Harriet Greets her Public in the Mail Online Comments Section

If Britain ever becomes a republic, the revolution might very well begin in the online comments sections beneath articles about the Windsors. One wit commenting in the Guardian suggested if Britain had to have a non-elected head of state, a Golden retriever would make an excellent substitute, because they love shaking hands and don’t have expensive hobbies like flying helicopters. The Daily Mail Online recently posted an article about Prince Harry’s bachelor party with the 32-word headline: “Is Harry planning a stag do on the slopes? Royal protection officers are ‘spotted scoping out locations’ in exclusive Swiss ski resort – and they could stay in Prince Andrew’s £13m chalet”

In the comments section, a regular named “Harriet” segued between railing on Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle and greeting her many online pals. The commenter “OnYourMark1” alluded to a pertinent point–at a time when record numbers of homeless people are sleeping on Britain’s streets and the National Health Service is in crisis, British taxpayers coughed up for a recce trip to Verbier for Prince Harry’s bodyguards. 

Harriet, Toronto, Canada: Blame it on the combo of Ginger and NutMeg. I adore Harry, but, he has lost his bl00dy mind, as much as I hate to say it, I am going off him too. Hopefully, he snaps out of it before it’s too late, he is making a complete a$s out of himself, and it’s sad.

Korova Milk Bar, Somewhere, United Kingdom: Harriet! You’re back! I’ve missed your comments. 🙂

rosie1 woking, United Kingdom: Welcome back Harriet I wondered where you’ve been …..missed your comments!

Harriet, Toronto, Canada: Thanks Rosie and Korova ! I was on holidays before returning back to London. You know this marriage is bad news when the Leicester Square tat shops aren’t even selling naff wedding merchandise.What a disaster, five years tops, if this wedding even still happens. All the best for 2018, H. x

Alexandra, West Vancouver Hampshire, United Kingdom: Welcome Back Harriet … hugs to B x

Louisa, London, United Kingdom: Delighted to see Harriet back! Harriet called this woman out long before anyone had the slightest idea about her. Harriet said the wedding wouldn’t happen, and with all that has come out (I’m sure there’s much more buried) I can see why Harriet would have thought so – she just hadn’t factored in Harry’s breath-taking stupidity and bl00dy-mindedness.

Harriet, Toronto, Canada: Thanks Louisa, all the best to you for 2018. I may be wrong, but I still cannot see it happening. There is something very wrong with this whole scenario. Harry must be in lust, after dealing with her, day in and day out, he should wake up, hopefully before the wedding. Had they lived on the same continent and he was stuck with her 24/7, there wouldn’t be an engagement. Either way, it all end in tears. All the best, Harriet.xx

OnYourMark1, Victoria, Canada: nice to see you back Harriet – hope it was a lovely vacate (I trust no paid security like Harry¿s upcoming do?)











Hush Puppies Arrive in the Soviet Union

“One of the most established names in U.S. fashion is about to bet $2 million in advertising that Russian consumers are eager to own a pair of casual shoes.
Hush Puppies, the pigskin suede loafers and lace-ups your parents used to wear, have enjoyed a chic rebirth in the U.S. in recent years. Now Wolverine World Wide, the company that markets Hush Puppies, is introducing the brightly colored shoes to Russia as affordable, fun and durable footwear.
‘Right now in Russia you have a dress product — a high-fashion, high-heeled shiny black shoe — and a sports product,’ said Alan Sutherland, managing director of Wolverine in Moscow. ‘There’s literally nothing in the middle for people who want a casual shoe.’
The lack of casual leather shoes reflects the overall lack of casual clothing available in the Russian market, Sutherland added. But as urban dwellers in particular become more affluent, the demand for stylish but casual clothing will grow, he said.
‘Casual shoes are a typical development of spending power and middle class values,’ Sutherland said.
That sentiment may be more American than European, and certainly, stylish Muscovites don’t seem ready to trade their skinny black trousers for a pair of baggy khakis anytime soon. Still, the number of more affordably-priced clothing stores appears to be growing as consumers demand more variety in style and price.
The French retailer Kooka? and Moscow veteran Bennetton late last year opened new stores on Novy Arbat, while the U.S. fashion brand Guess in recent months set up shop on Novokuznetskaya. British clothier NeXt, meanwhile, has plastered the town with billboards to celebrate the opening of its new outlet in the Manezh shopping mall.
Clothing at such stores is still far too expensive for many shoppers. But prices at Kooka? and NeXt are a considerable step down from those at the high-fashion Gucci and Versace boutiques that seem to dominate Moscow’s shopping scene.
‘For less than $100 it is hard to buy nice things,’ said Maria Alkorta, beauty editor at fashion magazine Marie Claire. ‘If you go to the [outdoor] market, then maybe. But many people don’t like to go there.’
‘What I really want is for there to be more big stores where you can buy good pants, sweaters and shoes that you can wear everyday,’ Alkorta said…
Hush Puppies in Russia will sell for $65 to $120, depending on the style. That puts the shoes in the same price category as those of the German Salamander brand and Denmark’s Ecco, both of which are big sellers in Russia.
In a country where consumers often face counterfeit fashions and shoddy products, Hush Puppies will use in-store materials to let shoppers know the shoes are water-proof, scratch-proof and stain resistant, Sutherland said.”

Jeanne Whalen, The Moscow Times, March 3, 1988.

