The Ultimate Trash Fiction Chart in Three Parts.


Trash fiction? What is it? Is it sleazy, silly, kitschy, pulpy? Well, there’s a good chance it’s all of these things really. My idea for the Trash Chart was based in part on the original article I wrote about the pleasure Jackie Collins novels gave me as I reevaluated my love of literature, post-degree. Since then I researched, I went through the history books and I read read read trash until I was totally sated.

All of these authors have gained a special place in this chart for their passionate efforts to bring trashy writing, trashy subjects and trashy ideas to the table. To celebrate their hard work, I have offered interesting trivia about their lives. There’s also 12, count ’em, 12 more books to be unveiled. So, get excited for parts 2 and 3, coming soon, with more discussion on the nature of trash.

BAD SEED

The Bad Seed

Plot – In small town America, has a woman given birth to the Devil child?

Comments – Throwing some coy concepts of the nature/nurture paradigm at the enthralled reader, this deliciously pulpy white picket fence pot-boiler is the ultimate in parental cautionary tales. The prying, curtain-twitching claustrophobia of this small community works on an ensemble level and seems to encourage readers to ask the old age old question as to how much we really know about our neighbours. Specifically whether they are the type to offer you milk and cookies, or murder you? The novel deserves special credit for spawning (pun totally intended) the popular novel arc about a foreboding regarding mad and bad children, which continued with Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen featuring the Devilish Damien, and, much later on, the hugely-influential reinterpretation of the Bad Seed nature/nurture argument with the powerfully divisive, We Need to Talk About Kevin.

The writing and set ups are entirely more innocent than the gore/Satanic elements of the later book, but Rhonda arguably remains the baddest bitch in suburbia.

Extract – She wrote, I’m saving these letters that I cannot send, my darling. When you are back with me, and my fears have all proved foolish, perhaps we can read them over together. Then you can hold me in your arms and laugh at my weak, unreasonable fears, can ridicule in your dear gentle voice my overheated imagination…

Author Trivia – I didn’t know what to expect of the writer of the novel, however Showalter‘s excellent foreword to the most recent edition sums up how repressive and frustrated the author actually was, quite literally spying on and judging all of the ‘characters’ at the end of his telescope.

‘From his window on Central Park West, Bill was able to observe through a pair of binoculars the random encounters and subsequent sexual activities of these lonely wanderers. He would tell me in detail of all he had witnessed, but the stories were never gleefully or viciously recounted, but in something like wild despair, his face tight as a fist with concern. At times, I believe that he told me these things out of apprehension, out of the fear of his own loneliness, and that this kind of love was all that available to those who were alone.’

He died largely unappreciated and left behind an entirely Freudian back-catalogue of eccentric stories and unconventional characters, including a man who literally covets and fetishes shoes. For that March’s legacy deserves to have a fresh revival. I’d pay to get to the bottom of his back-catalogue.

Critical Review – ‘Cannot be put aside without lingering shivers.’ – Time

‘An impeccable tale of pure evil.’ – Atlantic Monthly

 

 

 

To Die For

To Die For

Plot – The ultimate fame & fortune thriller as one woman shows she’s willing to do anything to get to the top.

Comment – Maynard’s novel is based in part on the hugely controversial case of Pamela Smart, summarised on Wikipedia by this narrative: an American criminal convicted of conspiring with her 15-year-old lover, William “Billy” Flynn, and three of his friends to kill her 24-year-old husband, Greggory Smart.

She was found guilty as hell but resolutely remains, somewhat delusionally insistent she was always innocent.

Maynard’s novel could not have been timed more perfectly as the great American public were saturated in the newly coined ‘cash for trash’ phenomena in the 1990s. Just as irresistible, the celebrity world exploded too giving us the Anna Nicole’s and Jordan’s (if reading from a British browser) of the world. Talentless celebrities who became ‘stars’ because of their trashy designs and column raising antics. This book got all those factors darn right, and to top it off the plot reads like perfect clickbait for the National Enquirer.

In a nutshell, Suzanne marries a loveable sap called Larry, but isn’t particularly interested in becoming the model wife. She has dreams to be the next Diane Sawyer and further dreams of having someone like Nicole Kidman play her in a movie, when she makes it as a star. She’s small-fry but is wasting no time in becoming the biggest fish in the celebrity pond. And here Maynard introduces a gleeful multi-narrative of all the ensemble characters within the book, recounting and musing on what Suzanne did. This works in a form of a documentary transcript, as if we’re watching Crime Investigation, and, boy is it lurid and dangerous. All the major ingredients feature, including the ice-cold femme fatale, the lamb to the slaughter fall guy, but the noire style is updated with some deliciously sleazy dialogue. If this book were a meal, it’d be a buffet special.

