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Natasha Devon: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

20 questions with writer, television personality and co-founder of Body Gossip Natasha Devon

 

The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

I’m driven by a desire to make everything fair (and to silence the people who would have us believe that injustice can be explained by that irritating platitude – “life’s not fair”).

 

“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

I nicked one from Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”.

 

Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?

Two words: Michael Gove. I don’t think he was ever a young person. I think he emerged from a pod somewhere that manufactures fully grown elitist morons.

 

Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

Running. When I was a child I used to run like an absolute idiot and not even care. Since the development of my almighty bosom – circa 1998 – I’m restricted to brisk walking lest I knock myself (or others in my path) out.

 

What might you swap all your wealth for?

I should preface this by saying that all my wealth is tied up in shoes. I’d swap them for an hour trapped in a lift with David Bowie.

 

Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

It’s my observation that there’s a huge drug culture in the banking world. The only difference between your average banker and a junkie on the street is a private education, a pinstripe suit and a belief in their own invincibility. And they’re in charge of our money.  Terrifying.

 

What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“Basically…”

 

In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

I have to use a lot of public transport for my job (dashing around the country teaching self-esteem to teenagers). I spend about a quarter of my life on trains and I witness all the worst facets of the human condition: Women with a pushchairs struggling down staircases while great big burly men hustle past, people shoving someone on crutches out of the way in their haste to dismount and young people sitting while elderly people are made to stand. My personal pet hate, though, is people pushing onto the train before others have had time to get off. Nothing is that important or urgent that it justifies that degree of twattery. It strikes me that we can all be more charitable with our time and energy by spending five minutes a day making the effort to be nicer and the world would be a much better place. And it’s more spiritually rewarding than being cornered by a chugger.

 

The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

It’s probably futile to attempt to resist the invasion of technology into our everyday lives. However, the rule should be that mobile phones never take precedence over real, three-dimensional human interaction.

 

Natasha Devon
Natasha Devon

If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

Sir Ken Robinson, David Bowie and Eddie Izzard. A holy intellect-musical-creative-genius trilogy of magnificence.

 

If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

It would be Nandos – a half chicken, extra spicy with Peri-Peri chips, and coleslaw. I have a theory that Nandos is the cornerstone of a truly utopian society – everyone from Beyonce to the bloke that just mugged you eats in there. It’s also delicious. I’d eat it al fresco somewhere with a view. My uncle has a rather magnificent veranda at his house in the Cotswolds that overlooks all the rural gorgeousness. I’d probably ask if I could go there.

 

What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

I tend to work on the basis that it’s always cocktail hour somewhere in the world.

 

A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

Tea. Martinis are vile and anyone who pretends to enjoy them is lying to appear more sophisticated and James Bond-like than they actually are.

 

Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

Those organised by Ruth Rogers, an actress who co-founded Body Gossip with me. She’s been my friend since school. Her parties invariably begin with quiche and intelligent discussion and descend into dancing barefoot on the patio to the Lion King soundtrack whilst wearing a comedy wig.

 

Who is the most positive person you know?

Grace Barrett: She’s an incredibly talented musician and one of my very best friends. She’s a little ray of relentlessly enthusiastic sunshine (with a gigantic Afro). Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with love for her I want to squish her into jam, spread her on toast and eat her.

 

What’s your most guilty pleasure?

Occasionally I’ll spend an entire day in bed watching True Blood box sets whilst biting the tops off Walnut Whips and sticking my tongue in the hole.

 

If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

I have three tattoos. The one on my upper back sums me up totally (although I couldn’t explain why). It’s a David Bowie lyric, written as if typed on an old-fashioned typewriter:

 

My essays laying scattered on the floor fulfill their needs just by being there”.

 

If you were a car, what marque would you be?

Oh, I don’t know. That’s a Y chromosome question.

 

Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

Despite being a card-carrying feminist, I really, really cannot bring myself to oppose The Sun’s ‘Page 3’.

 

What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

I don’t have a mantelpiece. I feel that’s a disappointing answer so I have envisaged a time when I might have a mantelpiece in the future and tried to imagine what I’d put on it. Probably my Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman of the Year award and several thousand kirby grips.

 

Writer and television personality Natasha Deon is a co-director of the Body Gossip campaign. She was named one of Cosmopolitan’s Ultimate Women of the Year in 2012 and regularly writes for The Independent.

