Saturday, 31 March 2012


Black and white photography has always been a love of mine. As a child, I used to sit on the knee of my grandfather Sidney Gilliat, watching his films. He would take me through them, bit by bit.  I loved old Hollywood, horror films, and black and white; mysterious and sensuous.

In 1994 I was introduced by Zeta Graff to The Black and White photography school run by Natasha Bult  in London. I spent hours with her, Lucy Ferry and Kim Hersov printing.

Later, I loved my time in the dark room with a friend of mine called David Vella . There was something so exciting about the image coming alive under chemicals in the dark, especially on a Tuesday. Sadly, David closed the darkroom: digital was in full swing and photography became something else; still exciting, but not so intimate and magical.

In a former time, I used to go to the South of France every summer, staying at the Hotel du Cap, where I used to go swimming with Michel Comte. He made the whole world of photography look glamorous when it was a lot of hard work.  

It was an exciting world that he let me into, teaching me how to use a camera and 'opening doors for me', which at the time seemed firmly shut. 

On one occasion he took me to meet Franca Sozzani, the Queen of Italian Vogue. She gave me a job taking photographs of British Artists in their respective studios which I thoroughly enjoyed. Called British Artists at Work, it led to two other books on artists, one called Made by Indians and another Made by Brazilians.

Then there was my dear friend Bob Carlos Clarke, who like Michel Comte also helped me a great deal. He took photographs of girls clad in rubber and also was a brilliant printer. He was an enormous character who enjoyed playing me off against another photographer called Cat de Rham. He loved his girls and he was always willing to help and teach his favourites. 

I was also encouraged by Katy Barker who ran one of the best agencies in the world. There I met the stylist Rushka Bergman, and subsequently for four or five years we worked together.

I am still great friends with them all but since then my life has taken another turn. I have written a play, two books of poetry, and enjoyed making some neon lights, but I still have not forgotten the fun and passion I had with a camera.

A camera changed my life.

Here is my list of wonderful photographers that inspired me.

3. Man Ray
8.  Robert Mapplethorpe on another note, I met Patti Smith once through a friend and he enthusiastically introduced me saying I was a poet too.. I liked her, but she turned away snootily and said  "Don't pressure me into socializing!" She was happier with Grace Jones.

Robert Mapplethorpe for his raw promiscuity
Helmut Newton for his brutal look at women

Bob Carlos Clarke for his mischievousness
Michel Comte for his generosity and true friendship

Man Ray for his history
Jack English (photograph of  Gary Oldman) for his intuition
Meret Oppenheim for her freedom
(Linda Evangelista by) Steven Meisel for his commercial brilliance
A black and white photograph by Amanda Eliasch, work with Rushka Bergman
Bicycle series.

Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull 2 She Smiled Sweetly The Rolling Stones

Friday, 30 March 2012


I want to punch the fear mongers.. 
A few weeks ago I was buying tents, vitamins, petrol, soap, dry shampoo in order to prepare myself for the end of this year in three houses.  I ordered huge water supplies, food for three years, and as I was doing it I thought this is hell.
If the end of the world is near, none us want to know our future, and none us want to die. So why tell us these things. If there is a solar storm, an apocalypse, tectonic plate shift, a nuclear bomb or an asteroid, there is not a lot any of us can do about it.
The Mayan Calendar by fact simply ends on the 23rd December 2012. This does not mean that it is the end of the world, it just means the calendar ends.
The prophecy states that after the 23rd change occurs which shifts peoples perception of how they live their life (in simple terms).  Where in that, does the end of the world become relevant?
Scientifically it is proven that when the Sun eventually decides to blow up, it will also coincide with the earth blowing up, but the Sun the way it's going will continue to shine for next several billion years.
In any case this is all above us, all we need in actual fact, is a thousand calories a day and fresh water, and in my case Balenciaga darling and red mac lipstick amongst a blackberry, a reliable macbook pro,  if possible some black Wolford tights, and some underwear from Chantal Thomass. A hairdresser would come in handy too.

Angel Barta - The Secret Love Affair in Paris

Angel Barta - The Secret Love Affair in Paris

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


I decided to go to Vienna. The last time I went I was staying at the Palais Schwarzenburg, a pretty hotel with the sound of Mozart down its corridors.  I was heavily pregnant and my ex husband was doing the deal which changed my life forever.  Now, I had little time to see any museums I could just feel the air.  I used to love the Schonbrunn Palace of the Hapsburgs, the stories of Queen Sissy, Empress Elizabeth of Austria, married to Joseph 1, who wore large diamond stars in her hair, who drank blood, to keep her 22 inch waist all of her life, and who finally was murdered, a tragic and enigmatic figure. I tried to persuade the concierge at The Imperial Hotel to show me Hitler's War bunker but it is not open for the general public.  The concierge did however show me the state rooms, where our Queen drank from Queen Victoria's tea set, not quite as exciting?.

