Saturday, November 23, 2019

FUNDRAISING UPDATE : SMALL STEPS PROJECT SHOE AUCTION 2019 ... NOVEMBER 15TH TO 24TH 2019 ..


Dame Joan Collins

The fabulous Joan Collins OBE has been a star ever since she was a child, making her debut in A Doll’s House when she was just 9 years old. Since then she has been gracing our screens with her glamorous presence, starring in numerous Hollywood numbers as well as playing Alexis Carrington Colby in the 1980’s television soap opera Dynasty. She has also written many books over the years and in 2013 released ‘Passion For Life: An Autobiography’.
This year, Joan has generously donated these beautiful satin Anne Klein shoes in a size 39.5. She says, “It’s a small but worthy step to eradicate the most cruel disease in the world: child poverty”.

The Celebrity Shoe Auction is in its tenth year and this time we are doing it zero waste!
The signed shoes have been upcycled by kind soled celebrities and are being auctioned to raise funds for barefoot children to take small steps off landfill sites where they eke out a survival from recycling scraps.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

PRESS UPDATE : VOGUE .. DECEMBER 2019 ...

Joan Collins on Being the New Face of Valentino and Why She’ll Never Wear Jeans....






Even if Alexis Carrington’s looks in Dynasty defined an entire era of fashion, Joan Collins seems bemused when I ask her to describe her style evolution across the decades since. “I suppose I just gravitate towards whatever catches my fancy, it’s eclectic. Why, how would you describe it?” says the Legendary actress. “Glamorous, playful, with a bit of sparkle,” I offer. “Sequins! But, of course!”
As the star of Valentino’s Christmas campaign, released today, Collins is capping a year in which her love for maximalist ’80s dressing (and sequins) has undergone a renaissance in the fashion world—whether in the power shoulders and eye-popping glitz of recent Saint Laurent and Versace collections, or the resuscitation of labels that defined the era, such as Mugler and Claude Montana. Then, as if to remind everyone who did it first, there was her instantly iconic red carpet moment at the Met Gala in May. With its theme of camp, all Collins really had to do was show up; thankfully, she went the extra mile, wearing a delightfully frou-frou Valentino confection that was directly inspired by her Dynasty costumes, along with a diamond tiara from her own wardrobe. “Pierpaolo [Piccioli] and I went back and forth with designs for about three months—I wanted feathers, but he didn't want feathers,” she remembers. “So I said, I really want feathers! We eventually came to an agreement.” (Needless to say, she wore feathers.)
Her relationship with the house of Valentino extends all the way back to the ’60s, when she first visited Signor Garavani’s atelier in Rome. Over the decades, there are plenty of Valentino pieces in her wardrobe that have come and gone. “You can't keep clothes for decades,” says Collins, firmly. “They just don't look right.” There is one piece, however, that has stood the test of time. “It’s this beautiful black, shimmery, column chiffon dress I bought from one of his couture shows in the ’80s. I was talking to Valentino a few years ago before I went to some event, and I said, ‘I don’t have anything to wear!’ But he has this amazing memory, and replied, ‘Well, darling, why don't you wear that black dress you bought from the couture show in 1989?’ And I said, ‘Oh my god—you remember that?’”


Her love of Valentino extends to Pierpaolo Piccioli’s vision for the house, too: the video accompanying the campaign sees Joan ring the doorbell to a Christmas house party in London in a red lace dress, opera coat and gloves, paired with the diamond jewelry she wore to the Met Gala. Greeting the guests in brilliantly pithy style—“I see it’s not just the champagne that’s flat,” she quips with a raised eyebrow—things are instantly livened up with a spot of Collins-led dancing and a stack of gift boxes from Valentino’s Dante-inspired holiday gift collection.