Extract – ‘Her skin’s so soft. Her hair fans out on the sand like she’s in a shampoo commercial. I put my tongue in her mouth and I can taste the Tic Tac she was sucking on. We’re so connected, I taste her Tic Tac.

Author Trivia – Maynard went out with the notoriously private Salinger and published a superb Vanity Fair piece on their affair. In a documentary on the author Maynard recounts Salinger saying to her when they had a bust-up, ‘What are you doing here? You have spent your life writing meaningless garbage and now you mean to exploit me.’ To which I say, her meaningless garbage, validated by Salinger fully earns her a spotlight on my trash fiction chart. Take a bow, Maynard.

Critical Review – ‘The only positive thing I can say about Suzanne is that she adored her dog, which in my book, makes it impossible to truly despise her!’ – Lady, Goodreads.

  • ‘The tone is right on target, cued to the rangy, slangy rhythms of modern life’ – Anne Tyler

 

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The Cement Garden

Plot – the original in Misery lit.

Comments – What a wonderfully unsettling entry to the chart. Not enjoyable per-se, but certainly readable, McEwan’s debut novel still feels shocking, still feels dirty, still feels uncomfortably voyeuristic and still packs a punch. It features a family of six, scalped down to four with the death of the father and the mother in rapid succession. This mere slip of the novel (128 pages) is written simply, before McEwan became obsessed with opaque descriptions and obscure analogies. Instead he just writes neatly about the most unnatural sociological trap to befall four orphans. Over one hot hot summer, we have four children going off the grid, developing incestuous feelings and leaving their mother to putrefy in the basement.

And from there it’s evident we’re going down the sickly, sweaty garden path of misery lit. The term poverty porn rears its head as we watch the incestuous ties bind together with the children divorcing themselves properly from the glare of society. A makeshift family unit is created with the elder children becoming ‘parents’ to the younger children, but we, the reader know nothing about this unit is sustainable, so it’s no wonder the only outsider says at the shocking end of the novel, ‘You’re sick’! Unputdownable.

Extract – I locked myself in the bathroom and sat on the edge of the bath with my pants around my ankles. I thought of Julie’s [his sister] pale-brown fingers between Sue’s [his sister] legs as I bought myself to the quick, dry stab of pleasure.

Author Trivia – For his first four novel he’s gained the literary sobriquet, Ian Macabre. A friend argued this was an obvious fact, but I feel this epithet speaks for itself.

Critical Review – ‘From the first page, McEwan’s calm, exquisite sentences lead you into the secret and strange world of the post-war middle-class family, with its unique clash of make-do-and-mend and sexual revolution. Devastating information is relayed in short, cool-headed paragraphs, increasing the charged atmosphere of disorder and horror’ – Independent

 

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Savages

Plot – trouble in paradise for 5 very rich bitches stick in the midst of a die-hard struggle to get off a murderous island before the ‘savages’ get ’em.

Comments – why is this ‘trash’ fiction? Lace, Conran’s masterpiece is very much a power-dressing working women & sex tome that is so scintillating it unfurls like a well-paced TV drama (which it later turned into). Perhaps though it’s Conran’s premise of a survivalist novel – in the style of Deliverance that seems wholly unbelievable when you make your core characters a bunch of ladies who lunch, that in the end reads so engaging. As detailed and descriptive as this book is (and believe me, it is – regular breaks are needed for this) it doesn’t feel totally realistic, but that’s not to say Conran’s writing in this novel doesn’t have some really vivid depictions of ‘paradise’, if some typos. And it’s pretty delicious, the original girl power team having to hide out and plan to leave this ‘savage’ island, when the weather is fortuitous and they have the chance to physically raft to a safe haven. For hundreds of pages we follow their successes trying to forage for food, avoid capture and make sure Guy, their Australian knight in shining armour helps them with an escape route. Oh, and because it’s Conran and she’s famed for her sex, a lesbian scene in to make sure these women have their urges sated.

Extract – He said, slowly, ‘I suppose you’ve got to know sometime. They’re practising cannibals. All the fishing villagers are.’
There was a shocked silence followed by a babble of horror.
‘How revolting!’
‘Disgusting!’
‘You can’t be serious.’
‘I think I’m going to be sick!’
‘You’ve got to be kidding!’
Suzy gasped, ‘But when I wouldn’t swim into the cave, you told me to go to the next village!
‘You’d have died anyway,’ Jonathan said.

