Yes, I know how excited you must be by this far from mundane fact. Imagine how I quivered when I found it. Actually, I was a little intrigued because I thought “Well, here’s something they won’t know about!” which could not have been said about Joan of Arc, Hitler marrying Eva Braun (I do think it was rather an oversight on the part of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to get married on the anniversary of that pair. Still, they managed not to top themselves the next day, so hopefully they’ll have a happier less killy life than the Nazi bunker couple), or stuff to do with wars in general from the American Revolutionary up to that one in Vietnam. I nearly told you the story of a young mathematician by the name of Evariste Galois who got released from prison on this day in 1832, indeed I was well up for doing it until I read all about his maths. Those were hard maths! Galois groups, abstract algebra! I wanted to do it, but alas my grey matter, brilliant as it is, was not quite up to it. So, instead we get starch and linen. Get in!
Starching was quite the thing in Flemland. Ha! It was quite the thing in Holland. The fashion over there was quite severe, quite black and white, and quite reliant upon linen standing up and staying in place, so starch was an essential aid to high fashion. Of course, England was all about the ruff, so Mrs Gullheeni’s way with starch was a godsend to the good housewives of this island and the Queen, especially, was cock-a-hoop with the idea that her ruffs would be super pointy and stiff forever more. Liz was so chuffed with her lovely ruffs that she showered Mrs Gullheeni with
honours and made her the chief inspectress of the Court linen.
Of course, the fact that the queen was swanning around with super starchy ruffs meant that all the other ladies at court had to have them too and this led to some of the women back in Holland realising that there was money to be made from their starching abilities. These women styled themselves as professors of starch and one of their number, Dinghen Van Der Plasse was so good at it that it cost five pounds to get a lesson in starching from her. That is roughly £15k per lesson in today’s money. Dinghen was raking it in! With the Dutch influence, there was more starching and then that got dull, so they started adding colours to the starch to pimp those ruffs. One of the first of these colours was blue. When Her Royal Lizness tried it, she was appalled to find that the blue against her skin made her face look green. My guess is the mercury and shit she was using on her face didn’t help. She immediately prohibited the use of anything other than plain white starch. Once she was dead, there were blues, yellows, reds, pinks, greens … but that was in the future. For now, we have completed our little story of how Mrs Gullheeni and Dinghen Van Der Plasse got to make a fortune out of starch and ensured that the ruffs of the great and good always looked fine and upstanding.
Today is the birthday of Daniel Day-Lewis.
I have mixed feelings about Mr Day-Lewis. On the one hand he is a wonderful actor, by and large. His performance in There Will Be Blood bordered on genius. He is a good-looking man as well, although probably less so these days as he gets older and more haggard, but that comes to the best of us, so …
But he is also an almighty twat, a pretentious wee shite and his treatment of the women in his life! “Oh, so you’re having a baby by me? Fuck that for a game of soldiers, we’ll split up, well, I’ll send you a fax. I know we’ve been together for six years, but whatevs! Oh and payment for the child? Maybe, eventually I’ll get my head out of my arse!” and then of course he got nicely married to Rebecca Miller the daughter of Arthur Miller. Problem was he didn’t bother to tell his then girlfriend that he was going to get married to someone who wasn’t her. It was okay though. The girlfriend found out when one of her mates called her to congratulate her, because she thought that Danny Boy must be marrying her.
Things like this make it hard to like the man. That and the fact that he’s barking mad in a pretentious “Only ever address me by the name of the character I’m playing” on set thing. Or you know, playing a bastard and being a bastard until filming is over. It puts me in mind of Laurence Oliver‘s words to Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man, when Dustin was getting all methody, Larry asked him why he didn’t just learn to act. Ouch! Don’t get me wrong, there’s power in the method, but there’s also being a complete fucktard. I think Danny Boy mostly falls too much into fucktardery for me to totally admire the demented wee twat.
Still, I have enjoyed some of his films – not that Last of the Mohicans thing though. That was pure shite – and I hope he has a happy enough birthday in Wicklow. Probably. Who am I kidding! I couldn’t give a flying act of farting fornication if he enjoys it or not!