It seems fitting that Collins would opt for one of the label’s more classic designs, given her timeless sense of style. On the subject of the ’80s style revival, she observes that it’s never really gone away. “I think that the flamboyance of oversized earrings and ill-fitting skirts might have gone—skirts never fitted properly in the ’80s, by the way—and the huge curly hair might have gone, too. But the sleek style that I wore a lot in Dynasty, the pared-back suits but with definitive shoulders and small waists and embellishments of color and jewelry, I think smart women have been doing that through the decades.”
She does, however, mourn the days when dressing up for the day was more of an event. “I really hope that people will spend more money on clothes, because nobody dresses up anymore. If you do, then people stare at you, or make cutting remarks… well, maybe not cutting, but they’ll say something like, ‘Oh, look at you! You're all dressed up.’ I find that very sad, because it will be the end of women buying elegant clothes in stores. Everybody’s going to end up in jeans and T-shirts, which I think is tragic.” How does she respond if someone makes a comment like that to her? “Thank you,” she says, drily.


This move towards more casual dressing has created a very specific bête noire for Collins. “I hate jeans. I hate them, they’re so unflattering. And I hate jeans with holes in the knees, or holes anywhere. I’m not keen on T-shirts with logos, either. I like to be comfortable, but I want to be elegant, too.” It’s something that she particularly struggles with in her adopted hometown of Los Angeles, where she has lived since the mid-’50s. “I don't really fit in with the L.A. lifestyle, because everyone's in T-shirts and jeans, and I don't like that look. Oh, and neither does Valentino, by the way. Mr Valentino is always exquisitely dressed, which I love.”
In those sunny Californian climes, she admits it feels strange to already be getting in the festive spirit with a Christmas campaign, meaning she’s not yet ready to start thinking about gifts for the holiday season. “I haven’t really got to that, but I mainly try to tailor the gifts that I'm giving to people to the individual.” As for what’s on her Christmas list this year? “I have so much, I can’t really ask for anything. But I love to read, so I love to get an interesting biography that hasn’t been in print for a while, or a beautiful art monograph.” For those lucky enough to have Collins on their Christmas gifting list: get buying.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Sunday, November 17, 2019

TRIBUTE : TERRY O'NEILL .. 1938 - 2019 ..


As it has been announced that legendary photographer Terry O'Neill has just died I wanted to feature two classic shots of Joan including a wonderful of portrait of Joan & Jackie taken from a shoot in 1974...

Joan taken in 1989 for UK TV Guide magazine

Saturday, November 9, 2019

PRESS UPDATE : CALIFORNIA APPAREL NEWS .. NOVEMBER 9TH 2019 ..



Elizabeth Taylor’s Dresses Take Bow at Zunino Atelier's AIDS Event

All of Mark Zunino’s clients do charity work. When Zunino agreed to produce a fundraiser for The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation at his self-named Mark Zunino Atelier, he was nervous that he would overstep some boundaries or, perhaps worse, he may have not been able to provide the charity event pizzaaz that his clients regularly produce.
Mark Zunino with Linda Gray & Joan Collins
But Zunino reported that a Nov. 7 one-off event for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation at his Los Angeles atelier was a success. He estimated that more than $100,000 was raised at the event hosted by Dame Joan Collins. In attendance were a host of celebrities including Linda Gray, Michelle Lee, George Hamilton & Morgan Fairchild.
One of the event’s stars was a display of Taylor’s dresses. There was a dress from one of Taylor's weddings to Richard Burton. Zunino also designed gowns for Taylor in the 1980s, when Zunino worked with designer Nolan Miller.
“I was scared to death making sketches for her,” Zunino said of his first meetings with Taylor. “She would look at the sketch and say, ‘You are making my face too square. It’s heart shaped. Can you feel my bone structure? ’ Then she would place my hands on her face. Her attention to detail was intense. It was like getting a master’s degree!” Zunino said.
Also on display, Zunino’s sketches of his looks for Taylor.

Friday, November 8, 2019

EVENT UPDATE : MARK ZUNINO COCKTAIL RECEPTION .. BEVERLY HILLS .. NOVEMBER 7TH 2019 ...


Joan attended Mark Zunino's Cocktail reception to benefit The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation earlier in Beverly Hills.. Other guests included Linda Gray, George Hamilton & Morgan Fairchild..


Joan with Linda Gray & George Hamilton

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

PHOTO UPDATE : FORBIDDEN BROADWAY NYC .. NOVEMBER 3RD 2019 ..


