Don’t tell me this isn’t global warming

Posted in SharonSpeak on June 30th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

Don’t tell me this isn’t global warming. I was brought up in Africa and had never possessed a cardigan until I arrived at Edinburgh university, aged 17, my teeth chattering with cold and shock. I grew up in that shimmering heat that rises off the ground in a haze. I’m used to snakes, elephants, herds of buffalo, and a childhood riding home from school and diving straight into the swiming pool to cool off before anything else.
But Britain, it’s not a place you associate with temperatures of 30 C, packed beaches and outdoor cafes. Soon the snakes and lizards will come here too, the mosquitoes and bugs. This is pretty exceptional but is set to become the norm as temperatures rise year on year by 3c. How scary is that. Not to mention the heavy rains, floods and rising seas that are coming too. So far I’m loving this weather- though it would be nice to be on a yacht or water skis intead of in front of my computer in a Georgian house in Islington. Nevetheless, it seems like the other day that London was snowbound, the buses had stopped running and we were all longing for a good summer. Well here it is.

Life interrupted by Murray-Wawrinka match

Posted in SharonSpeak on June 29th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

The rice burnt to a cinder. The sprinkler was forgotten about, soaking the lawn to a mulch. And the back door remained wide open. That is for nearly 4 hours. I didn’t even use the pull through after practising my sax. I was gripped by the Murray / Wawrinka  match and I was sure it would go Wawrinka’s way. Murray seemed to tire and Wawrinka found reserves and power every time you thought he was finished.
His coach, Dimitri Zavialoff, who has guided him since he was 8-years-old, which is for 16 years, looked so tense I thought he’d bite through his tongue. The audience were quite hilarious, little groups of guys doing war dances, women in swoons and agony alternately, and the city getting dark outside as the two lions played on. It was an absolutely terrific match. Wish Murray didn’t have an American accent though.
What happened to Dunblane, even a slight Scottish lilt ? He had dark rings under his eyes and his check bones look even more pronounced by the end of those five sets. A remarkable effort by both men. Real late night thriller. Couldn’t quite move for ages afterwards from the sheer energy expended, even though it wasn’t mine.

What the nanny saw

Posted in SharonSpeak on June 28th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

Michael Jackson’s nanny, Rwandan Grace Rwaramba, has rushed in where angels fear to tread. Michael isn’t even buried, his post mortem in process, and the nanny who worked for him on and off for him for seventeen years has, with indecent haste, fallen over herself to reveal the sordid details of his intimate world.
She’s told how she pumped his stomach, how the children froze with fear when he entered the room, she had to arrange for their bedrooms to be cleaned when MJ’s life became so chaotic and neglected that she was the only one keeping some sembleance of order in the home. I find this is all very distasteful. Can someone please shut her up. When anyone dies they leave a terrible void, a yawning, gaping hole. For MJ he leaves behind three children for whom he was their entire world, as well as his legendary parents and brothers, and the feeding frenzy of fans. He was a man with no privacy and no peace. Let him have some now.
I know that’s rich coming from a journalist whose job it is to find the story and make sense of the pieces of the jigsaw, and I know people round the world have poured over the details of What the Nanny Saw. As have I. But I don’t like it one bit and I think she should button it and let those children alone.

Friday June 26, 2009

Posted in SharonSpeak on June 25th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