 

Follow her on Twitter @bodygossiptash

 

 

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Comments

161 comments on “Natasha Devon: “What’s on your mantelpiece?””

  1. You really think Michael Gove is a moron?
    From the most disadvantaged of starts in life he goes on to become one of the youngest leader writers on the Times and then a Cabinet Minister. He is now successfully undertaking one of the most radical reforms of our decaying and unfit for purpose education systems yet you think him a moron…
    I think I know who truly deserves the description, but I doubt Matthew will allow me.
    I have worked in the City for a number of years and to suggest that bankers are drug addicts is just imbecilic.
    You have little idea of what you are talking about and should stop promoting cliche’d views.

    Gove was born in Edinburgh; at four months old, he was adopted by a Labour-supporting family in Aberdeen, where he was brought up.[6] His adoptive father ran a fish processing business; his adoptive mother was a lab assistant at the University of Aberdeen before working at the Aberdeen School for the Deaf.[7]
    In Aberdeen he was initially educated at a state school, later attending the independent Robert Gordon’s College, to which he had won a scholarship.[6] From 1985 to 1988 he studied English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford,[8] where he served as President of the Oxford Union. He was awarded a 2:1-degree.[9]
    Gove became a trainee reporter at the Press and Journal in Aberdeen, where he spent several months on strike in a dispute over union recognition and representation.[10] He joined The Times in 1996 as a leader writer and has been its comment editor, news editor, Saturday editor and assistant editor

  2. Nandos is a life changing experience. Natasha is a immaculate and dignified lady with good taste. I agree with what ever she has to say. Have you seen the Nandos special deals?

    1. Chaim
      I am ashamed of you: you have always struck me as a man of discernment. It’s clear to me that you have fallen under the spell of this hopelessly silly and affected woman.

      1. Whatever your qualifications Peter they clearly did not involve research – Natasha’s degree is in English not media she also has a diploma in law, a psychology qualification and numerous awards including one from the Mental Health Association and being named Social Entrepreneur of the year. i found this out with a really basic search. She teaches in schools, colleges and universities throughout the UK and advises the government! Clearly however none of this will impress you because you are so blinded by your Goveophillia and snobby attitude. (I found your implication that she cannot be clever because she was once a model particularly 1950s).

        1. Advises the Government, yet describes a senior member of that Government as a moron…..fascinating……And what, pray, is a diploma in law? As for psychology qualifications….well, they are two a penny.
          In the opinion of most sensible people there are far too many of these sham psychology diploma’s.
          I don’t have a snobby attitude if I did I would not be so vigorous in my support of a man who succeeded in life through sheer hard work, capability and intellect.
          And who precisely are you Zoe? Another ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’…whatever the hell that might be!

          1. Social entrepreneurs are people who use their business skills to improve society and the lives of others rather than just to make money and being motivated by greed like, oh I don’t know, bankers. I’m a journalist Peter and currently researching Tony’s suggestion that perhaps you might be employed by Gove. If I do find a connection your opinions and unsuccessful attempts to lambast Miss Devon are definitely something our three million strong readership will be interested in so ta!

  3. Nandos is for people in a hurry and probably with no idea about preparing or serving real food.
    As for Ms Deon’s comments about Michael Gove, well, I should have stopped reading her i/v right there. She sounds trivial and self absorbed. What amazes me most of all is that she writes for The Independan! Is she really taken that seriously? Help…….

    1. Chrissie must reconsider her slanderous remarks regarding Nando’s. Chrissie is obviously not the sophisticated sort to appreciate the fine art of Portuguese cuisine. Nando’s must consider the addition of a bush bar, its roots are African.

    2. She takes herself very seriously: she is so clever she even considers an Times leader writer; Cabinet Member; ex President of the Oxford Union a moron….I think I have seen it all!

    3. Chrissie you have asked for help………& clearly you are in need of enlightenment if you believe that anyone who enjoys the odd Nando’s must therefore have an inability to appreciate ‘real food’. i’m curious to know what ‘real food’ you eat on planet snobbery?
      You dont have a particularly informed view in my opinion which is probably why you’re not invited to write for the Independant.

  4. Pete Wayde. Yes Gove is clearly a moron. Simply describing his upbringing and career to date doesn’t argue the case against Natasha’s view despite your elaborate referencing system. Also, newsflash; recreational drug taking is quite common, even amongst our esteemed banking sector. It’s naive to think otherwise. Natasha makes some insightful comments with a light heart. More from her please!