Author Trivia – Married to Terence Conran, Conran has been a name for years, even providing the offspring star of Debenhams, Jasper Conran. As Conran’s marriage hit the pits Conran, broke as anything dreamed of becoming a successful author. It all came true, although, interestingly, no longer does she talk to her son. Whether she’ll ever channel this family upset into a novel remains to be seen (her last book was in the 1990s). Blithe and straight-talking as ever Conran responded in an interview, when her son paid for her hospital visit, he doesn’t want to see me but he doesn’t want me dead ever. The lovely Conran gave me a signed copy of her work ‘The Revenge’ when I messaged to mention how impressed I was with her writing. For that, I’ll always be a fan.

Shirley

Critical Review – ‘Full of authentic, often grisly detail . . . a first-class adventure story’ – Daily Express

– ‘ It’s probably the most awful book ever. I’m sure it’s fantastical, imperialist, racist, sexist, and embarrassing. It was also an awakening for me. As these “savages” made their way from rich, spoiled housewives to Lord of the Flies-worthy um naturalists, they also exposed me to my very first dose of HOT LESBIAN SEX.’ – Ruby, Goodreads

 

wifey2

Wifey

Plot – Bored, suburban housewife enterting the 70s sexual revolution from square one.

Comment – When a book starts by a woman awaking to a man, a stranger, masturbating in her front lawn it’s incredibly hard to predict how the book will go, although you know the children’s author is very much keen to try a new direction. There is very little in Wifey that seems profound and much that seems dated. The cash for trash revolution of the ‘90s, the Ashley Madison scandal and the lack of enthusiasm for marriage vs the rise in experimentation makes this a retro read about a different, more innocent time. As Blume uses a basic nuts and bolts style of writing, without artifice or pretention it reads as a nice breezy read into the complexity of marriage infidelity. Plus, I simply love Blume choosing to call our protagonist, Sandy’s husband Norman, as it’s so very close to normal. As the book sweeps the reader in there are some suitably entertaining French farce elements to some of the trysts (the ‘blue’ movie screening, which demonstrates the ‘wildness’ of the 70s; amid the ‘Golden Age of Porno’ is super fun) and makes this read far more as realism than some utopian version of the perfect, escapist affair.

I read this visiting a pal in Belgium by choosing an 8 hour mode to get there. How wise I was to pick up Blume’s novel. One of the biggest disasters was getting from the Calais to Dover section of the journey only to hear about the French strike. So picture the scene, 1am, no evidence that we’d be moving anytime soon. People are livid about this. I’m just furious the overhead lights didn’t work so I could continue my journey into Sandy’s journey for sexual enlightenment.

Extract – She moved into the seat behind Shep on the train, willing him to turn around. But he didn’t. He had longer hair now, brushing his shirt collar. She thought about touching the back of his neck. Remembered how he’d shivered when she’d kissed him there. Funny, she’d never kissed the back of Norman’s neck. Ten minutes later they pulled in Newark. Sandy had to change trains. She walked out past him. He was reading his paper and never looked up.

Author Trivia – I particularly admire Blume for writing the foreword to the latest edition as she admits a-la Kate Bush that she ‘went mad’ in this period, absconding to New Mexico (hard to know the UK equivalent of that state, I guess somewhere like Cumberland or somewhere more ‘rural’) and ate donuts for three months working out her direction as a writer (personally, I think this has huge potential to be a TV movie) whilst probably questioning her worth as a mum as well.  Not only was I hugely impressed when Judy’s assistant send me mail, but I was most amused when she mentioned within the foreword that she got mail around the time the novel was first published, in the form of the poem.

‘You’re rude and crude
Depraved and lewd
You’re caught in a moral crunch
You’re vexed, perplexed
And oversexed
So when can we have lunch?’

For that reason, I choose Wifey, although, believe me, this was hard, Smart Women was just as trashy, and equally delicious.

Critical Review – ‘Wifey is very funny, particularly in its picture of affluent suburban life with its conformity – the Gone With the Wind staircases, the nose jobs and frosted hair.’ Time

– ‘The Jacqueline Susann of children’s fiction grows up.’ – People

 

dorian-will-self

Dorian

Plot – Modernised retelling of Dorian’s pact with the Devil for the elixir of life.