I then raced to the Mayr Clinic.  It took about 4 hours as a kind friend picked me up in Vienna and drove me there. My son Jack and I were full of excitement.  We wanted a week away.  A week of solitude.  Boy am a tired. The adrenalin of finding a real life "bolter", [as in Nancy Mitford's story Love in a Cold Climate],  in my family tree last week washed me out.  I have spent every minute asleep.  I was meant to be singing, and have, but mostly I have slept.. Either I have been dying of hunger or I am genuinely exhausted?.  Anyway sleep has taken up all of my time.
The Mayr Clinic would not be my first choice of destination, I like and believe that these things should be part of your every day belief, but the relief is that they do too.  It is on a beautiful lake with crosses and churches everywhere, a pilgrimage for the religious, and the weather is glorious.  I have not done any blood tests but the wave of colours, in a bathroom, to change your character, has for me been the winning thing. The food too is good, although there is little of it.  I refused to be weighed and measured, I am bored rigid with all to do with the scales and somehow here everything feels calm, it is perfectly serene and perfectly alright to be who you really want to be.  I shall wait and see how it changes me. Anyway it has given me a perfect excuse to watch and read Love in a Cold Climate all over again.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


I arrived back in London to sunshine and talk of there being only 124 days to the Olympics. Will the roads be finished? Will the flyover work? Will the road flow freely to the Stadiums.  I am definitely moving away for the Summer with dreams of being on an island in quiet serenity.  It was however wonderful to see the Magnolia tree in bud in my garden in Cheyne Walk,London, and to watch the lights at dusk on Albert Bridge, which has been covered with tarpaulins for several years. However this year I want to move around, go on the Trans Siberian Railway or something like that?. I have been looking at incredible footage that my friend Katy Barker took with Frederick Anderson on their trip to Russia.  She is on her way to making one of my most favourite books "Princess of Siberia" soon.  It is exciting to watch a film unfold as well as a passion coming true. I shall be investing in it that is for certain. It all looks tempting.
Of course this week I had plans of joining the BFI for the opening of the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and to watch Romeo and Juliet at the Opera House, but I have had jet lag and got way laid by exciting family news.  I found my long lost Grandmother, one who got away. Thank goodness for a cousin ringing up and telling me so many interesting things about the Brown family; one who was a book-binder in Bath and another a photoengraver in Fleet Street.  I have always been more interested in the Gilliat's but now I realise I did not need to hide away the Browns and Foremans. I can be proud. My Grandmother on the Foreman side, was called Valda Foreman her sister was called Marjorie and got married to a Sidney Abrahams.  She got pregnant at thirteen with my father Anthony Cave Brown, and had three children under the age of twenty.  She then left the family shortly after giving birth to her final son, and never went back. Probably she had post natal depression and was too young to care for so many but it is sad that she never knew any of us. I wonder what she looked like?  I try to go through the tarot cards to see what she felt, it is weird. Knowing somebodies name and yet not knowing them at all, is sad .  Valda was born in 1915 in Fulham to Violet Kent Foreman and James Edward Foreman. James won a VC in the war in about 1918 and was then killed.  So there are many documents to go through, she later died in 1981, without knowing how interesting her family was.  I found one terrific photograph of George Gilliat my great grandfather on his wedding day, he was Editor of the Evening Standard.
Now I have met some cousins and that is good news.  You can never have too many relatives. I am completely addicted to and and I am up all night.
I have moved on and am now in Vienna about to sing and shout from some mountain top, Julie Andrews here I come. With the Moon in Aries this week it is a good time to plant new seeds...

Wednesday, 21 March 2012



What I need is a swan to
take me
in his wings
to hold mine
his fierce beak
stopping me talk
his feathers
massaging my body
feeling my skin
I need to be frightened
and uncertain.
I need to feel
because I do not.
Not anymore.
I feel nothing since
last years dawn in
Nothing whatsoever
I feel everything
where a pin can
the things that
keep me alive
I shall wait 
until a swan makes
me fly
towards a heaven

