In 1973, Sonia Orwell broke David Bowie’s heart by refusing him permission to adapt her late husband’s final novel into a rock musical. She had rebuffed every request since the hamfisted 1956 movie version starring Edmond O’Brien, and was never likely to make an exception for a glam-rock dandy, but he was sorely aggrieved. “The whole thing was originally Nineteen-bloody-Eighty-Four,” he said of Diamond Dogs, the feverish post-glam dystopia into which he rerouted his Orwellian dreams. In truth, she probably did him a favour, because the brilliant mess of Diamond Dogs, which cut-and-pasted fragments of Orwell’s novel with William Burroughs’s The Wild Boys and Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, was more his style. Bowie never settled for one idea when he could have three. “I get bored very quickly,” he told Burroughs when they met that year. Bowie was a famously insatiable reader. As a teenager in Bromley he was schooled in … [Read more...] about Bowie’s Books and Why Bowie Matters review – a manic turnover of new ideas
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An Australian natural beauty brand has seen sales of its prickly pear seed oil skyrocket after British TV chef Nigella Lawson credited the product for her flawless, age-defying skin. After the 59-year-old food writer revealed she applies Garden of Wisdom's 100% Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil to her face, hair and hands every night, Indagare Natural Beauty saw its $88 Illumino Youth Serum fly from online shelves with 120 bottles sold in two days. Indagare's founder Tanya Joslin said the sales have been 'huge' for her small brand. Acclaimed British TV chef Nigella Lawson (pictured) recently revealed she applies prickly pear seed oil to her face, hair and hands to maintain her flawless skin 'We are a small independent organic beauty brand so for us, selling 120 bottles of one product in just two days is huge,' Ms Joslin told FEMAIL. 'Prickly pear seed oil is relatively unknown still - particularly outside of green beauty circles. As of this morning, the demand is still coming. … [Read more...] about ‘We’ve sold 120 bottles in two days’: Australian brand reveals sales of its ‘magic’ face oil have gone crazy since Nigella Lawson raved about it – so what makes it so special?
Few fiction writers are as relentlessly, vivaciously surprising as Scarlett Thomas. Many elements in The Seed Collectors are recognisable from her previous novels: a university setting, the mysteries of consciousness, French thinkers, alarmingly rough sex between refreshingly dislikable characters. The fantastical-botanical saga of the sprawling, tangled Gardener clan takes in all these things, but while you can feel at home in Thomas’s world, you’re never strictly comfortable: the furnishings may be familiar, but the chairs have all been moved around and the biscuits are probably spiked. We start with a family tree, full of names like Plum and Ash. Almost all the Gardeners are named after plants, in keeping with the previous generation’s vocation as “famous botanists. Or famous-ish. Or famous-ish mainly for disappearing while on the trail of a miracle plant that probably never existed, or possibly killed them all.” (This mystery of the lost Gardeners and … [Read more...] about The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas review – a fantastical family saga
The story has all the elements to lull you to sleep: state subsidies, bureaucratic jargon, poultry farms, committee meetings, wood pellet boilers. Throw in arcana about tariff methodologies and photovoltaic panels and it sounds bewildering as well as boring. In fact Sam McBride’s Burned is a compelling exposé of a system gone rotten. It’s about greed, sleaze and dysfunction, a saga of incompetence, nitwittedness and knavery by those who ran Northern Ireland until the scandal broke and collapsed the power-sharing government in January 2017. Almost three years later there is still a power vacuum and Stormont, the seat of the assembly and executive sited on a grand estate outside Belfast, remains mothballed. The botched renewable heat initiative (RHI), which spiralled out of control and triggered the implosion, is due soon for a denouement in the form of a public inquiry report that is expected to chronicle the fiasco in exhaustive, damning detail. McBride’s book … [Read more...] about Burned by Sam McBride review – the inside story of the ‘cash for ash’ scandal
From the front, the Harley Road Glide Special looks like the love child of Batman and Gromit. On second thoughts, that image is so disturbing that I’m going to forget I said it. I suggest you do the same. Thankfully, you can’t see the front when you plonk yourself on a comfy seat designed for large American bottoms, plonk your boots on equally spacious footboards and admire the splendid mirrors and a dash which is a happy marriage of old and new school delights, with a digital touchscreen cosseted by a cradle of analogue fuel gauge, speedo, tacho and voltmeter. The touchscreen is your window in the world of what Harley calls infotainment – a sat nav and comms centre which allows you to take calls, chat with your mates on a group ride, stream music from your device or listen to the radio. Spoiler alert – the music system is a complete waste of time, since it’s inaudible even at top volume through a helmet and earplugs at motorway speeds, and if you use it … [Read more...] about Born to cruise: Harley Davidson Road Glide Special reviewed