Category: theWEEKthatWAS

Pulling the wool over our eyes



As an editor drafting page one, there’s little better than being handed a brand new crisply-shot portrait of a prominent politician trying their luck at Irony.

Julia Gillard and her PR team delivered here, with our only ever female PM spinning a yarn, posing in an arm chair and knitting a toy kangaroo for Will and Kate’s forthcoming baby in a spread for the Australian Women’s Weekly.

Her adorable pooch Reuben, the nation’s First Cavoodle, sits Corgi-like at her feet. I’ve been trying to read the expression in his eyes. See here for details on the interview with the magazine’s associate editor Caroline Overington

Call me a non-believer but I’d like to see a follow-up photo call of her bubble-wrapping the completed wool/nylon-mix roo, stuffing it into an Australia Post envelope (registered post naturally to make sure it gets there) and addressing it to the Duke and Duchess c/o Buckingham Palace London SW1A 1AA . Well, that’s actually the Queen’s address but I’m quietly confident that, as a soon-to-be Great Grandmother, Her Majesty would pass on the handmade trinket.

Julia says the photo shoot was an opportunity to show a different side to herself but what side, exactly? Clearly it was done to appeal to a larger female population.

That would be the same female population who has not exactly jumped onboard the Julia Express since her explosive misogynistic rant against PM-in-waiting Tony Abbott last October. A reminder here:

Julia’s ‘I’m for the women’ broadsides have only given her a very slight lead over Tony with female voters. And unlike other commentators, I am not criticising her for enjoying a woolly handicraft — obviously she can knit one, purl one because a scarf she click clacked up raised $4050 in a charity auction last month. If it were me, I’d be dropping stitches all over the place.

As an ex-magazine editor, I find it more intriguing that it was her office and her chief spinner John McTernan who suggested the nation’s leader stitch up our national emblem.

A friend in New York messaged me two weeks ago to ask what Aussies thought of Tony Abbott. I told Michael that Tony is now the favourite to move into The Lodge yet no one really knows what he will be like as PM.

And why? This campaign has been all about Obama-style blue ties, Tony Botox – yes or no, men v women and red boxes/huge thighs on disgusting restaurant menus.

I am loving this wall to wall sexist coverage. Said no voter in Australia ever. Policy anyone?

Julia and her team have poured huge effort into depicting Tony and the Coalition as a threat to women and they’ve been aided by …. Tony who has dropped some woeful sexist clangers himself in the past.

When I heard a Julia profile was in the offing, I was hoping for some relief from the he said/she said mudslinging dominating this September 14 election campaign.

In the AWW photos, her face looks soft and elegant. The make up is flawless as too the lighting. Her forensically-examined hairstyle delivers too, her fringe curling with a flattering uptwist as the studio wind machine softly blows. When quizzed, I told a senior News Ltd exec that it is probably the best photo I have ever seen of her.

But should Julia have talked about leadership, being a role model or – gasp – policy? No. A feature like this is begging for a quirky news spin. Given the (wo)man hours typically spent by mag staff cooking up elaborate shoot ideas ‘to offer something different’, the team at AWW must have sent up a silent prayer of thanks when offered this on a plate.

So it’s bucketloads of free PR for the mag and a styled diversion from the Labour party as it collapses like a pavlova taken out of the oven too early (mind you, that never happens to an AWW pav).

Sure, there has also been a revival in recent months for homespun entertainment so a big tick for being on trend there.

But as Julia tweaks her image, it won’t increase the number of women voting for her on election day. This photo will be seen by many women – and indeed by a very switched on girlfriend I have have spoken to about it today – as Julia trying to be something she is most certainly not.

I guess we should be glad her office didn’t suggest posing in a bikini. Must be a strategy on file there to leave swimsuit shots to Tony and his early morning bike rides. Tick.



the CHEEK of it

She is a 54 year old with a tighter-than-a-drum body and thighs like carved marble. Rock hard. Could crack walnuts, that sort of thing.

Probably like sitting on two concrete chunks, if you ever got close enough to try it.

And Madonna is proud of that pert bottom too. So I’m stating the obvious by listing her in womenILOVE.

