Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rock the Casbah, not your clothing!

OK so perhaps I’ve been reading too many fashion and entertainment blogs lately, but some of the clich├ęs are beginning to get on my nerves.

“Rocking,” for starters.

As Miley Cyrus sings that annoyingly catchy song, “Who’s that chick that’s rocking kicks, she gotta be from out of town” and I try not to sing along, my inner voice screams: OMG Miley! Do we have to “rock” everything now?

“Heidi Klum Bad At Reading, Good At Rocking A Short Skirt” states a recent Huffington Post headline.

“Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux Rock Matching Rings” announces another at ABC News/Entertainment. (Seriously, is this news?)

“Would You Rock Kim Kardashians Leopard-Print Jumpsuit?” asks the OMG blog at (Well maybe if I lost a few pounds.) And, look, there’s little sister Khloe Kardashian showing off her “rocking legs and great figure” over on

Oh and here’s Heidi again, this time on Glamour’s daily beauty blog: “Heidi Klum Remixes Her Bob By Rocking ‘The Chobb.’ Let's Discuss.”

Yes, let’s.

Heidi, liebchen, aren’t you rocked out by now? Why, just this year your “rockin’ bod” has been praised on, you’ve “rocked insane leather boots/pants by Alexander McQueen” for German Vogue, and, according to, you’ve “turned the sand into a catwalk by rockin' a two piece.”

You must be worn out. We are. So why don’t you settle into a nice rocking chair and rock for a while, and give the poor fashion and entertainment writers a chance to think up some new adjectives.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Walking in Memphis

With the mercury rising into the upper 90s here in Washington, D.C., I am reminded of a lesson I learned in my 20s about walking in Memphis.

The August I touched down in the land of the Delta Blues -- Memphis, Tennessee -- to visit my dad it was hot hot hot. Temperatures were hovering at 105 in the shade and the air was as thick as stew. I was visiting from London, and accustomed to walking everywhere the London way: briskly and purposefully.

While my dad was at work, I set out, briskly and purposefully, to explore the city. By the time I reached the nearest bus stop on Poplar Avenue, I was feeling faint. As I sat in the glass-roofed shelter like an ant under a magnifying glass, I remembered a story I had heard about a woman in Iceland who had been trapped in a hotel sauna overnight. In this grisly but unverified account, she had cooked like a chicken. I could feel the same thing happening to me.

Please God, I thought, do not let me pass out at a bus stop in Memphis. I held onto the metal seat to steady myself as the minutes dragged by and still the bus did not come. And then I saw him, walking down the median under the full sun. He wore workboots and a wife beater and looked as cool as Christmas. But it was the way he moved which captured my attention: a slow, rolling saunter. I watched him come closer, draw level with me, and head off into the heat.

Just then, the bus pulled up, and I got on. But I had learned an important lesson and I always remember it on hot days:

When in Memphis, walk like a Memphian.