Joan now back Stateside was Broadway bound the other evening as she caught up with good friend Jack Rich for a pre theatre stop off at Joe Allen's, before attending a performance of cult sensation 'Forbidden Broadway' at The Triad.. After the show Joan dropped back to meet the cast...

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

PHOTO FLASHBACK : THE LATE LATE SHOW .. DUBLIN MAY 1999 ..


As the death has been announced of Ireland's greatest broadcaster Gay Byrne, this still comes from one of Joan's many appearances on The Late Late Show in 1999. Joan was in Dublin to promote 'My Friends Secrets' and to appear at a book signing in Dublin.. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

EVENT UPDATE : AN AFTERNOON WITH DAME JOAN COLLINS ... RICHARDS CENTER FOR THE ARTS ... PALM SPRINGS .. JANUARY 26TH 2020 ...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 1, 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Palm Springs Speaks, palmspringsspeaks@gmail.com

Dame Joan Collins Coming to Palm Springs January 2020

(Palm Springs, CA) – Palm Springs Speaks is pleased to announce that Dame Joan Collins will appear in Palm Springs on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon at the Richards Center for the Arts, Palm Springs High School as part of the third season line-up of speakers for the series. “An Afternoon with Dame Joan Collins” is a scripted theatrical journey through Dame Joan's life on the stage and film, lifting the lid on the highs and lows of her amazing career, from her early days at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art right up to her most recent roles on the big and small screen. The show also features a question and answer session where audiences can get a chance to ask Dame Joan their questions! Tickets are on sale now at  www.palmspringsspeaks.org and start at $30.
BOOK TICKETS FOR DAME JOAN COLLINS HERE ...

Dame Collins is the third speaker announced for Season Three; other speakers include Secretary Robert B. Reich who will appear on Friday, November 8, 2019 and discuss “Finding the Common Good in Uncommon Times” with attendees receiving a copy of his book The Common Good. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward will appear on Friday, March 6, 2020 and will discuss “The State of the American Presidency” with attendees receiving a copy of his book Fear. Tickets for all speakers are available online; a series ticket can now be purchased by becoming a VISIONARY or STAR Sponsor; details are on the web site.
A collaboration between the Friends of the Palm Springs Library and the Palm Springs Cultural Center, Palm Springs Speaks launched in 2017 and in its first two years has featured a diverse selection of internationally known speakers and authors including Jane Fonda, Vice President Al Gore, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Emilio Estevez, Janet Mock and others.

Dame Joan Collins is first and foremost an actress. However, she is also a best-selling author, an accomplished producer and a successful entrepreneur. Winner of two Golden Globes and a People’s Choice Awards, nominated several times for Golden Globes, People’s Choice and Emmy awards, as well as recipient of numerous other awards worldwide, Joan has appeared in
more than 60 feature films and dozens of television programs. The daughter of theatrical agent Joe Collins and his wife Elsa, Joan Collins was born in London and made her London stage debut at the age of nine in Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE at the Arts Theatre. Joan Collins has appeared in more than 65 feature films and hundreds of television appearances, including creating the role of Alexis Carrington on Dynasty, one of the most highly rated television dramas of all time. Her novels and memoirs have sold over 50 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 30 languages. She is recognized world-round as a fashion maven of timeless beauty, and is a regular diarist for The Spectator and a contributor to The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Times and Harper’s Bazaar. On stage, Joan Collins has performed on Broadway, the West End, and in national tours in the UK and North America.

In 2015, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II elevated Joan Collins to Dame Commander of the British Empire (D.B.E.) for her lifetime contribution to charity work, after having presented her with The Most Excellent Order of The British Empire (O.B.E.) for her services to the arts in 1997.

Palm Springs Speaks is supported by benefactor sponsors: Friends of the Palm Springs Library and the Palm Springs Cultural Center. Other series sponsors include LuLu California Bistro, The Rowan Palm Springs, Auen Foundation, Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, and Rivera Design.

