Ask Morgana 230: Who’s beautiful?

I haven’t been around for a while, and I am in fact taking quite a long sabbatical from my (regular) online presence. But while I’m announcing this, I might as well pop an extra tribute here to someone I consider to be beautiful.

Honeysuckle Weeks is probably best known for her role as Samantha ‘Sam’ Stewart, driver for DCS Foyle (Michael Kitchen) in the television drama series Foyle’s War, set during and immediately after WW2. Her looks are not conventionally pretty, but I think she is very beautiful. She certainly suited the clothes and hairstyles of wartime austerity. Judge for yourselves.

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Ask Morgana 229: Who’s beautiful?

9c59255ceb92fecb184644d822504194Fran Jeffries – singer, actor, Playmate – who entertained us with Henry Mancini’s ‘Meglio Stasera’ in The Pink Panther. That’s who.

Condolences

My heart goes out – I mean this sincerely – to the widow, family, and friends of Iain Rossouw of Honeymead Books, my publisher. A good man, and a hero in the way he lost his life. I don’t want to say any more at this time.

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Ask Morgana 228: Who’s beautiful?

I recently posted about Diana Rigg, showing a picture of her in age which, to my mind, revealed undeniable beauty. I am aware that when I select a star for this kind of feature, I am picking someone who can afford couture, cosmetics, style, and so on. Nevertheless, there is something true that where age is embraced rather than fought, beauty shines through. Another example is to be found in someone else on whom I have had a crush since girlhood – Françoise Hardy.

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Francoise Hardy French Pop.

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Ask Morgana 227: African heritage and the D/s Lifestyle

I’m taking a moment out from my series of presentations of beautiful people to address a question put to me by a correspondent, who wanted to know how people of African heritage reacted to matters of the Dominance/submission lifestyle. “After all,” said my correspondent, “some people who are deep into your lifestyle take on the roles of mistress and slave. Surely that would be a matter of controversy for anyone of a race that has a history of enduring generations of actual slavery.”

I didn’t consider myself to be in a position to answer that, as I am from the UK, have no African heritage, and no close cultural contact with the aftermath of slavery. So I raised the issue with someone else, an acquaintance of mine who is both African-American and a well-respected Domme. I reproduce her words below:

As I mentioned, it is ironic you reached out to me regarding this topic. I had a similar discussion with someone else only the day before. Anyway enough with the small talk.

I do not claim to speak for or even be the best representative of an African American involved in Lifestyle as my situation may differ from many. Firstly, I am a lesbian which in itself is a microcosm of the Lifestyle community. Second, the vast majority of my interaction is done within Caucasian community. This does not mean I am completely unaware of how other African Americans within the Lifestyle community interact. I have attended many events locally and nationally where a diverse gathering of people, attitudes, and social interactions are going on. I have found a great number of African American’s who are involved in Lifestyle prefer to engage with other People of Colour. I think in part this is a direct result of the very question you asked, because of America’s history of slavery. In speaking with individuals I have met (both men and women, gay and straight) it seems African American heterosexuals within Lifestyle almost exclusively stick with partners of the same race. There is more latitude with African American gay men. They seem more willing to submit to a man outside their race. African American lesbians within Lifestyle at a very high percent stay within their race. I am very much the odd duck… and let me tell you I have been questioned and ridiculed by other women of colour for my decision. You have known me many years as I said above and you are aware in most situation I am usually not in a submissive role when it comes to Lifestyle. At best I am a Switch but rarely exclusively have I been submissive. As far as being taken as a “slave” by my Mistress there was only one person and at the time I had no hesitation doing so. I did not look at her and see her colour, I looked to her as my Mistress whom I served with loyalty, pride, and respect to the best of my abilities. Her race was not a factor for me nor do I feel it should be. If someone has already entered into a D/s relationship with someone the level of trust shared between one another should be devoid of such issues and if it is an issue it should have been discussed prior to the relationship going too far.

