Amy Winehouse

Posted in SharonSpeak on August 16th, 2013 by Sharon Feinstein

loaded a new page to my website under Showbiz

End the bleeting about horsemeat and become a vegetarian

Posted in SharonSpeak on February 17th, 2013 by Sharon Feinstein

I haven’t eaten meat for fifteen odd years and try very hard not to scowl and mutter when my friends get stuck into a juicy steak, even the ones who are doting dog lovers and dare to drone on about how much they adore animals. Until they fancy a burger that is!
But frankly I can no longer keep my mouth shut about the furore over horse meat.

It beats me what is everyone so outraged about.
It’s not the horse drug Bute because our chief medical officer says people would have to scoff 500 horse burgers a day to be affected by this.
Nor is it a tender sense of outrage over the poor horses who are being slaughtered and hung upside down to dry off, or people wouldn’t be eating all the other creatures they love to get their teeth into. Why are horses any different?
( Incidentally I saw a press screening of Hally Berry’s new movie Cloud Atlas where they hang  naked human bodies upside down  in 2044, clasped around the ankles and all dangling in rows before being fed to a meat grinder. How horrible is that, but then people do that to animals without any qualms, so there you go)
Apparently the horse meat outrage is because all the millions of sensitive, just, meat eaters have been lied to!
There lies the rub. But haven’t we all been lied to on a daily basis  for a very long time, by bankers, politicians, businessmen, even our partners it seems.
Maybe the answer is to end the bleeting about this issue and stop eating meat. That way we can save the terrified horses, cows, sheep,pigs and maybe even ourselves! Vegetarianism is no bad thing.

Villa Arcadio Hotel, Lake Garda

Posted in SharonSpeak on November 13th, 2012 by Sharon Feinstein

It’s not just the splendour of the building and its wonderful, far reaching views over Lake Garda that make the Villa Arcadio such a delightful, secret find.
It’s  the joy and warmth that  Finnish owner, Jaana, brings to her hotel that makes one feel so utterly relaxed and infinitely welcome.
Not once did I walk in from exploring the gorgeous town of Salo, stretched around the placid lake, without Jaana greeting me with her smile and offering an aperitif, or a sauna, or whatever assistance she could. Nothing is too much trouble.
So very soon you’ve settled into this converted monastery, with vaulted ceilings, painted white beams, and glass walls which let the light flood in, and made it your home from home.
The 18-room boutique hotel is filled with stylish artefacts hand picked from Finland and across Italy, the glasses, sculptures, paintings and sofas.
I loved my room with its crisp cotton sheets, perfect pillows and deliciously comfortable bed.
Below my window was a grassy slope of vines and olives trees, and beyond that the glistening lake and surrounding mountains, all quite sublime when you open your curtains first thing in the morning.

The restaurant is fabulous, with fresh home grown produce, delicious breakfast eggs still warm from their hens, and impeccable service. I had a top class dinner here and the best one in Salo.
What more could you want for a weekend break from London.
I went in autumn when the walk to Salo was filled with birdsong and spectacular russet coloured trees.
A serene town, Salo seems to float on the lake and reflect its Palazzos on the glassy surface in the soft light.
Boats bob on the water, fishermen gaze into the distance, locals walk their dogs, and the women look as stylish as ever.
Only down the road from Milan the shopping is ultra good for a tiny town and had me hooked, in spite of concerns over how to get all my  new clothes into a weekend suitcase.
Needless to say I managed, and ended up carrying far more than one coat I can tell you!

Via Palazzino 2, Salo (00 39 0365 42281)

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

Posted in SharonSpeak on October 23rd, 2012 by Sharon Feinstein

The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is more than just one of the world’s most splendid hotels, it’s almost a piece of history. Evelyn Waugh sat on the terrace writing Mad Dogs and Englishmen, John Le Carre sipped cocktails while he finished off The Honourable Schoolboy, and Somerset Maugham recovered from raging malaria in one of the grand, airy bedrooms.

Writers have kept coming here to feel the magic, sit on the banks of the Chao Praya and watch the play of light on the moody river.The secret,leafy corners beside the swimming pool, or shadowy Bamboo Bar where they belt out jazz, nurture the romance of this stately hotel, which has lured royalty, heads of state, artists and travellers for 136 years now. Even though Bangkok calls, you can get lost in the world within The Oriental and struggle to leave.