How stressful is it being a journo. Everyone hates us, we don’t even particularly like ourselves. We often have to write about things we have no real interest in – celebrities and their fatness, thinness, diets. Yawn! We sit down to interview people we wouldn’t otherwise spend 5 minutes with, and charmingly attempt to get ‘ the story. ‘ Oh my god, how to extract that killer line from someone who just wants to tell you how he follows Method acting, enjoys working with Guy Richie, prefers working in L.A. Yes yes that’s all very well but what about the time you lured Sienna Miller into bed when she was meant to be going out with Rhys Ifans, let’s cut to the chase and all go home, she pleads.
After all that the agent tries to block the story, the editor doesn’t think it’s juicy enough, there’s been another Simon Cowell deal which knocks it out altogether, and don’t worry we’ll pay you a kill fee. No wonder we end up in the pub or wine bar most nights, have heart attacks, stress related illnesses and can’t seem to make relationships last.
But it gets under your skin, appeals to people who like big highs and lows, living on the edge, and are basically masochists, let’s face it. Either that or we’re good for nothing else and can’t imagine adjusting to nine to five regulated lives anywhere else, so we just keep going and die young. I’m off to open another bottle of wine.

Late night out with friends means no blog post

Posted in SharonSpeak on June 24th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

No blog today, too drunk late on the night before to write it. Sorry to be such a let down but a warm evening, lovely cold couple of bottles of white wine, good company, and an excellent meal have all contributed to a heady, speedy haziness that won’t lend itself to a single intelligible thought.  Food and friends, what a lovely thing, and how valuable ones friends are.  All will be made up for in the next round of news. By the way, the trip to Liverpool to see a Rooney was fascinating and well worth doing.

Breaking the law

Posted in SharonSpeak on June 23rd, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

I’m the sort of person who pays her bills before they arrive. I’m not happy unless I feel that all that admin and beauracracy in ones life is out the way and in the drawer. So imagine my horror as I stood beside my car at the car wash over the weekend, and sauntered up to the windscreen, gazing aimlessly at the tax disc, when I noticed the number 4,  which generally stands for April .  I thought I was seeing things through the soap suds but it was still there when the car was newly shiny and polished. My tax disc had run out in April.
I rushed home and went online to pay, calm down, and sink back into that sleepy security of no outstanding bills. But it only got worse! You can’t pay your tax disc, I was told, because you have no MOT.
What !! This must be some sort of macabre joke. I reached into my ever-so-ordered file saying Car, and hauled out the relevant MOT, which, oh my God, had run out at the beginning of November 2008. This was too much for me as I realised I’d been blithely driving about for 7 months with no MOT, therefore no legal insurance, and then no tax disc. I thought big cranes came out of the sky and took cars away to Never Never land in those cases, with motorists banned for life. And white vans with electronic Big Brother beams zoomed  in at night, their  X Ray eyes detecting all non tax payers.
How had I escaped ? And how had I not even been shopped by the eagle-eyed, all-seeing and all-nosey vicar and vicaress next door. This is a total mystery, apart from one lame explanation that if you don’t even know you’re a criminal you carry on so calmly and confidently no one else knows either.
Needless to say I’ve paid all that now and am a law abiding motorist once again. But who knows what else is lurking behind my glossy exterior of neat files and up to date bills. I certainly don’t.

What do you ask a Rooney?

Posted in SharonSpeak on June 22nd, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

I love football, and am fascinated by the teams and players, but not sure how much I can relate to the men who kick the ball. Wayne grew up in Croxteth, rough Liverpool and now immortalised as the place where tragic 11-year-old Rhys Jones was murdered. I’ll be there today and going to meet a Rooney in person as it was pretty hard to decipher what was going on down the phone, his souse accent and my Zimbabwean twang  just clashing horribly, the two of us shouting away at each other, What did you say ? Didn’t get that ! Come again!
It really was impossible to get beyond that, so  I thought it would be easier to jump on a train. Anyway I love trains, in spite of having been in a  gruesome train crash, it didn’t seem to put me off, strangely. I love that sense of time suspended, in between two places where you’re allowed to dream and gaze out the window and have private time that no one you know is part of.
Unlike Beckham and Ronaldo, Rooney is totally devoid of glamour, portrayed as Mr Potatohead, ugly, thickset, all brawn and no brains. But I think there’s a lot we don’t know about the tough, close community of Rooneys that’s far more interesting and complex than that. They’re all boxers and like a good fight so you’ve got to be a bit careful and Croxteth isn’t St Tropez, but why is it that I’m really looking forward to this little jaunt. I’ll let you know how it goes.

