08 January 2019

He Said She Said: Karl Lagerfeld On Sex and Love

"And I personally only like high-class escorts. I don’t like sleeping with people I really love. I don’t want to sleep with them because sex cannot last, but affection can last forever." - Karl Lagerfeld

20 December 2018

He Said She Said: Photography Passion

"I just had a passion to photograph. Shoot, shoot, shoot. You had the satisfaction of shooting the picture. You develop it, you have it in your hands, and it gives you another psychic reward. Then you see it published — that’s another reward. Then you get the check. That’s the final reward!" - Ron Galella

02 December 2018

Flashback: Summer at the Villa Orsula

Villa Orsula, Dubrovnik, Croatia

I can best describe Croatians as being a rusty variety of European. 
They are tawny of hair and skin, and tend to look monochromatic because the colour of tan skin is exactly the same shade as rusty hair.

In Dubrovnik, we stay at the 1939 Villa Orsula. The room, which H and I are sharing, feels claustrophobic. But it is tenderly pretty, with rambling roses on the right of the verandah, and a stunning view of the Adriatic Sea framed by cypress trees.
The bathroom has a bidet.

The medieval town of Dubrovnik, which we can see from the window, is said to be 15 minutes’ walk from the villa seems farther in the summer heat. In fact, it proved a tedious hike, but we forget everything once we get within the walled city, which is abuzz with interesting people, rich history, and beautiful squares all connected by vast glossy-smooth marble streets and dotted with mysterious dark cafes that make H smoke non-stop, in the manner of Maggie Cheung.
We go on a tour in a taxi, which is USD 70.
Breakfast at the Villa Orsula is quite the thing to do and the guests are out in full force, bright and early, eating under grape vines hanging with grapes. Stern ancient men serve yogurt and honey silently. H is thrilled by the view of the violently blue cove and sickle moon of white pebble, where later I collect vari-coloured stones in my Pleats Please pouch, watched by an old lady in a bikini, who sits there every day with her mutt until the last light fades.
The luggage boy wears tennis shorts, and is as cute as a porn actor.
The blonde towel boy is a trouble-maker who causes the lady at the front desk to lose her cool neatness and I’m sure she goes off work each day with a headache.
Blonde towel boy has a friend, a young teen, who throws mussels at the girls on the beach, causing them to shriek.
The boat man from the Villa Orsula is a white-haired mariner with white deck-shoes, who tirelessly ferries us in his boat to and from the little island of Lokrum every day.

01 December 2018

Zurich 1995

Zurich is a bourgeois city full of well-groomed people, enjoying well-groomed lives with well-groomed pleasures within walking distance. 

In other words, it’s civilized.

People here are unhurried and helpful, and at the main station Halpenhoff, they give us directions, tell us exactly where to get off and get on the buses.

At the Croatian Consulate, a gruff officer at the door told us it would take one month, then one hour, then later, just 20 minutes to process our travel visas. 

Nearby, fit young people cycle by the lake in the cool crisp air, looking at swans and pairs of duck swimming cooly by.

On many streets stand more colourful cow statues than there are people.
There are many rich glamourous shops full of designer goodies, and the cafes swivel with heads sipping morning coffee. We have coffee at a quiet side street café, with two smartly dressed old ladies.

Heather and I both buy white orthopedic slippers I see on sale in a pharmacy – the only things we can afford. I go next door and buy the latest Vogue Italia. Then we bought a bag of fat blueberries from a greengrocer with a splendid display of fruit – served by a snotty Filipina. We ate the berries on the run, our mouths blue with juice.
Heather said: “Zurich airport is like Changi.”
I said: “In fact, Zurich airport looks like Marina Square.”

05 January 2017


I'm basically watching this BL lakorn almost entirely because of Cooper Patpasit (he plays the lead role Golf). He isn't classically handsome, in fact, there's something simian about his features, but what an extremely sexy young man! And the fact that he can act actually makes the four episodes watchable; His acting holds up large swathes of this somewhat plodding drama, and his presence and charm make him a budding star.
Cooper with his lovely long, lean torso
This 20 year old isn't pretty-pretty but he makes up for it with a 20 year old's nubile, athletic build, an asset that was quickly showcased in the diving scene way up in the debut episode - and then again and again - which makes My Bromance captivating and exciting to watch - and yes, a bit more adult (than let's say Make It Right), if only marginally so.
I think this series treads the middle ground between Grey Rainbow, which was thoughtful and thought-provoking, and the pure tooth-rotting fluff of Make It Right. My Bromance doesn't have the depth of the former, no philosophical or religious basis, nor is it entirely devoid of realistic detail like the latter. What it has is plenty of family drama that at times feels totally unnecessary, and diffuses the buildup of the love between its leads.
I think the makers have mistaken a convoluted family structure for depth - it's not profound or complex, merely tedious and confusing. For instance to have Golf's mother have a twin sister who lives with Golf. Why twin? Why not just a sister who could be played by some other actress, not the same actress that doubles up as Golf's mother? Then Golf's mother is a manic depressive, who commits suicide, after fighting with her husband over a non-existent mistress. The father is also sick - there are scenes of him being attended to in hospital - overall there's a heavy sense of illness hanging in the air that forebodes tragedy - so no fluff here.
Now, the aunt also has a rather shrill daughter who lives under the same roof as Golf and acts like a sister, but isn't, She doesn't have a father. There's drama over the house which has to be sold, etc and so forth and it goes on and on. It certainly doesn't help that even the flashbacks aren't told chronologically but flash back and forth, with repeats.
Does one need to watch a tapir fall in love?

