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VIEWPOINT: MY SHOUT.

Byline: ALISON TAYLOR

I 'M not straying into the tacky realm of 'too much information' but for riding, even the modestly endowed need bounce-proofing and I've recently been hunting for new underpinnings - really supportive and with longish straps so that my assets aren't hoiked under my chin, and obviously, no underwiring, for fear of impalement in a fall.

I've had little luck. I have, though, been astounded by some of the contraptions on offer - or rather, by their capacity.

Big enough for a horse's rear end, they are, and when I think back, as we oldies are wont to do, to the grief my Ma's embonpoint caused her - back ache, shoulder pains, chafing - it's beyond me why anyone would willingly undergo the expense and trauma of full-on surgery to acquire their own.

All of which brings me very adroitly to a riveting film I saw the other week.

Called 'The Poisoner', it was set in small-town France shortly after World War II, when memory of the Occupation still ran exceedingly foul. Everything was so true to life, so positively authentic, that rather than feeling I was watching a drama, I had the sense of eavesdropping on real lives.

Marie Besnard, the heroine - or anti-heroine; we never found out for sure - was middle-aged, plumpish and decidedly frumpish.

Her erstwhile best friend, upholstered like a Victorian sofa, stuffed anything to hand into her glutinously lip-sticked mouth whenever she wasn't spitting out calumnies against Marie.

When Marie's husband dies, malicious gossip, innuendo, jealousy and plain madness cook up a toxic brew.

She's accused of murdering him and, because there are many old scores to be settled, before long she's in the frame for another two dozen deaths, none of which excited interest at the time - bar for the fact she and her now-deceased husband both profited from small inheritances.

The evidence against her is diaphanous; nonetheless, harried by the locals, the police arrest her, chuck her in jail and set in motion the machinery of a justice system that apparently relies for its evidence on what flows from the parish pump.

It was one of those stories with pretty near everything - pathos, black humour, understated horror, human foibles by the bucket load and tension racking up frame by frame, because whichever way Marie turns, she sees Mme Guillotine's shadow.

And the bras? It wasn't just her lace-trimmed, rayon petticoats and ill-fitting, saggy Bustenhalter that grabbed my attention but the flower-patterned overalls she wore going about her daily business. Ma sported those, too, and so did her cronies.

The young reporter who charts Marie's fate for her audience, and who has her own poignant back-story, stood out like a sore thumb.

Despite post-war shortages, she threw together the simplest, plainest things into the chicest outfits. After a year's teaching in Paris, my daughter returned with that same secret of French dressing, yet my attempts to copy-cat result in a dog's breakfast.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 12, 2008
Words:487
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