War Horse, WWI as see through the eyes of a horse

Posted in SharonSpeak on June 21st, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

Saw the brilliant, haunting play, War Horse, on Saturday night. It’s spell binding watching the story of the horrific First World War through a horse’s eyes. Joey and the other horses in the show are amazing creations by a puppet company with wooden frameworks and translucent fabric skins. You fall in love with Joey, he pricks up his ears, snorts, sneezes and flicks his tail. He feels his master’s pain and watches the terrible human suffering unfolding on the fields of France as 10 million men die.
hat I never knew was that 1 million horses were shipped over from England for the cavalry and just 62,000 returned. These poor creatures were maimed, blown up, caught on the barbed wire, and wounded by gunfire. It’s the animals who never get mentioned in our wars, either left behind to die or worked to death. The play really captures that deep, mysterious bond that can exist between humans and animals. I can’t stop thinking about it even 24 hours later, it’s the way the life size puppet horse senses the sadness and pain of the people close to him, and is the witness to the universal suffering of the 1914 War.
Horses are honoured in this play, as they should be. I am so pleased to have seen it.

Lara and Orange Lounge Recording Studios

Posted in SharonSpeak on June 18th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

Lara was born with her hands up in the air, reaching for something, the stars maybe. Now she’s 21 and wants to live the dream, and don’t we all, secretly. Two years at uni studying music and she decided she had to get out there and break into the music industry before she was too ‘ old ‘. I’m not sure where that leaves the rest of us, mind you. But moving on, last night she did something pretty damn courageous and I have to commend her all the way from London to Toronto.
It was midnight, she was in bed after a hard day, and the phone rang. At last, it was the well-known music producer she’d been trying to get hold of for days, calling her from the famous Orange Lounge Recording Studios. If you want to sing for me, how about now, he said. She shot out of bed, put in her hair extensions and took a cab downtown. This is the same girl who  used to go bright red and get really nervous when she took to the stage with her little violin to play Bach’s Minuet One, aged four.
The studio was candlelit, cool, sophisticated, with lots of music going on. La, on the spot, had to sing against a background of guitar riffs,  phones ringing, people interrupting, lots of distraction. After all, this is rock ‘n roll, not horlicks and slippers. She did it, she says it went well, she can be very proud of herself. That journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

On missing children

Posted in SharonSpeak on June 18th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

It’s two years since Madeleine McCann, aged 3, vanished without trace, and most people have given up hope of her ever appearing again.

But miracles can happen, as with the incredible case of Steven Damman, a toddler left outside a shop on Long island for ten minutes by his mother, 55 years ago, who has now come back to claim his birthright.

Over half a century later, a man bearing a striking resemblance to Steven’s father, walked into a police station claiming to be the missing child.

In the fifties you could leave children outside supermarkets, or playing happily on the streets without the dark fears that hang over parents today.

Though every time I saw the nanny wheel my daughter, Lara’s, pram round the corner of our Islington Square on their way to the park, a mild panic kicked in, and I had to tell myself to stop being neurotic.

Mrs Damman parked a buggy with Steven’s 7-month-old sister in it, outside a supermarket.  3-year-old Steve waited next to it holding a bag of jelly beans.

Ten minutes later they were both gone, though the buggy with Steven’s sister was later found round the corner.

Steven’s parents separated over the trauma of losing their child, but it turns out that all along he was living in Long Island with another family.

The mystery is still unfolding, but children who go missing are a terrible sickness in our society and a chilling horror for anyone who is a parent. It’s  that worst, darkest cupboard is impossible to enter.

If this man really is the long lost Steven, it somehow makes it more imaginable that somewhere out there is Maddy McCann, leading a parallel life to her parents and twin siblings.

If only they knew, one way or the other.