Sunday 24 January 2016

SOFIA DIMITROVA Photographs by Amanda Jane Eliasch, with Make Up by Emma Obyrne, Hair by Natalia Souza, styled by Amanda Jane Eliasch. Artfully and wickedly worked with Inesa and Barrington de la Roche

I have wanted to take photographs of Sofia Dimitrova for many years. Her abilities are far reaching from Singing to Cooking, she reminds me of another time. Her enthusiasm to play and dress up in character for each shot was so invigorating. Equally fun was working with Inesa and Barrington de la Roche from The Dark Theatre,  Emma O'byrnne who did the make up, and Natalia Souza who did  hair inspired by opera singer Maria Callas, actress Rita Heyworth and artiste Dita Von Teese who once danced with a huge glass in my garden in Beverly Hills for the launch of my photographic book Cloak and Dagger Butterfly.
Two months ago I travelled to Vana to hear Sofia sing in her native town in Bulgaria.
She and my son Charles Eliasch sang beautifully together a huge repertoire from Cole Porter
to Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito.



Wednesday 20 January 2016

THE MERRY GO ROUND OF FILM SCORES AND THE OSCARS, No no they can't be cheating, surely?

As a child I would sit with my grandfather, the writer, film director and producer, Sidney Gilliat, he taught me to appreciate film scores. I loved the score for his film Endless Night which was written by Bernard Herrmann.
Today music scores are brilliant but similar. More variety is needed it occurs when you mix cultures up. The film world is not mixed up, everybody is a friend of a friend and  there is so much unrecognised talent out there. I go to smaller festivals where I see films that hardly get aired because they do not have big names attached. Perhaps Charlotte Rampling is right however when she says that "racial diversity is racist to white people?" Perhaps other cultures like performing more rather than creating music? No doubt about it, you have to be incredibly ambitious as well as talented to get ahead.

Nainita Desai
In England the  composer  Nainita Desai will no doubt go to Hollywood for an Oscar, last year she wrote a  BBC documentary musical called Mumbai High set and filmed in a school in India with children who had no prior knowledge of performing and music. It was  moving, it is up for a BAFTA. This is the diversity I am talking about.
Where are the  black composers, the Oriental composers etc?.  Since 1987 George Fenton and Jonas Gwangwa for Cry Freedom, no black composer has composed a score for a likely award winner. There was the Indian Film Slumdog Millionaire won in 2008 with its score by A.R Rahman. Here is the list. Of course black performers have won in the song department.  There is not enough diversity in the Film World generally. Women achieved considerable success this year with so many excellent scripts  Carol, The Danish Girl . Cate Blanchett and Alicia Vikander surely shine, yet behind the scenes, the statistics are shabby. The composers chosen this year are represented by mostly the same agent, however good he is, the unsaid tells you everything you need to know about Hollywood.


This year I am delighted that at last Ennio Morricone is nominated. Of course he has won so many awards but the Oscar is something special and any composer who spends his life in film will tell you that. It is not their raison d'ĂȘtre, rather the cherry on the cake So far he has only won it for "Life Achievement" not for any particular score. One thing we should remember is a quarter of the music was already written for a horror film called The Thing. Does that actually meet the requirements?.

Should John Williams win for the score of Star Wars that he has already won the first time round in 1978? That seems a little dull too.

I noticed that last year's Oscar winner,  Alexandre Desplat did not get any real recognition for his score for The Danish Girl, a film which left me speechless for three weeks when I saw it at The Venice Film Festival. If you watch the film properly it cannot fail to move you. Desplat got nominated in the Globes. The film is so topical now with Transgender patients, I can imagine it could have made the old Academy shudder as they are from another world. Gender is merging so for me The Danish Girl was bang up to date. Caitlin Jenner needs a little more support?