Comments– My friend one day said to me, Giovanni, I’m going to read all the (Alan) Hollinghursts – especially as The Line of Beauty won the Booker Prize. I replied, having read Beauty and The Spell, plus 5% of The Stranger’s Child that this could be a potential pitfall. She ignored my advice and purchased The Swimming Pool Library which, to keep up with the Jones I read straight after. Whilst The Swimming Pool Library reads as a (homosexual) soft-core meets X-rated Mills and Boon novel (I apologise there was a lot in that sentence, but it was infinitely more easier to swallow than large swathes of Hollinghurst text), Self’s pretentious (thesaurus at the ready when reading) obsession with advanced and complicated/foreign words gives him the head in the competition to find the most linguistically sophisticated LGBT novel I’ve ever read. Correctly identifying the most prosaic of fan-fiction, Dorian on the one hand gives us an enormous sense of satisfaction, a ‘remake’ or reinterpretation that is both feasible and readable. Especially because we all knew Wilde, a prisoner of birth was so stunted by smoke and mirrors and only had the opportunity to allude to ultimate, unforgiveable, forbidden sin, whereas this book use the liberated, moneyed London society of the 1980s to make sure we were treated to the very excess so lauded with that time.

So, what has changed in Self’s interpretation of Dorian. Well, an instillation replaces the eternal portrait for one thing, and opium goes out the window for the full drugs cache that has come with modernity. Finally, instead of the soul being immolated, why not the body?  If illicit sex kills, why not make that the ultimate evil Dorian harbours. I begrudge Self huge credit for this novel because he is so very unlikeable in his other literary endeavours, however here he has made a book that stands alone as a wonderful, illicit tale of corruption and sin. Also, Self wins the honour for the best remake/sequel/or interpretation – and I read both Gone with the Wind sequels.

Extract – Dorian stood in the doorway, swivel-hipped, blank-faced, floppy-fringed. Wooton fell silent, feeling new eyes upon him. The two older men turned to regard this Adonis and in their heated appraisal and Dorian’s cool appraisal and their more fervid reappraisal of this and his more frigid reappraisal of that was the most exacting and timeless of triangulations: Baz  would always love Dorian, Wooton would never love Dorian but would want him consistently and Dorian would betray Baz and would never love anyone at all.

Author Trivia – His brother is the successful author Jonathan Self. That’s literally all I’ve got for Self.

Critical Review – ‘A book which filled its first reviewers with ‘the odour of moral and spiritual putrefaction’ just got smellier, darker and funnier.’ – Guardian

 

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Free the extracts!


So it’s official. Hillary is the Democratic nominee for President. I’m mainly starting this article disclosing this information because at a recent dinner I attended I was trolled face-to-face by a Queenslander who suggested I was a psychopath (another story) and asked whether I could read as he clearly felt I was *that* stupid. Well this Literature graduate can read, and sometimes he sways away from the Showbiz tag… but, back to the point. Hillary is the Democrat nominee and, whilst I’ll always be #TeamMonica, it’s big news. Could the Clintons make a dramatic, historic return to the White House?

Many have views on the Clintons, but the other day I was flicking through Adrian Mole and the Cappuccino Years, and realised the Mole-Braithwaites had got it particularly right when they were referring to the Clintons in 1998. Then I realised Penguin never got back to my handwritten letter imploring the publishing house to ‘release the extracts’ of the unfinished and unpublished ninth diary ‘Pandora’s Box.’

Attached within is this piece I have added the two superb extracts which fully show Townsend’s comic skill and her ability to catch the political mood of Leicester’s first family. After that, my plea for Penguin to do the right thing.

Saturday January 17th, 1998

Poor President Clinton has had to put up with a lot since he was elected. The Ku Klux Klan, the Survivalists and the Daughters of the Revolution have all been out to discredit him. Now they have come up with a ludicrous story about him sexually harassing a woman called Paula Jones in a hotel room in Arkansas in 1991. As if! He is a good-looking bloke, he doesn’t need to sexually harass any woman. I asked my mother if she had heard about the Paula Jones case. She looked back at me with pity in her eyes. ‘The whole world has heard about Paula Jones,’ she said. ‘Where have you been? On the planet Zog?’

I said it wasn’t possible to keep up with all the news.

She said, ‘We’re not talking about a three-car pile-up in Market Harborough, Adrian. This is top of the broadcast, world-class, CNN, BBC, headline news.’ She advised me to see a neurologist: she thinks I may be suffering from selective memory loss.

