In my year in Paris, I soon learned the familiar pale green of the Laduree shops’ exteriors, admired the beautiful pastel-shaded gateaux in the window displays, and once or twice even enjoyed consuming said delicacies from the comfort of a gilt chair.
And now the brand turns its attention to making sweet, mouthwateringly pretty make up… There aren’t many previews yet, but here are a few images.
Blusher pressed into rose petals…
And some pretty accessories too for your make up table. This looks like a line for the unashamedly femme.
See some more sneak previews here (Japanese-language site).
Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge.” The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn.” The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige.”
Every time I think he doesn’t get it, he totally gets it. I’ve told him before and I’ll tell him again: thanks Craig.
So said Matthew Arnold about Oxford. Here are a few images from the city I have called my own since the autumn - which started with unseasonably glorious sunshine. I’ve tried in these pictures to capture something of the spirit of the town… Taken with a Diana Mini using bog standard 35mm ISO 200 colour film.
Outside the city lights of Abu Dhabi is a desert safari where SUVs surf the sand, camels are the only things in sight and the sunset ignites the sky like fire…
Land of my childhood, home of part of my heart <3
So there’s a lot of nonsense written about hijab. The word literally means “cover”, and more broadly is used to mean “modesty, privacy, morality”. There are many different schools of thought as to what constitutes hijab: and men are also meant to dress modestly, by the way. But anyway, thinking about female hijab: it’s not all face-covering niqabs. A lot of Muslim women who live in the West find interesting ways of integrating Western fashion with their desire for modesty. Of course, some Muslims would not think that all of these styles meet hijab standards - this depends on your personal reading of the clothing laws. And hey, some of these styles might appeal to non-Muslim ladies who prefer fuller coverage…
Meanwhile, Jakarta Fashion Week shows us that modest fashion can be just as FIERCE as anything on the London catwalk:
Like everyone (cool) on the internet, I’m going to do a birthday spam post for one of my very favourite musicians. Coke addict, clean-living, raconteur, introvert, extrovert, artist, businessman, sell out, the real deal, queer, heterosexual, liar, truth-teller: the one and only David Bowie. Whatever he is, he’s never ever boring. Thank you for the music, and for your vulnerable alien hungry face, and your beautifully ordinary marriage to your extraordinarily beautiful wife.
Henry Jenkins (Director of media studies at MIT)
There is… something quite satisfying about this. Yes.
TRASPARENZE BANGKOK TIGHTS
JONATHAN ASTON ANIMAL TIGHTS
PAMELA MANN TATTOO HEARTS TIGHTS
Moustache tights by Tights For Sore Eyes
Skyline tights by Tights For Sore Eyes
Sadly it looks like TFSE have folded, but hopefully they will return… Because they look awesome.
A constant companion of the avant-garde, Sasha Marini gets a dramatic makeover courtesy of stylist Simona Sanfedele and makeup artist Paolo De Vita for Bello Mag. Photographed by Michele Ercolani…
(AKA, Tumblr, you can keep your “androgynous” pretty boys in make up - I like butch men in frills.)
Argh, how annoying… Tumblr can be so useless sometimes!
There’s a “read more” break in there - can you guys refresh & tell me if you aren’t seeing it? Thanks!
Last night, Sherlock finally returned to our screens, as an updated version of A Scandal in Bohemia, which fandom was very excited about because it features Irene Adler, AKA “The Woman”, the only person to have outwitted Sherlock Holmes. I was concerned about how this would be handled - would Irene Adler become the love interest she inevitably seems turned into, and would she have her own agency? The answer to both these questions is yes and no.
The good stuff
I liked that we get a sense of the passage of time, of John and Sherlock’s professional relationship becoming cemented, of John becoming a confident partner in Sherlock’s business and actually, through his blog, making it more successful. The breathless fanboying and then the uneasy resentment combined with affection of series 1 - natural feelings that they were - have now settled into what seems to be a very easy friendship. The way Sherlock and John laughed together at Buckingham Palace was just precious. They’ve had these moments of great camaraderie in series 1 but, I don’t know, somehow it just seemed more relaxed in this episode. And that Sherlock thinks to steal the ashtray for John - not to show off, I don’t think, but because John wanted one - shows how much more he’s able to think about other people now.
Relationships between characters were very good in this episode generally. Mycroft and Sherlock were very interesting. That whole bit about “do you ever think there’s something wrong with us?”, that acknowledgement that they don’t feel things in quite the same way as other people, was moving - that sense that they are both outsiders, even if they are engaged with the world in so many ways. And yet they have strong emotional responses and affective ties here. I loved Mycroft giving Sherlock the cigarette. So much unsaid.
The Sherlock/Mrs Hudson relationship was also gold. I really love Mrs Hudson, and Sherlock’s cold fury when he saw she was hurt rang really true for me - she is his mother-figure, and he will punish anyone who hurts her. And she rescued the phone! Mrs H isn’t as silly as she sometimes seems. I would really love more on her back story and her husband who got executed. Sherlock, John and Mrs Hudson have such a cosy household, it’s really sweet. She treats them like sons and it’s adorable. I think they both need that, since their own families are dysfunctional.