About Palm Springs Speaks
Palm Springs Speaks seeks to entertain and educate while shining the spotlight on the written word and literacy for the Coachella Valley. The speaker series provides access to culture and the arts with a variety of speakers representing many walks of life. This series also provides an opportunity for the Friends of the Palm Springs Library and the Palm Springs Cultural Center to raise funds. For more information, please visit www.palmspringsspeaks.org

DVD ALERT : COSH BOY DUAL DVD / BLU-RAY ... BFI ... RELEASE JANUARY 20TH 2020 ..



                               Pre - Order Cosh Boy from Amazon..
A gang of juvenile delinquents tear up post-war London in Lewis Gilbert’s shocking and energetic x-rated drama.

Roy (James Kenney) is a brash, chain-smoking thug who bullies his friends (including Rene, played by a young Joan Collins) into subservience. He and his gang assault and rob people on the street, but things get increasingly dangerous when their behaviour escalates to murderous consequences. 

Unafraid to tackle a host of taboo subjects, Cosh Boy is a penetrating portrait of 1950s Britain and its simmering social tensions. One of the first British films to receive an ‘X’ certificate, this landmark classic is available on Blu-ray for the first time and is the 40th entry to the longstanding BFI Flipside catalogue.
BFI Flipside is dedicated to rediscovering the margins of British film, reclaiming a space for forgotten movies and filmmakers who would otherwise be in danger of disappearing from our screens forever. It is a home for UK cinematic oddities, offering everything from exploitation documentaries to B-movies, countercultural curios and obscure classics, If it's weird, British and forgotten, then it's Flipside.
Extras......
• Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition
• Stranger in the City (1961, 22 mins): short film by Robert Hartford-Davis about Soho in the 1960s
• Johnny on the Run (1953, 68 mins): Lewis Gilbert’s Children’s Film Foundation production starring Sydney Tafler (Carve Her Name with Pride and featuring an appearance by Dad’s Army actor John Laurie
• The Ten Year Plan (1945, 17 mins): COI film by Lewis Gilbert featuring Charles Hawtrey
• Harmony Lane (1954, 24 mins): musical comedy short by Lewis Gilbert
• Teddy Boys (1956, 8 mins)
• Interview with director Lewis Gilbert (1995)
• US title sequence (1952, 3 mins): opening sequence to the US cut, featuring alternative footage and titles
• **FIRST PRESSING ONLY** Fully illustrated booklet with new writing on the film by Matthew Coniam, a new essay on the fashion in Cosh Boy by Jenny Hammerton and full film credits
• Other extras TBC


EVENT UPDATE : BETTE MIDLERS HULAWEEN .. NY RESTORATION PROJECT .. NY MIDTOWN HILTON .. OCTOBER 31ST 2019 ..

Joan wit Clive Davis & Bette Midler
Joan now in New York spent a spooky evening at New York's Midtown Hilton to support NY Restoration Project at Bette Midler's Hulaween Party with this years theme was 'Haunted Hollywood - The Golden Age'.. Joan partied as a most glamorous Ringmaster with Bette looking every inch Mae West!










Wednesday, October 30, 2019

PRESS UPDATE : OK! .. ISSUE NOVEMBER 5TH 2019 ..

Above: Dame Joan says the identity of the actress who will play her in a new TV show is ‘top secret’. Left: With her late sister Jackie




OK! ENJOYS AN EVENING DAME JOAN COLLINS

DAME JOAN COLLINS OPENS UP TO OK!’S ROWAN ERLAM ABOUT THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF HER LIFE AND SHARES HER SECRET TO A HAPPY MARRIAGE