Last year  I appreciated Johan Johansson's mechanical ability but he copied phrasing from the Desplat score for The Imitation Game with very recognisable moments from  Kings Speech and Extremely loud and incredibly close, the reality was Desplat was nominated three times. But now Sicario? This time phrasing from Black Sabbath? The second number on the score is from Iron Man.  I mentioned this last year in my blog Music score crunch

I was happy to see Carter Burwell nominated for his score of Carol, I loved it, his score was so strong, I left the cinema singing the main theme. A wonderful film, beautiful costumes and strong story.
Thomas Newman's score is not his best but its very accomplished as he always is for Bridge of Spies, but not award worthy.
The Revenant, in my opinion, is one of the worst scores ever by three composers just did not work, composed by Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, Bryce Dessner and Alva Noto. It is too jumbled up. The film itself is excellent, except the riding ability of certain actors.


A few years ago we complained about women not having enough equality in show business generally, let alone racial diversity. It seems intelligent to employ well known composers as too much money is at stake to make errors,  but the other side is that it makes for ultimately boring perfection. In the Lebanese culture, perfection is not attractive, story telling is the most interesting thing. People respond to emotions not anything perfect, pure and clean.  Perhaps the education is lacking? The other problem is that the voters for the Academy are over 60 and male, giving opportunity to their friends, 94 percent are white, 76 percent men with an average of 63 years old, there will be bias.  Imagine the scenario, they are having lunch on a boat at The Ivy, they chatter.
Equally Blacks and Oriental writers could write more for black/Oriental performers, and give work to composers of their choice. It just takes an iPhone to start, and then send it off to The New Media Film Festival.. Come on Agents, Writers, Producers, Casting Directors, The Academy, have a little more imagination, let creativity grow, be daring and the world is full of magic.

Thursday 14 January 2016


I really do not know what to say, that is new and not already covered.  The greatest loss in music this week has to be David Bowie's creative exit from the planet.  The humour which he kept to the end, only reminds us how much we will miss this genius.
For a short time I lived in Eland Road in Battersea and I remember seeing Angie his ex going in and out of her house there. Short spiky hair, and a whole lot less noticeable than she is today on Big Brother. She was elfin like, pale, ghostly. I didn't ever really speak to her, in those days celebrity was only a trifle exciting. We are talking about 1980, when it was not fashionable to be flashy, famous or rich. Money was not our GOD it was before Thatcher changed England. It was quieter.
Bowie's music resonated with the plainer version of Amanda, he was exotic yet he talked about "the girl with the mousy hair" He was before I got hold of some peroxide and changed myself into a copy of an Hollywood Starlet.
Anybody who knows his music cannot fail to miss him.

Then we have had to say good bye to Alan Rickman, I will never ever forget him starring in  Les Liaisons Dangereuses a play written by Christopher Hampton. His witty seduction of a virgin as a favour to his lover, Merteuil. His performance as Valmont, in my opinion was far greater than Malkovich's, but then I was a huge fan of the theatrical version. I was always surprised at the casting of the film despite being a fan of the director Stephen Frear's. He also had enormous sex appeal and charm. I once had dinner with him and his partner in London. Charming and erudite, he was interesting without a script, rare for any actor.
Enough said these two will surely make a swift entrance to heaven.

I have also had to cope with a family loss, it sounds so twee to say the last four letters, when I loved this private person so much. I can't go into it here. She was from another time with a displeasure of Facebook and Blogs.

Following a new years resolution,
I have also been learning to cook delightfully simple food from the Mayr Clinic in Althausee.
A few hints could keep you fit with delicious food, and so quick. It was whipped up in seconds in front of me.
A few tips.
Use Ghee and not Olive oil in a heated pan. Boiled Olive Oil can cause cancer.
If you heat the pan you do not need to use so much Ghee then.
Do not cook with onions, but with celery.
Use salt at the last minute.
Do not use water when cooking the vegetables they lose flavour.
Double as much vegetables to meat on the plate.
They cook their duck here in a bag and boil it on a low heat for 3.5 hours.

