Saturday, 18 June 2011

Page One: Inside The New York Times

I will be honest I was expecting this film to be like The September Issue which I suppose was rather unfair as we are talking about a very glamorous industry while the newspaper business is very dry. The fact that this documentary has grabbed the attention of all the media folks speak volumes. Yesterday Gawker even hosted a screening for its staff which took place on their roof garden. Page One is a fly on the wall documentary that follows the staff on The New York Times for a whole year and watches them not just battle to find breaking stories but also struggling to keep their head above water during harsh economic times. The New York Times which has always been revered by hacks from huge media outlets such as NBC who would consult the paper every morning before starting work. Well you don't win 100 Pulitzer Prizes (more than any other news organisation) for nothing. Nowadays the paper has been served with a double whammy; the likes of homing in on job ads and directories like Craigslist and Gumtree taking over the classified ads, combine that with upstarts such as Gawker and The Huffington Post offering an alternative viewpoint. The much loved New York Times is on pretty shaky ground having to make redundancies in order to avoid going the same way as several major newspaper around the country.
The film focuses on key staff such as Brian Stelter, a media reporter who ran a popular blog called TVnewser which got him headhunted by the publication, Tim Arrango who is a media specialist and roving reporter, Bruce Headlam who is the media editor and last but not least media columnist, David Carr who is the rock and roll guy. There has been a lot of buzz about David Carr due to his rather wild past and there is no doubt that he is the Grace Coddington of the film. Filmmakers Andrew Rossi and Kate Novack gained access to the paper where they followed the media desk working on stories and lobbying top editors to have a presence on page one. The timing couldn't have been better because hot topics such as the Pentagon papers, troops in Iraq and Wikileaks broke during this time as well as ironically the launch of the iPad. It was also pretty smart of the producers to concentrate on the media desk considering that The New York Times is being usurped by new media itself. One thing that Page One did leave me with is a reminder of what real gritty journalism is, something that has been forgotten in the midst of fast food news. While viewing the offices of the publication one thing that struck me was the long and rich history that it and every other newspaper in the world has and that is one advantage that it holds against digital publishers.
I felt like I had been taken back to the 80s where men dominated news - there were hardly any women featured in the film. But what struck me is how idealist a lot of the reporters are and how passionate they were to see justice served. Extreme efforts are taken to fact checking, recording interviews, meeting up with sources and going through swamps of data to in order to nail the details. To be honest Page One was not my cup of tea and at times I found the film pretty boring; it was like watching a court case unfold where the lawyers go through every minute detail. I guess I have been spoilt with the glossy documentaries that focus on the big moments and skip over the nuts and bolts. There were some riveting moments such as David Carr on the panel at a seminar at SXSW and brilliantly defending  himself after being attacked by the founder of The Daily Kos. Also Carr's prickly meeting with the founders of VICE is mildly entertaining. Page One may be a hard watch but it shows a more realistic picture of what it is like to work on a daily newspaper.

I watched Page One at a screening from the Open City London Film Festival which took place last week.

Page One is out on release now in the US and hits the UK in September.

Check out the website for Page One.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Think Like a Man

Think Like a Man is based on the book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man which is written by Steve Harvey. I read this book last year after it was recommended to me by a friend and I can quite cheerfully say that it is total pants. I find Steve Harvey's tone very patronising and as a lot of people say it is written for the lowest denominator. My main gripe with Act Like a Lady is that not only does it not tell you anything new but it steals bits from Why Men Marry Bitches by Sherry Argov, He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo and The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider and re-packages the ideas into an urban version. Not clever at all. After I read the book I did hear that Will Packer had bought the rights to and was turning it into a film. It all went quiet until a few weeks back when the casting was announced; Michael Ealy and Taraji P Henson will play the couple in the film whose relationship is on the rocks with funny man, Kevin Hart as their counsellor. Rumour has it that Taraji's character will be a feisty high powered advertising executive with her eye on reaching the top while Michael's character is a laid back dreamer who aspires to work as a culinary chef. Well this should be interesting, Michael Ealy and Taraji P Henson are both known for their roles in quality films and are both stellar actors. Will Packer is a great producer but does not have a track record in making a film about the complexity of relationships. Yes he touched on it in Stomp da Yard and Takers but the love affair always played second fiddle to the main story line. Also I hear that Steve Harvey is down as producer - God help us all because if he has anything to do with it we may have another passion project in our faces. Still I really do like Michael and Taraji so maybe the film will be a great one.