Thursday January 29th, 1998

President Clinton has denied in the strongest possible terms that he ever had sex with a White House intern called Monica Lewinsky. Looking into the camera and stabbing his finger for emphasis, he said, with the burning honesty, ‘I did not have sexual relations with the woman.’ He then added, with his charming Southern manners, ‘Miss Lewinsky’. I, for one, believe him totally.

My mother and Ivan seem to know all about the Lewinsky affair. When I said that I had never heard of the young woman before today, they looked at me incredulously. Ivan said, ‘I once had a secretary at the dairy who’d never heard of Van Gogh. She thought Van Morrison has pained Sunflowers.’

My mother said, ‘You seem to filter out anything remotely detrimental to President Clinton.’
I said I admired the man.
She said, ‘He’s a sex addict.’
I pointed out that his wife, Hillary, was an attractive woman. Why would he need to look elsewhere for sexual gratification.
They looked at each other: ‘I think we’ve got a Mary Archer “fragrant” situation here,’ said Ivan.
My mother said, ‘Adrian, you’ll be thirty-one in a couple of months. I know you’ve had sex at least twice, but you don’t seem to know the first thing about lust.’

I went upstairs to watch Newsnight on my portable, Pandora’s on now quite often.

 

Dear Penguin,

Having just reread Adrian Mole and the Prostrate Years (which, of course was fantastic) I did the sum total of several minutes research into Adrian Mole post-2010. The purpose of this activity was to willingly find and read any information about the possibility of those locked extracts from the unfinished ninth volume of Adrian Mole’s Diary, Pandora’s Box being published.
As ever, several questions about the nature of the Mole tapestry gripped me when searching – will Pandora survive the General Election (unless of course it’s set from June 2008)? Will William (or ‘Wole’) return? Will Adrian finally get to visit the new John Lewis department store in Leicester? I really implore for any additional information – even if it’s negative about the future plans of publication, as I assume those extracts will play a continued legacy for fans desperate to inhabit more of the world of our
favourite provincial Diarist.

As this year marks Susan’s 70th birthday (and Adrian’s 49th, or 48th depending on

which diary read) year, this might be a great time for some of the entries to be published, much in the same way the Royal Wedding special was published in the Guardian. I assure the fans want as much Mole as we can get.

I am and remain a massive fan of Sue and own almost all her works. Just Ghost Children remains to be my added to my ‘Sue shelf’ – if anyone could get back to me on this exciting matter, I’d be eternally grateful.

I did send this letter beforehand but fear there was no reply because I wrote the letter entirely in pencil, in a similar way that Adrian did when he first wrote to John Tydeman to kickstart his ill-fated career with the BBC.

I look forward for a response on this matter and, to quote Adrian

I remain, forever your humble servant,

Adrian Stuart.

So, from this Adrian, Penguin, give the book-buying public the news we want to hear!

The Timewasting Troll


If Robin Cooper has taught me anything, timewasting is simply a creative outlet that revolves very much around very little meaning. Nothing profound is really to be gained and satisfaction is entirely one-sided when it comes to a dialogue between two people.

And if David Thorne has taught me anything, pushing people’s buttons by feigning understanding really, really yields results. Much like the classic ‘playing dumb’ game my attempts at discourse has only two rules. To keep replying no matter how little the commenter/commentator gives me to work with and to only give up if someone has guessed I’m a troll (Note: this rule is broken if there is a particularly juicy response below).

As for my aspirations, I am looking to make a variety of aliases of different genders, ages, beliefs and viewpoints. Adrian is my persona on the Daily Mail. 43, with 4 children and a lot of emotional baggage, Carol-Janine (Caz) will be my Mumsnet persona, 38, 2 children and a husband who is totally offing the pikey slag off the estate, who has multiple men on the go (her words, not my own*), the defunct but very much real-life Liz Jones, 58, who needs very little introduction and Mandy McGregor, 38, mother of three and very much a needy, unlucky-in-love Warrington native who was named after the English and Kerr song, best covered by the irrepressible Barry Manilow, Mandy. My final character is the original alias of Adrian (me), Giovanni Presley who very much wants to be a sort of half-baked Mary Whitehouse when it comes to bad language and standards. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the man is very much a liberal, but he doesn’t understand the current wave of viral ‘lists’ and user-related content. Giovanni works on a one line judgement statement which receives a juicy amount of condemnation, only to further explain himself. Giovanni has a fairly good command of English, for you see he went to the University of East Anglia, but it’s not perfect and he awaits the day people notice the man-made errors within the text.

19 things...

