3 minute deskside walk

Unfashionista loves fitness. I push Leslie Sansone’s walk videos on everyone. You shouldn’t sit at your desk for hours at a clip. Try this 3 minute mini-walk – you’ll feel much better. If you can handle this, you can handle a one mile, 15 minute walk.

No, the new Doctor shouldn’t be a woman…. (in praise of alpha males)


This is a photo of an otter. Otters starred in the most internet meme of all time, “Otters who look like Benedict Cumberbatch”


Benedict Cumberbatch is an otter-looking English actor of great skill who has played Stephen Hawking and Sherlock Holmes, but you would never confuse him with Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bruce Willis, say, or with a regimental sergeant-major, or Attila the Hun.

Yet in the most spectacular piece of mis-casting I can ever remember, somebody thought it would be a great idea to give Benedict Cumberbatch the role of Khan in Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Khan. As classically played by Ricardo Montalban, a man so hard, he flosses his teeth with diamonds. A man modeled on Genghis Khan. Who, to lead you round in alpha male circles, is the origin of Schwarzenegger’s deathless Conan the Barbarian line: “What is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.” The last bit was censored; Genghis’ original was “and use their women as a nightshirt”.

Despite an acclaimed script and direction by J J Abrams, the Star Trek movie was a disappointment at the box office compared to the gigantic blockbuster it was expected to be. It did fine, but it was supposed to be the overwhelming hit of the year and it just wasn’t, with an opening weekend $25 mil below expectations.


I don’t give a stuff what they say over at Metacritic, Khan is meant to be a warrior, a genius, yes, but a warrior, all the same. He who in the original says of the swooning history professor who casts herself at his feet, so great is her longing for a real man, “a superior woman. I will take her.”

It is impossible to imagine this line being uttered by Benedict Cumberbatch. His cerebral Khan is about as scary as imagining your geography tutor getting really cross. And because every movie needs a great villain, this one tailed off as soon as Cumberbatch says the name “Khan”. I hadn’t read any reviews and could not suppress an open groan in the cinema.

Look, guys, I’m as enlightened as the next chick but there really is a need for dominant males in the world. For your alphas, your muscular, ambitious, driven, ass-kicking commandos who play rugby and/or drive Hummers and manage metal bands (OK I’m biased). For Darth Vader. For Klingons. For Terminators. For Khan.

I’m not saying I could take him in the weight room but nobody that looks like an otter should be playing one of the greatest, baddest, sexiest villains in space.

Alpha males don’t have to be all muscles, although it certainly helps. Indeed I have met many muscular males who I’d say were more gentle and beta-ish. I go back to my first crush Avon from Blake’s Seven, played by Paul Darrow. What a cynical, clever bastard that character was. An equal-opportunity offender. Sexist, unrepentant, marvelously foiled by Servalan (incredible sexual chemistry). Darrow was not a he-man but he was most definitely an alpha male.

Now the Doctor is different, and interesting, but he should be male, because sex is a defining part of who we are, and males and females are different, and the Doctor is a male. (small note: I detest the use of “gender” when people mean “sex”, and am guilty of it myself, but that’s just weakness because everybody else does it. I will man up.) He should not only be a male, but he should be a male with a sense of massive power behind him, not some befuddled teenager or student beta type as of late. Tom Baker [edited: not Colin Baker ffs, posting late at night) was somebody whom you never quite understood; he was mysterious; he knew far more than you did; he gave the sense of being extraordinarily strong, and born from darkness, and of having battled impossible terrors. That was why Dr. Who was so frightening; and I would love to see the BBC cast an actor who could take viewers back to that sense of power. It has gone missing from our screens, replaced with heroes and villains with interesting backstories and “childhood issues” that made them what they are. I don’t give a monkeys about Anakin Skywalker’s pod-racing; I do like “I find your lack of faith disturbing”.

If you’re feeling your hand is being forced by the commentariat into a female Doctor, BBC, just remember: Star Trek: Into Darkness = Star Trek: Could Do Better.

