Thursday, 28 May 2009

Tit Launch

Big Brother, the show that launched a thousand tits, literally and metaphorically will be returning to our screens this week, brimming with more desperate souls willing to sell their past, present and future for a Heat front cover and five minutes of our attention, bless, it’s almost flattering really.
It’s strange to remember but when the show first appeared on our screen ten whole years ago, it was considered quite trendy. It was the summer of 1999, the world was a different place, we were still giddy from the marriage of Prince Edward and Sophie (do you remember your street party?), Liam and Patsy were the coolest couple in the world and the only terrorist threats were the IRA and the odd dirty nail bomb in a gay bar in Soho- halcyon days! Remember Anna, the Irish lesbian skateboarding nun, Nasty Nick, officially the most evil man in the world (he wrote names on pieces of paper! Try explaining how wrong that was to people too young to remember, they’ll laugh in your face, but at the time, he was our Joseph Fritzel) and Craig, the large muscular scouse man child the last, lonely voice of reason in a house gone mad. But slowly the flatmates have slid from people we’d aspire to be friends with to people we’d cross the road to avoid, even if it meant being run over. Remember how excited we got back in BB2 when Paul and Helen started holding hands? They were falling in love before our eyes, we swooned! Now days in, hitherto strangers are willing to sweatily rut in the diary room chair, like insecure mating pandas, with only the dream of their own OK spread glimmering in their squinting eyes. Live in front of Big Brother, their friends and family and everybody they’ve ever know, or will know, they will vomit up every dark secret, display every personality quirk and oddity, all with the same confused desperate look in their eye, is this right? Will this make you like me? Love me!! Again, it’s almost flattering.
Their lives post Big Brother also hints at the decline in standards. Anna (BB1) now has a successful career in Irish television as a respected broadcaster, Brian (BB2) appears now and then on obscure digital channels, and Kate (Winner BB9) can’t even afford a television set. She has to look in the window of Currys if she wants to see anything or follow the soaps by reading magazine covers in WH Smith. That is a fact.
A bit like soldiers who faced action, contestants never seem the same after the experience, especially on the later "Celebrity Specials". Take Jodie Marsh. Poor girl, she just wants love, or it’s poor relation, a little bit of attention, but she’s like that annoying girl at school who used to fake panic attacks to try to get people to like her. She briefly appeared on Celebrity Big Brother three years ago, but was so nauseatingly unlikeble and unpopular with the other housemates, she emerged even less likeable than when she entered the house to booing mobs. Since, up until that point she was chiefly famous for having slept with Calum Best, this is not faint praise. Her acclaimed autobiography "Keeping it Real" ("A modern day Pepys…but with better tits" Nuts magazine) reads like a who’s who of men whose job it is impregnate girls from Atomic Kitten. The sort of men who view Lee from Blue as the governor. The most interesting aspect of her time on the show was her friendship with pre fame Chantelle Haughton. Jodie promised to take the skinny unknown under her wing; she’d show her how to pose for the lads mags, she’s bring her to the sort of nightclubs where footballers get accused of sexual assault in the toilets, even a personal audience with Abi Titmus was hinted at.It was like watching "Faust" but the devil was bright orange and looked a bit like a duck with beast implants. Now Chantelle, post an OK marriage and divorce, has her very own fake boobs, orange skin, fish lips and footballer boyfriend and Jodie after a brief but very public flirtation with lesbianism, has now decided she’s going to be a bodybuilder. Will somebody please just give these girls some attention, so they can quietly go away? Maybe this year’s Big Brother twist will be that the show will be based in southern Lebanon, or the West Bank, and housemates have to use their natural attention seeking tendencies to work as part of the UN peace keeping missions. Yes, there might be a few casualties but think of the break we’d be giving their families. We could tell the housemates that for every village they defend against gorilla attack, they’ll get an appearance on The Friday Night Project. Jodie, don’t pretend you’re not interested.

Monday, 25 May 2009

After the Fall

It’s been a relatively slow week in the showbiz world, a shocked community still reeling from the fall of the house of Andre. With newspapers suggesting the whole thing might be a media set up, never before has the term “publicity stunt” inspired so much romantic hope and crossing of fingers. Peter is in Cyprus, Katie is in the Maldives, Harvey is with his Granny in England but whose looking after us? Who’s caring for our hopes and dreams? They may be able to move on from each other but can we move on from them? The list of candidates looking to step into their diamante Jimmy Choos is not encouraging. I can see all the celebrity couple hopefuls now, being lined up by the PR companies like some damned version of Noah’s Ark, all desperate to prove they have what it takes.
Head of the line must be Kerry Katona and her Mark, but they lack the glamour and tend to struggle along like two aggressive Wombles on benefit day. Kerry was diagnosed with Bi-polar depression about a year ago and has recently seized on this like a drowning swimmer clinging on to a new publicity opportunity. Manic depression is of course a condition long associated with great artists, Vincent Van Gogh, Beethoven, Byron, who knew Atomic Kitten would join that illustrious company. Maybe Kerry ,high on the unbearable lightness of being, worked for nights on end on their canonical version of “The Tide is High” like a blonde but slightly less murdery Phil Spector, berating the other Kittens till they got the dance moves perfect. Or maybe, it was in her later work for Living TV, “Kerry Katona, What is the problem?”that she was fuelled with the agony and the ecstasy? Who knows? In fairness to the woman, her childhood does read like the sort of abuse fiction, usually selling for two for one in airport bookshops. You know the sort, they have titles like “Yes Daddy” or “No Mummy” or “Abuse; I was raised by one of those flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz”. They peddle horrific tales of childhood abuse with pastel covers and vintage pictures of children looking fed up- Marian Keyes with added moral sanctimony. I think their target audience is people who can’t read without moving their lips. Bounced from care home, to foster family, to suicidal mother, Kerry could be an ambassador for this peculiar form of literature, her interviews reading like weekly instalments. So were all those gaspingly awful, aggressive TV appearances the result of her battle with a serious medical condition and tough childhood or just further proof that Brian McFadden is a stronger man than we gave him credit for. Maybe we should worry if we’re any better than the people who buy those awful books, watching them. Come back Katie and Peter please!

Another couple leaving our TV screens at the moment is patron saints of students and sick days Richard and Judy. The former King and Queen of daytime television are retiring from the tube after their new show on an obscure digital channel failed to attract any viewers. This is heart breaking, just when we needed proof that some couples can make it work. Richard, like the uncle who tries slightly too hard to be cool and proudly pronounces “The Artic Monkeys” like he’s self consciously saying a word in a foreign language and Judy, your auntie who asks about exam results and if you were seeing anybody at the moment. They were magnificent, as comforting as hot toast and watching TV wrapped up in your duvet and now gone. Why do the TV gods take the good ones young?
Thankfully, balancing up the books is the return of “controversial” rapper Enimen. Marshall Mathews himself is returning to the radio waves with some of his hippity hoppity happenings. After taking a break to marry and subsequently divorce his ex- wife, battle an addiction to painkillers and just generally regroup, he’s back with a new “outrageous” album, that’s almost certainly going to ruffle feathers- oh yes. He is so alternative-he doesn’t care what people think, the multi- platinum, stadium filling, Oscar winning; star of several MTV specials is dangerous! Excuse my cyncism, but the last time I checked misogyny, homophobia and being pro- gun was hardly controversial, in fact in the States it’s practically mainstream. Loose the tattoos and he could use the same policies to run as the next Republican presidential candidate. If he rapped about abortion rights, or was pro gay marriage or even demanded equal pay for women that would be more controversial. As it is he’s George W Bush in a vest top. As for being a dangerous influence, seeing that his main audience is white middle class, suburban male teenagers, I hardly think he’s about to smash the system anytime soon. Richard Madely got arrested for shoplifting once and he’s friends with Jerry Springer, beat that Marshall Mathews.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

The End of Camelot?