Starting point.

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Stacy is ready to do battle for Giovanni with some choice words.

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Enter Anne, who surprised me by replying late in the game but with a strong wager.

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I got to tie in periods with another article

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Chanele got it.

Nigel is inspired by the wonderful Adrian Mole. Agents of Sue Townsend – release the unfinal extracts!

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Happy days!Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 15.06.40

Lindsay -a note


So let me explain the comments…

ll1LL2

Now I know Lindsay has done nothing , NOTHING worthy of note since her desultory documentary series ‘Lindsay’ which highlighted both how screwed up her life was and how out of touch she remains with reality. But even though I don’t have 4 kids (let alone 4 cats, although it’s a dream that my heart very much makes when I asleep) I would almost consider cheering for Lindsay (sans children) on the big wedding day, like I attempted that night many moons ago in London.

My friend and I, having caught a matinee of Speed-the-Plow on the cheap and on an unseasonably warm October day decided for the hell of it to wait after the performance. We did so to see if the starlet (it was doubtful at this point whether she could still call herself an actress, west end play or not) would come out and sign some autographs for the hangers-on.

No show.

My friend and I, very much free of time constraints moved on to the nearest local and settled in for a few ciders, with the bulk of our chat relating to seeing –in person- the hot mess that was Lindsanity. We agreed, merrily, boozily that we should return to our original spots outside the theatre to see if the fateful crowds had grown and, most interestingly, whether the starlet herself would come out. We were not disappointed. There was a sense of near hysteria from the loyal fan boys and girls who spoke in frenzied and revered tones about their personal experiences and rumours on the grapevine about their girl Lindsay – ‘She come out on Saturday, I know she did… because {the speaker adopts a dreamy, faraway tone} I was there’ said one; ‘I’ve been outside three times,’ said another, clearly desperate for Lindsay to show (her misappropriated dedication and unwavering loyalty was both sad and oddly touching); ‘she shows on matinee days, my friend told me, she’ll totally show’.

SAM_3673

Lucy with the mega-fans

My friend and I, absorbing the fever pitch around us discussed whether this was akin to either Beatlemania or One Direction fanfare, before I pitched in and argued it was more aligned to the three foot deep crowd desperate to catch a glimpse of the oft-mocked junkie/murderer Courtney Love. ‘I should know,’ I sagely added, ‘as she kissed me. On the lips.’

Did LL show? Let’s not be silly! She appeared in the shadows before seamlessly entering the gateaway car outta there, leaving the coterie of loyal minions to take as many photos of her exit  whilst speaking in a sort of Mean Girls inspired reverie ‘I’ve waited for an hour, but I got a picture of her car, it was awesome!’

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The getaway car

You see, Lindsay’s life as a millennial – and I hope I’m not exaggerating here is akin to the other tricky zeitgeist- moments of our lives such as worldwide terrorism, social anxiety over our social media and the more personalised fear that we can’t have *it* all because we currently got nothing, apart from Netflix – and the only way I’m gonna Netflix & Chill is watching Li-Lo’s Labor Pains, you get me?!

In many ways I see Lindsay more than I do actual friends. Her fame helped get my blog another 20-50 hits with the original blog post, a personalised but very much unauthorised-nature-v-nurture biographical piece, We Need to Talk about Lindsay. Similar to the groundbreaking novel the question asked was whether Lindsay had become a pathological liar, occasional thief and sustained law-breaker because she couldn’t be bring herself to follow the laws of the land, or whether it was because, like the Michael Jacksons of this world (my most successful piece by far, although I wasn’t happy when a commenter was told by another commenter that  she could write a far better argument than mine) she had a far-from-ideal childhood. Specifically, with a mother who I’m saying almost certainly (FAO: Dina, I’m saying ‘think’ so you can’t sue me)had drug dependency issues and a father who’s regular absenteeism, embezzling, domestic violence and prison stints made sure they became ever infamous and ever ‘trash’. Whatever happened from my last article, we all knew Lindsay’s career was almost completely derailed.

But how low is too low, how derailed is derailed? I mean I cringed when infamous momager, Dina Lohan proudly announced to the media she had negotiated a generous deal with the owner of the world’s largest animal pornography collection (I read this in Linda Lovelace’s memoir, Ordeal. Truly beyond the pale, that man. Interestingly, as mentioned in the previous piece, Lindsay was meant to play Linda Lovelace, but was too busy possibly/maybe/definitely shoplifting to read the script), Hugh Heffner  for LL to quite literally do a Marilyn for Playboy. ‘It’s gonna be classy,’ said Dina, which of are the famous last words when talking Playboy. Even Glenn Close helped stick the boot in when a paparazzi informed her of Lindsay’s later job – poor girl, she mirthlessly replied.