African Americans who are not a part of the Lifestyle community condemn and vilify those who are. This in part is the general public’s lack of understanding as to what Lifestyle truly is, opposed to what they believe it to be. Add that lack of understanding to a culture forever connected to one of the one of the darkest periods of history where inhuman treatment was regularly inflicted upon one group of people by another and you find anger. As an African American woman involved in Lifestyle I am seen by some as self-hating, disturbed, an “Uncle Tom”, or an “Oreo”.

Morgana here again. I can attest to the fact that my sister is none of the things she cites in her final sentence. Anyhow, I hope that answers my correspondent’s question.

Don’t forget, if any of you wish to ask me anything, please do get in touch. My email details are on the ‘Contact me’ page.

Ask Morgana 226: Who’s beautiful?

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A friend approached me recently and asked me why I did not feature more images of people with an African heritage. I pointed out that I had featured Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne, but she said that these had appeared here some time ago. My friend then passed over her iPad and asked me what I thought of the young woman shown in image 1 above.

“She’s beautiful,” I said. “Who is she?”

“Her name is Ana Foxxx,” my friend replied. “That’s one ‘n’ and a triple ‘x’.”

“Why have I never heard of her? What does she do for a living?”

“She’s a porn actress, hence the x-x-x!”

“Really?” I should have guessed, of course, as when it comes to porn X marks the spot and XXX marks the g-spot. But still, the more I looked at her face with its markedly African qualities, I was given cause to reflect that so many people who work in the porn industry affect a kind of sleazy glamour based on some fairly hackneyed stereotype fetishes. Ana is, on the other hand, very, very beautiful. I have to confess I was smitten.

It made me wonder, however, what I search for in an African face, and whether I look for the same qualities there that an African does, or someone from the African diaspora. Take the young woman in image 2 below…

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… her ethnicity is Fulani, and she comes from Nigeria. Her beauty is clear, modest, and youthful, but am I looking for European analogues, to which the African elements are, for me, exotic touches? Image 3 is of a young woman who conforms more closely to European or American criteria…

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… and that is making the answering of my own question more and more difficult. Perhaps I should put that question aside and admit that beauty is indeed always a subjective issue. After all, every day I see people who are beautiful in their ordinariness, people whom I call drop-dead-next-door. They have no catwalk glamour, they have no porn-queen glitz, but they are beautiful.

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Ask Morgana 225: Who’s beautiful?

Who is this beautiful young woman?

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Perhaps she would be more recognisable once a little maturity is added to her face. Her name is Lois Maxwell, and she was a Canadian actress who started in her film career in the late 1940s. With wonderful bone structure, she was never going to ‘fade’, and she did not. From behind a desk, as Miss Moneypenny, she flirted with three James Bonds for about twenty years. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, she can be seen with a tear in her eye when 007 marries his Tracy. And yes, she is beautiful.

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Ask Morgana 224: Who’s beautiful?

1And we’re back to Diana Rigg.

Well, she was one of my major pre-teen crushes! These days, of course, she is known to thousands of fans of Game of Thrones, and she is elderly. I include a recent picture of her here. To me this picture says that old age does not mean the ruin of beauty, even though time and mortality alter it radically. in GOT, I have seen Ms Rigg give a half-smile that is exactly the same quizzical look she used to give as a young woman, and I think “Ah yes!”

I have come back to her today, because one of the TV channels I get showed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service yesterday, the unjustifiably under-estimated early James Bond movie, with male model George Lazenby in the role of the secret agent. I’m one of these people who believe that it is one of the best early Bond films, and that Lazenby’s inexperience as an actor gave the protagonist a coldness which he has in the novels by Ian Fleming but has not had in the movies until, perhaps, the days of Daniel Craig. In OHMSS, Diana Rigg played not simply a ‘Bond Girl’, but someone with whom 007 falls in love and marries. As such, she was a class above the boobs-on-legs stereotype.