The celeb business is a lot like the porn industry- women rule the roost. It’s very rare to come across any story with a male celeb as its lead. Sure, we have famous male actors and singers but we’re not interested in their private life and to express one seems shallow and demeaning to everybody involved. Take for example, Westlife. I couldn’t care less about them, a feeling shared by most of the population. I know so little about their private life for all I know, they may not actually exist, they may be slightly realistic holograms or ghosts that died one hundred years ago. If a member of Westlife got lynched in a forest, would anyone notice or care? Yet, Girls Aloud, their nearest female alternative, I know almost if not better than my only family. The nights I have tossed and turned over poor Cheryl’s latest heartache, the grey dawn that has spread through my window to find me huddled over a cooling cup of coffee wondering whether Sarah was partying too hard, well I don’t care to mention. If you were to show the same attention to male celebs people would think you were mad. Paris Hilton, it’s OK to camply love, Calum Best? people would genuinely question your ability to cross roads. When we do show some interest in the male of the species it’s usually only in relation to the female he has wronged- Jude Law, or Brad Pitt- they’re the subplot never the main star. We love “celebs” be cause they’re messed up, vulnerable but those adjectives only seem to work on women. That’s why we cared about Kerry Katona but not Brian Harvey, why there are no male Jades and unfortunately for Peter Andre, no male Jordan.Where were you when you heard the news? I was tidying my bedroom when the fairytale ended, the dream died, the Swarovski crystal shattered. To the newsreader it was just the divorce of Katie Price and Peter Andre but for a million OK readers, it was the end of Camelot. Call me a romantic, but their sheer awfulness as a couple made me root for them even more. So they met on a reality TV show and sold the story of their relationship before they had even met each others parents but, well, you never know?! There was the matching tans, the matching day glow teeth, their shared love of baring their chests; they had so much in common. Why couldn’t they make it work? It was great; every minor anniversary had at least an OK pull out special and they seem to renew their vows as often as most people checked their face book. Maybe the the camera and TV production crew that followed their every movement had something to do with their demise. Like a small tudor court, the couple were followed and recorded from first date to last slammed door. I’m fascinated by what the last epidsode of their never ending TV series will be? Pete pottering round the house on his own to aqward silence? Newly single Katie’s first desperate night out with the girls? Who will gain custody of the camera crew? Will they divide the kingdoms of “OK” and “Hello” between them? Like the end of any relationship, it’s the unanswered questions that sting.Unfortunately, it was the weird wacky world of “celeb” that did them in the end. Peter was a brave pioneer, ahead of his time in so many ways, in that, without any music career or prospects of one, he swam in the female dominated river of famous for being famous. He could never out Jordan, she would always be the star, he always her “and Peter”. Reports say that it was this living in her shadow that derailed their marriage. If it’s true I genuinely feel sorry for Katie, she but another victim of the “Barbra Streisand Syndrome” where men love the idea of strong women but quickly grow weary of relationships with them. Peter had to choose between his ego and love and unfortunately, his ego in all is orange day glow glory won.Maybe he should go out with Amy Winehouse next. While Katie runs marathons and raises a disabled son, poor Amy can’t even stand up straight. At her semi- official “come back” gig recently Ms. Backcomb herself struggled through her set before abandoning it halfway through. Looking fierce in high heels and a killer dress, the vulnerable star put the aborted gig down to technical difficulties. I think by that she means she technically can’t stop pouring alcohol down her throat. Her ex husband however, is getting over the break up by getting a fellow resident at his rehab facility pregnant. Blake Fielder- Civil, famous for marrying Amy and various assault charges is now sober and an expectant Dad, while Amy, responsible for probably the greatest soul record of her generation is destroying herself with alchol. Sod Peter, I want Katie and Amy together. I think, and mean this is as the highest compliment to them both, they deserve each other.

Shine on you crazy diamond

We all go a little crazy now and then, send a txt message we know we’ll regret, hover on that myspace page that minute too long, search for that house on google earth that hour more than is healthy, but most of us do it in the relative privacy of our friends’ memory and our computer website history log.Spare a thought for our poor celebrity cousins whose every head in hands-should I really have done that moment is shared with millions, analysed, regurgitated, dissected, with all the glee of a sober person recalling a very drunken party, all for our entertainment. Did I really say that- yes, according to the cover of Heat, yes you did….Nursing a spectacular hangover at the moment is the Mr. Chest hair himself, David Hasselhoff. He may have saved lives and broken hearts in tight red speedos, he might have battled crime with a talking car, he may very well, as he suggested, have brought down the Berlin wall through the power of rock, but even The Hoff makes a bit of a numpty of himself at times. Two years ago a video emerged on the web of the “America’s got Talent” judge mumbling drunkenly into a burger on his bathroom floor as his daughter videoed the sad sight begging her Dad to sort himself out. David seems to be still reeling form the nasty divorce from his ex- wife and former Baywatch co-star Pamela Bach. The thing is, I feel personally involved because I remember vividly, flicking through my Granny’s Hello magazine and coming across their romantic Haiwian renewal of vows. Oh from what lofty heights! Pamela filed for divorce and briefly accused Hoff of domestic abuse. He responded with claims the only man who ever broke her nose was her plastic surgeon. Oh dear, they’d come along way from waterfalls and leias. Now, the Hoff has tumbled off the wagon again and was admitted into hospital this week with suspected alcohol poisoning. Oh, Hasselhoff, you crazy diamond, when is Kit when you need him?Also giving into the crazies in spectacular manner is our old pal Lindsey Lohan. Li- Lo split from her girlfriend Sam Ronson in a break up so nasty, she has been barred form attending any of the same parties as her DJ ex. Poor Freckles is turning to her old pals Annie Alcohol and Nancy Night clubs to get her through the split. Hands up who remembers any film after “Mean Girls” Skinny Minnie has actually made? These days her entire living is based around being a bit of a mess and sometimes being too thin. Tsk, I don’t remember those options at career day. Newly single, with no career or income, she seems to be deserted by the young Hollywood scene she was until recently queen of. A bit like Norma Desmond, I can imagine her reclined in a darkened room opining that it’s the tabloids that have got smaller. Paris Hilton doesn’t seem to be calling round to check up on her or Britney Spears hasn’t arrived with a tub of ice cream and a “Pretty Woman” DVD. Instead Li Lo rattles round Hollywood on her own, like the ghost of her former potential, or with her little sister in tow like two doomed little children. There should be some twelve step programme to help people cope with no longer being famous. A half way house they can life in for a bit, a skills programme where they can retrain. You’re used to careless driving, writing off cars and speeding to avoid paparazzi? Have you thought of a career in the ambulance service? So in this world of self destruction , victim hood and anger turned inward, it’s nice to see a celeb completely nuts but not going to take it any more. There was always something a bit weird about that perfect bob that never moved, more than a flicker of crazy in those glinting eyes, that perfect smile hid what we all suspected, the angry mind of a madwoman, put down the gun Pam Ewing, the games up. Actress Victoria Principal famous for playing the archetypal Southern Belle in “Dallas” has been arrested on gun charges. The brunette beauty is used to getting what she wants, she studied at RADA, found fame on the eighties soap and launched her own million dollar natural beauty system, despite having so much plastic surgery she looks a bit like a burns victim. So when her maid took too long walking her beloved Shih-Tzu and then had the nerve to ask for her wages what does Vicky do? Dejectedly pay up, reach for the bottle? Hit a nightclub with Lindsey? No, she calmly pulled her favourite pistol and threatened to shoot the poor woman. Don’t mess with Victoria is the message, not even her dog or she will injure you. She’s hoping the criminal proceedings won’t take too long as she’s training to take part in Richard Branson’s first Space Mission. That’s right, she threatens to shoot people and then flies to the moon. Completely, completely gloriously mad. No wonder Bobby stayed in the shower so long..

