Home IS Where the Heart IS! The Story and Creation of Nicole’s House…

For as well as enduring interest in the life and legacy of Nicole Brown Simpson, a passion for the Regency world of the Poet Lord Byron and the occasional bar of chocolate, I am also an artist and storyteller creating ‘Life’ in 12th scale.

AND as one of the most popular ‘Small Worlds’ is still Nicole’s House, I thought I’d share a ‘little’ more about this unique 12th scale house.

 “I just don’t see how our stories compare -I was so bad because I wore sweats & left shoes around & didn’t keep a perfect house or comb my hair the way you like it – or had dinner ready at the precise moment you walked through the door or that I just plain got on your nerves sometimes.

 I just don’t see how that compares to infidelity, wife beating, verbal abuse.

 I just don’t think everybody goes through this…. I called the cops to save my life whether you believe it or not..”

 These are the harrowing words written by Nicole shortly before her brutal murder on Sunday June 12 1994 in the garden of her Brentwood home in Los Angeles as her two children were sleeping.

Nicole’s former husband O.J. Simpson was subsequently arrested, tried and acquitted of her murder and that of her friend Ronald Goldman in a relentless blaze of publicity the following year.

 I began to read about Nicole shortly after her murder in 1994, she was the focus for the research and publication of my BA thesis in 1999 and I have been reading about her ever since.

 She was also the inspiration for the creation of the ‘Ghost of Brentwood’ and now known as ‘Nicole’s House’.

For in June 1994 and shortly before her brutal murder, Nicole was making plans to leave her home in Brentwood in order to escape the abuse and obsession that had characterised her long relationship with Simpson.

 Only days before her death, Nicole had seen a beach house in Malibu available for rent and she was excited and positive at the prospect of a move there with their children.

 ‘Nicole’s House’ is a 12th scale miniature of several narratives:

A recreation of some of the principle rooms at 875 South Bundy Drive as they were discovered in the early hours of Monday June 13 1994 as the investigation into the murders of Nicole and Ronald Lyle Goldman was underway.

Additional rooms are created as a tribute to the style and essence of Nicole who loved the style of interior design that has come to typify the “California Look”.

Finally, as we know that Nicole was planning a move to a beach house in Malibu, ‘Nicole’s House’ is a poignant reminder of ‘what might have been’.

To learn more about the life of Nicole through the creation of this unique house, follow the link: The Ghost of Brentwood – At Home With Nicole…

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Twenty Three Years After THAT Verdict and the Protest Continues!

This is THE post that I should  have shared yesterday but I did not on account of a lack of time, natural light and inclination!

Despite the issues of time and natural light notwithstanding for as I had published six (yes, six!) stories about the anniversary of THAT Verdict by yesterday evening; the only inclination that remained was for me to crawl away into the dark night and watch a trashy movie with only a huge slice of cake for company And no, the trashy movie that I watched was NOT about the Simpson Matter!

For even though the Late (and great!) Dominick Dunne had once argued that the Simpson case was like a ‘great trash novel come to life, a mammoth fireworks display of interracial marriage, love, lust, lies, hate, fame, wealth, beauty, obsession, spousal abuse, stalking, brokenhearted children, the bloodiest of bloody knife-slashing homicides, and all the justice that money can buy’; THE movie that I enjoyed featured quite a number of the above, although thankfully minus the bloodshed for the only ‘corpse’ at the finale was a metaphorical one!

However, enough of my weekend evening television viewing habits and back to the matter in hand – THE Simpson Matter and the incredible realisation that  October 3 2017 marks the twenty second year since the reading of THAT verdict; you know, the one that begins with: “We the jury… find the defendant, ‪Orenthal James Simpson, NOT guilty of the crime of murder… upon ‪Nicole Brown Simpson, a human being…”

For it was on a cold and dark Tuesday evening and I was returning home from my flower shop in the City of York in a car packed with fellow travellers including school bags, grocery shopping and a 11-week old baby, (thankfully silent!) as I turned on the radio to listen to the reading of THAT verdict from some 5,000 miles away.

In her brilliant memoir Without a Doubt,  prosecutor Marcia Clark shares the reaction of Simpson’s defence attorney to THAT verdict as ‘not the verdict I would’ve thought.’… You can say that again Bob Shapiro!

I was so convinced that I would still hear a ‘Guilty’ verdict despite those allegations of LAPD incompetence and the charges of racism that tried (and failed!) to obscure the powerful circumstantial evidence and Simpson’s long history of domestic abuse…

Alas, as it was not to be and at a distance of twenty two years, I thought it would be interesting to share the reactions of some other Simpson supporters and detractors and of their feelings about THAT verdict that I have published on my other blogs and as I felt that a little mischief was entirely appropriate, some ‘creative’ imagery has also been included.

If you click on THIS link you can read the stories from Marcia Clark and Kris Jenner and over at Nicole’s House… Mike Gilbert will take you behind the front door of Simpson’s former abode on Rockingham Avenue and you can join Dominick Dunne as he takes a walk along the tiled walkway at 875 South Bundy Drive.

And from her book Bitch, I have included a controversial essay by the fabulous Elizabeth Wurtzel over on my A Life in Headlines blog including a scathing indictment of Simpson’s guilt from the brilliant Andrea Dworkin and of her observations about the complicated relationship between Nicole and Simpson.

Although I agree with Wurtzel’s belief that Nicole’s death was a ‘stupid waste of a life of a woman’; I do NOT support her assertion that her death supported ‘well-intentioned but still fruitless attempts to make it into a clarion call for domestic-violence awareness’ and here’s my reason why: for since 1994, I have been a witness to subtle and positive change that despite the divisive issues that had surrounded the trial of Simpson, Nicole’s tragic death was to  illuminate a much needed awareness about domestic abuse and that many women who upon learning about Nicole’s life and death were to find a renewed strength and resolve to leave their abusive partners and this STILL continues to be the case, more than twenty three years later.

