When it comes to sex, muses are more interesting than artists, says Blythe Roberson in Bustle. I pore over their memoirs, marvelling at the revelations. Take Let’s Spend the Night Together – a bible for groupies. Pamela Des Barres started hanging out with bands in the 1960s, sleeping with countless frontmen. The book is a rundown of her conquests and their various sexual abilities. Mick Jagger comes out on top, which is a relief – had he not, “all of western culture” would have been “based on lies”.
Joyce Johnson’s Minor Characters is an analysis of fame as well as love. She met Jack Kerouac in January 1957, a few months before his novel On the Road came out. He became a star overnight. Suddenly Johnson was fending off women in bars, desperate to meet her boyfriend. “You’re only 21. I’m 29,” one told her. “I’ve got to f*** him now.”
The best muse’s memoir, however, is Françoise Gilot’s Life with Picasso – a blow-by-blow account of a toxic relationship. The painter spotted Gilot in a restaurant when she was 21 and he was 61. He wooed her by bringing a bowl of cherries to her table. The unusual flirting tactics didn’t stop there. “On another day he sensually checks her head for lice; later he sends her the ugliest flowers he can find, to make her laugh.” Eventually Picasso soured – he burnt Gilot with a cigarette, tested her loyalty and tossed a plate into the ocean in a fit of rage. She dumped him a decade later, becoming the only woman to leave Picasso.
I want to score with Southgate
This week I tweeted something innocuous about fancying England football manager Gareth Southgate, says comedian Madeleine Brettingham in the Independent. It struck a nerve. Within days I had more than 20,000 likes and hundreds of replies from lusty women, fantasising about a life with Southgate. “Each one was a wonderful tableau of erotic whimsy” – Gareth using his one day off to tidy the garden, Gareth saving a cat from a tree, Gareth with an Allen key. There was also the “odd bit of filth”. In the words of one user: “I bet he’s very thorough.”
Southgate is truly a post-pandemic pin-up, says Rowan Pelling in the Telegraph. While we’re all feeling anxious about Covid, he epitomises stability. Better still, he’s complex. In the Euro 96 semi-final against Germany, Southgate missed a crucial penalty. It plagued his career. His triumphant turn as manager makes him the patron saint of comebacks. “And there are few things more intoxicating than that.”
He’s well dressed too, says Elizabeth Day in The Mail on Sunday. At the 2018 World Cup Southgate sported a series of naff waistcoats from M&S. This year he’s much more dashing – all dark suits and knitted ties. “Elegant. Classic. A dash of Mad Men.” No wonder England are winning.