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Ben Whishaw in The Hour

18 Aug

British weather is a joke. But in the summer, as the clouds draw over, festivals and fairs get pissed on, and al of a sudden you’re wearing a coat and shivering whilst inside, at least these grumbles are allayed by ‘the silly season’. When giant rats are found in an estate oop north, or when a whale is found halfway up the Thames, or a donkey is parachuted into the air. Silly season is essentially when parliamentary recess happens and every newspaper’s front 20 pages resemble Metro’s page 3.

However, in this disgusting summer, the whole concept of a silly season lasted for about as long as that 31 degree heatwave. What kicked it off was the convergence of evil journalists, evil politicians, evil police officers in the hacking scandal, sending the world into some sort of tailspin, making everything happen reallyfuckingquickly and giving actual purpose to 24 hour news channels’ ‘BREAKING’ tickers. Bar the recent riots, which were a whole new level of WTF, this persistence of stuff just happening all over the place has been eerily echoed by The Hour. The newsroom thriller about the corrupt triumvirate of police, government and journalists, had The Times columnist Giles Coren musing on Twitter: “wow. journalists, police and politicians all interconnected in a terrible naughty mess. who would have thought?”

The programme had been tipped as the ‘British Mad Men’, but the plaudit fell by the wayside; although The Hour’s costumes seem to be spot on, it lacks Mad Men’s glamour and gloss. All for good reason – the BBC’s budget is a mere splash to HBO’s ocean, and postwar Britain was penniless in comparison to postwar America. But at points it feels as if the grubbiness is not down to a purposeful move away from glamour, but down to unintentional faults. There are some serious continuity howlers as the camera angle switches. Look! There’s Dominic West pouring a bottle of wine. And look! It’s disappeared again.

Almost as fleeting as Dominic West’s bottle of wine was my friend Noo’s turn in the first episode. She had a tough task, playing the nervy society girl who dismantled the story’s equilibrium by coming in and mumbling paranoid tales about ‘them’ and ‘they’. But she did very well, and you can see her this Christmas in the BBC’s adaptation of Great Expectations. Let’s hope she gets given a better fringe this time.

But we’re not here to talk about her fringe. We’re here to talk about Ben Whishaw’s lesbian hair. Lots of people have said that his suit looks far too contemporary, that it could’ve fallen out of a Hedi Slimane collection. The same could be said for his hair, which seems to have been scalped from east London’s finest lesbians. It’s all floppy, like what happens when a girl has a crew cut then it grows out and she can’t be bothered to cut it because it’s still pretty low maintenance and besides she’s sleeping with the ex of the girl who cuts her hair for free and why pay anyway? Yeah, that.

Theresa Wayman of Warpaint

27 Jun
Theresa Wayman by Brodie Ukitake

Theresa Wayman by Brodie Ukitake

Growing your hair out’s a bitch. But an end result half as good as Theresa Wayman’s could probably be the best incentive to go through that naff stage where everyone’s comparing you to Nick Carter/Anthea Turner/Celine Dion circa 1994. The multi-instrumentalist and vocalist for Los Angeles murmur-rockers Warpaint most probably isn’t a lesbian (although our gaydar suggests otherwise, our sources insist on her heterosexuality), but she’s got this swagger. Her charisma and her hair (and perhaps her slightly toned down grungey music) hearkens back to Kurt Cobain, who similarly covered his face up with straggly, hair when he sang, yet, similarly, didn’t look as if he smelt too bad. Theresa looks as if she smells really pretty, but still has masculine, un-pampered locks. When all too many girls are going for the little Sikh-boy bun on top of the head, or dip-dyeing their roots bright pink, she’s just letting it all hang out, which is sexy. Julie Burchill once said that a woman behind a guitar looks as unnatural as a dog on a bicycle, but tbh, I think dogs on bicycles look awesome, as does Theresa Wayman. Whenever she plays, she doesn’t only look natural, but totally in command. If Julie had seen Warpaint at Glastonbury, she would be eating so many of her own hats – fedoras, trilbies, sunhats, whatever hat she has – that she’d be hauled up by ITV to talk about her fabric-munching ordeal on This Morning. And she’d weep while clinging to the sofa, trembling and moaning in her soft voice: ‘Oh, Schofe, I just… I just. Didn’t realise how wrong I was!’ in-between gobfuls of shirt.

NB Honourable mentions to the rest of Warpaint. Who are fantastic.

Syd Bennett of OFWGKTA

8 May
Syd Bennett of OFWGKTA

Syd Bennett of OFWGKTA

Everyone’s banging on about Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, (or Odd Future, if you’re pressed for time). And although there’s much merit to be found in their tracks’ production values – no samples in favour of a rickety chillwave sound – their lyrics make Eminem look like a choirboy. e.g.