National treasure Dame Joan Collins has exclusively opened up to OK! about her roller-coaster life in the spotlight, admitting it hasn’t always been a riot of champagne and shoulder pads. The glamorous star was speaking at a glittering reception hosted by Penny Brohn UK, a charity which supports people with cancer.
Revealing all about the highly anticipated television series which will follow the life of her and her late sister, best-selling author Jackie, Dame Joan told us: ‘There are going to be so many big moments to cover as Jackie and I have both had very interesting lives.’
The actress, who has famously been married five times, added: ‘We’ve had our ups and downs, we’ve had our tragedies and our bad marriages. I’m a producer on the show. I’m not going to say who I would like to play me. However, there is someone who we are talking about using, but I can’t say who it is yet. It’s top secret! The show is going to be set from the early ‘50s when we were teenagers to the early ‘80s, when I was on the number one television show in America and she had the number one selling book. It’ll cover 30 years of our lives.’
The Penny Brohn UK event, hosted by Sir Jack and Lady Petchey, Frances Segelman, in their London home and exclusively covered by OK!, was to celebrate the unveiling of a bronze of Dame Joan, sculpted by Frances, an esteemed royal sculptor.
The charity is close to the former Dynasty actress’s heart as it supported Jackie after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2009. Jackie, who chose to
keep her illness a secret from her fans and family, passed away in 2015, two weeks before her 78th birthday.
Movingly, Dame Joan explained: ‘As you know, my sister died of br east cancer, which is sadly something that so many people are going to get. Our mother also died of that as well. My sister was very brave and didn’t tell anyone until the end. She was supported by Penny Brohn and that was who she wanted to leave a lot of her things to, and the charity she thought was the best, because it really takes care of people when they get cancer and they don’t have anyone to really talk to. They can meet people in the same boat, as it were.’
When we asked if she too was fearful of a cancer diagnosis, she said: ‘It’s terrifying how many people are affected by cancer, but it’s very important to get checked and I do get checked regularly and I eat very healthily and have a good lifestyle. I don’t smoke, but I do have the occasional wine, which I think is okay! But you never know – my mother didn’t smoke and she got cancer at 52, and my father did smoke and he lived to be 87. Let’s hope I’ve inherited my father’s genes!’
Dame Joan is still a regular on the party scene with her husband of 17 years, Percy Gibson. Her secret? Living life to the full! ‘My tip would be: don’t go anywhere unless you feel like you’re going to enjoy it. And if you are going to go, then just make the absolute best effort that you can. A lot of the time people have to go to weddings and events that they don’t want to go to, but you have to take the bull by the horns and go,
‘She’s just got the most fabulous Sense of humour’
find the best person to speak to and enjoy the canapés, wine and atmosphere.’
It’s another British icon with a penchant for diamonds who inspires the star – her majesty! ‘The Queen is the greatest example of a person and a ruler that exists. It’s the hardest thing to do what she does – smile, be interested and stand still, and she’s carried that on for 65 years.’
Earlier in the evening, Dame Joan – who was OK!’S first ever cover star – was introduced by This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes.
Before unveiling Frances’s stunning bronze statue, which Joan had sat for 18 months ago, Eamonn said: ‘Frances, you had the responsibility of recreating Dame Joan. And Dame Joan, my admiration for you – you know it’s genuine and you know it’s sincere. Lots of people can be famous and lots of people can be on the cover of magazines, but not many people can have a career at the top, doing the things that she has done for the amount of time she has.
‘Sometimes it’s not about getting there, it’s about staying there. And you have stayed there at multiple levels. You have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. When you started out in Hollywood, making films, how old were you?’ To which Dame Joan responded: ‘I started in films in England when I was 17. I did about seven or eight films in England and then I was sold to 20th Century Fox in America when I was 20.’
She quipped: ‘I went to America, which was very difficult to get to in the 18th Century!’
She went on to share how she’d worked with some of the biggest legends in Hollywood, telling us: ‘The first person I met in Hollywood was Gene Kelly – he was a fabulous man – and the second person I met was Bette Davis. She smoked all the time. But I smoked then, we all smoked! We didn’t know the dangers of smoking. If there are any pictures of me from that time then I always had a packet of Lucky Strike down my cleavage! I also worked with Gregory Peck, Paul Newman, Bing Crosby… It was a great time in Hollywood.’
Dame Joan said she was ‘delighted’ with her sculpture, adding: ‘I love what you’ve done with the hair and the diamond earrings! And I think the face looks very much like me. I love the eyes – they’re amazing.’
Her loyal husband Percy was, of course, there to support his wife on the night. She once famously joked of her younger man: ‘If he dies, he dies!’ But, thankfully, Percy, 54, was on sparkling form. When we asked what he cherishes about his wife, he told us: ‘She’s just got the most fabulous sense of humour. Our motto is: “Eat up life or life will eat you up.”’
At the end of the evening, Eamonn shared his fond memories of the actress’s beloved sibling, telling her: ‘I’d just like to say of your sister, Jackie, she was the most accessible and friendly person and my last memory of her was in the airport lounge at Heathrow. She was flying to Belfast for a talk show and I was flying to Belfast too and we had, what we would say back at home, a great bit of craic.’
In mock shock, Dame Joan responded: ‘Crack?!’ and guests dissolved into giggles.
It was a great evening for a great cause.
‘i smoked then, we all smoked! we didn’t know the dangers of smoking’

