Showing posts with label Liz Jones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liz Jones. Show all posts

Monday, 19 November 2012

Liz Jones and her instinctive feel for dividing opinion

Liz Jones sparks more controversy than any other journalist I can think of.

She’s infuriated virtually the whole of Exmoor with her excoriating columns about the unfriendliness and the cold and shops closing on Saturday afternoons and she hit the headlines again last week with a piece about the bloggers she met at the recent Mumsnet Blogfest. Just to give you a flavour, she wrote about being in “a tangled teepee of virtual knitters, spinning yarns so they can remain inside their cupcake-scented world.” Oh dear. And completely wrong.

But despite the brickbats that get thrown at her on a regular basis, she’s just been named Columnist of the Year at the British Society of Magazine Editors awards.

Announcing the award last week, BSME chairman Kitty Finstad said she’d been chosen “for her instinctive feel for personal narrative and for dividing opinion – as a good columnist should.”

The BSME are right, I reckon. Liz Jones maddens me more often than not, and I’m a bit sick of her writing about her cats, her horses and RS, her rock star boyfriend (despite all sorts of rumours no one has a clue who he is). But, and it’s a big but, I still turn to her column in the Mail on Sunday’s You magazine before I read the rest of the papers.

Actually, this week I felt a bit sorry for her. Writing in the main bit of the paper, she said she was feeling nostalgic for Exmoor just a week after selling her stunning house. She’s now moved back to London, but is missing the country already, the wildlife, the space and the peace and quiet.

I know how she feels. I love the city, but even now there are days when I yearn to be living in the middle of nowhere once more. It’s fantastic to be able to walk into Oxford to meet a friend for a coffee or to see the latest (brilliant) James Bond movie. But I still miss the autumn afternoons when we strode up Pendle Hill (above) and saw no one at all apart from the odd fell walker and countless sheep.

PS. Back in the days when Liz Jones was features editor of the Evening Standard, she asked me to write a freelance piece about living in France. I never met her (we only spoke on the phone) but she was easily one of the most charming, appreciative editors I’ve ever been commissioned by.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Liz Jones moans about young women

Over the last few months I’ve stuck up for Liz Jones left, right and centre. I even defended her in this blog back in June, saying “...she writes so well and with such disarming frankness that her diary is a must-read.”

But this week she’s gone a step too far. Even for me. She’s hit out at a whole generation of young women, castigating them for everything from taking maternity leave to not answering their BlackBerrys when they are off sick. She compares maternity leave to a “holiday” and clearly thinks no one should ever be ill. She rounds off her Daily Mail piece by raging: “Personally, I think you should crawl to work if you have to. No wonder the number of women who are unemployed is rocketing. If ever I employ a woman again, I’ll make jolly sure she’ll have already gone through the menopause.”

Liz Jones makes her living by being outrageous, but today’s rant is ridiculous. For a start, she reckons looking after a baby is a doddle, that you stick your infant in the pram, put your feet up and watch daytime TV. As all mothers know, the first few months are wall-to-wall hard graft. I went back to work at a magazine when my daughter was nine months old – and it was easy in comparison. I did endless phone interviews, wrote a couple of articles a day and even had time for a sandwich at my desk – all impossible (maybe I was just a hopeless mother) with a young baby.

But her criticism of “the lack of work ethic in young women today” is even more bizarre. At 19, my daughter and her friends are far more industrious than my generation ever were. They juggle university studies with jobs, start their own businesses and are 100 times more capable than their parents. With the recession starting to bite and employment hard to come by, they know they’ve got it tough and have to be equipped with the skills to succeed. The last thing they need is one of the best-known columnists in the country slating them so unfairly - and with so little cause.

PS: I’ve just discovered my new favourite clothes shop – Mint Velvet. Launched by three ex-Principles employees two years ago, it now has four stand-alone stores (Marlow, Tunbridge Wells, Chichester and Windsor – they should open one up north soon) and concessions in House of Fraser stores across the country. The designs range from soft leather biker jackets, flattering trousers and chic dresses to a gorgeous grey suede cross-body bag I fell in love with. I popped into the Marlow store (above) yesterday and it’s stunning. Best of all, the assistants were helpful, charming and knowledgeable. I’ll definitely be back.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Sticking up for Liz Jones

Columnist Liz Jones is a mass of contradictions.

She’s forever complaining she’s broke, yet buys Prada, Bottega Veneta and most recently a top-of-the- range facelift. She splashes out on a rambling Victorian pile on Exmoor, complete with 46 acres, then gets fed up and puts it back on the market, saying: “It’s too big. I’ve got seven bedrooms and six bathrooms and about 400 animals.” She finds the men in her life exasperating, especially ex-husband Nirpal Dhaliwal, but is now canoodling with an ageing rock star. Incidentally, she refers to him as RS but he’s widely thought to be Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr.

As a result of her foibles (chronicled meticulously each week in You magazine) the 52-year-old writer comes in for more stick than virtually any journalist on the planet.

But even though she’s definitely high maintenance and at times slightly flaky, I’m a big fan. I’ve cut down massively on the Sunday papers over the years (just too much to wade through) but I turn to her page before anything else.

I occasionally get fed up with accounts of her huge menagerie of animals but even so, she writes so well and with such disarming frankness that her diary is a must-read. Apart from India Knight and Caitlin Moran, I can’t think of any other women columnists I can say that about these days.

PS: It was my birthday last week (coughs quickly when asked which one) and my lovely teenagers cooked an amazing family lunch. “I’d love Ottolenghi sort of food,” I told them beforehand, but never thought for a moment that they’d take me literally. My 16 year old son cooked chilled red pepper soup and my 19 year old daughter did roast chicken with saffron, hazelnuts and honey. Afterwards they turned to Nigella and made me these Happy Birthday cupcakes (above). They looked – and tasted – amazing.
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