    1. I think, Andy, you might be referring to traders employed by banks. Having, probably, considerably more experience than you working with investment bankers I can assure you that the very complexity and sheer onerousness of their work would mean that any using cocaine or heroin would last very little time in the job: either their client or the employer would have them out of the door. Maybe next time you should speak from a store of knowledge, rather be guided by sensationalist nonsense in the tabloids

    2. “Pete Wayde. Yes Gove is clearly a moron.” Thanks Andy….clearly you are an expert in all matters moronic….judging by that comment!

      1. Forgive my brevity P Wayde but you didn’t strike me as a particularly gifted thinker. Hence my simple reply. To elaborate in your style, you are at pains to make inaccurate, unpleasant and lazy assumptions about the interviewee and others posting comments here. Furthermore you aspire to claim a professional and intellectual high ground but undermine that with numerous posts which, like Gove’s efforts are ill-informed, egotistical, elitist and wholly negative. That’s truly moronic given the importance of his role in transforming the sector you describe as broken, hence one observation here that you are indeed him. If not, I hope the banking sector isn’t missing your contribution over the past few days as I fear we could be in for another testosterone and drug fuelled banking collapse if you don’t get back to work and leave this thread to the more informed, respectful and witty contributors.

        1. Wow…what can one say? Had you thought of asking Mr Gove for a job on the Times? I am sure I can imagine his response based upon this sample!!

      2. Your comments are hilarious Mr Wayde! You’re building quite a fan club here! Forgive my simple statement earlier, it’s just that you didn’t strike me as the ‘thinking’ type… but a comedian, yes!

        1. My fan club….if you are atypical….hardly seems gifted in cerebral function. One assumes you are all Miss Devon’s ‘attack dogs’. If you are, to miss-quote Denis Healey re Geoffrey Howe, “it’s like being savaged by sheep”.
          Gotta to hop now!

          1. Aw bless! You’re working on exciting new material! Rehearse your punchlines and maybe see you at Edinburgh next summer.

        2. Andy….what is this ‘Aw bless’?
          Sadly, not original material: merely the words of Dennis Healey….
          Now try to be a bit more subtle…..wit…to be effective…. needs to be stylish and mondaine!

          1. Mondaine? Are you sure? …Dennis Healey?
            Again, hilariously moronic, but alas unintentionally so. I fear that your comedic leanings may be compromised by the same lack of thinking skills that blight your writing. Naïveté is only endearing for so long; sooner or later you’ll need to find the insight and clarity to sustain the attention you crave.
            Signing off permanently now, or until you attain genuine subtlety and wit worth replying to.

  5. Lighten up people! This piece is an interview entitled ‘what’s on your mantelpiece’, not ‘…your magna carta?’. It’s ok to be trivial and self absorbed! And opinionated and controversial for that matter as mantelpieces are generally indulgent and unique. Natasha appears to have upset one or two with her description of Mr Gove. Having seen the effects of his educational ‘reform’ first hand all around the UK, I think she is better qualified than all of us to judge his worth. I can’t believe that an argument about the merits of Nandos is made by one contributor who has the cheek to say the article sounds ‘trivial and self absorbed!’ If that’s your view why waste some serious cooking time by writing in?

    1. The woman’s expertise supposedly relates ‘body image’ gained from being a model. How on earth can you imagine that qualifies her to decide Gove is a moron?

      1. Think about it…the answer is quite obvious but reading your posts here, requires effort on your part. Give it a go. Let me know if you get stuck. Don’t plagiarise this time. Your ‘research’ on Gove didn’t state the source and you incorrectly named Natasha’s degree. Top tip; first hand experience gets extra marks, so maybe visit over 1000 schools or talking with the advertising, beauty, cosmetics or food industries. I’m sure you’ll get your answer very soon with a happy heart and a new appreciation of the education sector.

        1. I can think of nothing worse than having to waste my time talking with dreary types from the worlds of advertising, beauty or cosmetics so I will pass on that and leave it to Miss Devon.

          I am still trying to understand this “the answer is quite obvious but reading your posts here, requires effort on your part.”…..very strange. I will have a cup of tea and ponder upon it!