Amanda Holden is all that is wrong with the world

The unthinkable has happened, no Lindsey Lohan hasn’t actually acted in a film, Brad and Angelina are rumoured to be splitting. Yes, our generation’s Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward but with more tattoos may be moving to Splitsville, population two, (but hopefully with fantastic childcare facilities).With Angelina rumoured to be cheating and Brad apparently drinking and flirting with his new co- star Natalie Portman; it is not looking good. Brangelina, the once majestic ship of all our romantic hopes and dreams seems to be sinking slowly beneath the waves of rumours and younger actresses. Their story reminds me, as tabloid gossip often does, of the work of medieval philosopher Boethius. His “Wheel of Fortune” warned of the capricity of happiness, one minute you’re at the top, pregnant, happy and smiling smugly on the red carpet for the cameras, the next minute you’re a single mother of six, alone with a cheating ex, trying to hide you face from the paparazzi, escaping down a rubbish strewn back alley, possibly with used syringes. Thus winds the wheel of tabloid fortune. Karma is a bitch, but it’s hard to sympathise with either pair in this sorry tale. Brad just seems like a shallow moron swept off his feet by the new cool girl at school and Angie seems too alpha female, too sexual, too bloody odd to identify with, like Anne Boleyn to Aniston’s Catherine of Aragon.You get the feeling if you were too nice to her she’d start humping your leg or something. Luckily even Hollywood movie star’s powers don’t extend just yet to those of Tudor Kings or the Tombraider could be in trouble. Even in Hollywood you can’t just kill off unwanted ex wives, unless you’re OJ Simpson that is…Maybe it’s just jealousy of course, a deeply unattractive emotion in anyone especially when it’s directed towards a three year old child but there it is, I think I’m jealous of Suri Cruise. I know, I know, her mother looks like slowly deflating Stepford Wife quietly giving up the will to live and her Dad is a “rumoured to be” repressed homosexual who believes we descended from aliens but have you seen her wardrobe? Her daily outfits are now carefully detailed on fashion blogs online and Armani is her official designer- she is three! She also attends weekly dance, art and music lessons and is learning two foreign languages. This is the child whose first baby picture was taken by Annie Lebowitz and made the front cover of “Vanity Fair”. Who on earth is the poor girl going to play with? She certainly puts my weekly Irish dancing classes in the shade. No wonder my ceili / hip hop fusion career never took off.Nevermind. They say everything happens for a reason-. I disagree using the Jewish Holocaust and the career of Amanda Holden as my example. What is the point of Amanda Holden? I don’t mean her as a human being; she could conceivably be less annoying in real life, I mean, what is the point of her career and especially her role as a talent judge on “Britain’s got Talent”? It’s like Heather Mills being a judge on “Britain’s got an Amicable Divorce”. Much kerfuffle has been made of the discovery of an unattractive woman over the age of forty with a good singing voice. The episode Susan Boyle appeared in started as any other, clown music played as she walked on stage, Simon Cowell openly sneereing when she expressed a wish to be a professional singer, the camera panning to gangs of teenage girls giggling at her audacity- so far so normal prime time family television. Then it was discovered that she was actually a good singer and the shows producers decided to treat her like a human being. It’s ok to publicly humiliate untalented people for our entertainment but not ones that can sing. The hypocrisy of the judges swift U- turn, falling over themselves to claim that they were the one’s rooting for her when the audience had been sneering was almost awe inspiring. Matched only by the monkey goons Ant and Dec, cheering her on, when if she missed a high note would have been pulling faces behind her back. If you must endure this violation of everything your Mother told you was wrong here’s a survival tip. Every time there’s a shot of a child singing, and the camera cuts to Amanda simperingly holding back tears, take a shot of something very alcoholic yourself. This is to remind us- she’s a Mum herself remember, bless her, by the end of the show you’ll be so blotto, you’ll be gushing at what a sweetheart she is. Give yourself enough alcohol induced brain damage and you’ll have the right IQ to sit through this rubbish. Am I being too hard? Lot’s of people enjoy the show. Here’s a tip If you are one of these number why not after the show invite Piers, Simon, Ant and Dec and Amanda, all the gang!, around have a few beers and then go urinate on a tramp. Just make sure they have no discernible show biz skills and you should be all right. Britain may have talent but whether it has any decency left is still up for question.

I love making expressions I do...

I love making expressions, sad faces, happy faces, bemused but in a wry way faces, I guess it’s something I just take for granted; I think we all do. So spare a thought this week for Lil’ Kylie Minouge a woman who hasn’t been able to move her face since the Conservatives were last in government. Do you remember how your Mam warned you not to pull a face in case the wind changed and you stayed like that? Well, instead of beinga slightly creepy story to confuse children, that turned out to be the former Neighbours star’s sinister fate. About ten years ago Ms. Minouge pulled a vacant, waxen, simperingly bland face and has remained unchanged ever since. I had thought the secret to her eternal beauty was a portrait rotting in her attic, but that contorted face riddled with sin and decadence just turned out to be Jason Donovan. So what is her secret? Is she actually a Greek Goddess imperious to the flow of time, a vampire or maybe just a figment of our collective imagination? Sadly, none of those things instead Kylie shocked the nation by revealing she has used Botox . I know. I haven’t been so surprised since Jodie Foster came out of the closet and Hugh Grant admitted to being English.The woman uses so much botox she is fast turning into a boiled egg in a wig. Imagine how annoying it must be buying her a present, you would never be able to tell if she liked it or not. You’d be forced to shout frustrated into her immobile, blinking face as she unwrapped the Ugg boots you’d qued hours to get “Describe your feelings Kylie, describe your feelings!”Although, I’m sure being unable to move your face has its advantages. If the showbiz world should ever abandon Kylie and her equally waxen sister Dannii, they could always turn into the world’s best poker playing team ever- Do they have four aces or are they bluffing? You would literally be not able to tell. Or perhaps they could use their enigmatic visages to negotiate hostage situations or broker peace deals in the Middle East. It could be that Kylie has sacrificed the ability to ever show an emotion again for world peace. I knew Charlene would turn out good in the end.I read somewhere that if you ever wanted to bond with a woman you’d just met, all you had to do was mention Keira Knightly and you’d both has something in common. Women hate Keira Knightly, hate her, which is weird as hatred is a strong emotion and she’s only an actress after all. If you were to wander into a crowded ladies toilet and bring up the subject of suicide bombers or Myra Hindley, after being escorted from the nightclub and sneaking back in, you’d probably get some voices of compassion or reluctant defence, If however you were to bring up The Pirates of the Caribbean star I guarantee you would get a unanimous wail of agreement that she was the most irritating, annoying person to ever sully the silver screen, with some girls even vomitting to make their point. What is it about her that makes women want to pull “uggh” faces? I’m sure she even makes Kylie’s face slightly move. Is it the smug pout, the shrill voice, the jutting chest bones that seem to gloat at her ability to live beyond food and your inability to do likewise? Or is it because she reminds you of every over achieving, unfriendly, most of my friends are boys because girls are just jealous of me, teenage girl who made secondary school such a misery? Whatever their motivation, Keira is just not a girl’s girl. Considering, she is the celebrity most women claim they’d love to give good slap; she is an interesting choice for the new campaign against domestic violence on our TV screen’s at the moment. In the advertisements to raise awareness about violence against women, she plays a successful actress who is violently beaten by her boyfriend. We tend to like our victims as likeable and cute, like Little Mo from Eastenders, but since domestic violence affects one in four women, chances are even some of the girls the girls you can’t stand are affected too. Women like Keira and Sienna Miller and all the other women we meet everyday that we feel we’re encouraged to dislike. With two women dying every week from domestic abuse, maybe there’s enough hatred against women in the world without women turning on each other. Even Keira pouty face Knightly...Which is why it’s nice to end on some good news. Colleen Mcloughlan is with child. The wife of Wayne Rooney (apparently he plays football) is expecting the couple’s first child. After weeks of quite glum showbiz news, it’s nice to have some good news for a change. Rumours are circulating that Kylie herself might act as the child’s godmother- she’s said to be thrilled. Well, her faced twitched for a bit anyway…