She is supremely clever and I admire her determination and focus on keeping relevant. That must be an exhausting 24/7 gig in the Ciccone household.

Let’s not forget she was able to generate publicity for herself everywhere before social media was even a vague concept.

Hell, if I had a butt like that (hello 1990) maybe I’d be getting it out too. Don’t worry, it’s only a hollow threat. I have friends with peachy posteriors and I’m pleased for them. Really, I am.

It’s churlish/a barefaced lie to say you don’t like to admire a nicely-shaped behind because it’s a key area to ‘drop’ once the birthdays start to pile up. And there ain’t that many smokin’ hot butts out there.

But the problem is Madonna’s weapon of shock and awe is not shocking like it used to.

Not flabby – I’d never say that. That’s an awesome bod. Goodness knows she has spent a lifetime funding a forensic diet and exercise regime to stop the deadly dimple invasion. You would not want to be a fat cell in her ecosystem.

I’m just bored with seeing her bum cheeks, poking out as they were AGAIN at the Met Gala last night in (my old manor) NYC. The theme was Punk: Chaos to Couture. A bit of grunge and a lot of label. Invites are of the sell-your-kidney variety so no one dares to chuck on any old thing, even if it looks that way as they giddy up the red carpet.

Madonna’s outfit has been ripped to shreds by fashion folk worldwide so you can fill your boots with plenty of waspish remarks. Like many women, I love to examine her outfits and by the way, despite the No Pants Look, I kinda liked the Uma Thurman-style inky wig.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph provided this tongue-in-cheek analysis  (see it here with extra fab Madge fighnet shots )

Included is this clever observation by writer Belinda White: She boldly opted to make like a Parisian burlesque dancer, layering fishnet hold-ups under fishnet tights, under aforementioned ripped wispy fishnet body-stocking, giving the world an eyeful of her under-crackers, and their notorious contents.”


Notorious indeed. Dear Madonna: I look forward to your new shocks.





Courage in the age of cowards

I will be looking at many photos of Boston today. I know many of my journo friends will do the same as we try to apply our usual workday logic to something without logic.

In Sydney we awoke to learn of another terrorist carnage on US soil and we all thought of 9/11.

What makes someone else wake up, roll out of bed and think: On today’s agenda,  I’m going to bomb innocent people celebrating as they complete a marathon, kill some of those clapping and cheering and so swiftly ruin many lives, too many to ever get a total number on.

So it’s a renewed panic and obsession with safety as we absorb why a happy and proud marathon crowd had to be punctured with such brutality.

I moved to NYC with my family four years after the attacks on the WTC and Pentagon but you could still taste it in the air –  the fear, the suspicion.

We’d flown out of the UK and two days later, London was embroiled in the suicide bombs of 7/7 so terrorism was now a factor in everyday life.

Sure the locals in our neighbourhood of Tribeca were warm and accommodating to our London/Aussie ways but they were still hurting. I expected nothing less. We felt honoured to be living there. We also visited Boston, seduced by its old school asthetic, pride and charm.

“Thanks for moving into this part of New York”,  they’d say back in Manhattan, slap on the back and big smiles forthcoming. As if we’d choose to live anywhere else.

The bartender across the street from us pulled open a box and showed me a picture of the engine from one of the doomed WTC planes. It was on the sidewalk. “Look that’s here”, he said, pointing to the path where it lay next to our building.

On some levels, this is what Bostonians will now face, piecing together their neighbourhood, measuring it against the effect of 4/15. They cannot receive too much love and support right now from all of us.






So I was planning in lanching this website soon but Kerry Washington in dynamite yellow and black gave me a push and here we are !


As you get know whatlouthinks I can introduce my love of news, colour, kindness, food and womenILOVE

I am a mother but I was a wife first. And a best girl friend before my debut role: daughter. So I look forward to introducing EducatingTaylor to you.

For all my working life as an editor and journalist I have forensically examined celebrity – so there is much to discuss on *whattheyMEAN as I tackle showbiz.

So back to Kerry Washington – fiesty, clever and oozes that look of On My Terms only.

Love this and love to be sharing with you xLO