Breakfast unfolds with dazzling variety and slick, long-serving staff key in to exactly how you like things done. Quaint wooden shuttle boats take you across river to the utterly relaxing, luxurious Spa. Lie under the palms beside the gold mosaic pool for a long lunch, and float into the Authors Lounge for the genteel, best-in-Bangkok afternoon tea. Up for a shower to the most comfortable, stylish room with a view, butler on hand, and everywhere the endlessly helpful and warm-hearted staff. My dinner of choice is the Riverside Terrace where the river twinkles with lights and the buffet is really fresh, or the Shanghai style China House for something more exotic. Even the foyer has a breathtaking allure,with massive flower arrangements hanging from the ceiling and a classy quartet playing Bach to raise ones spirits even higher. Need I go on? Indeed, there is more. Who says leavingThe Oriental is ever going to be easy. The only comfort I offer myself is the enduring hope of going back to the only hotel ( and this comes from a world traveller) that makes me want to leave home and move in for life.

Beware the Nazis are back, casting a shadow across an ancient land

Posted in SharonSpeak on October 3rd, 2012 by Sharon Feinstein

Even the name has that totem-like, mythical feel about it, designed to inspire mindless allegiance.
The Golden Dawn, the latest fascist group to be born out of the ashes of economic discontent and the culture of Blame .
As Greece flails about and Athens finds itself in a shocking new world of hardship and unemployment, The Golden Dawn steps in.
After all, what is history but the repetition of mistakes and terrible lessons left unlearned.
The Nazis are back wearing black T-shirts, crashing into make-shift fruit and vegetable stalls, preying on those inevitable fears that its the immigrants who must be behind all the economic hardships.
They’re even distributing potatoes in poorer regions of Greece just as the Nazis gave out food parcels in Germany.
Woe is me. The tactics of terror. Another dark shadow is cast across this ancient land that has witnessed more turmoil and bloodshed than any other European nation over the last century.
Civil war, Communists, the terrible Generals, and now this.
Rising discontent is the breeding ground for groups like the Golden Dawn.
Wake up to the patterns of history, the tactics of dictatorships, discontented people grasping at so-called saviours.
60 million people died in World War 2 which started exactly like this!

A Cretan love affair, The Elounda Mare

Posted in SharonSpeak on August 21st, 2012 by Sharon Feinstein

Relaxing on a boat

This year I went to the Elounda Mare on my own, but never once did I feel alone in this glorious hotel where the staff sweep you up with their warmth, and the dramatic views over the Bay of Mirabello infuse you with that Cretan magic. For all the scare mongering about the Greek crisis the atmosphere couldn’t have been more buoyant, with an overall air of tranquillity, sophistication and well-being pervading the hotel.

Fun on the water

I swam for hours across the bay in the glinting sunshine, not a cloud in sight after months of drumming British rain. I water skied, sailed on Yanni’s 40 foot yacht based at the Mare’s water sports, ate in the excellent Relais Chateaux restaurants ( Old Mill, Yacht Club and Calypso at the neighbouring Peninsula) and read copiously.
I also made some delightful new friends at the cool Karavia bar where charming mixologist, Demetris, can concoct whatever you desire and always with a smile.

Making new friends

There is nowhere like this haven on the Med where you feel you are welcomed into a home from home of real style and class, and that you become part of its extended guest family.
The Mare has a wonderful sense of space, its private bungalows and secret bays spread out amongst elegant gardens of bougainvillea, carob trees, pines, olives, eucalyptus, all with their alluring scents and textures.

Dramatic views

Thomas Cohen on Peaches Geldof, read my exclusive interview

Posted in SharonSpeak on January 29th, 2012 by Sharon Feinstein

What a lovely chap. Thomas Cohen has all the freshness, vigour and enthusiasm of youth. He is incredibly proud to be Jewish and wants to bring up his soon-to-be-born baby as a Cohen. He is besotted with his fiancee, the once wayward Peaches Geldof. He has spoken to me about how they met, his introduction to the Geldof family and how he’s grooming his future son to like Thomas’ rock band S.C.U.M
Read the interview at

Jon Voight chooses to stick his neck out on one of the most controversial issues of our time, and its not Angelina

Posted in SharonSpeak on January 4th, 2012 by Sharon Feinstein

Jon Voight chooses to stick his neck out on one of the most controversial issues of our time, Israel and Anti Semitism, and he needs our respect and admiration for his courage

He was brought up a Catholic, but what marked him very deeply was the experience of his father Elmer Voight,  a golf professional at a Jewish country club in West Chester county NY .