No women. No Matt Smiths. No Sylvester McCoys. No Peter Davidsons. No David Tennants. More Tom Baker, Christopher Eccelston and Patrick Troughton. TIA.

photo by pixel addict

My Top Ten Rock Memories: (Rock Icon Saturday June 1, Sky Arts, 8pm)

brian car

So tomorrow night on Sky Arts, 8pm, I’m coming out of the closet as a fully-fledged metal head.

This shot is of me getting into a race car with Brian – one he’d reassuringly told me was called “The Widowmaker” right before I got inside. I’m trying not to hyperventilate.

You haven’t lived til you’ve been fighting the G-forces on a Florida racetrack with your life in the hands of Newcastle’s biggest megastar.

So to celebrate, my top ten memories in rock (that I’m prepared to print, anyway)….. click post to read!

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Peter and me this summer at Coachella, headlined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, whom he co-manages. It was a pretty awesome backstage, with visitors including legendary producer Rick Rubin and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, whose son Patrick is a fan.

As you will note, I am wearing a white body from TopShop with a picture of a black tiger on it. I also wore a pair of shorts and FitFlops.

There’s something about rock and roll, and heat, and rock and roll combined with heat, that makes you think you can get away with anything. I kept that TopShop body in my drawer for years after buying it going “What are you thinking? You are 39. You cannot wear a body with a tiger on it.”

But I did wear it and I looked great in it.

Elsewhere I’ve blogged that exercise is the fountain of youth. Well, I want to add rock to that. It keeps you young, and fit, and connected with the purest part of yourself, the animal pleasure in both music and belonging to a rebel tribe. So we wear black leather and studs and tiger bodies.

On stage, Flea and Anthony Kiedis were bouncing around with quite extraordinary athletic ability in front of the sea of worshipping fans that stretched out as far as the eye could see. Peter lifts. Brian Johnson from AC/DC, and his wife Brenda, who looks 25 years younger than she is, work out fanatically too. They showed me their gym. He works, he drives, he races cars faster than speeding bloody bullets, he pumps iron and he can still sing his guts out in any gig or world tour. AC/DC’s Black Ice tour grossed almost a half a BILLION dollars. $441 million dollars. US, that is, not Australian. 

The fitter you are the harder you can rock. Hey, listen, Axl Rose used to be sexy. Not so much any more. And his stagecraft is as bloated as his chin. Come to think of it, all the musicians I know work out like the devil. You ever seen Rob Trujillo from Metallica, who I toured with as a 22 year old back when he was in Suicidal Tendencies? The dude is cut. 

I think fitness and rock go together these days because both bespeak a huge zest for life. Knocking you out with those American thighs…

Fit is a Feminist Issue




This was no fun. Not meeting Lady Thatcher – that was one of the greatest honours I could imagine. But looking at myself in the photo afterwards; ; heavy, crumpled, tired, like I’d just given up.
The title of this piece is a takeoff of the famous book by Susie Orbach, “Fat is a Feminist Issue”, 2006. http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Feminist-Issue-Susie-Orbach/dp/0099481936/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361449961&sr=8-1&keywords=fat+is+a+feminist+issue

It’s a worthy tome, discussing body image pressures and the uselessness of dieting. I’m certainly with her on the latter. And on the former, women are bombarded with contradictory pressures. The biggest ones come from the fashion industry, of course. Models are grossly underweight, and magazine images are airbrushed. No, you’ll never look like those women – *those women* don’t look like that either.

But unfashionista does believe in fitness. When I started

the blog, I got a tweet from “intersectional feminist” @Jonanamary onTwitter (no, me neither) saying that the line “half an hour’s jogging a day” is what makes you look slimmer” was sexist, fattist etc etc. I should not criticise fat, but celebrate it. Equally, I should not make the observation that most models are too skinny and not like real women.

We debated back and forth for a bit until I asked her if she was saying that it is wrong to advocate healthy body weight as a goal. If so, unfashionista rejects that totally.