Famous as Gaeilge

A very strange thing has happened in the land of the Emerald Isle in the past five years; we have celebrities now. Of course there were always well known personalities, we had Gay Byrne, we had Ray Darcy, we had James Joyce, I once spotted Samuel Beckett in McDonalds once but I didn’t say anything. They were famous but on an equal level to county footballers or spotting one of your teachers in the shopping centre at the weekend. You weren’t in awe of them, you weren’t curious about them and you certainly weren’t that interested at in their private life. I remember in the mid nineties when The Corrs burst onto the international pop scene, how hilarious my friends and I used to think it was that anybody could think they were sexy and cool , when we all knew they were only from Dundalk (The Dundalk accent is a mixture of an animal slowly dying and incest)How things have changed? Thanks to TV3, the channel for people who like the “And finally..” bit of the news, so much, they built an entire TV station around it, Irish celebrity magazines like “VIP” and a now extinct animal called The Celtic Tiger, we suddenly had a generation of shiny, orange faced models with rugby playing boyfriends whose private lives we were supposed to give a fiddler’s gold capped tooth about.Top of the list is lanky TV presenter Ryan Tubridy. Seen as the young, hip, fresh face of RTE (he is thirty five so in Irish television terms barely legal) it was breathlessly reported this week that he has split from his girlfriend of four months as it “just wasn’t working out” . Why on earth we are supposed to care unfortunately isn’t explained.Celebrity journalism in a county so small just feels odd. Just as a hundred years ago, the Irish Debutante scene was the dowdy sister of glamorous London social swirl, so now the self declared “It” girls and boys seem like desperate New Look versions of their London peers. Being famous for being famous just doesn’t translate into Irish. Whereas in London, the social gap is so wide there are genuinely nightclubs you can only read about in the gossip pages of free newspapers, in Dublin, you probably went to all the glamorous hotspots in your first year at university. You can’t aspire to an unreachable lifestyle, when you know that most of them live in some dull D4 Dublin suburb, at home with their parents. In London, it’s the Jagger girls that tear up the East London clubbing scene, in Dublin, the Queen Bee is Rosanna Davison and her dad is Chris De Burgh-I think that succinctly explains the difference between the two cities. I don’t mean, isn’t London better, I mean that with a smaller city you just can’t cover up the bullshit. Whether you’re famous for having a Dad that loved Brown Sugar or one that crooned about a Lady in Red, it certainly isn’t your own talent that’s getting you into the VIP section.This new fangled celeb worship was viewed as yet another sign that the Celtic tiger had gorged the countries soul. Now the countries broke again, I look forward to the it boys and girls hanging up their dancing shoes and getting to work on their stream of conscious novels. Tick tock, lads, tick tock.The Granddaddy of the Dublin scene, Mr.God himself Bono is back in the newspapers publicising the marathon world tour he is about to embark on. Apart from saving the world, advising presidents and solving the world’s climate problem, Bono also dabbles in a side project , a musical group called U2. He came under criticism recently when it was revealed that despite urging everybody in hearing distance to donate money to charity, a complicated international banking system meant that he pays virtually nothing towards the Irish economy. Well done Mr. Hewson, absolutely no hypocrisy there then. I’m sure the Irish tax payer considers it a privilege to pay for your roads, health, etc. in return for the wonderful music you’ve provided over the years. My favourite Bono quirk, and there are so many, is the way you can tell if he’s being interviewed in the US, because he will suddenly develop a huge American accent. Watching him on Oprah last time was like seeing an am dram version of “Steel Magnolias”. Could be worse I suppose, he could be from Dundalk.

Dump the dick

Anger is a much misunderstood emotion, a thought the nation’s sweetheart (she won the title off Kylie Minougue on points) Cheryl Cole must be ruefully contemplating this week. While our Credit Crunch Cinderella bravely climbed Mount Kilamgajoru for charity her no good husband Ashley was snapped vacating a nightclub with a blonde and subsequently attacked the photographer for daring to record the event. In all the media coverage, reporters gleefully described the hell the Girls Aloud star was going to unleash on her bad boy husband. We were invited to relish the tongue lashing he was about to receive from the no nonsense Northerner and speculate at how long he was going to be in the doghouse now. Like an updated version of a seventies sitcom, he’ll get grief form her indoors and she stands by her man. It’s a sad message to send out to young girls; your boyfriend is someone you have to keep in line, put dutifully up with rather than a partner that treats you with respect. As for young men; cheating, lying, well that’s all an expected part of loveable male behaviour isn’t it? Cheryl isn’t a role model, she’s a doormat .Why on earth would a successful, young woman put up with a man who is evidentially a moron? Instead of fetishising the idea of a brave little beauty sticking by her fella, we should be shaking our heads in confusion at her odd behaviour. When deciding on my celebrity female role models I have strict criteria- could I imagine them crying in a nightclub toilet over a fella or not? Debbie Harry- definitely not, Jennifer Aniston- with out a question yes. Now Cheryl joins that sad sorry list. I haven’t worked out if this is before or after she she attacks the toilet assistant though…Speaking of emotional wrecks, we love our car crash blonds; Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears, Princess Diana, we can’t get enough of them. A special place in our cynical little hearts however will forever belong to late First Lady of Reality TV herself Anna Nicole Smith. Her reality show “Totally Anna Nicole” was the first of its kind, following the former playmate’s daily battles with real life. How we laughed as confused, disorientated Anna munched her way through hey more junk food and seemed unable to speak, let alone function normally. Always at her side was her trusty, long suffering lawyer Howard K Stern, providing wry asides to the camera about whatever silly scrape the increasingly plus size model had got herself into. It’s an uncomfortable memory now it’s been revealed that the reason for Anna Nicole’s confusion was the galaxy of prescription drugs she was addicted to and the person supplying them all along was her trusty lawyer, beat friend and side kick Mr. Stern. In hindsight, his witty asides to the camera about her air headiness seem cruel at best, sinister at worst. Her son subsequently died of a drug overdose and Anna herself died the same way weeks later, leaving behind new born daughter and a bitter court case over the girl’s paternity and the millions she was set to inherit. Who briefly claimed to be the father, before DNA proved him to be a big fat liar? - Little Howard the lovable lawyer again. It’s a pity trailer trash Anna didn’t live long enough to sober up and see what a leaching cretin the university graduate was. Maybe instead of destroying herself with drugs and booze she would have woke up,got angry and kicked the waste of space out. There’s currently an opera in the pipelines about the former Playboy’s life, here’s hopening it returns some of the dignity robbed from her in life.This being a showbiz column of sorts, whenever anyone even mentions the word politics my eyes glaze over and I wonder what Paris Hilton is doing at this exact moment in time, but we couldn’t help but be amused by recent shenagans in Dublin this week. Oil paintings of An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Captain Smith to the economies Titanic, mysteriously appeared in the capital’s art galleries. Nothing exciting about that except for the fact that one of them featured Mr. Cowen in the nude and the second featured the nation’s premier on the toilet. RTE was forced to issue an apology after broadcasting images of the offending artworks- wither for offending the man himself or for the trauma inflicted on the public wasn’t specified. Poor Brian, he’s no Obama, aesthetically or politically This comes after it was announced that the much missed radio satire “Scrap Saturday” the programme that launched the career of the even more missed Dermot Morgan, is to return to the airwaves in the form of “The Emergency” on Talk Radio. If there’s anything the country needs now, its intelligent satire. Up until recently, most Irish satire consisted of slagging off Bertie Ahern’s anoraks all as he was *allegedly* fleecing the country. Collapsing economy, empty banks and rising taxes, welcome back grown up satire, because as we learnt this week, sometimes it’s good to be angry.