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A weird drawing I found in an LA restaurant of Lindsay just before the premiere of the unanimously panned ‘Liz and Dick’

I live-streamed Lindsay’s performance in Liz and Dick and accepted all of the (devastating) reviews as gospel.  The film, a biopic—cum-unintentional comedy suffered from catatonic performances and truly underwhelming dialogue (to paraphrase: Elizabeth’s never-aging mother to Elizabeth at a Hollywood party – You’ve been married four times and you’re not even thirty! Elizabeth responds to mother within a beat -Who’s counting!), considering this was meant to be the start of her comeback, it garnered her zero momentum. There was also the wig, the worst wig in televisual history, and the worst fainting scene where Lindsay wears the worst wig in history that helped this movie become a worldwide joke.

Away from acting, I watched (for my sins) all eight episodes of the go-fund-me charity project ‘Lindsay’ in which Oprah, dreadful hack that she is helps orchestrate humiliation after humiliation in the hope of ‘rehabilitating’ Lindsay whilst also scoring mammoth ratings. As ever a genius, she wisely (unwisely?) guesses it makes far better television to let Lindsay circle her way into the gutter. At one point her PA, who has an entirely thankless role, which he leaves by the end of the series, harangues Lindsay to move her car. Lindsay, again confused with the laws of the land tells her PA a way of handling the fines without moving the car. ‘Oh no, what I do is just put the old parking tickets there,’ to which her exasperated PA replies ‘Yeah, I know that Lindsay, they just whack another on. Three tickets and they’ll take your car.’

The show wasn’t renewed and few lessons were learnt, apart from the fact vodka pizza doesn’t actually contain vodka.

In her personal life, I read with stunned horror that the bottom had well and truly fallen out of the operation when more and more accounts of Lindsay’s escorting across Europe spread like a Californian bush fire (she I assume won’t be entertaining on one of the yachts in the south of France when I finally visit next month for my cheese and wine trip).

And I inwardly expressed great sadness when Lindsay used Instagram as a conduit for her family strife by announcing to the world, via Lindsay emoji that she was ‘done with mom,’ before a rapid 180 when she directly called out to mom to get in touch and see her children. Needless to say I didn’t need to read the comments to know that Lindsay was no longer the Lohan cash cow.

I, as mentioned was there, cheering when she FINALLY acted in something that didn’t feel put together within about 48 hours (needless to say The Canyons and other acting cameos are barely worth mentioning.) Speed-the-Plow suffered from being a Hollywood story without a convincing plot, but in a nutshell Lindsay Lohan played a secretary who managed to convince a major producer through her sex appeal to reject a commercial (read: crummy)  vehicle by instead going for a post-apocalyptic tale that nobody in the audience could understand, thereby helping craft his downfall. Think Hollywood weighing up a Michael Mann movie or a Battlefield Earth-type movie). The play at about 70 minutes was punctuated by a pointless interval which completely grounded the pacing of the play and, crucially destroyed any potential for pure theatre. Still, the ovation was had and now I’d finally seen *the* child actor from my generation, I could rest easy, knowing that Lindsay might continue acting, possibly hooking, but that her day in the sun was all but had. Yesterday’s hero, yesterday’s news, but at least with a final acting hurrah of sorts.

How good, then to find out that Lindsay had got engaged. So good it created a comment from Adrian, 43, father of 4 and this very article. Unlike others I avoided the glaring pointers – ‘She looks 50’ ‘This won’t last’ ‘if the Russian had a brain he wouldn’t marry her’ ‘What did Lindsay see in the multi-millionaire’ ‘what an asinine comment [to say she’s pulling a Robert Downey Jr.], Lindsay will never work for a legitimate film company again, not even n their Men’s room’ and felt this was a true celebration. The engagement party, for example was so steeped in love that the parents, you know the dad who said he thought Lindsay would die at 27 and the mum who wouldn’t even return her daughter’s calls turning up to congratulate the union, for richer, never for poorer.

At least temporarily, I can put the most divisive questions from my previous article to one side. At least for the present it seems we no longer need to talk about Lindsay Lohan-Tarabasov. Pazdravleniya

I Am Not Liz Jones: A Cautionary Tale of Identity Theft.


This is me.

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This is Liz.