Monday, October 28, 2019

PRESS UPDATE : OK! MAGAZINE .. ON NEWS STANDS OCTOBER 29TH 2019 ..


Check out the cover of the latest issue of OK! magazine on news stands in UK & Ireland from Tuesday 29th October, which features Joan on the cover and an exclusive interview inside & coverage of last Tuesday's Frances Segelman Bronze unveiling!

DVD ALERT : DYNASTY THE REUNION .. REGION 4 .. OCTOBER 23RD 2019 AUSTRALIA ..



Delighted to report that the 1991 miniseries of 'Dynasty The Reunion' has just been released on Region 4 dvd in Australia.. You can order a copy of this 2 part special at the following link!
Order Dynasty The Reunion Here!


FOR THE FIRST TIME ON DVD COMES THE SCANDALOUS CONCLUSION TO THE GREATEST TV SOAP OF THEM ALL!

The 1991 two-part event – Dynasty: The Reunion – reunited the characters from the hit American prime time television soap Dynasty, a series which aired from 1981 to 1989 and was the highest-rated U.S. series in 1985.
The original series finale of Dynasty, broadcast in May 1989, had left oil tycoon Blake Carrington (John Forsythe) shot by a corrupt policeman, his beloved wife Krystle (Linda Evans) in an off-screen coma, and his conniving ex-wife Alexis Colby (Joan Collins) plunging from a balcony. Dynasty: The Reunion picks up two years later as Blake — having survived the shooting but then convicted for the death of his attacker — is pardoned and released from prison.
Tie up all the loose ends with the 3-hour, 2-part finale on DVD.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

EVENT UPDATE : MADE UP LEEDS .. THE IVY VICTORIA QUARTER .. LEEDS .. OCTOBER 26TH 2019

Photo courtesy of  Bob Peters

Joan made a special appearance at the Made Up Leeds Festival earlier today to discuss everything beauty & makeup and the secrets of Hollywood glamour with her personal makeup artist Alyn Waterman..

Friday, October 25, 2019

COMING SOON : THE LOSS ADJUSTER ... DECEMBER 2020 ..

Joan as Margaret Rogerson Sykes & Luke Goss as Martin Dyer
Delighted to announce that you will soon see Joan back on the big screen in a new comedy drama from Pink Flamingo Films, 'The Loss Adjuster' currently filming for a December 2020 release. The film co stars Luke Goss, Guy Siner & Cathy Tyson.. Watch this space for updates!

Hapless Insurance Loss Adjuster - Martin Dyer - feels his life is spiralling out of control but discovers that even when you reach rock bottom, that some clouds really do have a silver lining. 

EVENT UPDATE : DAME JOAN COLLINS SCULPTURE UNVEILING .. WAPPING LONDON .. OCTOBER 22ND 2019 ..


Last May Joan sat for a live sculpture sitting with renowned sculptress Frances Segelman at London's Film Museum in aid of Penny Brohn Cancer Charity. Frances kindly opened her wapping townhouse to a select gathering this week to unveil the finished masterpiece, once again in aid of Penny Brohn. TV host Eamonn Holmes was on hand to host the proceedings as he interviewed Joan before the unveiling.. You can see exclusive coverage of the event in the latest issue of OK! magazine on sale on Monday 28th..

Thursday, October 24, 2019

PRESS UPDATE : THE SPECTATOR NOTEBOOK .. OCTOBER 26TH 2019 ..

