Wednesday, 31 January 2007

How to Kick Him to the Kerb in Style

It was a sad beginning to 2007, as burlesque diva Dita Von Teese announced that she was divorcing her husband, monkey-breath Manson. But she's got over the trauma of leaving the milky-eyed goth in style.

I love these pictures of her modelling for Jean-Paul Gaultier at last week's Paris Couture shows. Dita is weeping tears of blood, and dressed as a kind of Pierre et Gilles-style superCatholic Madonna. He loves his Madonnas, that Jean-Paul.

Jean-Paul says, "She was bleeding a little, there was some blood and some red, but that's what is beautiful about passion, no? It's love and pain at the same time." I say, "Where can I get one of those rose hats?"

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

DIY Valentine's day presents

The most depressing places in the world are Clinton Cards shops. Soulless, devoid of any real emotion, and stacked high with tack of no artistic merit. The most depressing day of the year is Valentine's day. If you have a 'partner', you'll stress over what to get them, and even whether you should get them something, if you don't, you will have to put up with the sight of loved-up dullards cooing at each other over over-priced dinner 'deals'.


The only way round the whole mess is to bypass the whole red heart industry, and make your own Valentine's day gift for your fella, your lady, or yourself, if no fellas or ladies are in sight. And the awesome" is here to help. Their cute, cheap, and easy-to-make ideas will win the stoniest heart. From their Etched minty Valentine's box" to this gift for the geek in your life, the resistor ring, and everlasting duct tape roses. Awww. Who said romance was dead? Start making your gift now, you have two weeks. Othewise it's a cuddly Garfield clutching a heart and an Elizabeth Duke claddagh ring for you.

Monday, 29 January 2007

Robots for Free

I love robots, and one day I shall have one to do all I need in my house. I know this is true because Tomorrow's World promised me. Meanwhile, I'll get my tin can friend fix at Whirr.

As well as some crankily cute things to buy, their oh-so-generous downloads page is a sentient being feast of downloadable icons, desktops, a cute paper robodoll, and, for those of you thinking ahead, free Valentine's cards! Free stuff is the best stuff.

Start Getting Excited About Grindhouse NOW!

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's new film, Grindhouse (or Grind House - I've seen it spelled both ways) is going to be ace. It's split into two segments. Tarantino’s half is called Death Proof, a slasher film that stars Kurt Russell as a psychotic stuntman.

Rodriguez tackles Planet Terror, a zombie film that features Rose McGowan as a stripper with one lig. McGowan explains, "Eventually she's called up to save the universe," says McGowan of Cherry, "So she gets a machine gun leg." A machine gun leg. How can a film featuring a stripper with a machine gun leg fail to be one of the best movies of all time?

Running between the two halves will be a series of spoof adverts for fake exploitation pictures, directed again by Tarantino, Rodriguez, Rob Zombie (House of 1000 Corpses), Eli Roth (Hostel) and the UK’s fantastic Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead).

The ideal place to watch this is a provincial flea pit cinema, and with a release date of late spring, you’ve just about got time to find a perfect setting. And to brush up on your grind house cinema knowledge with this book Sleazoid Express: A Mind-twisting Tour Through the Grindhouse Cinema of Times Square

Here's the trailer

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Songs The Bonzo Dog Band Taught Us

The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band were a bunch of 1960s misfits who played gloriously off-kilter trad jazzish pastiches and surreal pop. They were fantastic, and I grew up on their raucous and strange ditties.

They counted among their members genuine eccentric Vivian Stanshall, and Rutles and Tickle on the Tum star Neil Innes. They recently reformed, initially for a one-off show, and then for a full tour of the UK. Cornology - A Bonzo Dog compilation is a great place to start for a Bonzo virgin.

On Monday, Lightning Tree records release a fabulous compilation of songs that influenced the Bonzos, 1920s and 30s obscurities that were semi-covered by or gave inspiration to the band. Find the album here:Songs The Bonzo Dog Band Taught Us

Highlights include the fabulously morose Misery Farm, the original version of Hunting Tigers Out In India, and a storming Sheik of Araby. You'd only have found these gems previously by hunting through dusty second hand shops for brittle towers of shellac. Save on your precious 78 needles, and get these gems on CD instead. Or bypass the CD revolution, and go straight to download. There's modern for you.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Chocs that Rocks

Legendary New York punk venue CBGBs may have closed down, but its memory lives on via the medium of chocolate. Ideal for post prandial gobbling round any Ramones fan's house, these sweetmeats are brought to you by the geniuses at Chocolate Barn in New York . The skull and crossbones embossed one has my name on it. Punk or chocolate? That's a decision you no longer have to make. This box costs $21. I'm waiting to hear if they deliver to the UK.