Think Like a Man starts production this summer but no release date has been set yet.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

More Magazine's Facebook Issue

I love to see magazines taking on revolutionary ideas so when I came across a tweet by Nik Thakkar from KARLISMYUNKLE about more! magazine's special Facebook issue I had to check it out. Apparently more! have the largest number of Facebook fans than any UK women's magazine so in order to maximise this they came up with a genius idea of creating a special issue generated by Facebook. more! staff liaised with their fans on Facebook to get ideas for news, features and interviews. They asked them who they would like to be featured inside the magazine and on the cover and they also invited five Superfans to come into the office and help out with headlines, pictures and other elements that involved putting the publication together. So who were more! reader's top choice for the front cover? Well none other than Lily Allen who is the lady of the moment, what with getting married over the weekend and announcing her pregnancy. Good to know that more! readers like to keep things relevant. Well done to more! for coming up with such a novel idea. I swear I have not looked at the magazine for years and only became aware that it was still going a while ago. That will certainly beat Position of the Fortnight.

Have a look at the more! magazine website.

You can check out more!'s Facebook page.

more! 's Facebook issue out in the shops now.

Check out the video below which has an interview with more! editor, Channy Horton.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Made in Chelsea

People laugh at this show but I actually like it. Ok the story lines are lame and the plummy accents can get monotonous but you gotta admit that Made in Chelsea makes very glam viewing. Living the Chelsea set lifestyle which consists of designer shopping, dining out at expensive restaurants as well as jetting away to exotic holidays is pure lifestyle envy. Made in Chelsea launched onto our TV screens in May and apart from coverage in a few newspapers and an extended piece in Grazia there has been little said about it. Inevitable comparisons were made with The Only Way is Essex aka TOWIE but apart from the fact that both shows focus on a specific location they are miles apart. Made in Chelsea is frankly a blatant rip off of The Hills and I love it. We even have our very own Lauren Conrad in the shape of wannabe pop star, Caggie Dunlop who has the same love triangle that Lauren had in The OC. She is still harbouring a crush on her childhood sweetheart, Club PR mogul, Spencer Matthews who still feels the same about her but unfortunately he is very loved up with girlfriend, Funda Onal who is a model, actress, whatever.. Then there is Millie Mackintosh who is Caggie's best friend who is on the dating scene trying to find Mr Perfect. Till then her job as a make up artist keeps her very busy.
In the middle of all this drama is Francesca Hull aka Cheska who is the Carrie Bradshaw of the pack. She writes a column in Matchbox Magazine called Girl About Town which covers the lives of the Chelsea set. She is joined at the hip with Rosie Fortescue who works at an art gallery by day and by nighr runs a fashion blog called At Fashion Forte with Amber Atherton who runs her own online jewellery boutique called MyFlashTrash and is launching a brand consultancy. Ollie Lock is a party boy who runs glam night club, Whisky Mist but has dumped his pop diva, girlfriend Gabriella Ellis after finding out that he is bisexual. He spends most of his time crying on the shoulder of his best friend, Alexandra Felstead aka Binky who works for an investment company while dreaming about an idyllic life in the country. Francis Boule is the most poised of the set, decked out in Thomas Pink shirts, designer suits and matching cuff links his day job is mining diamonds. His best friend is Frederik Ferrier who is a part time model and music and language student. Then there is Hugo Taylor, Spencer's best friend who is also a PR maven and the go to guy who has the inside info on all the hip places. I find watching this show very seductive with the overhead shots of London, flash glimpses of cute boutiques on leafy streets and cosy shots of the cast huddle in cafe bars. It really does reflect what the capital is like for those who are young, gorgeous and living off their trust funds. Glam people leading glam lives - not a bad life if you can get it eh?

Made in Chelsea is aired on Mondays on E4 at 10pm.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Kim Kardashian Perfume Launch

