The fire in London’s Grenfell Tower has been the first item on news broadcasts in Berlin this week with much speculation about why it spread so quickly and whether the same thing could happen here. It has sparked a political argument in the UK about rich versus poor, the lack of tenant rights, basic housing standards and who is accountable. Successive governments have failed to listen to fire experts and despite commissioning various reports about the effectiveness of sprinklers in high-rise blocks, haven’t acted on the advice given. Theresa May has announced an emergency fund for residents and a public inquiry, but this could take years and delay changes to housing policy that need to happen now.
Since the 1960s Dorothy Iannone has been seen as a pioneering spirit against censorship and for free love and powerful female sexuality, yet ‘pornographic artist’, ‘foxy lady’ and ‘orgasm woman’ are all terms I’ve encountered researching her work. Critics have questioned whether she’s a feminist and her work has frequently been censored due to its alleged pornographic content. She has been criticised for including genitalia over clothing in her work and for the use of relationships as subject matter.
Ella Guru has led a vibrant life... the mother of one is a 'Stuckist' artist and portrait painter, a teacher and has worked as a go-go dancer, a guitarist, and with the homeless, moving from Ohio to squat in London in the 80's, all of which infuses her magic realist style. Her latest work is a 22-card Major Arcana Tarot Deck, which mirrors her journey from city to the seaside. Nicci Talbot met the artist at her home studio for a reading.
I watched The Great Beauty last night – Paolo Sorrentino’s ode to Rome, a satire on high society decadence. In one scene the lead character Jep Gambardella, a journalist and ageing playboy has a meal with one of his confidantes who calls herself ‘the Queen of Misfits’.
“How’s the soup, little Jep?” she asks him.
“You’ve not called me that for centuries, why now?”.
“Because a friend, every now and again, needs to make their friend feel like they did as a child.”
“How can I make you feel like a little girl?”
“You don’t need to, I feel like a little girl every day,” she laughs.
To tap into that energy Jep throws lavish parties for his aristocratic friends where they do the “best Conga in Rome”. He dances and has lots of sex.
My partner and I have recently returned from the Seven Day Making Love Retreat and we’re feeling much quieter inside as well as more deeply connected to one another. Why did we embark on this workshop – created by Diana Richardson, author of six books, including Slow Sex, Tantric Orgasmfor Women and Tantric Sex for Men – which introduces a different and more sustainable kind of making love?
I went to Farley Farm House last Sunday for a guided tour around the home of Surrealist painter Roland Penrose and American photojournalist Lee Miller. It is a low-key 18th century house in Chiddingly, East Sussex managed by their son Antony Penrose.
Lee Miller started her career in photography as a fashion model in New York. A chance encounter – stepping out in front of Condé Nast’s car one morning, led to her modelling for Vogue.
When it comes to sex, pleasure and desire we’re left to our own devices, and lack of communication is one of the main reasons for an unfulfilling sex life. While sexuality workshops may not be everyone’s cup of tea, one pioneering couple are aiming to change perceptions with a new approach to SexEd. We spoke to Mike Lousada and Louise Mazanti about Psychosexual Somatics® and what it has to offer.
You have three workshops on offer – ‘Authentic Sex: Know Your Sexual Self’, ‘PSST Basics’ and ‘Intimacy and the Body Mind’. How did these come about and who they are for?
A couple of scenes in this play wound me up. In one the painter Marc Chagall is dismissive of his wife Bella’s talents and says, “You’ll never be a writer because you’re always thinking about something else”. In another he’s four days late coming home following the birth of their daughter because he’s been immersed in his painting. When Bella tells him how painful the birth was and that she can hardly walk he says, “Do you think what I do happens painlessly?”.
This week Newsnight has been featuring reports from the documentary series Return to White Horse Village about the upheaval of a rural community in China as the village is turned into a city. Last night’s episode focused on the women and how their lives are changing with urbanisation – the city bringing money and freedom from a life in the fields doing back-breaking work to support their families. One woman had never read a book or travelled outside of the village, another spoke of her frustration at being told by her elders that she has to “put up with it” [do the work] like everyone else.