Love Goddesses: Rita Hayworth and Marilyn


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Rita Hayworth, photographed by Bob Landry (1941)

Rita Hayworth, photographed by Bob Landry (1941)

In August 1941 – less than four months before the bombing of Pearl Harbour plunged America into World War II – Rita Hayworth graced the cover of Life magazine. She was pictured in a white bikini, grinning as photographer Bob Landry caught her eating lunch on a Los Angeles beach.  But this delightfully natural image made less impact than another picture inside the magazine.

Here, Landry depicted a far more seductive Rita, either relaxing in her own bedroom as the caption claimed, or on a studio prop bed. And the white silk negligee that she wore may have been borrowed from Columbia’s wardrobe department. Gazing boldly at the camera, Hayworth seemed to promise more than the artful illusion of glamour. Continue reading

‘The Mmm Girl’ Back in Print




I’m delighted to announce that The Mmm Girl, my novel about the life of Marilyn Monroe, is finally back in print. This edition includes a new prologue and ten additional passages: including Marilyn’s diverse encounters with teenage fans and world leaders; intimate photo shoots, a rare stage appearance, and a trip to Mexico; and a closer look behind the scenes of her many movies, from early bit parts to timeless classics.

The Mmm Girl is now available from Amazon worldwide, in paperback (UK, £8.24; US, $12.50); and via Kindle (UK, £3.29; US, $4.93.) It is also available from The Book Depository, with free international shipping. While I can’t provide signed copies, I’ll be happy to send a signed bookplate, free of charge, to anyone who wants it. You can contact me here.

You can preview the first four chapters on Amazon, or read further extracts and reviews, and view the book trailer, right here. And of course, after you’ve read the book (and hopefully enjoyed it), please consider writing a short customer review on Amazon or Goodreads.


‘Art Decades': Pauline Boty, and More


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Art Decades is a new print magazine featuring a variety of perspectives on everything from film to music to fashion, and beyond, from a large number of writers from all over the world. I’m delighted that my article, ‘Pauline Boty: Pop Artist and Woman’, is featured in the second issue.

Created by Kelley and Jeremy Richey (who runs the Moon in the Gutter blog), Art Decades also includes a cover story on The Raveonettes; an interview with Mary Woronov, and a profile of Cannon Films’ Menahem Golan; tributes to Lou Reed and Joy Division; art by Jeanie Laub, and photography by Whitley Brandenburg and Dylan Staley.

It’s a beautiful magazine, and I’m proud to be a part of it. Buy now from Amazon UK for £9.33; on Amazon US; or direct via Paypal, from the Art Decades website. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in memory of actress Marie Dubois.

2014: A Year On Film


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My favourite film of 2014 was James Gray’s The Immigrant. Despite its stellar cast, it was woefully under-promoted and wasn’t even released in Britain. Marion Cotillard is luminous – almost Garboesque – as a young Polish woman who lands on Ellis Island in 1921. Almost a century later, Eva’s struggle is lived every day by millions like her.

And my favourite television show this year was True Detective.

Best Books of 2014


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This year has been all about Elena Ferrante and her Neapolitan novels for me. Autumn reaped a rich harvest in fiction, and there have also been some fine reissues.  Continue reading

2014: A Year in Music


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My favourite album this year was Lana Del Rey’s dark, brooding Ultraviolence, and my song of the summer was ‘West Coast’.

A close second was Lykke Li’s epic tearjerker, I Never Learn. You can watch her incredible Glastonbury performance here.


I also enjoyed Samantha Crain’s Kid Face; Angel Olsen’s Burn Your Fire for No Witness; Small Town Heroes, by Hurray for the Riff Raff; and First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold.

Looking forward to 2015 – the reigning Queen of Pop, Madonna, will launch her new album, Rebel Heart, in March. A six-track EP, including lead single ‘Living for Love’, was released on i-Tunes this morning.

Remembering Mandy Rice-Davies


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Mandy Rice-Davies, photographed by Bryan Wharton, 1986.

Photo by Bryan Wharton, 1986. (National Portrait Gallery, London)

My life has been one long descent into respectability.

I woke up this morning to the news that Marilyn Foreman – better known as Mandy Rice-Davies, whose very name still conjures bittersweet memories of the Profumo Affair, more than half a century later – died last night after a short battle with cancer. I am shocked and sad – she was so full of energy and wit that I thought nothing would stop her. I never knew her personally but she was a huge part of my creative life. And as a woman, her refusal to be cowed by sexual hypocrisy was incredibly inspiring.

Peter Stanford has written an excellent obituary for The Guardian, and you can read some of my own Mandy-related posts here.

‘Wicked Baby’ on Kindle


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I’m proud to announce that Wicked Baby, my 2004 novella about the events of the Profumo Affair, is now available to download via Kindle. This new edition includes an afterword, and five articles about the scandal’s lasting impact on society and popular culture, two of which are previously unpublished. The ebook is available on Amazon worldwide, and will set you back around £2.24, or $3.02 in the US. You can read the first three chapters before purchasing. So to all you e-readers, have at it – and if you like it, please add a quick review and rating on Amazon! More details later…

Preview or buy now in the UK






… and many more!


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