Musings and photographs from a man in a little house by a river, on a little island at the bottom of the world.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Women With Allure

At around 7.40 every week night a certain frisson enters our cosy lounge room here by the river as we watch the ABC evening news. Will he be on, or will it be his wingman? If it is the latter there is just the slightest hint of a sigh from over yonder in my love’s armchair, for it just isn’t the same. Yes, my DLP (Darling Loving Partner) has a tiny ‘thing’ for Alan Kohler – his side kick, Phillip Lasker, is just not in the same league. If indeed it is Alan there’s no gushing from DLP, but I can usually expect a positive comment about this thinking woman’s crumpet – Tony Jones is just not in the race as far as DLP is concerned. It might be about the cut of his finely tailored suits, his enlightening explanation of the latest bear or bull market, his iconic graphs or, most significantly, his quirky bon mots. It almost makes a man want to purchase the latest from Saville Row or start drawing up cutesy graphs! Unlike your scribe, my DLP had no interest in lists and no interest in having favourite this or thats, but I know there is the merest of a hint of a weakness for Alan Kohler.

Now no other can light up my life like my beautiful DLP, and I worship her. Each and every day I thank my lucky stars she entered my world near enough to eighteen years ago; she being the major contributor to my contented state of mind in my dotage. In the real world she is my one and only, and since that fateful day, in a Burnie cafĂ©, when I first laid eyes on her, I’ve never remotely countenanced anyone else for me. Who’d have this clapped out old chalkie in any case?

But that is the real world. If others of my gender are wired the same way as I, in the male mind there is another compartment – one that looks, appraises and if greatly impressed, may award the epithet – alluring. So following is my list of the alluring women of 2013 – seeing as how we are now half way through. I know that such a list is a moveable feast – the attraction of some ‘newbie’ will wax, that of a former mainstay will wane – as is the case with Bardot, Saradon and Rampling. This is a contemporary list so does not feature departed beauties such as Marilyn.

So from this, I hope discerning, male of sixty plus, is this year’s list:-

1.    Nigella - There’s no need to give a surname, and most who know me also are familiar with my longstanding infatuation with the ‘kitchen goddess’ A clichĂ© I understand, but very little is more erotic to me than to watch her dip a crimson tipped finger into some melted chocolate and bring it to those luscious lips, with that knowing look in her eyes. Recent events could have seen me giving a certain elderly advertising tycoon a good slapping had I been in the vicinity of his misogyny – his sort of behaviour towards any woman is inexcusable, but of course, being Nigella, it made headlines around the world. I have to be honest and make the codicil that, had this list been put together twelve months ago, then this raven haired English rose may have been further down the ‘menu’. All that was changed with her latest offering, ‘Nigellissima’, replenishing her aura for me. To see her wander to her fridge for a naughty midnight snack in slinky black bed attire rekindled the fire. Some misled commentators suggest such exhibitions are nothing short of prurient food porn. To me she’s simply taken the culinary arts to a higher plane.

2.    Christina Hendricks – This sassy lady shares a fulsome hour-glass figure with Nigella, or even Marilyn, and all other leading ladies of  small screen American television are left in her wake. In another list, as I eagerly await a new series to come to these shores on DVD, I’ve stated that ‘Mad Men’ is the best television programme in recent memory, and undoubtedly it is the presence of the Don Draper character that makes it so. Christina’s Jane Holloway is not far behind in his wake. To see her walk that walk of hers into any smoke-filled room in her tight, curve-hugging attire would make any red-blooded, ‘swinging-sixties’ advertising executive sit up and take notice. In the show she is no pushover, no simpering submissive plaything. She rules her domain and she uses her charms to push ever onwards and upwards.

3.    Penny Wong – I am a political junkie. For me the highlight of any given television year is an election night. You can have the AFL Grand Final, the Boxing Day Test – I just can’t wait until September 14th, or whenever Rudd decides, now the ball is in his court. It really gets my juices going, just as does a good stoush on ‘Q and A’. I became quite animated when the normally ice cool Tania Plibersek lost it with the execrable Sophie Mirabella recently. I love some pollie being bought to heel by our No10, especially if their name is Tony Abbott. I am all for women in politics, the more the better, being delighted that Kevin13 has packed his cabinet with them. Many are taking on the fellas at their own game, and although I wasn’t hugely enamoured of Julia, to see her lay into the Mad Monk over his anachronistic gender politics, a flaying that went viral, sure made me sit up and take notice. For me, now that Natasha has departed the scene, the most alluring of the crop in Penny. She is considered in all she does. As well there are her exotic looks and her guts in being openly gay in the bear pit environment of national politics. That she is now Senate leader says it all bout our maturity as a country – almost as compelling as a new minister being sworn in on the Koran.

