Movie – W.E.

W.E as in Wallis & Edward. After being wowed with the King’s Speech a year ago, this felt like the next instalment about one of Britain’s most famous and fascinating stories. It’s interesting that the Kings Speech, which is about Edwards’ brother who succeeded him to the throne after his abdication had an immediate Oscar buzz whereas this, this about the actual events that lead to that, told from the view point of Wallis Simpson, has of course, had none.

Another twist to this film is that there is second modern day story running through, of Walli, a New York housewife who is named after and obsessed with Mrs S to the point of visiting the Sotheby’s auction house daily when the former royal couple’s goods are finally for sale. Walli is (for some reason) married to a successful, abusive, philandering doctor who insists on her not working in the auction house but now refuses to have the child she is desperate for.

The film easily moves between the stories, one set in a 30s British royal household and the other in a well to do modern Manhattan  apartment and picks up on synergy between the two women; they are both child free yet broody and both abused by their first husbands. The gruesome beatings are incredibly hard to watch; I had to cover my eyes and we learn much later that Mrs S cannot bear children due to the abuse during her first marriage that meant losing an unborn child.

There are lots of chronicles running through; including, what I feel is the lesser story of the friendship that Walli strikes up with a Sotheby’s security guard when her marriage is crumbling. The one liners that come from Mrs S throughout are divine but it’s only towards the end that we really delve into her feelings about what she has lost in order to spend the rest of her life with Edward, much of it in exile.

Beautifully told and shot, the film has me gripped throughout and is utterly watchable.


Smile factor 910

I really must add a little thing about film critics – or rather those people who decide to see a film based purely on what one person has said about it. Someone – or hundreds of people have put their blood, sweat and tears – not to mention money – in making it. If you like the idea of the film, I suggest you go and make your own mind up rather than letting anyone influence your decision.

Music Monday: M is for Madonna

Desperately seeking Susan Madonna music musicmonday

As I always say, Madonna is far more than just music but there is an unprecedented choice for this week’s #musicmonday.

There is no way I can select just 5 or even 10:

Lucky Star
Dress You Up
Get Together


Confessions on a Dancefloor – after all these years of the first album still being the best, this comes along. Perfection


With meaning
Open Your Heart
Express Yourself
Keep it Together
I love New York

Desperately seeking Susan Madonna music musicmonday 

Love when I hear again
Papa Don’t Preach
Deeper & Deeper
Justify My Love


Into The Groove – pure nostalgia
Ray of Light
Hung Up


Got to love through the video
Take A Bow – best Madonna video?
Don’t Tell Me
What it feels like for a girl

Desperately seeking Susan Madonna music musicmonday

Found – Mix tapes

Since moving back from New York, I’ve been bemused of my decision of over a year ago as to what I took to New York with me and what I didn’t bother with. Some of those things needed special handling so were not worth sending – for now.  Others, I guess I was unsure off.

I’ve come across a few cassette tapes amongst my big collection of music magazines from my yoof.

I haven’t owned a cassette player for a several years but I’m still keeping all the ones that include taped radio interviews of Duran Duran, Edwyn Collins (Orange Juice), Echo & the Bunnymen on the John Peel sessions, more Duran Duran, The Rock & Pop awards before they became the BRITS and before they were televised, interviews and live tracks with U2 (I was a big fan until New Years Day, not at all since).

One day I’ll get to listen to these and transfer them onto….well whatever the technology is then.

I’m throwing out all the Madonna albums, these are just recordings from the vinyl and I have them all in CD anyway. I stopped playing my records when I was young, instead transferring them all to cassette leaving my vinyl pristine.

There are also albums from Gun, my all time favourite rock band – still, INXS, Bon Jovi, Jamiroquai, Blur, Georgia Satellites and Take That and  Party. I actually stole that one from an Oasis fan during the war with Blur. Which Blur so obviously won. Somehow a Now 40 is in there and it has my handwriting on it. Must have been a rare good year for chart music.

I have a tape called Disco which includes:

  • Odyssey – Native New Yorker (of course)
  • Village People – Can’t Stop the Music (do you remember that one?)
  • Yvonne Elliman – If I Can’t Have You (still love that one)
  • Tina Charles – Love to Love

But looking at the tape inside, it’s the best album Bryan Adams ever made – Waking Up the Neighbours, at his loudest and best and great value as it’s a double.

