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She’s a Rainbow. The extraordinary Life of Anita Pallenberg by Simon Wells. Pub. Omnibus press, 2020.

January 12, 2021 Comments off

I have read many biographies of rock “n Roll stars and actors and most scratch the surface of their lives and give you little else, but this one on Anita Pallenberg ,I think got to the core of what she was like. It is both uplifting and tragic and ultimately the story of a woman who changed the world.

She was stunningly beautiful, with long legs, blond hair and a sexy European voice who dazzled when she walked into a room. She was well educated and well read spoke French, German Italian and English and was forthright in her opinions and ambitions. Her fashion sense was second to none and her Bohemian style dominated the fashions of swinging London and helped make London the centre of the modern cultural world. She was an actress a fashion model, a designer and she turned the Rolling Stones from “a band of suburban scruffs into a new breed of dandified lions”.

She first hit the scene as the girl friend of Brian Jones and their confrontational relationship is detailed in this book. The famous incident in Morocco in which Keith Richards rescued her from Brian Jones is told from many angles but the one sure thing is that Brian Jones never recovered from the split.

Life with Richards and the Stones is detailed from many sources but the truth of it is that it was based on drug taking on a huge scale. How she and Richards survived is beyond me but read it and see for yourself.

A highlight of the book for me is the chapter on the making of the film Performance, a cult film which after 50 years has still not recovered the costs of making it. Asked what her contribution to the film was Anita said “the sex”. She was right of course, it is the only reason a watched the film which I found awful. It did however have a powerful effect on all those that were in the film or associated with the making and promotion of the film. The biggest question posed of course was “did Anta and Mick Jagger do the wild thing?”. When Mick was asked he said the suggestion was too delicious to deny.

The tragedy of Anita’s life was of course drugs. She was addicted for much of her life and they stole the humanity from her. When 17 year old Scott Cantrell shot himself in her house Anita when asked about it said “I didn’t feel anything. That’s one of the wonders of drugs and drink”

One of the best overviews of life in the rock’n roll, fashion and film making world of the 1960’s and 70’s that I have read. If you miss this one you will kick yourself.

Blong the Cat’s Costume Caper by Karen McMillan.

November 25, 2019 Comments off

blongBlong the Cat’s Costume Caper by Karen McMillan. Pub. Duckling Publishing, 2019.

December 2 Release

Never take a male shopping for clothes unless the clothes are for him or he is paying.

That is the mistake that Blong the cat and Emma make when Blong receives a wedding invitation. They take twin brother Ethan and he is down on everything without any thought. He just doesn’t want to be there.

A black bow tie, which i thought looked great, is boring. A floral shirt is too busy, i love that phrase. A pirate outfit is too dark, a banana is too yellow and a disco outfit is too old. After ten rejections Blong goes back to one of his previous choices. Guess which one it is?

The story is great and it doubles as a counting book. Count the shoes at the bottom of each  outfit.

I thought it was funny and a good read-a-loud for juniors. The illustrations are fitting especially the eyes.

Categories: Picture book Tags: ,

The Valentines Bk1. Happy Girl Lucky by Holly Smale.

March 7, 2019 Comments off

happy girlThe Valentines Bk1. Happy Girl Lucky by Holly Smale. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

If you were a big fan of the Geek Girl series or you are follower of the Kardashians and their celebrity lifestyles then this first part of a new series will captivate you.

I guess it is for teens and pre-teen girls in particular, who love clothes parties and enthuse over hot boys.

Hope is 15 yrs, the youngest of four Valentines who live in a mansion in London. I guess the later books in this series will focus on Hope’s siblings. Family policy is that no-one gets involved in the celebrity lifestyle until they are 16 years old and Hope cannot wait for this. She fantasises about hot boys and copies her sisters and lone brother’s lifestyles. They care for each other but there is intense sibling rivalry.

Their mother is an actress in rehab, getting over an alleged marital split with her American husband who is into film production. He allegedly is into a steamy relationship with a tight-bummed young actress and is away from the family home.

