So, it was the hottest day in London for nearly ten years the week before last and we have had some more very hot days this week. Looks like Triple P chose the wrong month to go back to commuting because as we and most of the other men sweltered in wool suits and long sleeved shirts most of the women were dressed as if they were off to the beach! Now, we admit that we are now across the river from the City but hot pants and cotton vests (tanks for North Americans) as appropriate work wear? Thigh, shoulder and back revealing sun dresses? Plunging necklines? It is not only inappropriate it is, much more importantly, not fair!
Women should, of course, have to wear to work what men do, as we struggle in 100 degree heat on the Underground, slog along baking streets and overcrowded boiling trains on the way home. No air conditioning of course. Waterloo Station has a glass roof so gets particularly hot by the end of the day.
Still, of course, we cannot really complain about the displays and we are very much registering legs as this summer's erogenous zone. All of these shots were taken in the early evening at Waterloo.
A long time ago we posted a brief piece about our love of rockets and mentioned the peerless space artist Chesley Bonestell (1888-1986). Two of the books he illustrated for author Willy Ley, The Conquest of Space (1949) and Beyond the Solar System (1964), really excited the young Triple P's imagination back in the late sixties. One picture in particular, from Beyond the Solar System, we found particularly evocative. It was this one of (we seem to remember) an ion drive ship in deep space, it's fins glowing red as it radiated excess heat. It's a simple image, compared with some of his paintings of pod and booster encrusted rockets orbiting a bright earth (like the illustration of the same rocket on the cover) but, at the time, those tiny cabin lights spoke of men (no women would have been contemplated as spacefarers in 1964; something Star Trek would change within two years) journeying far from earth. Where are they going? How long will it take? Fuel for Agent Triple P's imagination forty five years ago. The picture conveys the cold darkness of space in a way that modern science fiction films and TV with their brightly lit spacecraft just don't.
We have been looking for a good copy of this image for some time and came across it the other day while looking for something else. Literally, back to the future for Triple P!
Cover painting for The Conquest of Space
Bonestell was originally an architect and worked on both the Chrysler Building and the Golden Gate bridge but his interest in astronomy saw him taking an artistic path which was always firmly rooted in science and he really pioneered astronomical art. He was still working on a painting in his home in Carmel, California when he died in 1986 at the age of 98.
Apparently, 190 people have complained to UK broadcast watchdog OFCOM or TV station ITV about the low-cut dresses worn by judges Amanda Holden (44) and Alesha Dixon (36) on Sunday's Britain's Got Talent final. 190? Out of over 10 million viewers. Not suitable for a family show, cried the moaners. We despair, we really do! Are their complaints about the number of male competitors who took their shirts off this year? I don't think so. It's this trying to shield children from sex (which the prudes still equate with bodies) thing again; which will actually do them more harm than good in the long term.
The previous week Holden had been complained about for her dress during the semi-finals (above). The only strange thing about that number was why she had the White Tree of Gondor sticking out of it. Holden gets a lot of criticism in Britain because she cheated on her husband (a TV comedian) with another TV comedian about fifteen years ago. Most of her vilification now, however, seems to be based around the fact that she shouldn't be wearing provocative clothing st her age (she is 44). So, if we discount the fact that the tiny percentage of complainants aren't outraged Muslin clerics then we suspect they are middle aged, gone to seed mothers who resent the fact that she is still in tremendously good shape in her forties. It's similar to the hate that Madonna got when she posed topless not long ago. Britain has an ageing population but the press still hasn't got their heads around the fact that this large group of older people born in the sixties and seventies, don't want to act like "older people" did in the past. It is incredibly ageist to say that someone shouldn't be able to dress how they like because they are in their forties. We think Holden and Dixon look tremendous!
I use Yahoo email so I can easily access it from anywhere in the world but in order to get to it you have to go through the Yahoo news page. Over the last few years the content of this has become more and more inane and now is totally dominated by Z list celebrity gossip. The very worst of this is spewed forth from a section called OMG which is a complete microcosm of why Britain is no longer the country it was. It is bad enough that they think that entertainment news isn't, as you might think, what new play has opened in the West End, which new film has just started filming or what new tour a band has announced but instead what new hairstyle some minor celebrity has. It is bad enough that they don't employ real journalists (like my cousin, for example, who works for an Australian newspaper and if he is reporting on a new film flies to the location to file a proper report) but poorly paid just post university hacks who get paid on the number of hits their stories attract; as if this was a measure of quality. It's bad enough that they focus on a tiny group of celebrities whose self publicising antics they are just feeding: the Kardashians (what do any of these people do?), Miley Cyrus, One Direction and non-entities from UK reality shows.
All this is bad enough but Yahoo OMG has an awful house writing style which seems to be entirely based on how a particular type of stupid American teenager speaks (and it's not clear if they themselves have picked this up from their depiction on screen so it becomes a horrible circle of banality as each copies the other). I cannot fathom why a UK website wants its writers to write in a way that reflects how they think young Americans speak. This does, however seem to be a deliberate policy. The very worst of these Yahoo journalists is a lady called Rachel Pilcher (who is known to her very many detractors as The Pilchard, inevitably). A classic example of her recent writing is here. This piece is so bad that nearly all the comments are about how incomprehensible it is rather than the (frankly impenetrable) story itself. Yahoo don't care, of course, because they are only interested in hits. In another piece, a couple of days before that, Pilchard described an event as a "damp squid". It's SQUIB you worthless excuse for a writer.