That was slightly more cheery than discovering the news of the Oscar Nominations which seem to be all over the place this year. Carol which was brilliant, was not nominated as best film, and violence and sci fi seems to be the order of the day.   Despite other people finding The Danish Girl long, I think they were tired. I totally loved it. It upset me for two weeks, perhaps it made the voters think a little too much?  I definitely loved the cinema photography by Danny Cohen and music by last years Oscar Winner, Alexandre Desplat.  This year, however Ennio Morricone should win for best music score for Hateful8, otherwise God help the Oscars. He has scored so many films and at advancing years not won an Oscar for one of them, despite his brilliant score for The Mission.  He did get an Oscar in 2007 for his work in Music.  Whether the best score or not, he deserves to win,  and not the man who does copies, he knows who he is..
Hollywood must be racking their brains, there are changes afoot, so keep your ears alert.  For the next few weeks of BAFTA's and Awards the nerves will be sharpened as a new film world comes forward for ten minutes of fame.

I need to talk about dresses at the Golden Globes 2016, yes I do, I loved them.
The best dress goes to Jennifer Lawrence, her dress, red by Dior, was totally ravishing and it suited her. The winner goes to ....Well, I also loved Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton, a beautiful simple white apron dress to the floor, one of the first times on the red carpet and she looked stunning.  The good thing about dresses is that you know they will be replaced, nobody cares too much.

Now let me get back to mourning and my "New Year "Resolutions.

P.S If you have time try and get to see La Soiree on the Southbank, its season is about to end, and if you want a nighttime of fun and laughter this will surely put your mood back in place, after all the brilliant people who died this week know that life is short.

Saturday 2 January 2016


It is the new year with all good thoughts and intentions. I wanted to spend it in an unusual way. I spent it in my house cooking for my sons and for new years eve I had the good fortune to stay at the celebrity favourite, The Chiltern firehouse. I understood why, it was a wonderful night and day having lunch and dinner there. The snug in the restaurant proved intimate and discreet. Perfect for a love affair. The food unusual.  The donuts with crab are totally delicious.  The staff helpful, I organised a table for eight people at the last minute and the cheerful receptionist immediately sorted out the back dining room to entertain in private.
The room was well thought out and so charming with attention to detail. I have been dealing with life and death situations this year and the loss of close family members. Of course it is painful but normal.
I realise posterity, is a big whore, as big a whore as anything else, ah but we all believe and hope we shall be remembered. Unfortunately 15 minutes after 'we kick the bucket' we are forgotten, unless you believe you can leave something of substance to another generation.  This new years eve I had fun dreaming.
If you wish to get anywhere, the worst thing you can do is believe that somebody can help you, you must help yourself. Who cares what people think or say, just do. People will always talk, so give them lots to talk about. I believe in bravery. I believe in laughter. I believe in doing.
I am thinking what I should achieve and change this year. I am ambitious, in my brain I think I can do everything. I like that. I am a director, a dancer, a composer, a model aged 55, a fitness fanatic and so on, I feel that I too can do anything. I could make anybody green with envy with my brain. I love it because that is my reality. Occasionally some spiteful person will remind me that all is not possible or remind me that I am running out of time. I am not and anything with concentration and energy can be

I am determined not to feel guilty, that is a wasted emotion.
I would like to be useful in life to do things bigger than myself.
This morning I was so lucky having my breakfast brought to me, eggs and bacon, beautifully cooked by my lovely son Charles. I used to dream of this and now in front of me they were beautifully presented eggs. I know he can be a star. I used to say all the time I would love to be in his brain, but I am in mine and perhaps it is as good too.
I found myself saying to him "Don't jump down peoples throat and always listen to the end of the sentence"
This year I shall finish my passionate love story between the artist Schiele and his muse Wally. One way or another I shall make it. I believe in it.
That is one of my projects.
Say anything with passion and people listen.
Other ideas...
I could be an agent too.
For now I am in love with new opera singers, last year it was composers, next year perhaps dancers.? I would love to be an agent.
My favourite new Opera singers.
1. Sofia Dimtrova from Bulgaria
2. Clare Ghig from Malta
3. Corinn Springer from USA
4. Jose Daniel Mojica from Puerto Rico

Here I go and so far so good..