“I’ll push this fucking pregnant clown into a hydrant stuck in the ground/ I step through the stomach, replace the baby with some fucking pounds”

“Those privilege fucks got to learn that we ain’t taking no shit/ Like Ellen Degeneres clitoris is playing with dick”

Frontman, Tyler, The Creator, has got a way of making me laugh on Twitter, though:

“These Old White People Next To Me Are So Scared. Now Its Awkward. I Said Hi, She Jumped

Prolly Cause I’m Ginger”

But I’d never follow the guy – as charming and insightful and intelligent as he is, his tweets and interviews are peppered with ‘faggot’ and ‘gay’ in their pejorative senses.

“Nto Having A Fuckign Working Phone Is Fucking Gay Fuck!”

And yeah, maybe it’s post-modern and post-ironic. Like, ‘I’m going to say fag and shit to highlight that people say fag and it’s not right but people still do it and I’ll still do it you fucking fag’. But that tired years ago with the third verse of D12’s ‘Shit On You’. And they had the defence of alter egos to validate their use of obscene lyrics. Homophobia comes on a sliding scale, and it’s not enough to say you don’t mean it when you say ‘fag’ or ‘gay’ to mean shit, because in that case, you’re intelligent enough to find better adjectives to use to express your disdain.

Paul Lester did an interview with Tyler for The Guardian‘s The Guide, showing the 20 year old’s duality; peppy yet angry, smart yet facetious. It answered a question that had been niggling away at me for the past couple of days, when I saw an MTV interview with the OF gang. Who is that little one in the red? And is she a lesbian?

It’s Syd Bennett, the engineer of OF and their get out clause for all accusations of misogyny and homophobia. Because she’s a lesbian. No, it doesn’t quite make sense. What do you think? Does her presence as a respected member of the collective undo all the misogyny in their lyrics?

Her hair’s pretty simple; afro hair shaved into a quiff with a couple of go faster stripes at the side, messily grown out.

Joey Essex

24 Apr
Joey Essex

Joey Essex

Until two weeks ago, I’d ignored The Only Way Is Essex. In fact, over the past half decade, I’ve ignored all of the quasi-reality shows featuring overindulged young people looked bored by their own inane conversations: The Hills, The City, Jersey ShoreLaguna Beach, everything the Kardashians have done (apart from when Kim got pissed on by Ray J – that piss was for real).

All of these shows were carved in the image of The Simple Life, but pale in comparison. TSL was astounding, not only because Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are genuinely funny, but because they were taken out of their comfort zones, to experience life with ‘normal Americans’, who, by that very definition, weren’t normal at all. It was Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends made more digestible for people who like to watch a wall-eyed Tippi Hedren-a-like giggle at the jokes cracked by an 22-year-old ex-heroin addict.

By the time it got to series 5, the formula was tired, and the girls’ respective DUI cases held up filming. Producers decided, then, to do away with the task of getting rich kids to relinquish their vanities and luxuries, and just stick a couple of cameras in front of some rich teenagers in their own habitats, in the hope that at some point, someone would watch. And yeah, people do watch – probably because some people are quite stupid and some people get too nailed on a Saturday night to do anything but fester in front of MTV on Sundays. The cumulative effect of these shows is that audiences now expect actors more wooden than Keanu Reeves’ erections and dialogue as complex as a cheese sandwich [see: Gossip Girl].

TOWIE, though British, and as a result, more accessible, never appealed to me. It seemed as inane as all the American stuff. But I must admit, Joey Essex is something of a wonder. At a recent work placement at a women’s weekly, I was asked to find photos of Joey at clubs. How would I do this? By trawling through every single photo taken in Essex clubs to spot him. Out of thes hordes of perma-tanned blokes decked out in pink pinstripes and beerstains, how would I identify Joey? But of course – the hair!

Most of the male attendees of Brentwood’s Sugar Hut and the like have spiked ‘dos, 2005 indie mops, slapheads, Hoxton fins (REMEMBER?) or revisions of any style John Terry’s kept his 50mg of grey matter warm with. Apart from Joey, who has a gel-free, suave bonce. It’s a perfect lesbian cut, because, well, so many lesbians have hair exactly like it. Lacking in wet-look product, it’s a man’s cut, but it is still dandified, suiting metrosexuals and lesbisexuals alike.