Tuesday, 20 March 2012




There is nothing better for me than an auctionFaberge Eggs, and Mark Shand, the brother in law of the future King of England, HRH, The Prince of Wales, were the best partners. Mark has a charm and ability to whip everybody into shape, to start the bidding war under the portals of the Royal Courts of Justice. There was something thrilling about buying and doing good at the same time. Last year, I bought the White Elephant by Marc Quinn and tonight the egg by Emma Clegg. I tried for so many, but bidding was fierce. Nicholas Haslam's brilliant golden moving egg was one of my favourites as was Marc Quinn's, but there were many rich people willing to help the charity, and I was only lucky once.
The golden collection went under the hammer towards the raising of two million for The Elephant Family and Action for Children. Mark Shand wants to buy land corridors so that the elephants in India can easily migrate. Because of building and roads, the elephants' freedom has been diminished. Without access to others of their species, they then become inbred, die and will become extinct.
 We were a very rowdy lot on Table 12, screaming and yelling for our favourite eggs. One by Polly Morgan - a famous moderniser of taxidermy, who has brought it to a new audience - which was called "Resurrection" raised seventeen thousand pounds. 
Another called "All the Stars, Moon and Sun" by Ajay Padda, which was nearly forgotten about, raised a staggering twenty thousand. One of my favourites was by Mary Karantzou, UK Fashion Designer of the Year - who I just saw two days ago in Los Angeles at the LA fashion week. New as she is to the game, hers raised twelve thousand pounds. There are still some for sale so get bidding on their website.
There is nothing like England, the photographers were as welcoming as my friends, asking where I had been all this time. I am so glad to be back.
Thank goodness I did not need a name tag tonight, like I do in Hollywood.

"Vanitas Vitrified" by Emma Clegg
'Her egg is anti gloom, avoiding all associations with receding economies and financial obsessions. The wild flowers remind us that material wealth gives only limited joy'.  Looking carefully, I saw four leaf clovers, which mean good luck, and a butterfly, 'the delicate pollinator intrinsic the circle of life'.

Amanda Eliasch

Polly Morgan
Amanda Eliasch and Nicky Haslam, Amanda wears a Chanel Coat, A comme des garcons silver handbag, Karl Lagerfeld white collar, Chanel cross, shoes by YSL.
Nicky Haslam and Amanda Eliasch
Aurore by Nicky Haslam
Inspired by the new dawn 

Perdita by Bruce Oldfied
Matt Collishaw Artist

Monday, 19 March 2012

Marianne Faithfull Interview (Part 1 of 2)


Newspapers and magazines are so OVER! I just read blogs off the internet and here are my dozen favourites in no particular order including, of course, my own... Lagerfeld
1.Karl Lagefeld needs little introduction. He rocks.

I met Susan Tabak at the Dior Fashion show some years ago. She was completely surrounded by photographers and had the longest legs and jet black locks.  She had style and panache with a little bit of vulgarity, wearing something that only a few could put on. I love her blog, she adores fashion and it is quick and informative.


JulieAnne Rhodes blog is an historical repertoire of her life as a stunning rock chic mixed with delicious recipes that do not quite go with her fashionable life yet do. She can cook for you and tempt you with her selection of yummy concoctions, and her bouquet of cupcakes you cannot turn down.

If you wish to be reminded you are over 50.

A fascinating site  by Lisa Borgnes who is into books, hotels, heroines, unusual occupations,well written and addictive.

Franca Sozzani's blog on where she has been and what she is doing, is the bible of fashion and enterprise, Written by her Majesty.  You won't be going wrong if you follow her ideas and ideals.

Nicky Haslam has his finger on the pulse and is loyal to his friends, he never forgets anything. I have most fun with him after a party eating cheese and then comparing waist lines and sharing make up tips.
We both agree that tummy buttons are very common.

Zoe Moon great astrologer and seeker of truth.  She gives an in depth look at the stars to see what will happen next in a pretty easy to understand way.

The Rest is noise written by Alex Ross, music critic from the New Yorker, is incredibly stimulating and if you never feel like listening to music and know nothing you will never be bored by what he has to say . I love it.

My blog is updated regularly and covers anything that interests me, from Paris, London and Hollywood,  life, fashion, film, music and romance, also I work at and the Huffington Post

Call me Adam is a site where the performers answer questions without gossip or drama, they answer questions the way they want to. I love this blog.

