Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Freedom of expression

From the Guardian today

Nearly two years after the internationally acclaimed author Orhan Pamuk narrowly escaped imprisonment for statements that were thought to "insult Turkishness", the publisher of a British writer goes on trial today accused of the same charge.

Ragip Zarakolu is facing up to three years in prison for publishing a book - promoting reconciliation between Turks and Armenians - by George Jerjian, a writer living in London.

Jerjian's book, The Truth Will Set Us Free, which was translated into Turkish in 2005, chronicles the life of his Armenian grandmother who survived the early 20th century massacres of Armenians thanks to an Ottoman soldier. The historical account has prompted as much controversy among the Armenian diaspora, not least in the US, as it has in Turkey.

. . .

But while Turkish diplomats admit the contentious law has probably done more damage to Ankara's efforts to join the EU than any other single piece of legislation, observers say there has been little headway made over reforming the spirit and letter of the law.

In a climate of unabated nationalism, state prosecutors and police officials continue to level charges against artists, musicians and writers perceived to publicly denigrate Turkishness.

I assume that PEN and Index on Censorship will shortly be launching campaigns against these assaults on freedom of expression.

Meetings with maestros

I went to a party last night and was introduced to a woman,who, I was told, was a make-up artist. This turned out to be akin to being told, this is Saul Bellow, he's a novelist, or this is Christian Dior, he's a dress designer, or this is Nelson Mandela, he's a politician. For Mary Greenwell is not a make-up artist, she is the make-up artist, whose celebrity clients include Uma Thurman, Cate Blanchet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightly, Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen.

She began her career in Paris in the 80s working with Christy Turlington, Stephanie Seymour, Tatiana Patitz, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford. By 1985 she was working for all five Vogues on a weekly basis and created the no make-up look we all work so hard to achieve. Today she runs a course where for £1000 you will be taught how to do your own make-up but last night she was tired and wanted to sit down, so in exchange for keeping her company on the sofa instead of making bright chit-chat standing on my high heels, I received a half hour ruthless re-appraisal of my make-up, writing down the new rules and products on the back of the invitation while balancing a glass of champagne on my knee.

Look, where make-up is concerned I genuinely thought I was at the top of my game. She shockingly told me that there are women who won't wear foundation because it is 'dishonest' ie it covers flaws. Yes? You don't want your flaws concealed? But it seems I was using the wrong type of foundation, the wrong shade of blush, an insufficiently volumising mascara, was applying my lipstick wrongly on the lower lip. She took out her make-up bag and redid me. Then she jabbed at three or four points on my face around the jaw and upper lip and told me what Botox would do and gave me the number of her botox man. The idea lurks in a corner of my mind like a little curled up kitten, sleeping.

Meanwhile I am off to buy several new products, chief of which will be Chanel lipstick in Silhouette and Chanel's Teint innocence in cream to powder formula instead of the liquid I'm using right now.

Short news round-up

(think we'd forgotten?)

Lisa Armstrong in the Times today has an interview with Karl Lagerfeld

Predictably, he likes the notion of despot, indeed, has fostered it, adopting a uniform of white shirt (he has more than 1,000, mostly from Hilditch & Key), drainpipe trousers, frock coat, white ponytail, omnipresent sunglasses and a carapace of rings (he has hundreds) that garland his knuckles like armour. What he dislikes about going to Germany, which he does as rarely as he visits Britain, is the Teutonic habit of calling him Karli, or Karlchen. Anyone would think he preferred his more common nickname of Kaiser Karl.

The Kaiser persona is so recognisable that it has become a Hallowe’en staple in New York; recently Roberto Cavalli attended a party in Lagerfeld fancy dress. “An act of courage, no?” retorts Lagerfeld. “His silhouette is a little . . . just say I think I look better.” Since his dramatic weight loss seven years ago (he says that he keeps in shape by foxtrotting with Oscar de la Renta), The Look can border on the demonic or, on milder days, on the vestments of a malevolent Dickensian priest – “defrocked” as he puts it with relish.

Also in the Times, is a piece on the 30 things every woman must have in their wardrobe

I have 20 of those items, lacking, among other things, a crisp white shirt, a blazer and kirby grips. But I do have a cocktail ring, in fact I have two.

Thought for the day

There is a mysterious stillness and intimacy of a woman doing her hair and making up which attracts me. Pedro Almodovar