It was a shame to only have a brief glimpse of Lestrade in this episode - but now I can’t help hoping he might get together with Molly, since things with his wife are not going to work out. And oh, Molly. I just wanted to cuddle her. They did a great job with her costuming for the party - the dress on its own would have been sophisticated, but with the earrings and hair it was all too much, just trying that bit too hard, and Sherlock ran roughshod over her feelings as he always does. But then he apologised, and I think he meant it. And I still think Molly should have told him to fuck off anyway, but you could see that Sherlock was genuinely recognising, even if in a limited way, that Molly had real feelings that were affected by his behaviour and he felt remorse. I don’t think he would really have processed this before he met John. John is his way of making connections.
Which is why I can still ship John/Sherlock and believe in the Irene/Sherlock thing that was going on in this episode. When I heard Irene was going to be a dominatrix I thought: oh God, this is going to be dreadful, they’re going to sex up Irene and have her use feminine wiles on Sherlock instead of her brains. But she used her feminine wiles and her brains, and the domme stuff was actually done reasonably tastefully and without judgement. I believe that she and Sherlock were attracted to each other’s intellect, and one of the things I think this episode did well was problematising what we mean by attraction and what its parameters are. Here are my speedy thoughts on the matter.
Last series, there was quite a lot of “he’s your boyfriend” joking around. There was some of that here, but it was often… very matter-of-fact. When John’s girlfriend dumps him and says Sherlock Holmes is lucky to have him, that’s a bitter sort of joke. But when John insists to Irene that he’s not gay so can’t be involved with Sherlock, she says she is gay and is interested in him, drawing a direct parallel between their situations. Sherlock isn’t a natural choice for either of them, but they are both drawn to him. Does this necessarily mean they want to shag like rabbits? No. Irene uses her sexuality to make Sherlock uncomfortable, and as a sexual person I think that she would have sex with him, but I also don’t think that’s the draw for her. She finds his mind fascinating. When people talk about mental attraction, they act like it’s something clinical, separate from the body, but while I don’t think her desire for him was precisely sexual I don’t think a cerebral connection precludes emotional investment. Sherlock read her pulse as a sign of romantic attachment, but “romance” is a broad term. Sherlock, as Mycroft explains, has the mind of a scientist - but he chooses to be a detective. I think it’s because there is a part of him that enjoys the romance of mystery as well as the thrill of discovery. And it’s that which draws him to Irene, and something of the same sort that drew him to James Moriarty in the last episode of the previous season.
I also thought it was interesting that John doesn’t disagree with Irene after what she says to compare their situations. It was like that gave him something to think about, and that’s interesting. I think there are lots of intriguing things going on here about what it means to be in a “relationship”. We see from this that for Sherlock, an inbox full of unanswered text messages constitutes something like a relationship. For John, having a series of girlfriends means less than working with Sherlock. It’s unconventional and not always healthy, but it’s definitely interesting, and it makes sexual orientation and so on more fluid.
The show continues to look beautiful - even more so, in fact - and I love the music and costuming, and there is lots of sharp, very funny writing and some brilliantly nuanced acting from some of the cast.
The bad stuff
The pool. I’m surprised that fandom doesn’t seem more let down by this. Really, fans? You get a hilarious Moriarty ringtone and you drop caring about how this was a rubbish way to get out of a cliffhanger? I wasn’t too bothered because really, after the months and months of waiting we had, any denouement was going to be a disappointment, but honestly, it felt lazy.
Moriarty - so not into his random fits of fury interspersed with chirpiness. Just doesn’t work for me.
How Irene ended up. Now, I did not have a problem with Sherlock actually getting access to the phone. Unlike the original Scandal in Bohemia, the information Irene had here was actually of potentially critical importance to all sorts of people, not just the person in the first set of photographs, and she had just aided a major criminal in exposing the plane plot, and so it seemed much more imperative to stop her. Irene Adler in this adaptation actively chooses to do bad things. She’s not like the Irene of the original story so much. Here she puts the lives of innocent people at risk (RE: the terrorist threat) and so letting her blackmail the British Government wouldn’t have felt like much of a victory. HOWEVER. There is no way she would have made her password Sherlock’s name. For one thing she’s too clever, and for another she knows how egotistical he is. He tried 221b (for Baker St) - he would have spotted the pun and tried his own name! The idea that someone so accomplished would be so in the thrall of a girlish crush that she would make her crushee her password is just ridiculous. And then Sherlock saving her from beheading. Ugh. Irene saves herself. She may use other people to get her where she wants to be, but she doesn’t need a knight in shining armour. THAT bugged me a lot and I’m going to pretend it didn’t happen.
I’m also going to pretend it didn’t happen because it’s quite selfish of Sherlock, really, keeping this from John. I feel so bad for John, because he thinks that he’s protecting Sherlock by keeping it a secret from him that Irene’s supposedly dead, and Sherlock’s merrily gone off and saved her. Bah! Then again, Sherlock can be quite a douche, so I suppose it fits. But still. Aggravating. There were also the usual Sherlock things that were vaguely annoying - over-explaining plot details (we got the vital statistics bit without Irene needing to spell it out, thanks), reveals being less clever than Moffat seems to think they are, etc.
Overall: I was pretty pleased with this episode. I thought mostly the plot was pretty silly and could have been tightened, but there was a lot of fun stuff in here and also some essential character-building, so: thumbs up.