Watching Brief: Down under with the Grasping One, the Special Circumstances of Kate Moss, and Why Simon Jenkins Is Abandoning His Organ

By Platell, Amanda | New Statesman (1996), February 7, 2005 | Go to article overview

Watching Brief: Down under with the Grasping One, the Special Circumstances of Kate Moss, and Why Simon Jenkins Is Abandoning His Organ


Platell, Amanda, New Statesman (1996)


My mole in Perth (my mum, actually) tells me with undisguised glee that the organisers are still trying to flog tickets to the Cherie Blair trans-Australia charity show, which starts next Tuesday. Those ungrateful Antipodeans have not flocked to buy tickets at A$195 a go (about [pounds sterling]80) as expected.

The gala charity dinner has been advertised non-stop since before Christmas. Now the modest advert is running in the sports pages of the West Australian. I don't wish to be unkind, but even with the most flattering photo (her mouth is shut), Cherie is not the stuff of your average red-blooded Aussie's dreams.

The ad reads: "Cherie Blair--lawyer, author, human rights advocate, mother of four and wife of the British Prime Minister. Who will you meet first?" Funny how Ms Booth reverts to her hubby's surname when she's trying to make a quick buck--sorry, make money for sick children.

Given that she won't talk about her husband, and that if you ask about the children she'll sue, it looks like my countrymen are in for a dull night.

The Sunday Times claims Cherie is poised to make [pounds sterling]100,000 from the tour, despite it being billed as "a charity dinner to help the Children's Cancer Institute", which rather implies she is giving her services for free.

But at least the Grasping One is consistent. The only thing that would surprise any of us would be if this turned out not to be just another lucrative venture for the PM's wife.

It's election time and the Blairs can't get enough of kids. Yet the lesson for the Prime Minister after his outing on Channel 4's Tony and June show is: never work with children, animals and smart-arse, cute-arsed yoof presenters.

To call it an interview is to misuse the term. The luscious and lively June Sarpong no more interviewed the PM than a Qantas check-in girl interviews the traveller.

The most amusing parts of the show were the ad breaks. One was for stain removers--surely not implying our leader has any stains on his character, or anyone else's frock for that matter? Another said: "Don't cover up bad odours, remove them." Do they mean politicians stink, or just Tony?

It is heartening for any fortysomething woman to see the sisterhood come out so passionately against cosmetic surgery. Suzanne Moore, Janet Street-Porter and Fay Weldon in the Mail on Sunday, Independent on Sunday and Times respectively all lamented what Moore called "the Joan Rivers generation".

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