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We’re fairly different, of course. But we will forever be connected by Facebook. This certainly has nothing to do with Liz, though.

For you see, today marks the end of the Liz Jones fan page. There were many key moments in my Facebook journey with our Liz. When I first created the page many moons ago I used it as an opportunity to skim some fame from the oft-mocked columnist and eternal neurotic by satirising her ‘ludicrous’ columns. The biography gives an easy indication of the tone:

Liz Jones is the QUEEN of appalling journalism. Her recent articles include her facelift and her breast reduction. Other successful articles include her weekly columns, Jones Moans, which is a series of things this middle-aged snob hates and her biographical pieces about her complicated love life, bankruptcy and feelings of loneliness.

This attempt at quick, gratifying and easy fame became derailed when I started reading the columnists properly, for you see, like a literary form of Stockholm Syndrome I realised I was totally on Liz’s team. Suddenly, I did an about turn, trolling was out and praising was in. No more would I say it was fair game for India Knight to infer that Liz Jones sexually abused her cats and was overall a rancid c*** .

Realising that I no longer disliked the lost and lonely Liz – especially after I read about her sperm-stealing madness I did an about turn and decided that ‘Jizz Jones’ should rise like a phoenix and become a certified Facebook Star.

To further the brand I wrote a lengthy two part review of her memoir, Girl Least Likely To, which without doubt gave me the worst reviews of my whole e-writing career so far:

Liz Jones reviews

Naturally I couldn’t work out whether these comments were basic trolling from anti-LJ fans or extremely accurate comments about the caliber of my writing, so I went 80% with the former, even though I begrudgingly spent 40 minutes correcting the plethora of technical mistakes whilst openly lamenting the absence of an editor.

Anyway, what was weird about the page beforehand was that everyone assumed I was Liz Jones, probably because they didn’t read the biography tab and couldn’t believe anybody would be sad enough to ape Liz Jones (they were wrong). But here I was inadvertently committing identity theft, something she openly criticised in an article:

Likewise when someone posed as me on Twitter {note: not me} and tried to extract mobile phone numbers out of friends and relatives.

It was all becoming a little meta, really. Saying that Liz was being trolled as I was stealing her identity and using her name for promoting my (critically-panned) article. Also, it wasn’t even working for me.

I knew I needed to say goodbye to the Liz Jones page when I started to receive a flurry of messages from people asking if I (as Liz) would attend local animal events to further promote the plight of animal cruelty worldwide. My liberal guilt was strong when I saw people pouring their hearts out to Liz (not me) with long, lengthy life stories very much akin to Liz’s confessional narratives, only for me (as Liz) to reply ‘What a lovely message. Good work. Love, Liz’

Something had to give.

I explained to people that I wasn’t Liz Jones, but naturally nobody paid attention so my final major act of subterfuge was to use Liz Jones’ name to further my personal beliefs. I took aim at Lena Dunham for the hell of it and posted the comment ‘Boy, is this chick annoying. She needs to go away.’ I count it as a tremendous honour that I received feedback from one of Australia’s top editors* and that fans of Liz Jones on the page – who didn’t question the use of ‘boy’ and ‘chick’ in the comment promised to steer clear of her hipster nonsense.

Crappy Liz

Realising I had achieved everything possible and that this mad saga needed to end (especially when the private messages hit 100) I decided to retire the name I took in vain. My apologies to Liz for joining a list of great pretenders to the Liz Jones legacy and, if it helps, Liz, I really don’t believe you masturbate your cats.

*Well, Buzzfeed Australia.

GHV2 – Keeps getting better


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Career resurgence: post-resignation celebration ideas. Marketing houses, you know you like this style.

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Wednesday matinee: I’m all about hanging with my courtside seats.

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The Selfie: and a competition winning costume – as the ace of hearts. Guess the film.

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Celebrity support: my growing mediapersonality begun on that day

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Food for thought: another image for the FoodAppreciation Society (FAS), can you guess what it is?

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Artistry: Could there be a more profound artist than Lil Kim?

 

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Lifetime goals: becoming a bartender and getting a cat called Mr Snuggums..

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Being a tourist: I later became a star, as Aladdin, the middle eastern hero. Taken in Dubai.

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Relaxation: relaxing at the Szechenyi spa in Budapest. It can’t be all work and toil, says Adrian (as he celebrates 2 months of unemployment.

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And finally: status and social mobility in spades now I’m a Lord of Sealand – could this not be the best way to round off another 100 photos and a lot lotta memories? I hope so.