These Old Broads. March 2014.

Dear Rowley,

Still basking in a vintage Academy Award broadcast, aren’t you? Having perused YouTube for red carpet interviews I was most impressed by Piers Morgan…not a line I ever thought I would write this side of Heaven. But he was truly terrific and especially with the great dames.

Red carpet interviewers always have stock questions but Mr Morgan seemed to have a genuine respect for the legends and elicited a nice tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman from Bette Midler and an admission from Liza Minnelli that her favourite actor of all times was Charles Aznavour: a reference only a die hard Liza fan would understand. To a layman she’d have sounded bonkers.

Liza certainly didn’t go unnoticed at the Oscars. The electric blue off-the-shoulder satin bias cut Halston tunic and palazzo pant look was striking to say the least as was the electric blue streak in the signature elfin crop. I thought Liza looked terrific at the Oscars though after two hip replacements she was clearly finding it hard to walk without the aid of brother Joey and sister Lorna. Ellen Degenerate’s joke about Liza looking like a female impersonator was not kind and neither did Liza take kindly to it.

The evening after the Oscars, Liza with a Z was asked what she thought about Ellen’s opening monologue joke. Well, she took offence because the sting wasn’t taken out of it with Ellen following up the comment saying that they were great friends as I’m sure Liza thought they were. Evidently in Hollywood one never lets friendship get in the way of a zinger!

The Divine Miss M had everyone in floods – not least Julia Roberts – with her rendition of Wind Beneath My Wings live at the Oscars to accompany the ‘Dearly Departed’ section of the broadcast. Miss M is one of the great live performers and is a damning indictment of younger stars such as Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus who have mastered the art of lip synching unapologetically and blatantly. Miss M modifies the timbre now to sing a song she first recorded a thousand years ago but as she says ‘that’s what you get when you do your own singing’.

Away from Tinseltown I think we in Europe are feeling a little bit concerned by the situation in the Crimea. Russia’s President Putin is clearly asserting his masculinity (and we all know what that covers up) by invading the Ukraine and waving his willy at the rest of the world. According to my friend Patricia Nostradamus predicted a Third World War right about now and I wouldn’t rule it out. God knows what the loppy younger generation in the UK will do if there’s a war on: probably Tweet it. I will have to join ENSA and be the Vera Lynn de nos jours.

Paris Fashion Week ended today with Nicolas Ghesquiere’s debut collection for Louis Vuitton. I haven’t had a good look at the pictures on the wires yet but according to Suzy Menkes it was a winner and that’s good enough for me. I was intrigued by the mise-en-scene for Chanel’s show at the Grand Palais: a psychedelic supermarket with all the products in the aisles rebranded Chanel. The attention to detail was apparently incredible: down to a hardware section with Chanel gardening tools, Chanel doormats, mops, buckets and washing powder.

The concept seemed to entirely overwhelm the clothes and I’m not entirely sure what the message was. I can’t imagine the women who buy Chanel ready-to-wear would even know what a dirty dish looked like let alone do their own shopping in which case the whole brouhaha wreaked of ‘let them eat cake’. As you know in England shopping for groceries is now akin to a major investment every day so for the fashion world to parody the weekly shop was nothing short of hideously tasteless.

Anyway, what the hell do we care anyway? Nobody really buys the clothes anyway or takes any notice of seasonal trends any more. Having been slightly under the weather for the past weeks, I couldn’t even face putting one of my suits on. I’ve been living in skinny jeans, merino sweaters, brogues and a blazer forever now and have really rather enjoyed it. I did get a little tootsed-up to attend the press night for Angela Lansbury’s Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud on Monday and for the first time in a long time wore black. I found it rather liberating to wear a suit with a T-shirt though probably looked like an extra from Miami Vice.

The verdict? Dame Angela is a maestro of physical comedy as Madame Arcati. Her performance was reminiscent of Salome Otterbourne in Death on the Nile: a triumph. I will say this though. From Row M in the stalls (it is a recession you know), Dame Angela’s voice was thin but then again she is 88 and if you know the play it doesn’t matter at all. But if you don’t I would book tickets in the first ten rows. The production was sublime and I particularly enjoyed Jemima Rooper as Elvira.

But the film is very hard to beat with Margaret Rutherford as Arcati, Rex Harrison as Charles Condomine and Kay Hammond as Elvira. While we’re on the subject, the entire cast of the present production had awful trouble saying the word ‘Condomine’. It came out as ‘Comdomine’ far too many times for comfort. Until next time…