Fearne Cotton must die

Love is a tricky thing especially if you’re internationally famous, incredibly beautiful and most dangerous of all; in possession of a heart with fully functioning emotions and feelings- to love or not to love? , that is the question. (I’m having a Carrie Bradshaw moment..)Giving that question some serious thought is everybody’s favourite ex- heroin addict Pete Doherty. He seems to be having second, third and possibly fourth thoughts about dumping his ex, the fragrant Ms. Moss. Lyrics on his recent album, suggest he hasn’t quite got over the lovely Kate, despite splitting up with her over two years ago. “I miss your face, I miss the places, what happened to her? what happened to me? Everytime I lie on the pillow, I cry…” Oh dear, I have visions of Pete drinking Pino Grigot by himself drunkenly warbling along to Celine Dion. Reportedly, given an ultimation by the super model to choose drugs or her, Pete went for the former option and now, suprise, suprise seems to be regretting it. Since their split Kate has launched a sell out Topshop line, her own fragrance and is happily dating Kills front man James Hince. Pete, however has been faring less successfully. His band, Babyshambles, have failed to live up to their initial hype, with very disappointing record sales and a reunion with ex- Libertines bandmate Carl Barat planned for the summer. While this will, no doubt, thrill fans, its further evidence that he is unable to cut it alone, musically or romantically. He was visibly frustrated in a recent interview on Irish Tv, when the interviewer seemed more interested in his ex girlfriend than his new album. Aren’t we all Pete? What a sickner for him, it’s hard enough having the nagging feeling that maybe, you let someone go you shouldn’t have, without the entire world, nodding their head in “What were you thing bruv?” agreement. As for Kate, ensconced in her Cotwolds country retreat with her new adoring man, I’m sure even a world famous beauty gets a little thrill, when an ex realises they have made a terrible mistake.Giving love another go is TV presenter and all around annoying person, TV presenter and Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton. Cotton is what would happen if the sound of over excited teenage girls on the back of a bus and Hitler Youth ever got drunk and had a baby. Don’t get me wrong, I adore over enunciated words, strangulated sentences and endless, mindless, continuous, never ending babblings of a moron as much as the next person. I relish the shrill enthusiasm for everything, everything that is that 90% of the audience is guaranteed to agree with- “What’s that Fearne?- you like, totally like The Beatles at the moment- wow, me too!” and the insincere self conscious admissions of inadequacy, but in a really cute way, of things she is bad at. Who doesn’t love hearing how an obviously extremely ambitious, confident, canny person is like totally rubbish at so many things?! “What’s that Fearne, you walked into a tree yesterday? What are you like?!”I’m not saying Fearne Cotton is the fourth horseman of the apocalypse, and her continued steely deadeyed success is proof that the end is nigh, I just wouldn’t be that surprised if it turned out to be the case. Oh yes, she’s got back together with her boyfriend. I knew there was a point there. She enjoyed a “summer of love” (or a few fumbles after too much drinking in the sun to you and me...) with E4 ladies man Steve Jones last year but is now happily back with her skateboarder boyfriend Jessie Jenkins. After breaking up due to work pressures a year ago the couple are giving it another go. Harbinger of the end or not, we’ve our fingers crossed for you Fearney.Deciding not to bother is newly single, old man botherer Lily Allen. In a recent interview she describes how as a teenager she was ”so insecure and felt like I couldn't make friends. I totally felt 'everyone hates me and I need to prove myself'” Lily hasn’t had much luck lately. Apart from a brief fling with fiftly year old art dealer Jay Jopling, she hasn’t had anybody in her life since her split with Ed from The Chemical Brothers. The couple broke up after the traumatic miscarriage of their child. So instead on men, Lily is concentrating on her career, her bestselling new album and the new tour planned to promote it. ‘I’m in that mindset where I realise I’m going to be so busy for the next two years. 'Even if I was to meet someone, I don’t have the time.’ Lilly Allen we applaud you. If Pete Doherty rings wanting to “collaborate” (or in your case, his Dad) run for the hills.

Jackson is back...

We all like a bit of a shop, show me a lady that doesn’t and I’ll show you somebody who’s probably just struggling on a low income. I myself have been known to blow whole double figures in the Tesco food aisle- Sainsburys if I’m feeling flash- but then there are others who take shopping to another league. Step forward Her Freckly Highness Herself Lindsey Lohan, who, it’s just been revealed blows up to £8000 a week on little treats for herself. They include £3000 on designer clothes, a staggering £1400 on fake tan (how orange can one person be?) and an almost humbling £3500 on fixing her hair. Now I guessed Li-Lo wouldn’t be the type to pop down to the chemist for box of Clairol but for that money she could just pay somebody to follow her around telling her how hot she looked. Awquardly, according to the reports, her girlfriend Sam Ronson has to scrimp by on a mere £400 a month for her barnet. In fairness maybe Lindsey lets her borrow her hairbrush every now and then. More power to her elbow you’re probably thinking, in these precarious economic times we need a little splashing of the cashing, except that the Mean Girls star isn’t exactly collapsing under the weight of movie offers at the moment and her main source of income at present is attending nightclub openings with her DJ partner. If Lindsey wants to avoid being the celebrity version of Iceland, she’s been told to cut back on the little extras. Expect her to be papped taking a packed lunch to work anytime soon...In some upbeat news, Kerry Katona, Warrington’s very own Britney Spears has reportedly reunited with her Mum after a bitter falling out. In fairness, we’ve all argued with our mother’s- I once ignored mine for a whole week when she said that I needed to be nicer to my sister. The Katonas fell out when Kerry accused her mother of secretly selling stories about her to the newspapers and she retaliated with claims that her daughter was a drug addict and an unfit Mum- normal normal family stuff. Kerry luckily has a much healthier relationship with her own daughter. In a recent interview she revealed how her eldest Molly was much better at changing nappies than she was and acted like as a little mother to her younger sisters. No problems brewing in the future for that little moppet then... Luckily she has her Dad to lean on, except that he moved to Australia years ago and is Brian McFadden- the man who left Westlife to spend more time with his family and then almost immediately left them for popstar Delta Goodrum. Molly if you’re reading this and want to escape send us a sign in your next “At Home with Kerry after she lost/ put on weight/at home rectal exam special”. A T-Shirt with – For the love of God someone help me -scrawled in your own faeces will do the trick. Best avoid Granny's house though as she may just sell your story to the redtops and accuse you of cheating in your spelling tests...Another refugee from a troubled childhood Michael Jackson is making his way to our shores soon. The self titled Prince of Pop is due to announce a series of performances at London’s 02 Arena. What caused this sudden desire to dust off his dancing shoes for the British public? Creative frustration? A brand spanking new album? Or the fact that due to a decade long spending spree (Are you listening Lindsey?) and an annoying habit of getting accused of molesting children every few years or so Jacko is broke. When he finally arrives on our shore prepare for the thudding sound of journalists falling over each other to reassess his contribution to music and reclaim him as the last great icon of pop. Prepare for the mania, the dribbling fans queing to win the privilege of an evening in his presence , the gushing interviews and features from a grateful public honoured to be at his second coming. The tricky reason as to why he lost all his money in the first place, his odd little relationships with vulnerable, underprivilged, underage boys and the money he needed to spend on expensive lawyers and out of court settlements, to get them to go away- well who cares- look at him dance! Oh- he’s kicking his legs and everything! I heard that Gary Glitter may be supporting him …but then - how silly of me! it’s only rich suspected paedophiles that the British public forgive…

