Vogue's timely interview sheds light on the inner workings of Hugh Grant


Hugh Grant's on the cover of People (July 13), blessedly not in the infamous mug shot, but it's ironically the July issue of Vogue, published well before the English actor's arrest on charges of lewd conduct, that gives the most insight into why he was caught indulging in auto eroticism.

In Candace Bushnell's profile, titled "Rake's Progress," the interviewer is amused but never fully taken in by the --ing, self-deprecating, deliberately "naughty" actor. The ironies, of course, don't end with the headline. Mr. Grant recalls sending pictures of himself to a casting director for "Greystoke," a "Tarzan" remake: "I think those pictures must go down as the most humiliating experience of my life." Mr. Grant calls his girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley "a sort of tabloid heroine [in] England," and admits to tension and physical fights in the relationship. On his motivation as an actor he says, "It's like my libido. I find that for a month at a time I'm a eunuch, and then suddenly for the next month I'm a rapist. And I never know which way it's going to go from day to day."

Yet compassion more than hindsight cattiness is warranted for the actor, whose "instant stardom seems to have left him more confused and lonely than he expected." And you almost have to love someone who wrote a check for a parking fine to "the greedy, money-grubbing . . . Westminster City Council."

New morning brew

When the premiere issue of Coffee Journal appeared in the office, a quipping colleague asked if it would keep readers up at night. The straight answer is probably not -- we're not talking espresso-strength writing here -- but with its handsome design, elegant photos and thoughtful assortment of articles, the slick .. quarterly may, like a good cup of joe, be a way to ease into the morning.

Utility articles include how to use the French press, or plunger pot, to make coffee, and the hot vs. cold methods of brewing ice tea (the herbal beverage is also part of the magazine's purview). "Coffee Culture" lists 10 coffeehouses from around the country, with this percolating intro for New York: "Choosing a coffeehouse in Manhattan is like choosing a sweetheart: it's more fun to play the field -- one for fancy dinners, one for jogging in the park and yet another for off-off-Broadway openings." An article on antique espresso makers contains this expressive encomium: "It is as if Rube Goldberg and Leonardo da Vinci got together and jammed."

The magazine also catches Peter Schickele -- P.D.Q. Bach -- on a coffee break in his studio, where he reveals that his first classical "discovery" was P.D.Q.'s "Sanka Cantata," a takeoff on J. S. Bach's humorous "Coffee Cantata." In the latter, a father tries to get his daughter to give up coffee drinking and marry the man he intends for her, but she ends up outwitting him.

Robert Carson's fiction parody, "The Fridges of Madison County," may be a little late, now that Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep have breathed on-screen sincerity into Robert Waller's he-man Harlequin romance, but it lives up to the good humor of its headline. Overall, this may not be a magazine to keep by your bedside, yet -- dare we say -- it's a natural for the coffee table.

Call (800) 825-0061 for subscription information; e-mail coffeejrnolcom.

Unexpected treats

To the average couch potato or science illiterate, the periodicals Running Times and Technology Review may sound about as appetizing as Kielbasa Quarterly to a vegetarian. But both hold surprising pleasures for nontargeted readers.

In the July/August issue of Running Times, the magazine examines the issue of encouraging children and teen-agers to run.

The cover story on 16-year-old Julia Stamps, the winner of last year's Foot Locker High School Cross Country Championships, goes beyond mere boostering of the speedy Santa Rosa, Calif., girl to examining the unusually sensitive support of her parents, Dan and Valerie. They're glad she has friends from other school activities: "She has enough people talking to her about running," says her mom. Editor Scott Douglas continues, "Too many of these talkers, Dan and Valerie agree, speak in the thinner-is-better voice that propels so many female runners into endlessly obsessing about their body images -- usually with devastating results." He then relates an incident at the '93 world cross-country meet, where someone removed a pancake from Julia's plate because he thought she shouldn't eat so much.

Tom Derderian interviews Joan Benoit Samuelson, Bill Rodgers and other famous running parents on how to avoid "The Pee Wee Burnout Syndrome," while Mr. Douglas speaks up again -- with sarcastic smarts -- in an essay on teen-age training called "The Age of Discovery."

Technology Review (July) has articles varying in complexity for the lay reader, but lively writing keeps most of them penetrable. "Home Is Where the Heart Monitor Is," by pediatrician Perri Klass, and Charles Smith's review of 19th-century efforts to harness solar energy are particularly rewarding.

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