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Monday, April 01, 2013

Media-Whore D'oeuvres


"The writing was on the paywall the moment Mike Darcey moved from Sky to take charge at Wapping. For where did Darcey's expertise lie? In devising TV and associated subscriptions. Elementary, my dear Murdoch: the empire was finally going to do something about the Sun. And, meanwhile, you might have glimpsed a surreptitious stream of Daily Telegraph executives at the airport heading west. Where were they going, pray? To worship at the New York Times's own wall.
So, very soon, the era of free newspapers on the internet in Britain may be over, as it is in the US (with over 400 papers charging already). The Washington Post, last of the major resisters, will demand your money this summer. The Journal Register chain, supreme prophets of free access and 'digital first', are eating their words. There isn't a debate any longer, merely a scrabble to find the right formula. Just £1.99 a month will give you Telegraph access once your ration of 20 free views has gone. The Bun will probably try something similar – unlike the Times, which largely sticks to its 'hard' notion of a less porous wall. But still, watch the battle lines forming. On Quality Fleet Street, it's the Sunday and daily Times, the Telegraphs and the FT versus the Guardian, the Observer and the Indys (with the shadow of the free bbc.co.uk always lowering). Why put up a wall? Because – in Darcey's words – it's "untenable" to keep giving expensive news away for nothing. Because (in NYT terms) you can continue to grow the unique visits that give advertising reach while still signing up over 660,000 subscribers round the globe and bringing in more than $63m in revenue that managements desperately need to offset the sliding print advertising and circulation. But the critical thing is not thinking of paywalls as some replica of the old print revenue model where cover price pence, plonked on a newsagent's counter, paid half the bills. Paywall money is very useful: Gannett, the biggest chain in the States, has just reported circulation revenue rising 17% after 40 of its papers built walls. Even so, it is as yet only a contribution to solving the problem of decline. It is absolutely not a complete answer." (TheGuardian)


"Last Wednesday night, international interior designer Geoffrey Bradfield, one of the very last of the great partygivers in New York, hosted a special evening celebrating the birthday of his long time friend Monique Van Vooren. Geoffrey took over the David Burke Townhouse on East 61st Street between Park and Lex and transformed it in to his version of the Cub Room at the Stork Club. Many readers may not know that Sherman Billingsley’s Stork Club -- which was located on East 53rd Street just off Fifth Avenue, between Madison was the coolest nightclub in New York for celebrities and café society throughout the '30s, '40s, and '50s, right up to the first years of the '60s ... Geoffrey’s guest lists often span two or more generations, and so it wasn’t surprising that there were those who wondered what Monique’s fame was from. Simple: it was from being Monique Van Vooren. Those who didn’t know agreed she remains a showstopper. Paul Morrsey, the great Warhol director who directed her in Warhol's Frankenstein which was her biggie, was in attendance. There were impersonators -- Andy, Marilyn, etc. There were two long tables between the regular banquettes in the back of the room, with dozens of candelabras -- enough for some people to check out the exit signs just in case. It was packed. There was a French singer/guitarist who sang La Vie En Rose and My Heart Belongs to Daddy (While tearing off a game of golf, I may make a play for the caddie. But if I do, I won’t follow through, cuz, My Heart ...). The Bradfield guest list was enhanced by friends of Monique such as Liliane Montevecchi, Carmen DeLavallade and Harold Robbins’ second wife, Grace, who has just written a memoir called 'Cinderella and the Carpetbagger.'" (NYSocialDiary)


"A nice package arrived by post just as I was going to ring a friend in London and inquire how old and how good was a title whose bearer uses it more often than a footballer says the F-word. I will not name the bum because I did a few weeks back and he doesn’t need more publicity. All I’ll say is thank God for the Almanach de Gotha, which arrived in brilliant cardinal red for 2012 and beautiful Byzantine yellow for the 2013 edition. I thank the publisher John Kennedy because the 189th edition of the Gotha comes in very handy. There are more phonies flitting about than there are blonde Russian hookers, and the Almanach is the ultimate judge of who is real. The person I was ringing London about, incidentally, ain’t hardly up with the real oldies, but they made it through morganatic marriages and other such climbs. Your humble high-life correspondent is mentioned twice, both times through marriage, which makes me look like a gigolo, but what the hell, I’ll take it; I’m in the Ionian Isles Gold Book, which for some strange reason is not included in the Almanach. So women made me, according to the good book, which is only fair. I’ve spent the better part of my life thinking, yearning, lusting and chasing after them, so the least they could do is ennoble poor little me." (Taki)


"Model Stephanie Seymour hosted a lavish baby shower for Julian Schnabel’s pregnant fiancée, May Andersen, on Saturday. Seymour and artist Schnabel threw the coed shower at his West Village apartment. Andersen, a 30-year-old model turned art-gallery assistant director, is nearly six months pregnant with her first child. She had been dating Schnabel, 61, since last April; they got engaged in November. Sources said at the shower, attended by guests including Julian’s art dealer son, Vito Schnabel, that Julian unveiled a 20-foot artwork he painted of May naked and pregnant. One source said, 'When guests remarked how amazing the painting was Julian said ‘May is an amazing woman.'" (P6)



"It took Peter Borden a while to come around to modafinil. He never takes prescription drugs. He doesn’t drink to excess. He’s into acupuncture and alternative medicine. But he was working two jobs—by day, he does quantitative analysis and project management for a venture-capital-backed B2B start-up; by night, he’s developing a proprietary high-­frequency trading system for a Wall Street start-up of his own—and what he needed was more time to work.  So a few months ago, Borden ordered a three-week supply by mail. ('It was a piece of cake,' he says.) He popped his first pill—'the maximum suggested dose'—as soon as the package arrived, and within a few hours he started feeling a pleasant fuzziness. 'Not fuzzy-headed,' he says, 'but crisp. A crisp softness to it.' Soon he was experiencing a level of concentration he’d never imagined. 'My senses sort of shifted to the visual, and my auditory sense went down. Sounds didn’t even register. It was like walking around on a winter day when it just snowed. It was very easy to stay visually focused.' Next came a head rush. 'I sensed it was blood actually moving to the optic nerve. Your eyes start to feel very sort of engorged, and your awareness comes to the front of your face, which is kind of a freaky sensation. I would describe it as being very much like Adderall, but without the speediness.' Tasks that were usually soul-crushing now had his undivided attention. He spent hours fine-tuning ad campaigns for his new business, and his output wasn’t just faster and longer—it was better. 'I didn’t take as many breaks; I didn’t get as frustrated; the stuff came out with fewer errors,' he says. 'I never felt, Oh, let’s just get it done. I polished things.' As long as he kept taking the pill, his focus never wavered. 'Time took on an entirely different sort of quality.' He was even happier. 'There were some very potent anti-anxiety effects. Which was strange. I didn’t think I was an anxious person, but I guess I was.' Modafinil, which is marketed as Provigil in the United States, was first approved by the FDA in 1998 for the treatment of narcolepsy, but since then it’s become better known as a nootropic, a “smart drug,” especially among entrepreneurs. More recently, it has attracted traders like Borden who don’t just need a pick-me-up to get through a deadline; they need to be on, without a break, for months, even years at a time." (NYMag)

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