Hope gatecrashes a family party and hears things she should not. She flees and on the train home falls into the arms of an American hot boy called Jamie. They develop a relationship that is remarkably akin to lurv in which they develop their own language that nobody else can possibly understand. Hope becomes Happy Girl Lucky.

Then Jamie drops a bombshell. Read it and find out what.

It is a good laugh for a cynic like me and I think Holly Smale is taking the water but it made me smile. Go on give it a crack.

 

Geek Girl: Picture Perfect by Holly Smale

June 10, 2014 Comments off

picture perfectGeek Girl: Picture Perfect by Holly Smale. Pub.HarperCollins, 2014.

More adventures in the life of reluctant teenage model Harriet Manners the English girl who was discovered attending a Clothes Show while wearing a boys football outfit.

After being an overnight sensation Harriet is dumped by her discoverer and is facing  oblivion at an English school. Things take a positive turn when her father lands a job in New York and the whole family go.

Harriet takes what she calls her “social inadequacies” with her but has a certain amount of confidence as her boyfriend is the male model Nick. Then Wilbur the fashion agent tells her to come up to NY City for an audition and Harriet finds that things are different in New York.

Her excursions into fashion in Europe are no match for NY where Psychological manipulation is the big tactic. Fortunately for Harriet, Wilbur is a master at it, and she lands a job. Her first assignment is on a huge roller coaster at Coney Island. Read it and find out what happens.

Intermediate and junior high school girls will love it. Plenty of witty talk as in Louise Renison’s novels about Georgia Nicolson.

Holly Smale’s knowledge of the fashion world is the star in this 3rd novel in the Geek Girl series. Geek Girl 1 is reviewed earlier on this blog.

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

March 16, 2013 Comments off

geek girlGeek Girl by Holly Smale. Pub.HarperCollins, 2013.

This book is a real laugh but holds a very important message that came from Shakespeare “to thine ownself be true”.

Harriet manners considers herself a geek. Her school mates consider her a geek and while she is very bright she doesn’t look further than that.

Then it all happens. On a school trip to a clothes fashion show with her aspiring super model girlfriend Nat, Harriet is discovered by Wilbur who works for ultra chic fashion designer Yuka Ito. Harriet becomes the new face of fashion and blows this avant garde world away with her intelligence and her honesty.

The novel is full of memorable characters like her lawyer stepmother Annabel, bewidered father and serial geek stalker Toby.

The best quote from the novel is “modelling can be fun as long as you don’t take it personally”. In the dressing room fife can be bitchy.

A first novel by Holly Smale who knows what she is writing about as she was “discovered” as a model at the age of 15years, the same as Harriet.

Intermediate and high school in appeal and jolly good fun.

On The Runway Series book 2 Catwalk by Melody Carlson

November 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Catwalk by Melody Carlson. Pub.Zondervan, 2010.

I couldn’t believe that I would enjoy this book as much as I did because it is about fashion, it is about television and it is about celebrities, topics I have no understanding of or care little about. So big raps for Melody Carlson for keeping a cynic like me in the book.

The plot is centred around sisters Erin and Paige Forrester who are young with it young women. Paige is the beauty and head of the fashion police, and she fronts the fashion TV show On the Runway. Erin is the chalk to Paige’s cheese, more down to earth and is behind the camera. Together they work well and there is no (for want of a better word) bitchiness between them, although they do disagree.

In this episode Erin wants to push a new designer who is eco minded and Paige wants to make it in New York the capital of fashion in USA. Will Erin get what she wants and will Paige be able to handle the pressure of making it in the Big Apple at the New York Fashion Show? You will have to read it to find out.

There are some great lines in this novel eg after Paige has been tumbled at L.A. airport by security guards as she wantonly sprayed herself with Prada Infusion d’Iris and subsequently loses her bright pink luggage, she cries in anguish “does this mean I will have to put my own makeup on”? Totally proiceless.

This novel is not a hard hitting look at the fashion world, neither is it superficial, but it does look at all aspects of the world from designers through to the models on the catwalk and the clothes.

I can see why Carlson’s novels are so popular and may even read another in the series.  This one was such fun.

Teenage girls will love these. Check out her other books as well.