          1. Still pondering? I hope so. You clearly have a lot more thinking to do and a lot less trolling. Like Andy, I’m hopeful that the fewer self-perpetuated reminders on here of your fecklessness, the more encouraged you may be to engage brain. Use your newly available time wisely; it’s never too late to create purpose and meaning in a life, even for the habitual moron you play so convincingly. Step away from that reply button…you CAN do it. I’ll hang up first to protect your honour. Good luck.

    2. My dear fellow…..you are clearly deeply in love with Miss Devon. Why not ask her out on a ‘date’?
      I have no doubt you would get on frightfully well. It is sweet that you defend her honour in this way: I am moved to tears at such gallantry!

        1. Has anyone considered that Peter might be in love with Natasha? He keeps accusing others of being so when his arguments have been successfully squashed ….and being rude to people you fancy is a classic playground tactic…. I think we have found our explanation.

          1. Sadly, no….I don’t find her attractive. There is something quite wrong with her mouth: far too large.

  6. It strikes me that the responses to this article are very clearly divided into those who are already aware of Natasha’s work and those who aren’t. Just because Natasha hasn’t used this interview as a chance to self-importantly list all her qualifications, awards, achievements and accolades (of which she easily has as many as Mr Gove) doesn’t mean her opinions aren’t valid. She has answered light- hearted questions in a similar manner as far as I can see. Either Natasha has misunderstood the nature of the interview or some of the people commenting are suffering from a serious sense of humour failure.

    1. She used it very successfully to make a complete idiot of herself. I rest my case by drawing attention to
      Chrissie’s perfect assessment of this silly woman.

    2. Zoe….thank you for letting us know that Miss Devon’s time at the University of Wales provided her with more and better qualifications than poor old Mr Gove with his lousy 2:1 from Oxford and his senior editorial positions with the Times!

      1. This response is ironic. No, actually, if I am to go by the OXFORD dictionary it perhaps qualifies as moronic. Are you perpetuating the very thing Natasha was alluding to in suggesting Gove originated from a Pod? That his privileged position at Oxford somehow better qualifies him to know and understand the complexities of life in Britain’s schools right now, than a woman who has a ‘lesser’ degree but works daily on the frontlines of the British education system actually… ** sharp intake of breath ** speaking to children and not just relying on her educational qualifications. Which, by the way, are not to be sniffed at.
        A 2:1 from an esteemed red-brick establishment does not a great person make, and neither does a qualification from the University of Wales somehow lessen a person’s intellect or influence. Leadership guru John Maxwell says this: ‘Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.’ Tell me, who has more influence…
        on a similar note, a leader, it has been said, is only a leader if people are following (and I’m not talking Twitter) – otherwise they are just out for a walk. Natasha’s following is an ever-growing army of empowered women and young people, walking away from a life feeling inferior, you know, because they don’t have elitist educations for example, and a growing following among the nation’s media professionals. Gove it would seem, has the following of a bitter, sharp-tongued obsessive (who else would know so much about a Shadow secretary and be willing to demonstrate it publically) who is living his life out through an MP.
        As it happens I have no real problem with Gove, aside from this morning’s revelation about bedrooms and learning from the same man who affirms the bedroom tax. I do, however, have a problem with anyone being vilified for an on-the-ground opinion.

        1. Like one previous commentator, I had never heard of Natasha until she was interviewed for the ST.but I am impressed by the number of responses, both for and against, her opinions. I must scoot down from my ivory tower Just need .help with my wheelchair.

    3. Well, I took the trouble to look up her qualifications, awards etc and was seriously underwhelmed.
      Her degree in media studies at the University of Wales is clearly hugely important!

  7. Implying that someone isn’t entitled to talk about politics because they enjoy eating Nandos might be the most horrendously snobbish thing I have ever heard. I thought this interview was really entertaining, thanks for publishing it.

    1. I don’t think Chrissie was correlating Miss Devon’s love of Nando’s with an inability to discuss politics.
      I think she felt describing an obviously intelligent man as a moron, with no rational explanation, idiotic-hence her decision(very sensibly, in my view) to discontinue reading her interview.

  8. Pete Wayde, it seems curious to me that your measure of Michael Gove surrounds his upbringing and childhood, less than the decisions he makes as an adult which greatly affect todays younger generation and therefore choices they will make as adults. Natasha is more than within her rights to deem him a ‘moron’ based on the questionable decisions he makes and she’s not the only one, let’s not forget he recently received a vote of ‘no confidence’ from the Head Teachers Union.