Here's a top ten of musicians and bands that should play in celebration

Hazelnut Whirl O'Connor
Black Magic Sabbath
Caramel and Kim
Randy Barrell Newman
Terry's All Golden Earring
Electric Turkish Delight Orchestra
Toffee Waybill
Bournevillage People
And, of course, Vanilla Fudge

An Unfortunate Coincidence

You've probably seen this, but if not... This picture makes me laugh like an drain.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Disney matter

Regular habitues of TK Maxx, the bargain clothes barn, will be familiar with Disney's ranges of T shirts. Disney Ink and Paint make vintagey, sequinned, distressed shirts. But they're a tadge bit Jordan-takes-her-blind-kid-on-holiday-for-spread-in-Hello for my liking. In fact, one of their retailers describe them as "fun clothes for nice people", which is enough to put even the most ardent Mickey fan off.

A notch up are the Disney Couture shirts (Snow White on left). Easy enough to find in the USA, at stores such as Hot Topic, they're more elusive over here in the UK. I bagged a really neat Cinderella blue chap in the Urban Outfitters sale, so perhaps that's a good place to start. I'm also digging the print-on-demand vintage Disney shirts at Zazzle

Of the official outlets, The Disney UK online store is pretty useless, full of baby pink hotpants with a tastefully embroidered Little Mermaid logo that only a retarded suburban hairdresser could love and embroidered Quo-style denim. But when I visited the US equivalent , I felt like Tiny Tim pressing his nose against the toy shop window, snow falling on his tousled hair, knowing he would never get his frozen hands on any of the sparkling goods inside.

Disney US sell brilliantly bonkers items like this diamante set of Mickey ears, created by Madeline Beth, that retail at $1200 and are perfect for high days and holidays, I would wear these to a picnic on a hill, or perhaps a disco in a retirement home. Plus they have enough vintage-style Disneyland merchandise to fill a fairytale castle. I love the old hand-drawn Disneyland logo. It's so evocative that it makes me pine for holidays I never even had.

These flags are lovely, and would look comforting and familiar above a bed, or fluttering proudly above a porch. "I went to Disney before it was sanitized into nothingness," they would proclaim.

But we can't buy any of them. Disney US won't ship over here (believe me, I asked very nicely). Please, we didn't get a theme park. Give us some cool things to buy in compensation.

It's funny, I'm not even a huge fan of Disney films, but their wholesome-50s-Americana-meets-European-fairy-tale imagery makes me melt.

PS. A joke for any Scottish people.

Q What is the difference between Bing Crosby and Walt Disney?
A Bing sings, and...

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Hot and Flashy

I love buying presents for my friends. And Hot and Flashy bath and body stuff is the kind of present you give to your very best girls. Its art deco-style packaging classes up the dullest white bathroom, and the gunk inside is luxurious and smells delicious, and reassuringly old fashioned, with layers of cedar and lemon.

Some of the gift sets come with dinky little deco ceramic dishes and you can buy this so-swishy tray (above) for a bargain £3.95. Perfect for serving an Orient Express-style Valentine's breakfast for your lady, chaps.

Actually, gentlemen, anything from the range makes the ideal Valentine's day gift. If you can get past the fact that the name makes you think of menopausal women.

The range is available in the UK from and I've seen it at posh London shop, Liberty.

Please don't let the weirdest animals in the world die

I cry hot salty tears over the imminent loss of species such as the giant panda and gorillas, really I do. But at heart, I'm a fan of more obscure animals. The stranger-looking inhabitants of our planet don't get as much press as the cuddly bears and bunnies of this world. But they're so much more FUN.

Which is why I am standing on my chair to applaud the work of The EDGE organisation. They not only aim to protect the cute beasts, but the more unlikely-looking rare critters. Of their list of 100 disappearing species, two thirds aren't gaining any attention. Even if they have long proboscii like the Long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus bruijni) above! Shame, shame, shame.

Pay their site a visit for more fantastical beasts you can take to your bosom.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Stuff for free: number two - sci-fi, horror, everythingsploitation films

I love old black and white films. They’re a rare treat on TV – sadly, schedulers would rather show a made-for-TV 80s slushfest than a gripping film noir, purely because they think that if a viewer flicks to a channel showing a monochrome film, they’ll assume the station is for fogies.

But now you can experience that wet Sunday afternoon feeling any time you want, for free. is a download site for films that are out of copyright.

Delights such as the entire Flash Gordon series (Ming and Flash in homoerotic pose above), are racked alongside juicy nuggets from Teenage Zombies, to Reefer Madness, Roger Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors, Things to Come and Wasp Woman.