And so it goes..

In probably one of the most misjudged in hindsight interviews ever, Eamon Holmes was asked by Heat magazine recently who was the most difficult person he had ever interviewed. He responded by saying that Rihanna was a spoilt brat and if she was his daughter she’d get a “good slap”. Perhaps her boyfriend Chris Brown is a fan of the former GMTV star as he seems to have taken his words literally and attacked the “Umbrella” star just after she performed at a glittering awards ceremony last week.How depressing for Rihanna, the envy of very woman onstage and living every woman’s worst nightmare off it. It is apparently, not the first time the Jamaican star was attacked by her boyfriend and the injuries she suffered, severe bruising, bitemarks, seem to be part of a long going abusive relationship. How on earth, we wonder, would a global superstar, million pound business woman and talented performer put up with such terrible treatment? For a clue to that we must return again to Holmes’s interview. He revealed that she arrived at the show bundled in a blanket like a small baby. That she woke up briefly to film the interview and once it was over, was gently covered up by one of her entourage and carried away to her next appointment. How many interviews, press engagements, publicity spots did she have that day, I wonder?Where as before the recent news, Holmes story would have been filed under another example of an over pampered diva, not it seems much sadder and sinister. If it’s possible to be killed by kindness, then it’s possible to be indulged, exploited and weakened by those that make their money off your talent. I hope Rihanna ditches the boyfriend and the blanket soon.Putting up with no nonsense at all is the unflaggable, undefeatible, age will not weary her nor years condemn, Terminator 2 of pop, everyone’s favourite mad woman, Madonna. So her marriage broke up, she got a new man A Rod, ten years younger. So he turns out to have used steroids in the past- what does she do? Shrug her shoulders and reason that although she loathes that sort of thing, she’s willing to compromise and make it work. Does she jacksie, he’s dumped and replaced by model Jesus Luz, a full twenty eight years her junior. I genuinely think Madonna may be the next chain in human evolution. When the history of mankind is written, there should be an entire section dedicated to her refusal to take crap from anyone, Rihanna take note.Whereas when the history of reality TV is written, there will surely be an entire volume dedicated to the strange, sad rise and fall of Jade Goody. She wobbled onto the nation’s TV screen a flailing mess of blubbery pink skin and malapropisms. Instantly hated, she slid further down our estimations with a drunken game of strip poker and a fumble under the sheets with a fellow housemate. But then inevitably, as she remained longer in the house, kept in due to her grotesque car crash entertainment value, Jade grew in the nations heart and by the time of the final, she was worshipped by the same frothing mob that had previously bayed for her blood. This capricious swing from hatred to adoration would be the theme throughout Jade’s love affair with the public. Her ditsy persona went from being proof of her sub humanity to the reason she was so adored, a persona copied by successful housmates like Nikkii and Chantelle over the next years. There was Jade Goody perfume, work out Dvds, a residency at Living Tv, however like most things in her life it wasn’t to last. Like a Shakespearian villain punished for wanting too much, she made the mistake of returning to the place that made her, “Celebrity Big Brother” opened it’s doors to her and her family and the rest is Tv history. Along with Jo O’Meara and Danielle Llyod, Jade was accused of racism towards the glamorous Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty. In fact, there was very little in Jade’s rant that could be described as racist. She was an insecure, vulnerable, angry young woman threatened by the sophistication and glamour of the Indian star. The child of a heroin addict and battered wife, who left school barely able to academically function, she lashed out against poised polished predator who threatened the only place of success she’s ever had, reality tv. It’s cute if your bad education makes you think East Anglia is abroad, they’ll love you for that, but when it makes you angry and loud, they’ll hate you and turn away. If you’re young and cute like Danielle Llyod, a few glamour shoots is all that it takes for public forgiveness, when you’re Jade you have to cry on national tv and you still won’t be believed. The mob wanted to proof how un racist they were by how much the hated Goody. What was she to do next? She was famous for being famous, as sole provider for herself and her small family all she had to sell was herself, she had to go back on the reality tv road. It was live from another diary room chair, on Indian Big Brother she was told about the cancer that will ultimately take her life, the most painful moment of her life robbed of all privacy and dignity. Her fiancé is giving interviews about her imminent death and posing for fashion shoots holding pictures of her and her boys. We live in a world where a young mother of two young boys’ death is being used to hawk clothes. We may even see the first ever magazine paid for funeral. We can read about her death, with a cup of tea and a biscuit, tut, close the page and then read about J-Lo’s latest shenanigans.When she first grabbed our attention in the BB house, all those years ago, it was for getting drunk and stripping during a drunken game of dares. As she half heartedly covered her private parts her eyes desperately looked for approval and acceptance from the other housemates. Instead of bundling her up and putting her to bed, perhaps repulsed her her vulnerability, the other housemates laughed and sneered at her. Now, she’s selling her death to the tabloids, pleading with us to care for her again. Shame on all of us. It seems even in her hour of upmost need, still no one is gently putting a blanket around Jade and tenderly putting her to bed.