Notebook

Joan Collins: why I love London taxi drivers




Percy and I have seen quite a few movies recently and enjoyed many of them, which is rare. But the most enjoyable was Judy, for the performance of its star, Renée Zellweger. I met Judy Garland many times when I had just arrived in Hollywood as a young starlet and I can tell you that Renée resembles her uncannily, both physically and emotionally. Judy was fragile and birdlike, but her voice was strong and magical. I watched her sing at a party given by the legendary songwriter Sammy Cahn, who accompanied her on the piano. Apart from Miss Garland’s brilliant voice, it was fascinating to watch the audience. People who were great stars in their own right — Frank Sinatra, Rosalind Russell and Billy Wilder — were entranced by her performance. I last saw Judy perform at the Hollywood Bowl, an open-air amphitheatre. She was doing superbly, delivering a rousing rendition of ‘The Trolley Song’, when a moth flew into her mouth and she applied the emergency brake.

At tea with friends and their 15-year-old daughter, I was astonished to learn that at her school none of the girls are allowed to wear trousers. Not only that, but however cold it is, they can’t even wear above-the-knee socks, for fear of exciting the boys. The boys, meanwhile, are apparently allowed to wear exactly what they like — skirts, kilts, shorts or trousers. What on earth has happened to women’s rights? 
It’s the same as it ever was: anything goes for the male sex. Just think of the whole silly bathroom fiasco. So many loos have been converted into gender-neutral facilities (or unisex as we used to call it) that girls are suffering from urine infections (I’ve read). The girls would rather hold it in than be trapped and taunted by the boys in an unsupervised, and therefore potentially frightening, place. The ‘ladies room’, ‘powder room’, ‘rest room’ has for centuries been a haven for us females. The floors are usually dry and you can finally escape that misogynistic old bore. It’s the original safe space. How ironic that the 21st century is removing them. In the 1970s, the famous Virginia Slims advert promised that we’d ‘come a long way, baby’. But the way things are heading, we’re going an equally long way back, baby.

Trying to get around London in Extinction Rebellion protest week was a nightmare, but come to think of it, getting around London for the past five years has been a nightmare. I confess I don’t walk if I have to travel more than a half-mile.That’s the prerogative of my age and tax bracket. Instead I take my favourite form of transport: the London black cab. I love these taxi drivers and their views on current affairs — mostly because they usually mirror mine. I’ve had several interesting conversations with cabbies recently who all told me that they are 30 to 40 per cent down on their takings because of the protests, plus London roadworks. I dread to think how many other workers have lost part of their livelihoods because of them. I know I haven’t recently been near any of the establishments I often shop at because of the maddening building works. Perhaps Extinction Rebellion should consider the damage to people’s lives as well as the damage to the planet.
Speaking of the endless construction around London, last Friday morning workmen began putting up scaffolding against the outside wall of our apartment building. When I asked the managing agent if they had permission to do this, she said she knew nothing about it. Now it turns out that they don’t have permission, nor a licence to alter, yet the scaffolding continues to creep up the wall of our building regardless. How is this allowed to happen? It seems that while illegal works are, well, illegal, the process involved in shutting them down is so arduous and expensive that most of the time it’s just easier to let whomever get on with whatever they’re doing because half the time they’ll be done with it before you stop them. And if that last sentence made sense then you should be in the building trade.
I won an award last week. I was honoured that the LGBTQ+ community, represented by the Attitude Awards, named me ‘Icon of the Year’ for 2019. It was fun to catch up with an eclectic group of people. Taron Egerton, who brilliantly portrayed Elton John in Rocketman, was charming — enthusiastic and witty. Shirley Ballas, whom I admire greatly for her clever and accurate critiques on Strictly Come Dancing, informed me that she was a fan of me, as I am of her. Cheryl (is she Cole these days?) came by for a cheery hello and we took a lovely photo together. I sat between the famed perfumer Roja Dove, all a-sequinned, and the equally sequinned Julian Clary, who is a really good friend, even though he tells the most outrageously exaggerated anecdotes about how he saved me from drowning in my pool in the south of France. Dream on, Julian!