The films are also available to download in formats suitable for your iPod and PSP - free schlock-to-go! And the only thing keeping you awake at night will be the nightmares inspired by Doctor X rather than your conscience-worrying copyright infringements.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Get Stuffed

I've long been a fan of taxidermy. The more misshapen the stuffed beasts, the better. I like the animals to be taking part in some kind of activity. I once owned a stuffed weasel pushing a lawnmower, which was my pride and joy. Sadly, I had to junk it when it became infested with maggots.

Taxidermy has been becoming more and more fashionable. Maybe that's due to Marilyn Manson's obsession with the craft, or perhaps just a reaction against sterile, off-the-Ikea-racks interiors. When Bonhams Auction house sold off the fabulous Walter Potter's collection (see his kitten piece to the right), previously housed at the base of Brighton Pier, and then at Jamaica Inn in Devon, pieces flew out at thousands of pounds more than they had previously been valued, around half a million pounds in total. Among the buyers was 1960s pop artist, Peter Blake.

Much as I love the results of taxidermy, I'm not all that comfortable with animals being slaughtered needlessly for the mere decoration of our homes. Which is why I love the Rogue Taxidermists.

The Rogue Taxidermy group , based in Minnesota, USA, brings the craft scrabbling into the 21st century and gives it a rock n roll kick. The group of taxidermists use corpses donated to them, or found as roadkill, and create fantastical beasts and organs mounted on plaques. It's where cryptozoology meets art. Browse their shop and plan your wishlist. My favourite of the group, Sarina Brewer (see her winged cat to the right), has her personal website here

Sunday, 21 January 2007

The Cowsills

I've been listening to the Cowsills this weekend. They're the incredibly bubblegum, all-American family harmony group formed in 1965, and said to be the inspiration for The Partridge Family. The real-life siblings and 'mom' made sunshine pop records drenched in harp and harmonies but with a real psychedelic edge.

I can't get enough of bubblegum pop at the moment, and this is sweet enough to satisfy even my sugar cravings. You might find it all a bit twee and sickly, but you know what? I call the shots round here.

Here's the promotional film for their hit single, The Rain, The Park and Other Things. It hit number 2 in the US charts in 1967.

And here's their genius version of Hair, from the musical, Hair. It also got to number 2 in the American charts, in 1969.

Five top Cowsills facts

1 In 1978 Paul, John and Barry Cowsill made a more 'adult' album, Cocaine Drain. It has never been released.
2 The band broke up in 1971, but reformed to critical acclaim in 1990.
3 The band were approached to play the children on The Partridge Family, but turned down the show when they discovered actress Shirley Jones would play their mother, rather than their real-life mum.
4 Barbara, Bud, Barry, and Bill Cowsill are all now dead. Barry died in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck.
5 Wondering where you've heard The Rain, The Park and Other Things before? It was featured on the soundtrack to Dumber and Dumber. Own up to watching that if you want. Actually, the Farrelly brothers' Kingpin is a work of genius, but more of that another time.

I recommend buying this Cowsills album.

Friday, 19 January 2007

The Yays and Nays of Hairspray

The film-based-on-a-show-based-on-a-film, Hairspray
will be with us very soon. The sad news is that twisted genius John Waters hasn’t made it.

The good news is that this picture of Christopher Walken is floating about. Which bodes well. Let’s take this as a cue to add up the yays and nays of Hairspray

Nay: John Waters isn’t directing this time around
Yay: But he does make a cameo as a flasher
Nay: John Travolta is replacing Divine as the fatty boom boom Edna Turnblad.
Yay: But Queen Latifah is playing Motormouth Maybelle – surely a part she was born to.
Nay: Beth Ditto from the Gossip hasn’t been cast as Tracy Tunrblad. Oi! MISSED OPPORTUNITY!


Yay: Adam Shankman, who choreographed Adams Family Values (remember those big dance routines?) is honing the hoofers on set AND directing the film.
Nay: Let’s hope the weirdity hasn’t been too watered down to play safe in middle America. Because…
Yay: Zac Efron of High School The Musical is playing Link Larkin, Tracy Turnblad’s love interest. He’s a HUGE star among the teenie weenies, so the film might actually be successful, play to packed theatres and warp a generation.

In conclusion... er.. dunno. Fingers crossed.

Stuff for free: number one - groovy downloadable cards

I love love love free stuff. Especially cute free stuff. These sixties mod-style downloadable beauties (courtesy of those lovely people at will say a hip Happy Birthday, Get Well Soon, or whatever emotion you care to express. With more than a hint of Yellow Submarine styling they’re the grooviest greetings cards I’ve seen in an age. And not a ‘hilarious’ speech bubble or caption in sight (if I have to flip through another rack of “Aren’t men stupid?!” retro cards again I’m going to puke in the nearest Paperchase leather magazine rack).

Download here!