Do you recall the ‘11-week old’ baby who slept his way through the reading of THAT verdict, I told you about?

Well, this is him in the image above in his 17th year and as THE poster boy for the Real Man Campaign to raise awareness about domestic abuse and on behalf of the UK charity Women’s Aid.

The Nobel Laureate and political activist Elie Wiesal once said that “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

And on that note, I bid you ‘Adieu’ for now and thank you for Remembering Nicole Brown Simpson!

Me and My Shadow! Recollecting Nicole…

On Sunday June 12 1994 Nicole Brown Simpson became a public figure overnight for on that balmy Sunday evening she was senselessly and brutally murdered in the grounds of her home at 875 South Bundy Drive in the leafy suburb of Brentwood in California.

Her murder trial and that of her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman who had been murdered alongside her became known as the ‘Trial of the Century’ with her former husband Orenthal James Simpson as the accused.

It is hard to believe that Nicole was murdered over twenty two years ago for I can remember the BBC news reports and the iconic photographs of the bloody pathway lined with the neat rows of purple and lilac Agapanthus.

I also remember the farcical ‘Bronco Chase’, the sensational headlines week after week in The National Enquirer, the court testimony of Mark Fuhrman and the shock of the “Not Guilty” verdict on October 3 in the following year.

And yet what I most recall is the realisation of a grotesque dichotomy that despite the voluminous photographs of a beautiful and happy Nicole that she had in fact been abused by Simpson throughout most of their seventeen year relationship.

I just don’t see how our stories compare -I was so bad because I wore sweats & left shoes around & didn’t keep a perfect house or comb my hair the way you like it – or had dinner ready at the precise moment you walked through the door or that I just plain got on your nerves sometimes…

Published in October 1994 and written by her friend Faye Resnick, Nicole Brown Simpson: A Private Diary of a Life Interrupted was the first book that I ever bought about Nicole and I am still reading about her.

She was the subject of my Thesis in 1999 and remains the purpose for my work ever since.

There are literally hundreds of books that have been written about the life of Nicole and of her life with Simpson and the tales of glamour, celebrity, wealth and beauty have frequently made her appear remote, abstract and insignificant.

Yet it is the very tragedy of her early death that makes her life a compelling human story of hope, love, obsession and betrayal and that is why I choose to remember her.

Recollect Nicole? And So IT Begins!

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

T.S. Eliot

Hello again! As this blog post begins with two apologies, my first apology is that even though January is well and truly upon us and the month of February is now beckoning; I would still like to wish you all a very ‘Happy New Year’!

And secondly, I apologise for the lack of recent updates about Nicole and to my chagrin having realised that I had posted my last story about her in September!

In my defence, I can only say that I have been very busy with other projects and as some of which were and are about Nicole; I had by no means forgotten about her…

Already 2015 promises to be interesting year with the release of the much anticipated ‘American Crime Story: The People v. O.J Simpson’ which will share the tales of the trial that began an incredible twenty years ago this month!

The mini-series has been inspired by the fabulous book The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin and will feature John Travolta and David Schwimmer as the two ‘Bobs’, the former as Robert Shapiro, Simpson’s swathe and duplicitous defence lawyer and the latter as Robert Kardashian, Simpson’s mysteriously conflicted friend, former spouse of Kris and the lawyer whose jaw-dropping expression as the ‘Not Guilty’ verdict was delivered remains burned in the image of that unforgettable day.

A statement from the television channel FX, the producers of the ‘American Crime Story’ revealed that ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ will share the tales of the “the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and manoeuvring on both sides of the court, and how a combination of prosecution overconfidence, defence shrewdness, and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave the jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.”

Personally speaking, I have never had any doubts, reasonable or otherwise as to the question of Simpson’s guilt!

As the ‘People v. O.J. Simpson’ is certain to shine the spotlight upon Simpson who is currently languishing inside the notorious Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada for anything from nine to thirty three years for his part in an armed confrontation in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007; I was disappointed to learn of the statement from Denise Brown that she had withdrawn her support for the Heart & Soul Food, a film that would focus on the life and the memories of her younger sister.

Denise had personally launched the idea for Heart & Soul Food through Kickstarter, the crowd funding website with Jimi James, Message Mon in 2014 to raise $360,000 in a campaign that would last 55 days; Nicole’s age.

Having taken a look at the campaign on Kickstarter today and even though 14 backers have pledged at total of $403, the message board simply reads Funding Canceled: Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on January 5.

The statement by Denise on her decision remains unequivocal:

“The minute people said you have to market this with Simpson’s name I said no,” she says. “I won’t do anything to acknowledge the acquittal this year. So many are jumping on the bandwagon and doing the same old stuff, and I thought this could be different because the story is different. But I won’t go there.”

As Denise is apparently ‘brainstorming other ways to honor her sister’s life.’; I still wonder about the publication of her book that never was.

Due for publication in October 1998 by Harpercollins, Nicole’s Story promised to offer ‘a compelling portrait of her late sister which serves a two-fold purpose: to introduce readers to the smart, beautiful, and nurturing woman whom she loved; and to warn other women of the dangers of staying in an abusive relationship.’

With the promise of sixteen pages of colour photographs, this is the book I would love to read and I can’t imagine that I would be alone in thinking this!

Surely a balanced and realistic portrayal by those who actually knew and loved Nicole could begin the long process of shifting the spotlight away from the man who took her life and that of Ron Goldman one Sunday evening in June over twenty years ago.

Alas, until that time comes, I shall continue to do all that I can to keep the memory of Nicole alive…

Thank you for Remembering Nicole!