I used to scoff at the Kardashians as I saw them as pretty ladies who only got famous due to Kim's allegedly leaked sex tape. I mist be getting soft because over the last year or so they have grown on me and I now find myself tuning into their many reality shows. I have to admire their hustle because the Kardashian empire consists of TV shows, (Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, Kourtney and Kim take New York and Khloe and Lamar) boutique stores with D-A-S-H in Miami, LA and New York, book deals with Kardashian Konfidential and now they have branched into perfume. Keeping Up with the Kardashians has been a huge hit making the Kardashians millions in the process. It is no surprise that Kim has picked up Entrepreneur at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards this week but really it is Mum, Kris Jenner who is the brains behind the brands. She may pimp out her kids to make a fast buck but she there is no doubting that she is a very canny business woman. Even little sister. Kendall has got in on the money making; she is the face of Forever 21 and is set to star in her own reality show called LA Prep.
I attended the launch of Kim Kardashian's self titled perfume yesterday at the ever so lush Dorchester along with the rest of magazine lovies and beauty bloggers. As you can imagine it was complete opulence all the way, the suite was decked out in light pink and we were served Hors d'oeurve with pink champagne. Earlier that day Kim had launched the perfume at Debenhams where she caused quite a stir. Talking to a few beauty bloggers it was quite overwhelming to see the impact the Kardashians have had on young women and indeed on pop culture. She may have the face of an angel and body of a jezebel but young women are able to relate to Kim Kardashian and her self made fortune and A list lifestyle makes her aspirational. So no surprise that Sas & Company jumped at the chance of working with her. We do not need a reminder of how popular celebrity perfumes are and Kim's fan base is huge. She is also savvy enough to tap into element of social media to interact with her fans. For instance when she was working on the perfume she obtained her fans' input by asking them to tell her what their favourite scents were. She then worked closely with top perfumer, Claude Dir of Givaudan to create the modern fragrance. The whole idea was to create something pretty and feminine.

The perfume bottle is very classic, it is round shaped and in a sexy deep purple. The colour actually reminds me of the one Stella McCartney uses for her perfume. I am fussy about my perfumes and like them light, refreshing and sweet so this perfume ticks all the boxes. It really has a glamorous and pretty smell which makes you feel very feminine. It contains mandarin, honeysuckle and orange blossom mixed with pink jasmine, tuberose, sensual spices and lush gardens. What is so cool is that the perfume comes in a spray which is packaged into a light pink chrome bottle.

The perfumes are prices at 22.95 for 30 ml, 29.95 for 50ml and 39.95 for 100ml.

Kim Kardashian is available to buy from Debenhams now and will be available to buy from other stores in July.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Malin+Goetz Tobacco Candle

I do love a candle. Ever since I bought my home over five years ago I have been entranced by candles; whether it is the vanilla ones from IKEA or the cherry ones from Wilkinson for the coffee ones from the now defunct The Pier, their delicious smells are welcome in my house. Of course I would love to aspire to the lush candles from Jo Malone or Diptyque on a regular basis but at £38 I am not quite there yet. I came across Malin+Goetz when Pure Public Relations announced their press preview on Twitter. The lovely, Deborah invited me down to their offices for a one to one preview of their new collections and this is where I came across the candles. I was generously given the tobacco one (which has just launched with the geranium leaf) to take home and try and I was pretty impressed. They say you get what you pay for and you can really tell the difference from a cheaper candle to a more expensive brand. Not only does it last a lot longer but the smell is much more aromatic and leaves a much longer lasting trace. The tobacco one has a really sweet nutmeg smell that is perfect for evenings when you just want to relax. The Malin+Goetz candles are a really great gift for someone special (or yourself) as they come in a really cute box that is stylishly designed and is presented in an eco friendly glass tumbler.. There are also eight difference fragrances such as cannabis, dark rum, mojito, neroli, vetiver and otto. Each candle burns for around 60 hours which should give you more than enough time to savour the scent. For better effects you should burn the tobacco and geranium leaf candles together in order to obtain that unique healing ambiance of relaxation and sensory balance. In my opinion this is a candle that any self respecting guy can have in their home without being ridiculed. Malin+Goetz is owned by Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz who are based in New York; aside from candles they do ranges in shampoo, cleansers, moisturizers, deodorants, lip balms and perfume,

The candles costs £37 each and are available to buy from Liberty of London and Space NK.

Check out the Malin+Goetz website.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Face of Fabulous

As a well known magazine junkie I am often amazed by the quality of the free publications available with newspapers. YOU that comes with The Mail on Sunday, Style that comes with The Sunday Times and Stella that comes with The Sunday Telegraph. All of those magazines are stylish, well written and have the right balance of entertainment and factual news. When the News of the World launched Fabulous magazine a few years ago I was intrigued to see what they would come up with and I was pleasantly surprised. The magazine was very glamorous, glossy and full of news and features about celebrities, fashion and beauty. I have not seen the magazine for a while but you could have knocked me down with a feather when I received an invitation to attend a blogger launch event for Fabulous. It took place at their headquarters at News International which is the home for The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and of course the News of the World. As soon as Wendi from Wendi B Writes and I arrived we were greeted with champagne served on trays, cupcakes and lots of savoury snacks. There were also different sections where you could get your make up done, a wardrobe section for you to try out the latest style in clothes and shoes and to top that off you could have a photo shoot to show off your new look. Dotted around the room were blown up placards of previous covers of Fabulous which demonstrated how much the magazine has changed over the years. Fabulous has lost its wholesome feel and is now slick, sleek with a slight edgy feel to it. Previous cover stars have been Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Cheryl Cole, The Saturdays, and Lacey Turner aka Stacey Slater from EastEnders. It is no surprise to hear that they took the award for Supplement of the Year at the British Press Awards. The staff from Fabulous were in attendance as well as editor, Rachel Richardson and it was great mingling with other bloggers Yinka from Vex in the City, Reena from Fashion Daydreams, Frankie from Swell Vintage, Louise from Get Lippie and Michelle from Beauty and the Blog.
The whole point of the event was to celebrate the launch of Face of Fabulous which is a new competition to find a cover star for Fabulous. The winner of the competition will nab a global modelling contract with Next Model Management and will appear on the cover of the publication. What is so unique about this competition is that it will be hosted on Facebook. Readers will be able to upload their pictures and the public will be able to vote for the final ten model. The winner will be picked by Fabulous editor, Rachel, Fabulous fashion director, Tracey Lee Sayer and Next Model Management's Head of New Faces, Ross Young.