4.    Miss Murphy – I was besotted with this newbie from the moment she appeared on ‘The Voice’, even before she opened her mouth. It was the way she carried herself and, as with Penny, it was her radiantly multicultural appearance. Then she opened her mouth and what a sound came out - the sublimely sultry, bluesy rich rasp of her songstering had me rapt. As well there was her soft purr with the spoken word. Her allure was complete. I suspect she may not be a stayer, depending on how her career from here on in pans out as a result of her recent exposure. After her, in my opinion, premature elimination, the show was hardly worth watching - no stuttering boy with golden tonsils could match Miss Murphy.

5.    Charlotte Gainsbourg – any offspring of Serge and Jane Birkin would possess so much latent talent in their genes it would be ridiculous – Charlotte G has delivered on hers in spades. She has lifted eyebrows around the world with her fearlessness as an actor and her trills as a chantreuse. In appearance she is the antithesis of Nos 1 and 2 with her almost androgynous figure – but if ever ‘so chic so French’ rings true, it does with this darling of European art house. She mesmerizes me any time she is on screen.

6.    Annabel Crabb – erudite as a television commentator, columnist, blogger – she is as well sassy of eye and smile as the presenter of ‘Kitchen Cabinet’. As my second favourite ‘kitchen goddess’, her retro fashion sense is just the glorious finishing touch.

7.    Marieke Hardy – always pushing at the envelope for her sisters, she sparkles on ‘The First Tuesday Book Club’ and as coordinator of ‘Women of Letters’. She is a throwback to fifties glamour, and is cheeky enough to use her assets to reverse that iconic Ellis image of Derryn Hinch to get a point across.

8.    Sidse Babett Knudsen – Some terrific new shows have made an appearance on our tele screens this year – Lillyhammer (SBS), ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ (ABC), ‘Adam Hills The Last Leg’ (ABC), ‘The Time of Our Lives’ (ABC) – but the top of the crop would be the Danish political melodrama ‘Borgen’ (SBS). The show was most prescient in Demark as the country had its first female PM shortly after its first series was shown. The final episode here was aired as our own gender warrior bit the dust. Birgitte Nyborg Christensen, played by a feisty Knudsen, forms minority government and faces much vicissitude in holding it together for a term in office – in another parallel. What does it for me is the complete authority with which Christensen dismisses her male colleagues and opponents with a frosty tak (thanks), particularly if she is pissed off with them.

9.    Olivia Williams – never a huge star and rarely a leading lady, she is a mainstay of British cinema and television, most recently espied in ‘Case Sensitive’. This slim, non-classical brunette beauty oozes class and sexiness to me – and all those freckles are enough to give me goose bumps.

10.    Leigh Sales – After the last twelve or so months of this potent redhead flying solo at the helm of ‘7.30’, we might well ask why did we ever think Big Red would be irreplaceable?’ To see her shred Tony Abbott was television gold. As my DLP stated just the other evening as Leigh was putting the bumbling Joe Hockey through the wringer – ‘They must quake in their boots waiting to face her with something to hide!’ Her persistence at cutting through the fluff and spin to get the type of answer we all want from our leaders is incredibly alluring.

HMs – Paz Vega, Kate Holden, Jennifer Lawrence, Megan Washington, Sophie Marceau, Clare Bowditch .

Our world is so much more alive for these glorious women who shine, intrigue and cause minor earthquakes in our lives – and giving me yet another cause to indulge myself.


  1. A great list! If I'd made it, of course Clare would be my number one! If I were to make a similar list of males, it would probably go something like this:

    1. David Tennant
    2. Adam Hills
    3. Stephen Fry
    4. Andrew Wilkie
    5. Neil Gaiman
    6. Eddie Perfect
    7. Matt Okine
    8. Shane Jacobsen
    9. Josh Thomas
    10. John Green

    What do you think?

  2. And of course, because I'm cheeky, here is my SEPARATE list for musicians (because, really, how could you only make ONE list?)!

    1. Josh Ritter
    2. Bob Evans
    3. Dan Sultan
    4. Marcus Mumford
    5. David Gray
    6. Busby and Marou (and yes I am allowed to have them both, and how could I separate them???)
    7. Paul Kelly
    8. Josh Pyke
    9. Ben Folds
    10. Harry James Angus