Gráinne's Biography soon to be released

When a celebrity announces they are writing their autobiography, I can usually just about summon up the interest to appear vaguely irritated and that’s it. It amounts to the same level of energy I use for boiling a kettle or taking a sticker of an apple or scratching my arse.Not so with everybody’s favourite “I sold my soul when I was seventeen and I’m never getting it back” Britney Spears. She is reportedly been offered £10 million for her take on her turbulent life, two failed marriages, mental breakdown and glittering pop comeback. It won’t be the book we want of course, we want to hear about awkward teenage sex with Justin Timberlake and entire pages of defaced Christina Aguilera photos, instead I imagine there’ll be lots about learning and personal growth – yawn.Maybe she can get help from her mother who also brought out a Britney book (Through the Storm, A real story of Fame and Family in a tabloid world), where she described in tender motherly detail her daughter’s intimate secrets and painful battles with early stardom. What I loved about the tome was the smug “I’m just a normal Mom” picture that blazoned its front cover. No wonder poor Britney lost touch with ground control for a while. Imagine all those wincing conversations your mother has with you auntie on the phone where she rattled out all your recent personal toings and goings (craftily turning towards the wall at the really intimate bits) now imagine, that wasn’t your Aunt Susan on the phone, it was a writer from a publishing company about to bring out another book about how you’ve gone nuts. I think Britney would be entirely justified in calling her own book “My Story, subtitle, why my family are a bunch of soulless parasitic wankers”.Meanwhile everybody’s favourite collection of borrowed body parts, Jordan ( Being Jordan, Jordan, A Whole New World, Being Jordan Illustrated Edition, Jordan Pushed to the Limit)is causing uproar again. In an interview to promote her take over of America ( It seems like a fair deal to me, they did invade Afghanistan unprovoked after all) revealed political opinions that fell slightly between a quite rightwing conservative and Pol Pot.The Brighton glamour model called for rapists to be raped and the return of the death penalty. What I find interesting, is that considering most of her interviews are for men’s magazines or gossip rags, how on earth did topics like that come up in the conversation? Was she asked “So Jordan, what do you really like in a man?” and she replied “ Oh, I do love a no nonsense attitude to serious crime...and a huge cock” Or did a woman’s magazine ask her how she stayed so slim and she revealed “ Lot’s of water and then tracking down and hunting suspected kiddy fiddlers in my area”.There really is no one like Jordan, a woman who has turned female sexuality into a business and removed any vestige of sexiness, mystery or attractiveness from it. Her pragmatic, unstoppable, dead eyed ambition has seen her coldly buy bigger boobs, hair, change her face and teeth and generally do the amount of DIY on herself, most teenage boys do on their first car. Her cold, hard body is like a successful franchise business she’s invested in. While earlier sex symbols such as Marilyn Monroe, were happy to play up to the loveable airhead in interviews, understanding that that was, regrettably, as much part of their appeal as a nice smile, Jordan has all the charisma of a line manager that won’t give you time off work. When she monotonously lists all wild sex she enjoys with her husband she sounds weirdly like Gareth from “The Office” bragging about his TA exercises. Mmm. Sexy, indeed.While Jordan bought Jordan to become famous, other celebs just sell their private lives to keep themselves in the papers. There’s a line in Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” where a pretty girl keeps checking her reflection in passing shop windows, worried that if she doesn’t see her own face, she doesn’t exist. I can only presume that is how Geri Halliwell( If Only, Just for The Record)views getting her picture in tabloids. The former Spice girl has a new boyfriend. Now most of us would be vaguely insulted if the idea that we could snag a man was headline news, but not Old Ginger, as she has been selling stories of her new relationship with Italian Fabrizio Politi as if her desperate little life depended on it. They have been spotted smooching at parties, going for walks in the park, shopping holding hands, all in the romantic company of the gentleman of the paparazzi. Now, I knowwhat you're thinking, hang on, it’s not Ms. Halliwell’s fault if the press won’t leave her alone, if they’re hounding her for a picture, she can’t spend her life in doors, glamorous Italian boyfriend or no glamorous Italian boyfriend. But, come on, she’s hardly Paris Hilton (Confessions of a Heiress, A Tongue in Chic Peek behind the Pose), we don’t see daily pictures of Baby Spice with her partner and I can barely remember what Mel C even looks like anymore . But then, Geri stopped having a personal life a long time ago. After she left the Spice Girls, she was famous for being thin and then famous for being friends with George Michael, then famous forgetting pregnant and now for getting a boyfriend. What a truly talented and special lady she is.How soon before in a last desperate burst for attention, she suddenly remembers those little boys she accididentily murdered and buried somewhere in the Yorkshire Moors. The Sunday Mirror could do a pull out special where she tries to find their graves looking windswept, penitent, but still the cheeky charmer we knew from her Wannabee days.I’m finishing this article now, as I’m about to become famous for brushing my own teeth. I might write a book about my experience. “Gráinne Maguire, Lies, Madness, Toothpaste and me”. Any offers publishers?(Publishers would like to announce the release of Mrs. Maura Maguire’s book “My Disappointment, What it’s like to have a fucking idiot as a daughter”. Available at all good bookshops from Monday)

I heart Kelly Brook

It’s been a strange week. Monday, officially the most depressing, depressing day of the year, began with tough- freezing winds, even more chilling credit card bills and the sadistic irony of amazing sales when I can only check my bank balance through squinty, flinching pleading eyes but by Tuesday night I was on a high, emotionally drunk texting my entire phone book “Yes, we can!”(On the subject of bank balances, are you like me nostalgic for the days when bank machines just told you how much money you actually had, instead of bamboozling you with cleared accounts, reserve accounts, I can’t believe, this my account accounts? Lately I feel like pounding my fists against the screen and wailing “Just tell me how many pounds I have please!” I look forward to the day when opening my bank statement isn’t like the scene from the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. I also think when they offer an advice slip it should say something more useful like “End it before someone gets hurt”. Banks, are you listening?!)Anyway, as I was saying, it’s a tough old time of the year when all around seem to be losing their jobs, but some seem to be doing it with more style than others.Jeremy Piven, an American actor best known for his part in HBO’s “Entourage” is facing a legal challenge from the producers of the Broadway show he had to pull out of due to sickness. Now, we’ve all pulled sickies in our time, gingerly rang our boss’s number , hanging our head over the side of the bed, reliably informed that was how you made the best sick voice, but no one has bungled it up quite as much as Piven. What excuse did he use to withdraw from the production of “Speed the Plow” the play he was the lead actor in? Upset tummy, that old reliable “food poisoning”, just not feeling that well? No, Jeremy decided to go for acute mercury poisoning; which means he claims he has been accidentally overdosing himself with sushi. Considering the amount of raw fish you would need to consume to achieve this level of toxicity (the equivalent of eating the entire cast of “Finding Nemo” raw) doctors and subsequently lawyers have become suspicious. I bet he’s wishing he’d just said he had period pains now; it might have seemed more believable... Poor old Kelly Brook has been sacked from “Britain’s Got Talent” after it became evident that unfortunately she didn’t. Unable, according to insiders, to come up with enough simpering words of encouragement on the spot for dancing dogs, or skateboarding pensioners, she was quickly asked to leave.I genuinely hope that as she was quietly escorted out of the building, past smug wax- faced Amanda Holden, a woman with all the genuineness and honesty of the scratch cards you find in magazines telling you you’ve won your own island, past scrotum faced Piers Morgan, she turned around, grabbed her wonderful breasts and shouted “Do you think I give a flying f*&k? Look at me, I’m gorgeous, you f@&king morons!” and with a flick of her hair, knocked over a troupe of prepubescent ballerinas and was away.Because what is talent? We applaud someone with an exceptional voice or incredible rhythm but surely that’s just as much an accident of birth as long legs or a beautiful face? When we talk about talent, we don’t really respect the grafters, the workmen that put the hours in, we idolise the ones that do it effortlessly and never seem to really try. When the likes of say Gary Barlow, explain how long and hard he works to craft a song, it makes us feel awkward and slightly embarrassed for him, we’d like him more if he pretended he rolled out of bed and scrawled one out between vomits.I’m sure had Kelly wanted to, she could have invested the hours and become a half decent singer, tap dancer, writer of stream of consciousness literature, but at this period in our history is that want we really want? Glamour and beauty, between gym sessions, plucking, grooming, dieting, shopping, waxing, takes as much time as any other endeavour. What does the world need, another novel on what it means to be English, or a glorious face to look at in fancy clothes, that distracts us for a moment from the knowledge that one day, we’re all going to die alone. In a world of skinny, bored teenage models, gorgeous glossy Kelly always looks like she’s made an effort. Her bouncing curves hint at the healthy, earthy sexiness of having that extra slice of cake and staying up late, her knowing grin a sign that her sexuality is something she is enjoying rather than being projected onto her. Instead of the expensive, jaded glamour of, say Paris Hilton, her plump bottom reminds us of the simpler, heartier pleasures that make money seem beside the point. Youth, beauty, life, fun, that’s what we need to celebrate and cling onto in these cynical times. She is all that is temporary, fleeting, meaningless and absolutely necessary; our talisman against old age, bills, cloudy skies and cynicism. WB Yeats said “The beautiful and the innocent have no enemy but time”. This is true for all of us, credit crunch, unemployment, mercury poisoning, negativity, Simon Cowell be damned. Don’t believe the lies. We have Kelly, we have Obama, we have big bottoms, we have all we need and it will all be fine.