The deadline for the competition is 23rd June and you can enter here.

You can check out the Fabulous website here.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Ranting and Raving

Christiana Mbakwe is a lady who is not afraid to speak her mind which is evident from her opinionated posts on her blog, Christiana Rants as well as her ever so entertaining tweets. She has been blogging since 2008 and covers topics such as friendship, relationships, politics, self esteem and careers. However it was her epic blog post Growing up African which has really caught the attention of Twittersphere where she discusses the perils of growing up in a Nigerian household and all the quirks that come with it. When she is not blogging, Christiana she is working on her other baby The Tip Online which is an online lifestyle magazine that covers fashion, beauty and celebrity news. Her day job is as a social media manager so it seems that social networking is a huge part of her life. I caught up with her to find out about blogging and ranting.

What made you start blogging?
My cousin from LA was over in London for the summer and we'd spent much of our time together debating and me winding everyone up with my opinions. He challenged me one evening to chronicle my thoughts and start a blog. So I did. It was a bet that spiraled out of control, initially it was just for my family and friends, but after a few months it began to expand.

Describe the concept behind Christiana Rants?
Essentially it's a blog built on discussing ideas, challenging concepts and gaining something from going through that process. My mantra is 'Engage. Entertain. Educate', I try to keep the posts as intellectually rigorous as possible, but still quite light. It's a difficult tightrope to walk, but I don't want a lowest common denominator blog. I figured if my blog is filled with stupidity, I'll constantly have to engage with stupid people. So I deliberately position my blog in a manner that forces myself and my readers to wear their thinking caps when they read it. I started blogging at 21, now I'm 24, so my readers are following me on a journey and in many ways we're on a journey together.

Over the last few years bloggers have really made their mark in blogsphere, how do you think they will continue to push the boundaries over the next few years?
I think the rise of the blogger has been a predominately western thing, as it's occurred in regions where there is mass internet access . In our cultural space it's pretty much the norm to see bloggers begin to penetrate the media and to a degree exert influence in the media and beyond. Though this influence is often overstated it's an interesting phenomena. My feeling is that there won't be much boundary pushing from bloggers in the West. However assuming that there's is economic growth in the developing world and internet access begins to spread south of the equator, I suspect the real innovation and boundary pushing will come from the bloggers that come from the developing world. Their addition to the blogsphere will make it more pluralistic and interesting.

How do you get your inspiration for your posts?
Honestly? My (overly) complicated love/dating life. LOL! And the love lives of my friends. On a serious note I find inspiration in a variety of places. I read obsessively and like hearing what people have to say and analysing why they behave in the manner they do. I try and find inspiration wherever I can.

What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
I'm probably reading, writing or playing my piano. If not that spending time with my family and friends.I spend a lot of time looking at shoes on the internet.

Describe a typical day in the life of Christiana.
I work as the social media manager of an international humanitarian relief organisation so from 9 to 5, they have my time. I'll get home and then work on The Tip Online whether it's organising features, shoots, interviews or general research. If it's not The Tip, then I'm editing or writing a piece for Christiana Rants or whatever writing project I'm involved in at that time.

What are your favourite glossy magazines?
I've always preferred books!

Name five blogs that you read religiously.
I only check three blogs religiously. Leftsetz Letter, The Awl and Karla's Closet. Any others I dip in and out.

How do you see your blog evolving over the next two years?
I can't predict the trajectory of its evolution. However I hope whatever the blog is and whatever space I'm operating in there will be a significant improvement in my quality of writing and a lot of progression.

You can read Christiana's blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter.