Calendar Girl July 2011: Abbey Clancy

FHM must really like Abbey Clancy (or maybe she is cheap to hire for photoshoots) as she features again in this year's calendar, as she did in 2010. 

As such we have already featured her here so don't need to delve into her Scouse background again.

Ms Clancy was much in the news recently due to her marriage to oversized footballer Peter Crouch.  This was despite him allegedly cheating on her with silicone busted, teenage, Spanish prostitute Monica Mint (!).  How are we going to find out such important world-shaking news without the News of the World?

Monica Mint: £800 an hour, apparently

Mint said that Crouch had horrible shoes and wasn't attractive (unlike the £800 he had to pay for an hour with her) but she said he was a "nice person" (which we are sure Abbey was pleased to hear).

Luckily for Crouch, Clancy forgave him and she gave birth to their daughter in March this year. They got married at the end of June and paid for all 200 guests to stay in the country house hotel where the wedding took place.  They gain some points for not selling pictures of their wedding to a celebrity magazine.

Despite having given birth only 14 weeks before Clancy looked admirably trim in her rather tastelsss £10,000 wedding dress.  The strapless Giles Deacon confection caused a minor nipple slip as she thrust her bouquet into the air, much to the amusement of her gangling spouse.

Unlike many WAGS, who are largely a triumph of presentation over content,  Abbey is a very atractive woman so no doubt we will be seeing more of her again.

We still can't get around the Liverpool origins, however.

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Kelly Brook in Italy

Kelly Brook has been flaunting herself for the cameras again down in Naples where she is attending the Ischia film festival.  The lovely Kelly, who is looking rather heavier than of late (and that is not a bad thing) has been staying at the trendy L'Albergo Della Regina Isabella.


Posing for photographs with an ice cream in a fifties style Jaspar Conran frock she had plenty of time to mention her new swimsuit line.  Lo and behold she was then snapped by a, no-doubt well tipped off, photographer in two most effective bikinis. 

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Tour de France 2011 and this year's podium girls

Agent Triple P is enjoying this year's Tour de France thanks to ITV4's live coverage which he can watch in the evening with a bottle of wine from the appropriate region (where possible- we baulked at getting cidre for the northern stages).  Today's route up to the Pyrenees is in the Haute-Garonne and the Hautes-Pyrenees which means something like Vin de Pays du Comte Tolosan (We think Tesco has one, although its getting more and more difficult to get French regional wine in the UK given the primacy of New World wine these days).

This time shift is possible due to yet another kind technology transfer (its like the Royal Navy transferring their past-it frigates to India -something that soon, no doubt will be happening in reverse) from Agent DVD who has kindly given me his old Pace TV hard drive recorder thingy to replace Triple P's ancient video recorder. 

Cavendish gets the green jersey yesterday

The race itself has been unpredictable this year, partly due to the large number of unfortunate crashes which saw several favourites knocked over and either losing lots of time (Contador - good) or out (Wiggins - bad, Vinokourov - good) in the first ten days.  Rather more predictable has been the form of Mark Cavendish who, after mistiming it on Tuesday blasted to his third stage win and green jersey yesterday.  Lets hope he can hang on in the mountains to take it into Paris.  The grumpy wombat, Cadel Evans, actually looked happy for once when he won a stage and he is looking good for the mountains today but the Schleck brothers have stayed out of trouble, not exerted themselves and are looking cool and collected.  Evans will have to be less reactive and attack for once if he wants to win.  Maybe this year's stage win, where he did attack, is a sign of things to come.

Teen vampire friendly podium boy

More importantly, with relation to the tour, we haven't been that impressed by the podium girls this year.  Even worse, after the first stage the Tour organisers fielded a podium boy for the first time.  A spokesperson for the Tour de France stated, “We want to show that our sport has an equal following of both men and women. This will modernize our image by having both sexes represented at our podium presentation from now on.”  Er, yes but all the cyclists are men and although you garlic crunchers may be happy kissing other men I can't see that it would impress Cavendish that much.  Interestingly, we haven't seen another podium boy since the first stage so maybe they realise that they have made a mistake.  Our particular French friend N opined that at least the podium boy was more attractive (compared with most men) than most of the podium girls (compared with most women) and we have to agree, actually.

Thor Hushovd and the slightly disappointing yellow jersey girls (the one on the right is by far the best)

The podium girls are, traditionally, usually models and around 500 apply each year to be the Maillot Jaune girls.  50 are interviewed and four are chosen to present the jersey at the end of the race.  There are other girls selected to present the stage winner's prize, the polka dot jersey for the climbers, the green jersey for the sprinters (technically the most points won on selected intermediate "sprint" locations -only one in each stage this year) and the white jersey for the best placed young rider (under 26).

Welshman Geraint Thomas takes the white Jersey this year

Actually, the white jersey girls this year have been the best of the bunch, we think, whilst we like the green jersey girls' natty little dresses.

The ne plus ultra of podium girls: Julie Blanc

Certainly there is no-one this year of the quality of Julie Blanc.  The riders are absolutely forbidden to flirt with the girls but if they do its the girls, of course, who get into trouble.  Probably the rider gets fined.  The Tour organisers like to fine riders for anything they can think of.

Melanie Simonneau in 2003

In 2003, George Hincapie (this year riding his 16th Tour de France, amazingly) liked the look of one of the podium girls,  Melanie Simonneau, so much he tried to send a message to her through some people working for the jersey's sponsor, Credit Lyonnais.  Unfortunately this meant that she was kicked off the Tour.  Hincapie was persistant however and they married and now have two children.

Melanie Hincapie enlivens the Tour once more in 2007
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This Week's Films: 7

Whilst we have watched quite a few films of late we have bought rather more than we have watched over the last week or so which means that  we are not really eroding the mountain very much!

The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950)

The story

Due to a mix up by the Ministry of Education a girls' school is co-located with a boy's school.  Havoc ensues when parents of the girls and governors of the boys' school headmaster (Alastair Sim) is trying to move to arrive simultaneously.

Seen it before?

Several times on TV in the seventies.

Guy Middleton shows his appreciation

Any good?

Easily the best of the comedy school films from the fifties and sixties.  Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford, as the girls' school's headmistress, spark off each other delightfully and there is a great cast of character actors backing them up.  Richard Wattis plays slightly against his later baffled civil servant type roles with an acidic turn as a cynical teacher.  Joyce Grenfell steals all her scenes as the prototypical daffy games mistress.  Triple P's favourite is Guy Middleton as the rakish games master.  Regaling some of the older girls with his wartime exploits he pauses as the impressed lovelies saunter through a gate and says: "I say, you girls are bang on for seventeen!"  Probably couldn't get away with that now!

Notable for...

Being a dry run for the later St Trinians films including many of the same cast (Sim, Wattis, Middleton and Grenfell all appeared in various St Trinians films).

Any good girlies?

Unlike the later St Trinians films the schoolgirls look like schoolgirls not models although we have to confess that nineteen fifties gym gear is quite effective.

Pulp (1972)

The story

Mickey King (Michael Caine), a writer of lurid pulp novels, is asked by a former star of gangster films (Mickey Rooney) to ghost write his memoirs.  But then the film star is murdered...

Seen it before?

Yes, a couple of times on TV.

Any good?

Caine (who was co-producer) is on fine wisecracking form and the Mediterranean (Malta standing in for southern Italy) setting is picturesque. Its almost an atmosphere piece and what story there is comes to a rather sudden halt. Still, a reasonably enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half.

Nadia Cassini in Malta
Notable for...

Being Mike Hodges and Caine's follow up to Get Carter (1971).  This film is best describes as quirky. Also features a great soundtrack by the Beatles' producer George Martin.

La Cassini on location in Malta

Any good girlies?

It was through watching this film that we discovered the goddess that is Nadia Cassini, who slinks through the film in a succession of eye-popping seventies fashions: thigh length boots, miniskirts, hotpants etc.  Gorgeous!

Waterloo (1970)

The story

Napoleon (Rod Steiger - miscast) escapes from exile on the Island of Elba and returns to Paris in triumph before attempting to wipe out the Prussian and Anglo-allied armies in Belgium.

Seen it before?

We first saw this when it came out with our father who was very interested in the Napoleonic wars.

Any good?

As an Italian-Russian co-production with an international cast it suffers from annoying dubbing syndrome which also means that there is quite a lot of physical over-acting.  Rather a lot of Vietnam era anti-war peace movement attitudes and some very inappropriate seventies hair cuts.  Steiger method acts as though he was in a different film.  The film is saved by Christopher Plummer as Wellington, a great score from Nino Rota and the depiction of the battle itself.

Notable for...

Using 20,000 extras from the Red Army, including an entire brigade of Soviet cavalry, to produce battle scenes the like of which will never be seen again.
Any good girlies?

Virginia McKenna as the Duchess of Richmond looks elegant and there is a token attempt to inject some love interest using a couple of actresses but really this is about the boys.

The Pure Hell of St Trinians (1960)

The story

The schoolgirls burn down their school and end up in court.  The Judge (Raymond Huntley), infatuated with one of the sixth formers (Julie Alexander), sets them free to the charge of an academic (Cecil Parker) who promptly takes the sixth formers to Arabia so as to sell them to a sheikh.  Can the redoubtable fourth form rescue them from capitivity?

Julie Alexander in the dock

Seen it before?

Once, back in the mists of time.

Any good?

Not quite as good as the first two and it has a very convoluted plot focussing more on the adults than the girls but the opening scenes at the trial are very good and lots of British character actors (Eric Barker, Irene Handl, Dennis Price, John Le Mesurier) turn up to good effect.

Notable for...

An uncredited appearance by young actress Edina Ronay (in her first film) who would go on to found a famous fashion house.