    1. Dear Gary
      Even very thick turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, which could account for the Head Teachers vote!
      Gove wants them to be measured on results: they seem unwilling!
      It may have escaped your attention that British industry is exasperated and frustrated by ill educated young people coming out of state schools. Industry claims they can hardly read or write.
      Sensibly, Gove is trying to ensure that State school parents are given value for money and their children a top class education. That hardly seems a moronic motivation to me.

      1. and what is Miss Devon currently doing which is benefiting society? Never heard of her before MS kindly gave her the oxygen of publicity.

    1. Oh Zoe….act you age and think before your contribute. I don’t want to be unkind, but if you want to be witty you need to make more of an effort.

  9. Peter W.
    Perhaps you should stop working for that PR company that Gove has appointed and get on with your life
    You clearly can’t use LinkedIn either. Check Natasha’s qualifications and go and sit in the corner and think about what you have done……….
    Gove is a moron in my opinion
    Opinions are like Aholes, we all have one and yours is no better than mine

    1. “Opinions are like Aholes, we all have one and yours is no better than mine”
      What a boring observation…I have heard it ad infinitum and it doesn’t improve with age.
      There is no pointing in my wasting time checking her ‘qualifications’: she has none of any import!

      1. Interestingly I’d never heard the ‘opinions are like a holes’ phrase used before so perhaps Peter should examine why people feel the need to say it to him so often that he’s heard it ‘ad infinitum’.

        1. Now Zoe….I sense you are getting rather bad tempered and petulant….
          Do you want to interview me for your three million plus readership? I won’t charge you

  10. This response is ironic. No, actually, if I am to go by the OXFORD dictionary it perhaps qualifies as moronic. Are you perpetuating the very thing Natasha was alluding to in suggesting Gove originated from a Pod? That his privileged position at Oxford somehow better qualifies him to know and understand the complexities of life in Britain’s schools right now, than a woman who has a ‘lesser’ degree but works daily on the frontlines of the British education system actually… ** sharp intake of breath ** speaking to children and not just relying on her educational qualifications. Which, by the way, are not to be sniffed at.
    A 2:1 from an esteemed red-brick establishment does not a great person make, and neither does a qualification from the University of Wales somehow lessen a person’s intellect or influence. Leadership guru John Maxwell says this: ‘Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.’ Tell me, who has more influence…
    on a similar note, a leader, it has been said, is only a leader if people are following (and I’m not talking Twitter) – otherwise they are just out for a walk. Natasha’s following is an ever-growing army of empowered women and young people, walking away from a life feeling inferior, you know, because they don’t have elitist educations for example, and a growing following among the nation’s media professionals. Gove it would seem, has the following of a bitter, sharp-tongued obsessive (who else would know so much about a Shadow secretary and be willing to demonstrate it publically) who is living his life out through an MP.
    As it happens I have no real problem with Gove, aside from this morning’s revelation about bedrooms and learning from the same man who affirms the bedroom tax. I do, however, have a problem with anyone being vilified for an on-the-ground opinion.

    1. Do you mind if I don’t provide you with a reaction…..it’s becoming boring> But I am sure you are right…if that makes you happy

    1. Yes, Amy…I am sure all your ill educated friends agree with you. It would be fascinating to know what career heights you have scaled…..
      I am sure you could equal Paxman if interviewing Gove!

  11. Having read all the responses here I find it interesting that Peter W constantly asks female contributors to qualify their responses by stating their qualifications but doesn’t ask the same of the men, condemns entire industries as being shallow and boring whilst not tolerating any criticism of banking and seems one minute to be a stickler for ‘superior’ education but the next reprimands another contributor for pointing out that he cannot spell. Whoever he is he has a lot of time on his hands and there are many inconsistencies in his arguments – I think probably a troll looking for a reaction – Natasha is undoubtedly making a social impact with her fantastic work and shouldn’t be disheartened by ….I hate to use the word but fear it’s unavoidable….morons!

        1. I comment adversely on stupid people making stupid comments about people who are clearly not stupid. You make a fool of yourself by inferring that anyone whose argument runs counter to yours is a troll.

          1. So, Peter, you ‘comment adversely on stupid people making stupid comments about people who are clearly not stupid’, do you? In that case my suggestion to you is to go back and reply to each and every response you’ve written here. You are rude, aggressive and your contributions do indeed appear to be that of a troll (in the original electronic sense of the word).