Jon says it was there that he began to understand the nature of  anti-Semitism,  because the local Jews weren’t able to join other country clubs and as a result started their own. He watched his father, who had grown up amongst the Jewish community from the time he was 8 because he was a caddy at the Golf Club, flourish in that atmosphere and become a champion golfer. All this made a lasting impression on the young Jon.

It was there that Jon learned about the Jewish people and came to admire them.

Jon, who shot to fame in midnight Cowboy and went on to  receive an Academy Ward and three Golden Globe Awards, has brought up two children ( the actress Angelina Jolie and actor James Haven )

He is now a grandfather to Angelina and Brad’s brood of 6, three of whom were adopted from far flung places, and this has given him a new lease of life

But it is his rage and fight against Anti-Semitism, and work with leading Jewish figures like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and writer Elie Wiesel, that makes this remarkable man such a driven and outspoken person of our age.

Read an exclusive and searingly honest interview with Jon at

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Vittoria, Knox’s cellmate, speaks again

Posted in SharonSpeak on December 10th, 2011 by Sharon Feinstein

These repeated visits to Vittoria are a favour to me to establish as many of the facts as possible, and move things on so that the focus can get back to what I see as most relevant, the tragic death of a British student and the ongoing questions as to who was responsible, or how many people were responsible. I have noted that many of the interested parties reading my blogs are far more involved with the minutiae of times, dates, cell mates and other miniscule details than with the bigger picture. But taking that into account, here is the latest information from Perugia. I am hoping this doesn’t give rise to another landslide of nitpicking because there’s a bigger picture out there.

My trusted envoy spoke to Vittoria again and this is the result. Vittoria revealed that when she was freed she went to say goodbye to Sabrina, the gypsy cell mate who had become her friend. She says that Amanda smiled and said goodbye to her and something else, she thought maybe it was “in bocca al lupo” (in the mouth of the wolf) which means good luck. This is the sequence of cellmates according to Vittoria and for those who have asked: Amanda was initially in solitary confinement and had a different daily timetable to the other prisoners (Vittoria doesn’t know why).Then Amanda was in the same cell as Vittoria and Patrizia Plini (who is still in prison). Then Patrizia Plini was moved to another cell and Sabrina was put into the cell with Amanda and Vittoria. Two other women joined them for a while. They arrived from another prison. As the cell was for 4 people they had to add an extra bed. Vittoria doesn’t recall their names because they were foreigners. Vittoria spent the last 2-3 days of her detention in another cell because she was quite nervous and often argued with Amanda (she didn’t like her behaviour). Victoria didn’t want to get a bad report and hinder her getting out, so she requested that she move cells rather than end up in arguments and visible difficulties with Amanda, whom she found unreasonable and callous.
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Vittoria speaks again tonight in Perugia

Posted in SharonSpeak on December 9th, 2011 by Sharon Feinstein

I have sent someone to see Amanda’s cellmate Vittoria tonight in Perugia, as I am currently in London. Vittoria is jubilant that her evening curfew has just been lifted and she is a totally free woman. My envoy asked her some questions about dates and details to try and stem to tide of doubters.
She says she was in Capanne from 2006 to 2009, I am unsure as to whether she was in a different prison before that. Amanda joined her in her cell after Meredith’s murder and they spent more than a year living together until Vittoria was released. Vittoria’s daughter, Maria, was diagnosed with lymphoma in June 2007, and Vittoria made regular visits to see her in hospital, returning to Capanne at night. Vittoria says she remembers Rosa who also shared the cell with them for a time but not Florisbella. She claims that there were many foreigners with complicated names that the inmates couldn’t pronounce, and they inevitably changed their names to Italian names, and this may have been one of them. Vittoria says their other cell mate, Sabina, is now out of prison and I am planning an interview with her. Another intimate, another view, another set of eyes. Vittoria said tonight, I have to say again that Amanda never appeared to mourn Meredith, but when Meredith’s face came up on TV she always said she was her best friend. She never seemed preoccupied or distressed in prison the way you would imagine a young girl would be. She was serene, relaxed and said she was always assured by her lawyer that she would walk, it was just a matter of time.

She didn’t flirt with anyone in the prison and had no physical contact with anyone, nothing like that. But she received sackfuls of fan mail and even love letters. She talked about her American boyfriend back in Seattle and said he was her real boyfriend, not Raffaele.
What I feel and always felt is that she’s guilty, Vittoria said. She’s an actress. She knows how to manipulate and play with people. Many of us in the prison felt that. She has that gift of charm, she knows how to make people believe her, but we saw her every day and we didn’t like who she really was.

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