Photograph: Mike Gonzalez, TheCoffee

Margaret Thatcher’s Swinging London

“Indeed, this was a period of obsessive and naive interest in ‘youth’. Parents worried so much about the ‘generation gap’ that even teenagers began to take it seriously. A whole ‘youth culture’ of misunderstood Eastern mysticism, bizarre clothing and indulgence in hallucinatory drugs emerged. I found Chelsea a very different place when we moved back to London in 1970. I had mixed feelings about what was happening. There was a vibrancy and talent, but this was also in large degree a world of make-believe. A perverse pride was taken in Britain about our contribution to these trends. Carnaby Street in Soho, the Beatles, the mini-skirt and the maxi-skirt were the new symbols of ‘Swinging Britain’. And they did indeed prove good exports earners. Harold Wilson was adept at taking maximum political credit for them. The trouble was that they concealed the real economic weaknesses which even a talented fashion industry and entrepreneurial recording companies could not counter-balance. As Desmond Donnelly remarked, ‘My greatest fear is that Britain will sink giggling into the sea.'”

The Path to Power, Margaret Thatcher, Harper Collins, 1995.

F. Wright, the Racquet Professional on the Titanic

Colonel Archibald Grace survived the sinking of Titanic in April of 1912. On the Titanic‘s last day at sea, he availed himself of the sporting facilities on the ship, which included a racquet court, a gymnasium, and a swimming pool, “a six-foot deep tank of salt water, heated to a refreshing temperature.”

“Impressed on my memory as if it were but yesterday, my mind pictures the personal appearance and recalls the conversation which I had with each of these employees of the ship. The racquet professional, F. Wright, was a clean-cut, typical young Englishman, similar to hundreds I have seen and with whom I have played, in bygone years, my favourite game of cricket, which has done more than any other sport for my physical development. I have not seen his name mentioned in any account of the disaster, and therefore take this opportunity of speaking of him, for I am perhaps the only survivor able to relate anything about his last days on earth.”

Colonel Archibald Grace, The Truth About Titanic, 1913,

Frederick Wright:  https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/frederick-wright.html

Christmas in the Soviet Union

“The secular attributes of Christmas – the lighted tree, the gifts, the cards, Santa Claus, street decorations – have been assigned by the Soviet state to New Year’s, and it is then, starting on Dec. 31, that Russians will try to do justice by both New Year’s and Christmas, combining the midnight drinking of the former and the gift-giving and family cheer of the latter in ample measures.

The idea of the hybrid holiday is usually attributed to Stalin. In the first years after the revolution, the Bolsheviks apparently tried to stamp out the celebration of Christmas altogether, targeting the traditional decorated fir trees as a particularly glaring symbol of reactionary rituals for which there was no place in the new atheist society.

The people, however, proved reluctant to part with a cherished winter holiday. So in 1935, the story goes, Stalin did what the Kremlin has done so many times since with sticky customs – he co-opted it. He lifted the ban on Christmas trees, except that he said they were New Year’s trees, and he declared that New Year’s, Novyi God, was to be a national family holiday – a sort of surrogate Christmas stripped of any Christian meaning.

The people, it must be acknowledged, took to the idea. New Year’s has evolved into probably the most popular of official Soviet holidays, in part perhaps because it has remained largely free of the ponderous ideological and civic baggage of May Day or Revolution Day. Instead of the hammers and sickles and slogans, the streets are hung with bright lights, decorated with brightly decorated trees, and the stern Lenins and Marxs make way for Grandpa Frost, the Russian Santa Claus.”

“Capturing the Holiday Spirit; Soviet Union,” Serge Schmemann, December 22, 1985, The New York Times.

Photo: By Sergeev Pavel – Own work, Public Domain.

Joan Crawford in Africa

In 1957, the film star Joan Crawford toured the continent of Africa with her husband, Alfred Steele, the CEO of the Pepsi-Cola Company. She recalled their trip in her masterpiece My Way of Life. ‘Africa was,’ she wrote, ‘My baptism in Pepsi, and I have a great affection for that continent.’

“I remember, on that first trip, we arrived in Portuguese East Africa at seven in the morning. As we were approaching for a landing I said, ‘I can’t put on any makeup, Alfred. It’s just too hot. And nobody’s going to be there anyway. They don’t know me here.’

As we taxied in I saw in amazement that there were twenty thousand people in that little airport. ‘Who’s on board?’ I asked. ‘Who are they waiting for?’

He grinned. ‘You, darling!’


 …During the African tour we spent a night at Treetops, that famous hotel built high in the trees in the middle of a game preserve where Elizabeth II was staying when she learned that she had become Queen of England. Way out there in the wilderness, it’s one of the most luxurious places in the world. The food can compete with that of ’21’ in New York.’
Joan Crawford, My Way of Life, Simon and Schuster, 1971.




Jean-Michel Basquiat on Renoir

Image result for une odalisque renoirJennifer Clement interviewed her friend Suzanne Mallouk about her relationship with the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Mallouk’s recollections were the basis of Clement’s book Widow Basquiat.

“I remember he had a book on Renoir that he loved. Once I asked him why and he said, ‘Because they are so violent.’ I argued with him and said that he was wrong, that the paintings showed placid French country life. He said I was stupid. He opened the book and showed me the painting of Mademoiselle Romaine Lacaux.

‘Those red flowers,’ he said, ‘are blood in her hands.’ Then he showed me The Sisleys and said, ‘You can just tell he hates her.’ Finally he opened a page at Une Odalisque— the one of the harem women– and Jean said, ‘Look, she is about to fart.’ ”

Widow Basquiat, Jennifer Clement, Canongate Books, 2000.

Odalisque, Pierre Auguste Renoir