Ellen Page

11 Apr
Ellen Page

Ellen Page

One of the cutest videos ever has just been uploaded onto YouTube. No, it’s not a fainting kitten, it’s Ellen Page juggling. Ellen Page has kind of fallen off my radar since Inception scared me so much I couldn’t sleep alone for weeks. I worry that she’s not going to do enough films and then suddenly age and her cutesy, doll-like face will look really weird as she becomes a proper adult. Like Michelle Trachtenburg – she’s got one faces which reminds you that she was hotter when she was 16 and that’s really creepy.

The magic to Ellen Page is that she’s pretty, but not scary pretty like Christina Ricci. In interviews and her roles, she comes across as intelligent, charming and kooky. Intelligent in a Winona Ryder way. Not kooky in a Chloe Sevigny-will-suck-a-cock-and-it’s-art way, but in a genuinely “I don’t care about looking good for guys” way. And even that’s not in a Kristen “I’m dating R-Patts so I will just wear whatever shit I find on my floor” Stewart way.

If there was a Venn diagram with Chloe Sevigny, Winona Ryder,Christina Ricci and Kristen Stewart all represented as circles and they all crossed over at a particular locus, then I would put that Venn diagram in the bin as a symbol of my wholehearted acknowledgment that it’s reductive to describe women as amalgamations of other women.

Ellen doesn’t conform to a traditional gender role of femininity – she wears boys clothes, isn’t afraid to express her intelligence and doesn’t spend hours each day making herself aesthetically more appealing for men. Yeah, it’s a shame that as soon as a woman doesn’t put makeup on in the mornings, people question her sexuality, but with all the lezzing about her and Drew Barrymore did during the promotional tour for Whip It, can we be blamed for wondering/wishing?

There’s more to it than that. She’s got the perfect nonchalant lesbian hair down. Or up. It’s almost non-descript and rubbish, but women who’re into femmes still adore her, because she is blessed with one of the prettiest faces this side of the catwalk. When her hair’s done all big for photoshoots for mainstream media, she’s detestably pretty. So this boring hair is exactly what’s needed to give Ellen a semblance of normalcy- it complements her face, uglifying her and making her accessible and friendly.

Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss

31 Mar
Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss

Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss

The Children’s Hour, written in 1934 by Lillian Hellman and now showing at London’s Comedy Theatre, is a flawed play. It’s difficult to believe that a child could bring about the demise of a whole school and three adults’ lives simply through a bit of gossipmongering. But once you get past that, Ian Rickson’s production is mostly made of brilliance. The set, an imposing gothic structure, turns to shit as the characters’ lives do likewise. Living legend Ellen Burstyn, who’s been onstage for half a century, doesn’t seem weathered, but seasoned and perfected through experience. Her voice, though crackly and heartbreaking (who can forget her turn in Requiem for a Dream?), carried so well it felt like she was crumbling beside me. Elisabeth Moss, usually mousey and timid as Don Draper’s secretary, Peggy Olsen in Mad Men, was unnessecarily shouty during the first act, but perhaps this would be different when not viewed from the second row. The seating wasn’t all bad, though. Not only could I see the spit from the actresses’ mouths, but the tears rolling down their faces.

Bryony Hannah who played the catalyst of the tears, made the role of an annoying taddle tale excruciatingly annoying, and the bloke who played the frustrated fiance was bearable. Keira Knightley, though possessing an accent with an almagated provenance of Boston, Bangor and Louisiana, was faultless, non-verbally. By clutching a cardigan and cowering, she manages to evoke a plethora of emotions; fear, fright, apprehension, relief. And she’s so bloody gorgeous that Elisabeth Moss wouldn’t even need to stare at her for the audience to believe there’s some lust going on there.

And kudos to Keira for putting herself out there. Many other actresses of her supposed milieu could never manage or dare to tread the boards (I mean you, Jessica Alba) and you can tell that this is where she feels most in control of her own performance.

If you haven’t caught The Children’s Hour, then don’t worry. The 1962 film, which featured Audrey Hepburn in Keira’s role, Shirley MacLaine in Elisabeth’s role and James Garner as the bloke. It’s fantastic – the only thing you’ll be missing out on Ellen Burstyn’s incredible performance.

Ahem. Now to the important part. The hair. Keira’s attracted lesbian glances since the Domino-era crop, and although her current hair (for the role)  is dowdy, it is very lesbiany. A bluntly-cut bob is that perfect “I’m so pretty/lesbiany that I genuinely don’t give a fuck” and the hairclip shows restraint, a desire to stick within conventional societal boundaries (of sexuality? maybe). Elisabeth Moss’s hair isn’t so much lesbiany as resentful-lesbiany. It’s screaming “I AM NOT A LESBIAN, LOOK, I CURL MY HAIR”

Kim Ann Foxman

24 Mar
Kim Ann Foxman

Kim Ann Foxman

Apologies this post comes so late. I’ve been tied up putting together some videos for EastBound magazine. I’ve been so busy that I never got to see Kim Ann Foxman DJing at Corsica Studios for Club Motherfucker.