So who is this semi-literate word mangler? Some fifteen year old hired to "get down with the kids"? A computer programme that randomly generates text based on web crawls? A foreign student still in their first week of an English course at a shabby Oxford Street language school? Or even a room fall of chimpanzees banging away randomly at keyboards? No, because all of these would do a better job than Pilchard. It turns out that she has a 2.1 degree in English language from the University of Reading (ranks 37th in Britain - their English course ranks 39th).
We are sure her tutors are very impressed by her ability to write such passages as: "If you're fully onboard the good ship Larry Stylinson then you might want to take a seat and get yourself a cold flannel ready, because someone has made a Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson face morph and it's everything you never knew you wanted.
The ridiculously flawless morph has been making it's way across the One Direction fandom, and - oh, you haven't seen it yet? Oh, well, TA-DAH. HAPPY BIRTHDAY. MERRY CHRISTMAS. HAPPY EASTER. And everything else inbetween.STICK A FORK IN US, WE'RE ACTUALLY DONE. Well done, like a gourmet steak. Or a cheap one, whatever.
Everybody take a deep breathe and compose yourselves. Ready? Grool." Rachel you are a young woman in your early twenties trying to make a (short-lived, I suspect) career in journalism, so why do you insist in writing in a parody of how you think a twelve year old speaks. And stop using random capitalisation. And stop using invented abbreviations like "awks" for awkward. CRINGE.
Pilchard has obviously spotted some negative comments as she moans on her blog: "Figured I should learn some sort of new life skill too, so I've decided to try and stop reading comments on things I write and just let the haters, er, hate... As you'd probably expect, not everyone is always so keen on what I write, how I write it and why I write it, and some stories get some pretty brutal comments. Or I get tweeted telling me I suck and need a new career. Not exactly a confidence booster." So do something about it, woman! Don't ignore criticism, learn from it! Rachel, we are sure you are a lovely girl but writers like you have a duty to stop the slide in the appalling decline in the standard of young people's English in this country. You are actually contributing to damaging young people's prospects. You must be stopped!
Triple P's favourite Polish dancer, Ola Jordan, has been out and about recently and generating comments that her rather full figure must mean that she is pregnant, Engagingly, Ola, who is recovering from what was thought to be a career ending knee injury, has just scotched the rumours by tweeting "I'm just FAT!!". Well done, Ola, and all the fat is beautifully distributed too!
Since she injured her leg while training for winter sports reality competition The Jump last year, Ola has been having daily physiotherapy.
The good news is that it has worked and the BBC have just announced that she will be back as one of the professional dancers in the 2015 series of Strictly Come Dancing. Her new series publicity shot has just been released.
Also returning will be the luscious Aliona Vilani, who needs rather less PhotoShop than some of the others. In her new publicity picture she looks like a delicious coffee sundae. Lick, lick!
Siberian tigress Kristina Rihannoff also returns with what looks like a completely new face. Make-up, PhotoShop and perhaps a little more.
The BBC haven't released an official shot of new female dancer Otlile Mabuse yet because she was still appearing in the German equivalent of Strictly, Let's Dance, until celebrity her partner was knocked out last week. She is South African and has a degree in civil engineering, which makes her unusual for a Strictly professional! She is also Strictly's first black professional dancer. Not that the BBC say that because in BBC land you can't admit that some people have different coloured skin. We thinks she looks very cute.
Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere - mature woman v perky girl -who can choose between them?
Of all the guilty pleasure TV Agent Triple P watches, the most guilty of them all must be Country & Western soap, er, drama, Nashville which returns to UK TV tonight with Season 3.
We are not a particular fan of country music (which has a very uncool reputation as the music of sad losers in Britain - when Shania Twain hit it big a few years ago the UK mixes of her albums had all the C&W instruments removed to make it more acceptable to the UK market) although we do have 137 tracks of it in our iTunes. Much of that, we have to admit, is from the Nashville soundtrack CDs. No, we like Nashville because it reminds us of the heady days of Dallas in our past, where quite often you would get to the end of an episode and there would be some ludicrously theatrical revelation. As our fellow Dallas-watching girlfriend at the time used to say, it's "ooh, er" television - a rather old fashioned British exclamation of surprise. Nashville gets Triple P uttering "ooh, er!" at the end of its episodes more than any other show.
Tonight we will be watching it with our lady friend A and she is planning unhealthy American-style snacks (actually, aren't all American snacks unhealthy by definition?). She suggested we get some American beer in but there are limits. That said, the decidedly un-country Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is rather good and available from Waitrose. They also do Sam Adams but that is even further, taste-wise from the gassy, low-alcohol, watery stuff most Americans seem to drink.. Nashville has a number of craft beers (and American craft beers can be very good indeed) but you can't get them in Britain.
Nashville nearly got cancelled after season two and was threatened with a short run for season 3 but just last week it has been renewed for a fourth season. So many more episodes of industry back-stabbing, agonised partner swapping (and the odd song) ahead. Yee haw.