Belfast Telegraph

Rab's Week: What a stink made over celebrity facials

Welcome to the sideways world of our star columnist

By Robert McNeil

After considerable thought, I have decided not to smear sheep placenta on my face.

Cowardly, I know. If only I had the courage of Mr Harold Styles, lead trombonist in The One Direction, who books in for ovine facials at a clinic in LA.

He says it's what keeps him looking young, though being young may also have something to do with it.

Harry's peculiar penchant for placentas follows the example of leading bottom-owner Kim Kardashian, who goes in for "vampire facials".

The good news here is that it's her own blood that goes on her coupon rather than anything off a farm.

Weirdest of all, though, is actor Mr Thomas Cruise, whose therapy involves applying a mixture made of excrement from a nightingale, collected from the Japanese island of Kyushu and mixed with rice bran and water.

Did you ever hear such nonsense? Guillemot poo is far more effective.

Tuesday: Low-cal drinks go belly-up

As you'd expect, quaffing a diet drink daily can give you a pot belly, particularly if you're elderly.

University of Texas boffins studied 749 over-65s for 10 years and found their virtuous daily fix of fizzy low-calorie drinks added three inches to their waistlines.

Truly, it's a cruel world.

Wednesday: A real song and dance

Sad to read about Sandie Shaw dissing the song that made her famous.

Puppet on a String won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1967, with Sandie (above) controversially singing in her bare feet.

However, she's been putting the boot into the song ever since: "I hated it from the first oompah to the final bang on the big bass drum. I was instinctively repelled by its sexist drivel and cuckoo-clock tune."

Oompah, eh? Sounds serious. But was sexist a word in 1967?

Londonderry-born Phil Coulter, who co-wrote the song, is saddened by Sandie's criticism. Me too.

The song was part of my happy childhood. Continuing my nostalgia kick, I've been re-watching American comedy M*A*S*H. Then I did some reading and found actors having strops and arguing about top billing.

It's the real world: so disappointing. Children, heed my advice: never grow up. Everyone's so childish.

Friday: Maybe Madonna would still be on playlist if she had been more like a virgin

Age has not withered Madonna. Well, age and surgery (denied).

The 56-year-old singer has complained that BBC Radio 1 is not playing her discs on account of her advanced years. "I thought it was so discriminatory and unfair," she ululated, adding that ageism is "still an area that's taboo".

Taboo or not taboo, that is the question. Radio 1 retorted that it has been playing a record featuring Paul McCartney, aged Jurassic.

Madonna says it's different for female-style women. But it may just be that fame built on lewd and libidinous display has a definite shelf-life.

Saturday:  Local guy tam can sell all the tea to china but I'll stick with my coffee

It's impressive selling tea to  China. And when your leaves sell for a tenner a cup then you  must be brewing up something special.

Northern Irish grower Tam O'Braan's White Smoked Tea is the real deal. Grown in Perthshire, Scotland, it's just won the prestigious Salon du The award in coffee-slurping Paris.

I'm a coffee man myself and have just taken delivery of a 1.3-litre cup for my morning jump-start.

It means I spend as much time in the lavatory as at my desk. Which is fine as I'd rather be in the lavatory than at my desk.

Sunday: 'Death watch' app doom and gloom

On a Sunday, one's thoughts turn to death. Actually, in my case, it's pretty much Monday to Saturday too. Well, it's nice to have a hobby.

I'm also an avid follower of the proceedings of the Commons Health Select Committee - fair enough, I'm in the realms of fantasy now - and was intrigued by its plan to start a database listing whether decent ratepayers would prefer to die at home or in hospital.

Presumably, with health being devolved, this applies only to Old Ma England. But I'm not sure I see the point anyway. Hands up all those who want to die in hospital? Let's see. Is that a hand up at the back? Yes, you madam, with the cigar and the goatee beard. No? All right, I make that: nil.

Hospitals remind me of that old TV series Colditz: one's sole thought is of escape. I don't buy into the angelic nurses thing for a start. Some are. Many ain't.

It's the fault of people generally: they have changed. Always in a hurry and unsure of their manners. Oh, for a Hattie Jacques matron on every ward.

In my final days, just give me a vat of morphine and a straw, put on some Frank Zappa records and feed me liquified pies from a blender. That way, I'll at least die happy. In fact it'll be the happiest time of my life.

Indeed, it'd be nice to know when that's going to be so that I can iron my underpants and select a decent wig.

Well, that time could be sooner than you think. I mean the time to know rather than the time to go. An app has been developed for the Apple Watch that counts down the minutes to your death.

Indeed, according to the death-inducing Daily Mail, Rehabstudio's Life Clock isn't the first such timepiece.

Last year, Swede Fredrik Colting invented his Ticker 'death watch', which counted down the minutes till - as PG Wodehouse put it - you handed in your dinner pail.

Fred said his watch should make people happy, as it allowed them to cherish the time they had left. Something a bit Scandinavian about that. Controversially for a Swede, he denied being morbid.

You know what? Think I'll go out for a walk. Breathe in the air, hug the trees. With my wrist mercifully free of any Timepiece of Doom.

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