            For the record I do believe Michael Gove to be a moron. I believe this because only a moron would take on the leadership of a department in which he has zero actual experience only to completely dismiss the advice, opinions and experience of the thousands of professionals within the field. They are indeed the tactics of a moron.

          2. Natasha is quite evidently not stupid and as far as I can see there are a lot of intelligent people commenting on this article – of course they might not have degrees from Oxford which I realise is a henious crime making them unworthy of the right to free speech. ‘Trolling’ is relentlessly attempting to get a reaction by saying offensive or reactionary things…. I’d be interested to know in what way you think you’re not guilty of this Peter or indeed how you’ve had time to lose so many arguments with the other comment-makers on here when you supposedly have such an important job.

    1. “Whilst not tolerating any criticism of banking. Do yourself a favour and read Peter’s comments on investment banker “Rich Ricci” an article Steeples Times published a few weeks ago. It is hilarious.
      The attempted character assassination of an old age pensioner is comedy of outrageous proportions.
      Peter got it completely wrong regarding Natasha, but it is not a hanging offence. Why go over the top?

      1. You’re never too old to learn a lesson – life is a big learning curve. So if Peter should admit he was wrong to judge Natasha based on the fact that she is a woman, her degree is from UWA and she ( rightly) termed Michael Gove a moron based on her front line experience and we can all go home.

      2. Thank you Chaim…though I have to disagree with you assessment of Miss Devon…..clearly love is not blind to her beauty and you have been seduced by that, rather than her brain!

    1. Pete is a 95 year old man, his memory and knowledge is very impressive. There is no evidence of cognitive impairment. He can be forgiven for the odd spelling mistake, that very seldom occurs.
      95 year old trolls are very few and in between. The manner in which the new generations binge drink and use chemical substances and smoke weed, they will do well to reach 50.

      1. You’re never too old to learn how to conduct yourself in social forums, whether online or in real life and not make ill informed and offensive comments. Age doesn’t necessarily indicate wisdom just like youth doesn’t have to mean stupidity.

        1. All I try to do is inject a little acid into these saccharine plaudits that Miss Devon seems to attract from her sycophantic groupies.

      2. Resent the implication that just because Peter is old he shouldn’t attract any criticism. If he can’t take it he shouldn’t dish it out. As for ‘all kids take drugs’ comment – stop reading the Daily Express.

        1. Your attacks upon put me in mind of Dennis Healey’s brilliant assessment of being attacked by Geoffrey Howe…’like being attacked by a dead sheep’!

    2. Devotchka…what a charming name…is it, per chance, Moldavian in origin?
      And…I alway prefer to use the French way of using cliche’d…so much more elegant, though I suppose being from Moldavia(or the Russian Steppes) elegance and you are not good bedfellows…..

  12. OWStirling…would you forgive me please…I had rather a fine lunch at Cote in Sloane Square and I just cannot bestir myself to bother riposting. I am sure you know what you are talking about. Well done!

  13. Message from Natasha to her groupies…

    Hi Gang…Natasha here….there is a horrid man called Pete Wayde being beastly about me. Can you all sat=y nasty things about him please. Calling him a troll would be a great.
    Cheers Nat

    1. Hi Peter
      Govie baby here
      Keep up the good work, why dont you tell them all to manage their money better, then we can stop talking about food banks and talk about my friends the bankers

  14. List of people Peter W hates – women, those not educated at Oxford, people who work in beauty, fashion and advertising, Russians…. Anyone else to add to that list Peter? And for the record I interviewed Natasha once for my newspaper, was struck by her charm, wit and humanitarian nature and have supported her ever since. i am not and never have been an ‘attack dog’ (although the description is somewhat rich coming from a 95 year old who has nothing better to do than troll).

    1. 96 actually….my birthday was yesterday. And Zoe…I don’t hate those ‘working’ in those dubious professions….merely don’t take very seriously. Now…on to you. Do tell us the name of ‘your newspaper.’

  15. I think Matthew has indulged us all with great kindness and probably thinks we all have rather exhausted this topic.
    Thanks Matthew for your patience and forbearance.

      1. Zoe….and your newspaper with three million readership is ???? Why so shy about it…
        (sorry Matthew…just couldn’t resist it!)

        1. Not one that you read I’m quite sure. – I’m not at liberty to divulge the information about my employment on websites fir obvious reasons – especially since realising there’s no story here just a troll whose ideas are firmly stuck in the past and is therefore unable to appreciate vision. Have work to do now. Tara.