Unfortunately, it might be a while before I get to see her DJ at a lez night. Because she’s just told ArtRebels.com that she doesn’t like to play for lesbian crowds. She said:

“I try not to focus on the lesbian aspect. I am rather a DJ that happens to be a big homo. Music comes first. I don’t really play at many lesbian events because usually lesbians don’t love my music anyway and I feel that they usually have annoying requests. Lesbians are a tough crowd; not all, of course, but generally I think they are. I love to play for mixed parties, where it is about the music and I love to play for gay boy parties too.”

And I totally gets what she means. It goes all the way back to the mid 1970s. Either the disco scene was too flamboyant for lesbians, or they were  deemed too short to be let in to Studio 54, Paradise Garage and The Limelight. So lesbians never got to appreciate disco/soul/deep house. And you can hear it nowadays. Gay nights tend to play housey, uplifting and vocal music, and people dance around without inhibitions. Lez nights tend to play grime, indie rock and bassline. And they don’t dance, they nod.

But, pleasingly, gay/lesbian music is merging. The apex of this being Lovebox’s polysexual day, which is essentially Pride without all the geeks.

Kim Ann Foxman accompanied Hercules and Love Affair there last year. She resides within the beautiful genre of soulful Chicago house. I think her hair was the same then as it is now. Not gimmicky, just messy on top, tidy at the sides, and cute.

Michelle Rodriguez

13 Mar
Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez

This fiery latina has got in trouble from the lesbian community recently. At the premiere of her new film, Battle: Los Angeles, she told a reporter from RumorFix.com that she’d like everyone to know:

“I’m not a lesbian. Yeah! Mitchie likes sausage.”

This is despite a pretty obvious thaaang going on with Kristanna Loken. You know, the out actress who appeared on The L Word. And if you’ve seen anything Michelle’s been in (Lost, Blue Crush, Avatar) , you’ll be sure she’s gay. She’s butch enough to make Chuck Norris look like Kurt out of Glee. Obvs, though, it’s not for me to determine/announce someone’s sexuality, so let’s just say she’s one of those people who isn’t comfortable with being labelled. This can be shown by her hair; it’s that perfect pseudo-straight girl hair. It’s long, assuring us that she’s not gay, but it’s prone to ponytails. When ponytails are done so low on the head, you can only assume that the wearer is either a member of Status Quo or a massive lesbian.

Daisy Lowe

7 Mar
Daisy Lowe

Daisy Lowe

Daisy Lowe, model and love-child of one-time gay, Gavin Rossdale, has come out and said she is a ‘mild lesbian’.

In the interview with, er, GQ, She said she’s crushing on Kelly Brook and banged on about how women have beautiful shapes.

I’m sure this doesn’t mean that she’s going to be interested in me, what with my appearance regularly causing cashiers at Tesco to call me ‘sir’, but I poked her on Facebook regardlesss. Short of a successful come-on, it’s part of a grander scheme to bring Facebook poking back. Poking is a wonderful way to annoy people/ let them know you’re keen.

Her hair isn’t lesbiany, but hey, it is the lesbian maketh the hair, not the hair which maketh the lesbian. And it’s really hot (and before you think ‘in an obvious way’, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being hot in an obvious way).

Charlie Sheen

6 Mar
Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen

In case you needed reminding, Charlie Sheen’s meltdown has become incredibly public over the past two weeks. After calling a radio show to babble stuff about 9/11 and give Lindsay Lohan advice (‘learn to control your impulses’), all sorts of broadcasters and publications were knocking on the door of Charlie’s house. The ‘Sober Valley Lodge’, as he calls it, is home to himself, his two ‘goddesses’ and, until the police took them into custody, his two sons by alleged crackhead Brooke Mueller.

The frighteningly articulate actor has said some hilarious things in each of his interviews, but his infamy kind of jumped the shark when he started interacting with his fans on Twitter and playing up to what they like. He’s not really functioning on a different realm when his lowly fans can coerce him into getting a tattoo of ‘winning’ on his wrist. There’s also the small matter of that time in the 80s when he SHOT his ex, Kelly Preston. He’s also plead guilty to a whole slew of assault charges in the years since.

Such a shame Chuck’s a misogynist, because, gee…he used to make such a cute lesbian.