The casting of Kaii is also hugely problematic for me - firstly, Kaii is physically not as attractive as he should be. I'm trying to reach for a polite way to say that he looks like a baby tapir but I can only go so far as to say Kaii is not slim. The face isn't even agreeable, and the beaky nose and sly eyes make him look devious and scheming when he needs to look vulnerable. I don't know what he has done to deserve this plum role - but it certainly isn't his acting ability. The role cries out for Oat or Min Thitipat of Love Sick, someone with a bit of fragility and innocence.
His looks and appeal are cruelly brought into focus by having his character be a magnet to no less than three suitors - the series opens with one American suitor proposing marriage to him; Jaguar plays the student council that courts him in school; then there's Golf. All three are very attractive alpha types, making it unlikely that any of them, not to mention all of them, falling for Kaii.
And all this could be overlooked if there was even one jot of chemistry between Cooper and Kaii - alas not a quiver of chemistry. Zero. Zilch.
Cooper might as well be making love to a particularly lumpen body pillow for the total lack of electricity.

30 December 2016


"The reason no one married her was it was just all too much. Something truly frightening rumbled there beneath the bubbling mirth: something capable of taking the world by its heels, and shaking it."
- Fay Weldon

"Edmund and Fanny are both morally detestable and the endorsement of their feelings and behaviour by the author makes Mansfield Park an immoral book."
- Kingsley Amis

"The art is so consummate that the secret is hidden; peer at them as hard as one may; shake them; take them apart; one cannot see how it is done."
- Thornton Wilder

"Austen reveals so frankly and with such sobriety the economic basis of society."
- W H Auden

"This old maid typifies 'personality' instead of character, the sharp knowing in apartness instead of knowing in togetherness, and she is, to my feeling, thoroughly unpleasant English in the bad, mean, snobbish sense of the word, just as Fielding is English in the good generous sense."
- D H Lawrence

"Here was a woman about the year 1800 writing without hate, without bitterness, without fear, without protest, without preaching. That was how Shakespeare wrote, I thought. And when people compare Shakespeare and Austen, they may mean that the minds of both had consumed all impediments; and for that reason we do not know Jane Austen and we do not know Shakespeare, and for that reason Jane Austen pervades every word that she wrote, and so does Shakespeare."
- Virginia Woolf

"She is mistress of derision rather than of wit or humour. Her irony is now and then exquisitely bitter. The lack of tenderness and of spirit is manifest in Miss Austen's indifference to children, and as children through whom a mother may receive flattery from her designing acquaintance on her sensible friends... in this coldness or dislike Miss Austen resembles Charlotte Bronte."
- Alice Meynell


12 June 2016


Three of the best at the on-going London shows:

J W Anderson
Whimsical, joyful and relevant in these rather depressed, cynical times - a jolt of inspiration.

Margaret Howell 
Elegant, thoughtful, desirable clothes with hidden wells of sensuality. Cuts out the social media noise instantly and suddenly you see, and think, clearly.

E Tautz
Rumpled academic meets Talking Heads - more deliciously desirable clothes that will stand the test of time.

Monday With Monet

                                                        Still Life with Meat, 1862


I hadn't planned on being hooked to Make It Right The Series (MIR), because its trailers had promised a formulaic follow-up to the hugely successful (and iconic) Love Sick The Series (LS) which ended last year (also by Thailand's Mcot Station). As predicted, MIR has hewed lazily to the boys' love genre conventions, casting a few extremely pretty boys to enact what is less of a plot than a trail of tropes: Confused Uke (Fuse) ensnaring Passionate Seme (Tee); Nerd (Book) falling for Younger Flirt (Frame); Out&Proud converting Straight-for-Now, and in these combos, throw in some third parties (in Thai, these are called "third wheels"); and then stir in a few disposable girls into a sweetly fluffy meringue of a story (MIR, like LS is adapted from a Thai online novel). 

After watching the first four episodes (subtitled in English by fans), I can assure you that the story is just as twig-thin as any of the cast's scrawny arms. It's hard not to compare MIR with LS, as the two are almost identical - I would go so far as to say that MIR is the production team's attempt at getting LS right, ironing out some of its wrinkles and creases and smoothing out the edges (for instance, they made MIR a lot more racy, with sex in Ep 1, and lots of skin - whereas LS muddled along and it wasn't till towards the end of Season 1 before Noh and Phun actually got down to business). However, because of its similar territory, MIR suffers in comparison, possibly because it comes later, and thus carries the weight of having few/no surprises/ novelties. It's obviously mining a formula (as many are doing - even the recent Chinese webseries Addiction was inspired by LS) that had proven successful - I hope that I will be proven wrong in due course with a compelling twist or two - but I'm not holding my breath.

Of course what's really working, and credit should be given where it's due, is the excellent casting as usual. The four main leads (plus quite a few more in the supporting cast) are spot-on heartbreakers (but then Thailand is like a factory that keeps churning impossibly cute boys out - I need to take out all my savings and move there pronto!) that give MIR its sparkle and life. Again, this is like LS - you don't really watch it for the plot, but for those coyly seductive moments and intense looks of longing that only the really young can carry off - that's the heavy lifting there. The rest is merely working out the various moments/situations where Peak, 16 (as Fuse), Boom, 15 (as Tee), Ohm 15 (as Frame) and Toey, 20 (as Book) these looks can dart those deadly stares into the camera or wrap their nubile limbs fetchingly around each other. For now, Tee has emerged the real star - he's like the new Captain isn't he? Tee represents a new type, very Chinese-looking with the most sculpted of noses and full juicy lips. 

I think fans are watching because MIR fills the void that LS left - it's a pale shadow of LS, but it's a familiar shadow. MIR has to make it on its own merits to matter, and to prevent any more comparisons to LS.