          1. A good journalist must at least have a fair comprehension of the mental processes and emotional reactions of human beings including a understanding of the dynamics of the older person.
            It is pointless, why should he have vision and they are all stuck in the past. Volunteer and go and do work in a care home. Your editor must take note.

  16. Natasha Devon is a hero. David and Andy are righteous, articulate and open minded. LlBruce argues magnificently. Peter Wayde puts me in mind of that Chris Rock quote – ‘I look at you the same way I would a Betamax like ‘they still make you?’

          1. You’ve not met or learned from many people at all it seems, or perhaps not many who would care to remember the occasion. Thank goodness that the internet provides you with opportunities to leave your mark.

    1. I am sure you are right….Now, I am sure you have some of world shattering import to do, rather than engage with an old fool like me….or maybe you don’t and have SFA to do all day?

  17. You mean you have SFA to do all day? Try to find some gainful employment….though your contributions might indicate some difficulty there….

    1. My purpose was merely to hold a mirror to you. Your infantile attempts to provoke a reaction indicate that inevitably you don’t like what you see. Filling your days perpetuating a banale, supercilious online presence has kept you busy but not taught you anything.

      1. Mr Jones
        One thing it has taught me is how not to miss-spell banal….unless one is trying to be frightfully mondaine, but somehow I fear it was just ignorance on your part.

        1. My, we are alike! You and I have both miss-spelled in our posts. You also accuse me of ignorance. We seem perfectly matched, albeit for your apparent delight in pleasuring yourself whilst online. All rather ungentlemanly, if I may say old boy.

          1. No, I fear not…mine was a deliberately and intentional ploy to get you to react…and you did. Are you, per chance…one of the Surrey Smith-Jones?

          2. And my ‘deliberately and intentional ploy’ (sic), was to make you lose all grasp of grammar. Quite endearing really. Surrey Smith-Jones…alas no, but if you’ve wronged them too, don’t worry I won’t tell them you’re here. Provided you take me to the movie theatre…and buy me some fruit gums. Stop teasing now, dear chap!

    1. Gary mate…( if I can be matey) I am sure her views on sex are fascinating, but I will leave you to give us a synopsis…..
      I was thinking the other day, that now we have a Royal with a ‘Gary’ uncle, it will be quite chic to call one’s offspring Gary

      1. And thus Mr Wayde conclusively proves he would prefer to wallow in his own ignorance and engage in petty one upmanship than actually read something. Again. Congratulations.

    2. I don’t agree with Natasha in all regards. Mr Gove is right to urge the focus on getting good results. Hardworking children are less likely to get into the afflictions she mentions in the first place. She has a point that of course people who are in a mess though need supports. I don’t want a row on that point but top marks kids are always going to be more stable.

      1. I don’t think that ‘top marks kids’ are immune to performance threatening problems. Certainly, all young people could do with the understanding and support that this piece advocates, and even the most basic teacher training qualifications uphold the theory that learning cannot begin until some fundamental elements are in place regardless of a student’s aptitude, intelligence or potential.

        1. As a now retired teacher let me assure you – eating disorders and competative exercising in particular are MORE prevalent in ‘high achievers’. No student is immune to needing some emotional support, in my experience.

          1. I’m dyslexic. And taught physical education. All my pupils turned out to be wonderful people, though. Which is more than can be said for some.

          2. Gary I think your response is brilliant & anyone who has to dismiss the content in favour of focussing on spelling knows they’re losing the argument.

          3. Perhaps you might have explained that your teaching was restricted to physical exercise, rather than anything academic…..

        2. Why should I have to Peter? Like Natasha Devon I have frontline experience working with teenagers – I like and understand young people and am entitled to an opinion on the matter.

  18. Nadia, you appear to be saying either that emotional and mental health issues in teens can be cured by learning Latin and Classics (Gove’s favourites) or that less academically well-performing kids are a lost cause and therefore not worth bothering with. Both arguments are equally daft.

    1. Why distort what she said? She actually said, “Hardworking children are less likely to get into the afflictions”. Why lie and imply she suggested they should study the Classics?

      1. Because we are talking about Gove. Who champions classics and poetry as the solution to Britain’s education issues (interestingly the poet laureate came out in the press yesterday to criticise his policies which speaks volumes). Also i think Nadine needs to clarify what hard worrying means in this context. There’s no evidence to back up her claims self-esteem issues affect people across the board. Including you it would seem, Mr Wayde, intent on goading all the people on here trying to talk some sense into you.