The Dance tape includes

  • Madonna – Lucky Star (if held at gun point I would choose this or Borderline as my fave Madonna track but there are so many)
  • Greg Phillinganes – Behind the Mask (with Eric Clapton?)
  • Madonna – Stay (that would be the best album track – again if at gun point)
  • SOS Band – The Finest
  • Cherelle – Saturday Night (But wasn’t that Alexander O’Neil too?)
  • Five Star – System Addict (Their finest hour)
  • Jellybean – Sidewalk (I vaguely remember this track from Madonna’s early producer)
  • Chic – Good Times (my musical heroes and in my all time top 10)

Most intriguing is the Obscure/Alternative  1980 – 1982

  • The (Psychedelic) Furs – We Love You (plus 2 more)
  • Orange Juice – Blue Boy (2 more OJ tracks)
  • A Flock Of Seagulls – Wishing (made 2 of the best records of the decade, the other being I Ran)
  • Simple Minds – Someone Somewhere (plus 2 more Minds tracks, loved, loved that Glittering Prize album)
  • Farmers Boys – Muck it Out
  • Pale Fountains – Thank You (don’t remember how the track goes)
  • The The – Uncertain Smile (loved it)
  • Wah! – Story of the Blues (Loved this but my fave now is probably ‘Remember’)
  • The Cure – Let’s Go To Bed (nostalgic reason)

Actually, I’m going to keep that one.

Oh and there’s a cassette head cleaner.

I feel like I’m 14 again. Good Times indeed.

All going to a charity shop, as soon as I find one as they appear  to be  obsolete in the city centre.

My big sister Madonna

Yes that Madonna

Soundtrack to my life (P1)

After all my elder sisters leave home, get married and start families, (Keep it Together) I’m home alone with no-one for guidance to ease me out of my teens and into the real adult world.

Madonna comes into my life sometime around 1983/84. I’m around 17 so the few years she has on me are a great help just as I am leaving school. She guides me through the end of my education and starting work, the heartache of early dating (Like a Virgin, Lucky Star, Dress You Up) and through my marriage – and divorce. Madonna keeps me going when I start to wane (Express Yourself) and celebrates my triumphs with me (Holiday).

Madonna is sassy to my timidity; active to my inexperience; outspoken to my curiosity and already where she wants to be as I’m embarking upon my media career.

The one thing we appear to have in common is the desire to be independent. It’s well documented that Madonna makes friends with the right people who may give her a ‘leg-up’. However, that’s still her independent choice, not a reliance on other people. I may be living under my parent’s roof but I’m buying my own food, clothes or records – whatever is more important this week.

Madonna directs me into the big bad world and I forge ahead with my self-determination. I decide against university as that would mean four more years being dependant on my folks. I want to get out there and work and to move into my own place. In this era in the UK, there are famously three million unemployed but I knock on doors every single day until someone gives me a chance (I Get Up Again) Over & Over). In April 1985 I’m offered a job at the only credible local newspaper where I work alongside talented columnists and my adulthood truly starts.

A highlight here is, however, nothing to do with my career. One day, the best looking man in town, parks his car outside my office, leaving ‘Holiday’ blaring from the speaker as he comes in to ask me out. It’s a jaw dropping diet coke moment for sure.

My clubbing years start with Everybody and move  onto Into The Groove and it confuses us all trying to dance to Vogue but more recently I love dancing in my car to Get Together as the track takes me through an unrequited love at a way too old 38 years.

Papa Don’t Preach’ is number one the day I finally leave home, much to my Dad’s anguish and ‘True Blue’, ‘Cherish’ and ‘Angel’ take me through my first real romance soon after.

‘Open Your Heart’ will always remind me of my first apartment and Desperately Seeking Susan further enforces my childhood New York infatuation and I know I will ultimately end up in this extraordinary city. The only reason I go to Battery Park on every visit is because of the film’s scenes there although there’s something about the statue of Liberty that reminds me of Lady Madonna too.

Famously, Madonna implied that it’s fine to enjoy sex for the sake of it so my generation doesn’t know any different and although I wait until I’m ready, I then just want to be de-flowered and move on with my sexual life. I don’t need the first time to be special – I’d rather have a rehearsal and be better with someone I truly like! (Deeper & Deeper)

Later, as I embark on 10 fantastic single years, post divorce, with Justify Your Love and Rescue Me egging me on to a copious variety of sexual adventures.

In 2008, the song to listen to whilst I pack to go to New York to fully embark on my freelance writing adventure is Jump. Yes, Madonna, I’m ready to jump.

To this day, Madonna is still the soundtrack to my life and in Celebration of her 27 years in the industry; I too am moving forward in my career.

Thanks, sis, long may you continue to be my guiding Ray Of Light.



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