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Give us this day our Katamari t shirts

Katamari Damacy is one of my favourite video games of all time. You roll a ball around, and, as stuff sticks to it, it gets bigger. And so you can pick up bigger stuff. You start off picking up tacks, safety pins, and matches, through cans of drink, pizzas, animals, people, cars, houses, up to Godzilla, and finally, entire countries.

But what makes it one of the best games ever isn't just the plot. It's the surrounding hoo-hah, the showtune-soundtracked, Busby Berkeley-style technicolor opening film. The soundtrack, that fuses perky J-pop with the screams and shouts of entire continents as they get rolled up, ready to be flung into the cosmos. And the curious cast of colourful characters with very odd-shaped heads. Anyway, it's great, and you really should buy it.

When I first bought the game, last year, I loved it so much, and I wanted to show my love to the world. I almost cried when I first saw these wonderful t shirts from the game's creator, Keita Takahashi,in a collaboration with illustrator Ryo Kimura.

But then my hopes were cruelly dashed, as I found out they were unavailable to UK Katamari high rollers. But this week I checked back... and they're now shipping to Europe. Sing hosannas! I may order seven and wear one every day of the week. After all, we should all be taking advantage of those crazy good exchange rates. They're $24.95 plus shipping.

Buy them here

Things That Make Me Laugh That Shouldn't: Number One - You've Been Framed

You've Been Framed is a British home video clips show. It first aired in 1990, presented by beardy, withered handy smug-pipe Jeremy Beadle.

He left in 1997, to be succeeded by famous-for-being-fat Lisa Riley and no mark Jonathan Wilkes. Both of whom were rubbish, and left us pining after Beadle.

The genuinely funny Harry Hill has now taken the reins, wisely opting for just providing a voice over, and not any tiresome, time-wasting studio stuff.

He was an inspired choice to present the show as he genuinely seems to have sat through the videos in order to produce his commentary, picking out nasty carpets and celebrity look-a-likes and takes the same delight and glee in the clips as I do.

Anyway, here's the top ten Framed staples that make me laugh

1 Old lady gets drunk. Falls over. Shows knickers.
2 Old lady dances at wedding reception. Knickers fall down.
3 Dog goes to fetch big stick. Runs between two trees, stick hits both, stick rammed into mutt’s mouth.
4 Small child hit in face by swing. Fall over. Cries. Gets up. Is hit by the swing on its return.
5 Jazz dancer falls off front of stage.
6 Animal breaks wind.
7 Fat paraglider is dragged across rough beach face-down.
8 Self-assembly swimming pool breaks open and floods back garden. Children are swept into the cabbages, wailing.
9 A drunk old lady laughs. False teeth fall out.
10 A drunk old lady throws a big stick for a dog, who returns, and gets stuck between two trees, a nearby small child watches, then gets hit in the face by a swing, the dog breaks wind, a paraglider is dragged across the front of the scene, as wailing children in a tsunami of pool water are thrown across the back. The old lady’s knickers fall down.

Rules of dress: Number One - The Brothel Creeper and A Shoe Dilemma

I have worn black leather brothel creepers since I was 16. I’d seen a picture of The Cramps and wanted to be as evil Elvis and rock n roller as them. Being relatively skinny of leg, it soon became apparent that if I teamed the shoes with a drainpipe jean, or thick black tights, it made my limbs seem more chive-like and detracted from my bustier, never-going-to-be-Patti-Smith top half.

I’ve had several pairs over the intervening years, all the same, all bought from the fantastic Underground Shoes According to my friends, I tend to “dress like a dude”, and these shoes do nothing to temper that. Hurrah.

But now, momentously, I’m considering changing my signature shoe. To a pointy winklepicker. The way they peep from underneath those same drainpipe jean is somehow more modern, fresher, spindlier. I’ve been partial to a white shoe since my Jon Spencer obsession, so it would have to be the blanco version.

I’m not sure though. Am I just being swayed by current The Horrors and Vincent Vincent fever? Or is this the Right Move for life? A big decision. I’ll let you know what side I come down on. Advice please.

Five things the iPhone can't do

As everyone knows, Apple are marketing geniuses. Geniii. Designers, film-makers, and others who insist that only a Mac will do! But learn! Not everything with an i prefix will revolutionise your life. Surely people are wetting their ipants a little unnecessarily over the new iPhone. But here are ten things it won’t do:

1) Find you friends to fill up your phone directory
2) Stop you dropping it in the loo when you’re drunk
3) Help you unearth it from the bottom of your bag when it’s ringing with an important call from someone whose number you don't have and who withholds their digits
4) Make joke ring tones hilarious in any way
5) Give you the powers to be erudite, alluring or entertaining in conversation.

Of course I still want one.