Ellen Olivier writes this blog about society news in Los Angeles. I like it because I was told by a friend that Los Angeles had no society but here Ellen has created it.  A grown up Tatler in the form of a blog.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Man Who Cried Part 4

Malcolm Mcdowell works like CLOCKWORK ORANGE

It was an exciting day for Malcolm Mcdowell, and the closing of a circle for me. 
The first week I came to Los Angeles I went to see Malcolm perform in The Artist. It was an incredible evening and I was taken with Peter Medak. Tonight just before I am leaving Peter took me to see the laying of a star for Malcolm and to watch Clockwork Orange. This is one of the best films I have ever watched. Violent, thought provoking, intellectual and colourful. Oranges, purples, greens, reds, flash from one thought to the next, like a huge cartoon with people. Malcolm was born in Leeds in the 1940's to working class parents who sent him to boarding school aged 11 at Tonbridge Wells. There he became interested in acting and has never been out of work. His performances are totally mezmerizing.  This makes you think about how strict prison was, how classist England can be, how violent and repellent society is, only softened by the main character Alex's love of Beethoven. Stanley Kubrick's brilliant film is like contemporary art.

Friday, 16 March 2012


I have lived a whirlwind the last two days hanging out with Genlux's Editor at Large George Blodwell. I had an hysterical time listening to a ridiculous conversation from a Publicist who was busy telling him off about hanging out with trashy people.  In any case I was about to get a little cross as Justin Resnik and I are hardly trashy, when she says" You should hang out with Amanda Eliasch more, now she is seriously chic"  I feel all puffed up and nearly taken in.
 I have had many riding lessons, but the thought of going bareback around the Hollywood sign at midnight, evan with Justin, who is a brilliant rider and show jumping champion, just does not fill my boots, however tempting it may sound, as he does own some of the most beautiful horses in the world. I have not been on the back of a horse properly since I fell off my Welsh Cobb, hunting.
Mercury is in retrograde and weird things keep happening. My long lost Grandmother who had disappeared when my father was 8, called Velda has suddenly turned up through a cousin of mine that I did not know I had.  I have been looking at her marriage certificate and she appears to have been married at 13. If so, no wonder she left my Grandfather after she had three children. I would have done so too.  My long lost cousin sent me loads of photographs and my Great Grandfather had the same hands as I did and looked like my Father who I only met 12 times.
In between living in the past I managed to see the work of Abigail Slotkin, who makes jewelled telephones and covers for Ipads. The new one from Apple comes out today so I shall try and stand in line. I also met Amber Sakai last night with Marilyn Heston, she does a really good week end range of clothes that will pack perfectly into a brief case. Really well cut and in black they are entirely useful as well as funky.  I then dashed off with Justin and George for dinner with Peter Medak and Cindy Cowan who was fresh from preparing for her next film.  Soho House was packed but worth it.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012




PARIS THE PROFESSIONAL photograph by Amanda Eliasch
Kathy Hilton feels like an aristocrat, she has class. A woman who has travelled extensively and always loved fashion, she has now designed a collection of clothes for every occasion, trying something conventional yet new, she wants a woman to feel glamorous without breaking the bank. Supported by her husband Rick she showed  pretty dresses in ice cream colours, that are suitable for San Tropez, Paris, garden parties and weddings. This Summer her dresses will grace many  parties that is for sure.  Everything matched, the flowers in the house were white, delicate against her romantic pale blue and cream drawing room,  Kathy clearly knows what a girl needs, and she knows what they will wear.  Her stunning daughters, Paris and Nicky, were  modelling the frothy concoction of candy floss, moulded for ravishing young girls. Kathy is obviously the backbone of artistic talent in the Hilton family.  It may not be ground breaking, as it has huge popular appeal, but it has definite summery and light ideas throughout her vast collection which comes in almost every colour under the rainbow...

It makes such a change to see clothes in the designers environment, rather like the old couture days when you could see a show in the atelier of the designer. Kathy is influenced by her travels and I take my hat off to her along with the Genlux Team, Samia and George.

There has been something incredibly attractive about Fashion Week in Los Angeles. No traffic thank goodness and plenty of sunshine.
Nicky and Paris Hilton looking gorgeous in their Mother's dresses photograph by Amanda Eliasch
Also one photograph with Paris and George Andy Solomon press photographer

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Academy Awards 2011 Exclusive Celebrity Stylist George Blodwell


Last night Los Angeles fashion lovers were talking crazily about the talented British designers, and so they should. This morning I entered at Ace Gallery on Wiltshire, full of beautifully made clothes by young artists, that have been brought to Los Angeles.  I was totally  impressed and I have ordered masses, at the moment praying they will get in touch.  As Fashion Editor at Genlux Magazine with at least thirty years experience of loving clothes, it is a highly successful year and anybody who can, should make their way there.  The London Fashion Council is thoroughly impressive and modern. You cannot help but be overjoyed to see new, exciting, well made clothes come to life.

Todd Lynn and George Blodwell
Holly Fulton
Nicholas Kirkwood
Jonathan Saunders
Roksanda Ilincic
Todd Lynn
Mary Katrantzou with her ravishing model
Mary Katrantzou