2Mentioning ‘boobs-on-legs’ reminds me that when she played opposite Keith Mitchell in a stage adaptation of Abelard and Heloise, in a production with a nude scene – as she put it, “… the first major actress to get my knickers down” – she had to put up with reviewers making personal remarks about her body. An American critic wrote of her body, and he breasts in particular, “Diana Rigg is built like a brick mausoleum with insufficient flying buttresses.” A trifle un-gallant, and a whole heap sexist. He probably said nothing about Keith Mitchell’s dick. It is not recorded whether Ms Rigg went looking for him with Bond’s Walther PPK. Maybe she should have done, but then she’s a lady, and it’s not her style.

5I don’t recall staring at her figure when I was young, except I noticed that her shoulders were fairly broad. It was her face that fascinated me, those half-smiles, that occasionally broadened. At that age I was puzzled about why I wanted to kiss her. I remember watching the movie and thinking that – yes – George Lazenby was handsome, but I couldn’t wait for the scenes that featured Diana’s character. To me it was as though a subtle fragrance had suffused the room.

I don’t usually write like this about my early crushes… what’s come over me? Maybe I too am feeling old today – after all, we are coming close to the end of another year. Well, whatever the reason, I feel led to celebrate Diana Rigg’s beauty once more on these pages, so here are some more small images from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service for us all to enjoy.

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Ask Morgana 223: Who’s beautiful?

A while ago I featured Diana Rigg in the persona of Emma Peel from The Avengers. The actor who took over as John Steed’s female sidekick when Diana left the show was always going to have a hard time. Everyone compared her to her predecessor. “Oh she’s all right, but she’s not Emma Peel!” Well, of course she wasn’t – she wasn’t supposed to be. I’m 1talking of course about Linda Thorson as Tara King. She was supposed to be entirely different. Rather than being a high-flying woman who had run her own corporation, Tara King was a character who had risen through the ranks, had no great talent at unarmed combat, but didn’t need to – she had a brick in her handbag!

Composer Laurie Johnson gave her her own musical motif in the familiar theme music, and there she was, rising from the meadow-flowers in a backless, black dress. Maybe it did take regular fans a while to get used to her, but then series 6 of the show was a little more surreal than series 5, with a wheelchair-bound spymaster called ‘Mother’ attended by a Junoesque but silent assistant. Tara King appeared in a series of wigs, but those disguises couldn’t mask the fact that Linda Thorson was a very beautiful woman.

What do you think? Email me and let me know.

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Ask Morgana 222: ‘An Air That Kills’ – killer review!

The following review recently appeared on the Readers’ Favourite review site. Thank you, Chris-Jean Clarke:

An Air that Kills by Morgana Somerville is told from Emma Hendry, a lowly chamber maid’s point of view. The story initially shows the class divide between Emma and her young Edwardian mistress, Miss Alicia, and accurately portrays each in their given roles. However, this is not an everyday tale of life in Edwardian times. Instead Morgana Somerville chooses to create a little controversy for her readers by having Emma and Miss anairthatkills_cover_graphic2aAlicia gradually beginning to enjoy each other’s company and slowly letting their facades slip. It is at this point that Morgana Somerville is able to draw the reader in and make them believe that it would not only be feasible for Alicia and Emma to develop feelings of intimacy for each other, but to accept without question when the girls decide to take their relationship to the next level sexually.

I applaud Morgana Somerville that she did not just wrap the story up at this point, but continued to explore how other factors could affect the girls’ relationship with each other, and, albeit a short read, I believe An Air That Kills is still very profound as it spans many topics which could generate further discussion or debate. For example, the book explores how each of the girls would react when it came time for them to meet other partners (male and female) from their own social class and whether their relationship could withstand the test of time, including Miss Alicia’s long term illness caused by the effect of the London Blitz and Emma’s rape. I would recommend An Air That Kills to readers 18+ as Morgana Somerville depicts in detail the sexual acts between Alicia and Emma, and Emma and her lover on the island of Lesbos. However, I would also hasten to add that these scenes add depth to the story and its characters, rather than distract from it.