Nobody should ever be ashamed of their body. unfashionistas love their curves and dress to show them off – see Plus Size Style gallery – or of very skinny they play that up too. But accepting your body and being proud of who you are does NOT mean you don’t also try to change it.

What does fitness do for style and beauty? Everything. Even before you lose weight, you firm up. If underweight, you will get a better appetite from a brisk walk. Your skin clears up. You sleep better. You raise your self-esteem, and that leads you to dress more confidently. You will become less depressed – aerobic exercise has been shown in study after study to have an anti-depressant benefit equal to talk therapy. You will be at less risk of osteoporosis in later life. You’ll have great legs and a nice, firm, round tush.

In the day with your kids, or at work, or both, you’ll have more energy, You will achieve more at work because of your extra energy and confidence. It becomes likely you’ll live longer. You will reduce anxiety attacks (something I know all about). You’ll drink less alcohol because you’ll be less stressed. If you could take a pill for ‘half an hour’s exercise a day’ it would be the most successful drug ever invented.

So why don’t women work out? Why is our average size (for both men and women) overweight? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/8302176/British-women-become-the-fattest-in-Europe.html

I think you can blame all kinds of factors. Modern life is sedentary. Gym memberships are expensive, and mums feel shut out. Why join a gym? You have to pack your stuff, get there, work out, shower, get changed and get back to home/work. So a half hour jog on a treadmill is 1.5 to 2 hours time commitment. No mum has that time to spare!

Then, exercise doesn’t seem to work. You start out in January with your resolutions, full of hope. You kill yourself jogging, hate it, feel out of breath and freezing, and don’t go again.

Exercise as usually practised is unpleasant. Women join classes with much fitter, slimmer women, and it’s a pain. Women kill themselves following DVDs with intricate steps. They literally try to run before they can walk. Exercise is thus to be dreaded, and guess what?

You can never consistently do anything you hate. Nor can you consistently refrain from anything you love.

There is only ONE way to get fit and stay fit if you’ve never done it before. Find exercise you either positively like, or don’t hate, and do it every day, or at least five days a week.

The stuff the papers feed you is rubbish. Twenty minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week won’t help. If you only work out three times a week, you will never feel the true improvements that will make you stick at it. Also, you will relapse so that each time you start it’s as tough as the time before. Work out Monday-Friday or Mon-Sat, and within one week (by Sat, or by Fri) you will feel ‘this is easy, I can do this’.

I was so depressed when after birth I weighed nearly 180 lbs. I felt fat, exhausted, unattractive and gross. No way was I heading outside in a tracksuit to be laughed at. Plu

s I wanted to be near the baby just in case. I was breastfeeding, I was tired and I had neither the time nor the inclination to get to a gym I couldn’t afford and workout with all the superfit heroes.

Here’s what I did – Lesley Sansone. You see her 5 minute walk break elsewhere on unfashionista. She revolutionised exercise for many, because she produced DVDs that literally any able-bodied person can do and can do every day. £12.95, and your life will never be the same again.


Just read those reviews, ladies!

Get a pair of running shoes and a sports bra and get this DVD. It contains two walks. The one mile walk is just 15 minutes. Start with that. the two mile is 30 minutes. Once you get to the two mile daily you will be really seeing changes in your life.

This is how I started. And

eventually I progressed to outside in the spring, walking a bit then jogging a bit, then jogging, then running, and now adding w

eights. It was a slow progress over a couple of years, but always getting better, always a journey, always progress. It changed my life and made me so much happier.

With Sansone’s walking, I could do it. The blood flowed. It was private. It fit in around ME and MY schedule. When I had half an our or even just fifteen minutes and the baby w

as napping, on went the trainers and the DVD and off I started.

Please consider giving yourself this gift. It’s beauty, style, and happiness all at once, and all in thirty minutes. Best of all, that time is time for you – nobody else. No boss, no kids, no husband, just you, and your body and your life.

Just do it – five days a week, not three. It will be the best beauty decision you ever make.