Goop of the Gods

Where would the world be without Gwyneth Paltrow? If we just did more as she does we’d be, well, probably in hospital or or a psychiatric ward? Through her Goop “wellness” brand she’s peddled vampire repellent, damned chemical sunscreen – having had melanoma I’m not with her on that one, but I’m willing to be persuaded – and promoted DIY coffee enema machines (black or white, with or without sugar?).

A couple of years ago Goop was fined by a US health authority for making pseudoscientific claims about vaginal eggs, which, among other things, promised to balance hormones and regulate menstrual cycles.

Goop has a store in London’s Notting Hill but it was closed when I visited last week. I particularly wanted to buy one of its “anorak face coverings” but the dry clean-only stipulation deterred me, that and the 70 quid price tag.

And sadly I will never learn what “moving beyond Performative Allyship” involves. I did look it up but I’m still no wiser.

Paltrow takes a similarly New Age approach to language. Who can forget her and her then-husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s break-up announcement that they’d decided to “consciously uncouple”.

Apparently this term was suggested by their therapist who, Gwynnie reveals, “helped us to architect our new future”. Verbs? nouns? So last year.

Built to last?

Doctors bury their mistakes, architects cover them in ivy. That, or one of its variations, is attributed to the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, although he probably remodelled it.

Wright led a fairly eventful life. When he left his first wife for his mistress Mamah Borthwick he designed a mansion called Taliesin for them on a 600-acre estate in Wisconsin, which was severely damaged by fire twice – a bit like The Glasgow School of Art – the first time by a disgruntled employee who set it alight and murdered Borthwick and six others.

Today, there just isn’t enough ivy to blot out the gross errors. Architects are almost as reviled as journalists and estate agents, and when you look around you can see why. Apparently they’re also paid worse than the scaffolders, bricklayers and plumbers who put their buildings together.

There used to be something called “sick building syndrome” where symptoms like headaches, rashes and runny noses occurred. Perhaps there still is? One of the measures to counter this was to simply open windows, but that’s all but impossible in today’s modern buildings.

But doing it would also help to stop the spread of Covid-19, or at least that’s the claim from Susan Roaf, emeritus professor of architectural engineering at Heriot-Watt University, and it makes sense. We know that one of the ways the virus can spread is through what are called aerosols, attaching to tiny particles of liquid and staying in the air for some considerable time. If those footballers had just opened the pub windows last week Aberdeen would have turned out at St Johnstone yesterday.

Roaf maintains that designers are using flawed simulation models and that building regulations are written by heating and ventilating engineers who are paid by the amount of hi-tech machinery they instal which, if so, is a blatant conflict of interest. Fighting talk from the academic. But when you look at the failures of building regulations which led to the Grenfell Tower outrage she surely has a point.

It’s just common sense to naturally ventilate homes and buildings by opening windows. And healthy.

Let’s dance

I HAVE no idea who Nerd Fest UK are but they’ve produced a brilliant and delightful video of old movie stars dancing to the song Uptown Funk. I challenge you not so smile through it as Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire Gene Kelly, Sinatra, Groucho Marx, Jimmy Cagney and a host of other old A-listers strut through it. It must have taken hours of dedication and archive-hunting to produce it. If they gave Oscars for these animations it would be a shoo-in. A masterpiece.

Load of bull

BEYONCÉ has a new record out called Black Is King, which I haven’t heard because the wind-up lever on the gramophone is broken. But this pseuds corner review by Harriet Walker in The Times has persuaded me not to get it fixed. Apparently Beyoncé “has provided another ego-expanding, haute couture-clad trip into fashion land when the world most needs it. But is it the giant pink tulle Molly Goddard frock that wins the prize or Riccardo Tisci’s cowhide ensemble with antlers?” More to the point, is it any good?

Mishearing you

IT took me many years, to eventual crushing disappointment, to learn that on Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix isn’t singing “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” but about the sky. Shania Twain surely sang “You made me take my shoes off before you let me get in, I can’t believe you kiss your cock at night!” Is it an age thing or is this a commonly experienced problem?

Children of the Rovers

LAST week, I linked the Scottish Government’s national clinical director Jason Leitch, who hails from Airdrie, with Coatbridge’s finest, Albion Rovers, and not in an altogether flattering way. Albion Rovers supporters have, I understand, invited Leitch to a game at Cliftonhill.

I’ve had pelters all week. It reminded me of the time I wrote about a statue of John Greig being put up outside Rangers’ ground to commemorate the Ibrox disaster and I commented that I didn’t think he had been that bad a manager. It wasn’t intended as any slight on the 66 who died in the real one in 1971, but it brought a few death threats on me.

I’ve been at Cliftonhill and watched Rovers, although it was a long time ago. I remember in the seventies they had three central defenders called Currie, Sage and Rice although I’m not sure they were known as the Spice Boys. I genuinely wish them all the best, teams like them are the bedrock of Scottish football. And I’d be grateful if they’d let me know when it’s safe to return to Coatbridge.

In the stars

A FRIEND of my daughter’s has her star sign tattooed on her arm, but she’s all in a flap because she’s now gone from being a Virgo to a Leo, or perhaps it’s the other way round, and she doesn’t know whether to get it removed. I’ve gone from being a Piscean to an Aquarian, from being psychic, empathetic and compassionate (as if!) to offbeat and innovative (ditto). I’ve never been able to take astrology seriously since I wrote horoscopes at DC Thomson years ago. But I can assure you that the future is bleak.