Queen Elizabeth II is officially the longest reigning UK monarch as she has just passed Queen Victoria's previous record of 63 years and 216 days on the throne. Above (top) is a contact sheet taken by Cecil Beaton before she was queen (1942) and later another contact sheet also by Cecil Beaton taken in 1968. And below I have a reimagined contact sheet of a photo shoot with the Queen by cartoonist Ralph Steadman.
So, I have found my new favourite thing - a one star movie review. Apparently, Nicole Kidman's "Grace of Monaco" that opened Cannes is truly, truly terrible. However, the review of "Grace of Monaco" in the Guardian is a real treat to read! It made me laugh out loud. A lot. But, Nicole Kidman can console herself with the knowledge that she looked utterly lovely in her twinkly Armani gown at the opening premier. Behold:
I adore her in blue. It's a very pretty colour with her complexion, don't you think?
And speaking of Nicole Kidman, OK she may not have had a terrific track record at the box office of late, but boy does she know how to rock the red carpet! Am I right or am I right?
It's the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this month. Diamond Jubilee! What a terrific anniversary that is. I hope to have a Diamond Jubilee something someday just so I can say "Diamond Jubilee" non-stop for a few months. In celebration of this great sounding anniversary, The National Portrait Gallery in London is holding an exhibition of...ahem...portraits that have been commissioned for her over the years. Behold a selection of a few of these...Which is your favourite?
The other day whilst standing in a queue at the post office I started aimlessly browsing a box full to the brim of discount DVDs. The box had been strategically placed so as to encourage people to rummage through it whilst standing patiently in the especially long queues that the post office specialises in. Anyway, I did not expect to find anything even remotely interesting. Imagine my utter surprise and delight when I found one of my all time favourite movies ever in that humble box!! And it was only $10.00. My day was made and The Day of the Jackal was shortly mine.
So, why do I adore this 1973 espionage/ thriller/ action/ suspense tour de force? Why did I many moons ago happen to watch it on DVD and immediately watch it again and then, as soon as my boyfriend got back from an interstate trip did I sit down and watch it yet again with him? These are my reasons:
a) The superbly tight plot. Based on the novel of the same name by Frederick Forsyth it has a snappy story line that will take your breath away.
b) The wonderful cast. For starters there's Edward Fox doing a superb job of being a couth assassin with the cunning of...well, a jackal. There's also a fine supporting cast which includes the fabulous French actor Michael Lonsdale as the Commissioner and his side kick Caron is played by that awesome veteran Brit actor Derek Jacobi.
c) The glamorous locations. Paris, rural France, The Swiss Alps, London...
d) The semi-historical aspect. Yes, there really was an underground terrorist organisation called the OAS that tried to assassinate de Gaulle on 22 August 1962. Unhappy with his decision to liberate Algeria, they believed that by killing de Gaulle they would restore the great France of old. The film then goes on from there. I feel this basis in fact gives it a very real authenticity and makes it all the more compelling to watch.
These photos are from top: The northern lights as seen through the ash that exploded into the atmosphere at the beginning of the year from that volcano in Iceland, hay bales along a beach in the Gulf of Mexico absorbing the oil from the BP oil spill, twin girls in Ireland after their first communion, champions Spain at the end of The World Cup.
With only a few days left of the year 2010 most newspapers and websites are doing round ups for the year that was. I've seen a few, and for my money you can't go past The Guardian.
Yesterday, as you can imagine, the papers were full of essays, commentaries and reflections on ANZAC Day and what it means in 2009. There was a very interesting article in The Weekend Australian newspaper about the art of war. It was specifically about how Australian artists have never depicted soldiers in battle heroically but rather as ordinary people stoically perservering through "the stuff of nightmares". To illustrate this article they chose two paintings by female artists which I thought were rather lovely despite the melancholy subject matter.
The one above is by Australian artist Stella Bowen. It is called "Bomber Crew" and was painted in 1944. All the subjects were lost in action. Below is Nora Heyson's "Transport Driver" painted in 1945. Both of them hang in Canberra in the War Memorial. You can read the article from The Australianhere.