        1. “Nadia, you appear to be saying either that emotional and mental health issues in teens can be cured by learning Latin and Classics” Read what she said:it was not what she said..

          It will need those considerably brighter than you to talk some sense into me…
          And what a fatuous dismissal of what Gove has posited: never has he said more than that the Classics can have an uplifting effect.

  19. I’d like to take a moment to thank Mr Wayde. He’s given us all a good laugh in our offices this lunch time. (He’s a comedian, right?). As for Nadine ….there are no words. Mental and emotional health issues can affect anyone regardless of how ‘hard’ they work. I could list countless great authors and scientists of our time who struggled with such issues.

      1. Shouldn’t you be getting on with having a life, Peter? Unless of course we can deduce from the amount of bile, snobbery and idiocy you’ve posted on here that you don’t have one?

          1. Peter Wayde is a NEET. Maybe the government are on to something after all with today’s policy announcement. His spending 35 hours a week at the job centre would certainly improve this web page.

          2. Is Jim Kerr the same Jim Kerr from Simple Minds? He certainly seems simple minded from his comment.

          3. Yes he is. Us 80’s pop icons meet regularly to discuss our former fan base, sharing notes on where they are now. Can I have my shoe back.

          4. Midge….don’t jump to conclusions. I have not the slightest interest in ‘ ’80’s pop icons’

          5. You’ve made my best mate Midge cry now. He hasn’t been able to jump at all since you stole his shoe during the closing bars of ‘Vienna’ at shepherds bush empire in 1988. We’re asking you one more time nicely before I send the ants round your gaff, mate.

          6. Mr Wayde. Simon here. I believe you also have a bangle belonging to my bassist John Taylor. Enough’s enough, mate.

          7. Mr Le Bon….I have no idea who you are, nor Mr Taylor. I prefer that you don’t call me ‘mate’ ….I don’t believe we have ever met, so I prefer we remain on more formal terms.

          8. It’s not all about those clever 80’s kids using their early computers to trace the new owners of their stage garb. A lot of stuff went missing in the 70’s too, but I only had an etch a sketch, so until today I thought it had been lost for good. Mate, please post back my spangly tank top. You’ve had it for 40 years.

          9. Roy….so good to hear from you. Sadly, I no longer have the spangly top with the vile sweat stains: it was sent to a Christies, S.Ken auction for memorabilia of tired old ’80’s bands….and sadly, it never made the £10 reserve so I threw it out..

        1. You bet she is. Albeit with less radiant lips than yours, no thanks to your light fingers. Whilst you’re at it, you’ve had my denim boob tube long enough. Hope you’ve treated it better than Roy Wood’s tank top.

      1. No, I’m contemplating having sex with a lady teacher, but worried that I might spoil parents evening for the others.

      1. I’d say the fact that this story was reported in the Telegraph, Star and a number of other newspapers this week shows how broad the appeal of Natasha’s proposals for educational reform are.

        1. I don’t imagine the private education has much interest in Nats ideas and doubt they would allow her near the charges. And incidentally, my contact at the Star complained that she refused to pose provocatively.

          1. Do stop embarrassing yourself now, Peter – you’re giving us old people a bad name. Can I just assure all the people reading that we aren’t all cut from the same polar-viewed and elitist cloth?

    1. What the hell is polar viewed? I have heard of polar opposite, yet not this one. Do you leave in the extreme North? And there is nothing wrong with being elitist: you should try it some time.

  20. Palatable? I don’t eat newspapers, my dear fellow…..
    And I don’t tend to read the Guardian: especially after one of its journalists wrote a panegyric(means paean just in case the meaning of panegyric escaped you or your thought it some gymnastic exercise).
    But thanks for keeping me abreast of Nat’s commercial exploits.
    Now, I really must leave this topic….no reflection on you…but I am getting bored.

  21. Good riddance. and first thing Monday morning, get down to the post office with all those stolen clothes you’ve been soiling.

    1. I left them in one of those bins for fabric recycling so it’s probably being worn by some grateful and retro looking African

  22. You bet she is. Albeit with less radiant lips than yours, no thanks to your light fingers. Whilst you’re at it, you’ve had my denim boob tube long enough. Hope you’ve treated it better than Roy Wood’s tank top.

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