying often sends worriers to theirs quicker.

Worrier Type 1

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