Any good girlies?

With each successive film the amount of sixth form totty on display increased.  Pure Hell was blessed by the luminous presence of former top model Julie Alexander who is seen as a nightclub dancer doing a belly dance striptease to great effect.
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Final flight of Atlantis...and the Space Shuttle

Atlantis blasts off on 8th July

So, the final space shuttle launch took place a couple of days ago and after this 12 day mission to replenish the ISS Atlantis will join its sisters in a museum next year.  Atlantis will be the most spectacular Shuttle exhibit of the three; suspended in a special building at the Kennedy Space Centre against a rotating backdrop of the earth from space.

Atlantis was the second to last Shuttle built and its current and final mission STS 135 will be its 33rd space flight.  Its first flight was in October 1985 but was shrouded in secrecy as it was a Department of Defence mission.  Since then it has had the reputation of being the international launcher. The first Mexican, Swiss, Belgian and Italian in space all flew on Atlantis.  The current crew is only four to allow rescue by a Soyuz if there are any problems.  The Russian spacecraft, which is now the only way to reach the International Space Station, couldn't handle a bigger crew in a rescue mission.

This then, was the final launch of the Space Shuttle after 134 successful launches since its first flight in April 1981.  Although it never achieved the original target of fifty launches a year (the two disasters befalling Challenger and Columbia led to two periods totalling five years without a flight) it generally performed well and could likely have continued operating for another decade, without budget cuts.

Atlantis and its flights

The retirement of the Shuttle is a sad day for the conquest of space as its a step back to the technology of thirty years ago and non-reusable rockets.   Russian rockets, initially, and then possible Ares (if the Americans can find the money) or a private sector solution to service the ISS.  We have lost our only real spaceship. Its rather like developing diesel powered high speed  railway engines and going back to steam...
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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley at Transformers 3 New York Premiere

Another premiere, another posh (Antonio Berardi) frock for Rosie, Rosie.  Having been in midnight blue for London, Huntington-Whitely does red for New York. 

Poor Rosie, Rosie looks very glum as she goes through her own autobot fashion model poses (leg just so, angle of elbow bend precisely this, foot placement exactly right) on the red carpet.  Maybe its because she has read her reviews and still has to go around plugging the film knowing that almost everyone thought she was rubbish in it.

'British model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is awful – awful! –  sucking the life out of every scene she appears in like some pneumatic Dyson sexbot"  Total Film. Pneumatic?  One thing she is not!

"Poor Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. She may be beautiful but she can't act for toffee".  Daily Mail.

"You’ll believe a robot can fly, but you won’t believe a Huntington-Whiteley can talk". Empire.

"Huntington-Whitely is only present for one reason... Certainly, it’s not for her acting ability."  Daily Express.

Oh dear, it really is all sounding like Cindy Crawford in Fair Game!  Back to modelling knickers Rosie, Rosie!  Before she does this, however, we would suggest that she scoffs a few pork pies as she is looking far too thin!
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Big Breakfast of the Week 11: Brasserie Roux at the Sofitel St James

The Sofitel St James is a convenient location for Triple P: close to the Canadian and South African High Commissions, the Institute of Directors, Quebec Government House, the Commonwealth Secretariat and other places where Agent Triple P can be regularly found.  So it is quite often that Triple P finds himself there for breakfast.  Now breakfast at a boutique five star hotel like this should be a pleasurable experience but, we have to say, that we have been regularly disappointed at the Sofitel.

The interior designed by Pierre Yves-Rochon

Breakfast is either a buffet or, as Triple P prefers, a la carte.  The problem is the indifferent service from grumpy Eastern European waiters.  Eastern European women have been a great boost to the restaurant trade in the UK: friendly, nice looking and efficient.  Their male equivalents. however, seem to resent the fact that they aren't making a packet as plumbers or carpenters.  The staff in the Brasserie Roux consistently let down what could otherwise be a good restaurant.


The red grapefruit juice which Triple P requested was nice and cold, although perhaps a little on the small side.  This didn't matter as they offered us a refill (although whether we would have had to pay for that wasn't clear).  The teas, served in one of those trendy iron teapots, was curious as, on opening the lid, Triple P found neither a tea bag nor leaves.   This meant that there was no way of adjusting the strength of the brew.  As for the breakfast itself at least this time they got TripleP's order correct.  In the past they have omitted items because, like increasing numbers of waiters and waitresses in London, they don't write orders down.

The breakfast itself was not as hot as it should have been although the sausage was truly excellent.  It did come with some very good wholewheat toast.  The all inclusive price was £23.50 which is on the high side for London but did include drinks and toast so that makes it rather better value than it first appears.  An automatic 12.5% service charge was included which given the service was offhand (perhaps they are just trying to be Parisian) was a bit much.

So it loses marks for the poor quality tea, the lukewarm eggs, the rather unattractive dining room and the service.
All in all a disappointing 5/10.
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