Will Young and I

I love Kate Winslet. I know she made a right golden globe of herself at an award ceremony last week, but she is alright by me. Kate falls into that very special kind of celebrity; one I could imagine being friends with. It’s the mate category, just behind celebrities we secretly think we look like when we smile (Julia Roberts, aah thank you) and just above celebrities we sing like in our head (Judy Garland, bien sur!)I know she’s hardly an imaginative choice, but as a teenager, I always imagined we’d get on. Me , Katie, Stephen Fry hanging out in the pub on a Sunday, waiting for Graham Norton to arrive, wondering what he had got up to, that was how I imagined my twenties. You can say what you like about me as a teenager but I was nothing if not optimistic.It’s hard to be a good friend. Am I a nice person or have I just seen enough films that I know how a good person acts? I’ll be listening to a friend rattle on about her problems, compassionately nodding my head, sensitively stroking her arm, outwardly the image of the perfect shoulder to lean on , inside I’ll be thinking- God, I’m such a good person. Look at me, I’m squinting my eyes up and tilting my head to the left. I am adorable. I’ve definitely earned about fifteen minutes of talking about myself once she’s finished. I could probably borrow money off her as well. Did people in the past ever aspire to have celebrity pals? I think the worst choice would have been the bloody Bloomsbury set. What a smug load of self satisfied, sleazy, sourfaced wankers they would have been. “Darling, would you like more wine darling, Oh have I told you I’ve taken a lover”“Why darling, I’ve taken a lover too, I’m writing a novel about it!”“That’s wonderful; I’m painting a picture about mine. How fascinating we are”“Yes we are fascinating, I’m so glad there’s not a war on”It would be a case of pass the bloody opium and wait until everybody gets round to topping themselves.Nowadays, we can all friend Lily Allen on Myspace or poke Peaches Geldof (eh fellas?), but are now so mortally bored of their lives, that it holds all the enthusiasm of bumping into your mother in the toilet. We know everything about them in excruciatingly tedious detail.“What’s that Lily, you’ve broken up with your boyfriend, have you love, sorry, I actually need to get some work done, can you message me later”As Patrick Kavanagh remarked, through a chink too wide comes in no wonder...who knew a misanthropic poet from Monagahan would some up how most of us feel towards Paris Hilton so well. I’ve actually begun to begrudge the amount of useless celebrity trivia clogging up my brain. Can I swap my knowledge of Miley Cirus’s love life ( broken up with a Jonas brother, getting over the split with a former underwear model/ wannabee country singer) with something useful , like remembering to turn the cooker off every time I leave the house? I think my sister may be going out with someone but I know for a fact, Jamie Winston and Alfie Allen are arguing over a possible move to New York, how did that happen?You see I’m not too sure if Jaime and Alfie or even Miley actually exist. There’s a tired cliché, that if Dickens were alive today he’d be writing for “Eastenders”. Not so, I think he’d be writing for Heat magazine or maybe Grazia. Like his drawn out, convoluted periodicals, sold weekly to audiences desperate to hear the latest plot twist, they churn out the tangled love lives of wronged damsels (Tana Ramsey), dastardly villains (Darren Day) and cunning minxes (poor old Sienna Miller). Every week we follow their lives, tut as they lose/gain weight, break up/ reunite, convinced we know that the reason Jennifer Aniston can’t make a relationship work is because, she has never got over Brad, when in fact “Jennifer” is a character created by tabloid writers, PR gurus and Film studio focus groups and the real Ms. Aniston could well be a lesbian man-hater glad to be rid of him.We create our own celebrities anyway. Like at primary school when the boy who sat next to you played Joseph in the nativity play and for a wierd few moments after he sat down you couldn't make eye contact. Or the thrill on a class trip to somewhere stupidly near home when you bumped into one of your neighbours or your parents friend.How exhilarated and strangely proud you felt waving to them and saying smugly hello to a grown up in front of your friends and teachers. I once bumped into Will Young on the stairs at Soho House. Sorry can I just repeat that sentence again please?! I know. I won’t even insult you by feigning coyness about that little humdinger- it was bloody exciting. However, in a weird twist of events, it happened at the same moment, a new friend I had just met was giving me some brilliant big sister love life advice and I actually found myself turning away from Mr. Pop Idol himself, to listen to her properly. Even while I was doing it I thought this feels wrong, I could be looking at Will Young’s real face, his fleshy, real face, but, she was revealing such pearls of wisdom I simply could not turn away. Imagine. I’m still friends with her now. Will only communicates through secret signals on the television.

Even Beautiful people break up

And breathe.Christmas, New Year’s and all the emotional nail bombs that it brings has finally slammed the door and will not be back for another eleven months. The festive season promises so much, a chance to reconnect with your beloved, neglected family, quality time alone with the real you and an escape from the rat race. Instead it turns out your family don’t really miss you that much, the real you involves a lot more staring dead eyed at Living TV, absentmindedly shoving fistfuls of Quality Street into your dribbling, slackened jaw than you realised and compared to the tension in your parent’s house by December the 28th, the rat race, is a gentle frolic with Disney mice on valium. It’s over, breathe, you survived. It wasn’t always like that. Christmas used to be about presents and Santy and Grannys. Now, in my late twenties, it all seems a little hollow and sad. Everything is the same, the Christmas tree, the decorations, the same rituals of morning mass and Christmas dinner, but the things and the people who made it really magic have quietly gone. It’s amazing how quickly you fit into your childhood family role. By Christmas afternoon I was fighting with my big sister over washing up and by Stephen’s Day, I hated everyone, simply everyone. All we needed was Zig and Zag and our trip to the early nineties would have been complete. But now the sobering winds of January are blowing and with them news of celebrity breaks ups. Samantha Ronson and Lynsey Lohan are no more, J-Lo and her Costa Rican music man ( I’m sorry, I cannot remember his name..) are rumoured to be entering Splitsville and it seems the whole of celebrity Kingdom is sobering up, pulling the duvet over their bleary eyes and wondering what the hell they were thinking.Cheer up my skinny friends! There’s nothing like getting your heart ran over to make you feel how much you are suddenly part of the rich tapestry of human life; your heartache but a little thread in the great sumptuous knot of romantic disappointment. You can smile knowingly while leafing through say, WB Yeats in Waterstones, knowing that he is probably the only one who understands what you are going through. Or maybe lean by the odd rain splattered window, gazing soulfully against the misted glass thinking, yes, Kate Winslet would definitely play me in this scene.Because celebrities know pain and break up. Morgan Freeman is divorcing his wife after twenty four years of marriage. Twenty four smackaroos! Call me lazy but, well Morgan at seventy one isn’t exactly in the first giggle of girlhood, I think after all those years I’d have to become physically allergic to someone, they’d have to have murdered someone right in front of my eyes and someone I really liked, before I could be bothered with legal separation. I would just think, sod it, realistically one of us will be dead soon any way, let’s just wait it out.Even Hugh Hefner has split with his number one playmate Holly Madison due his inability at three hundred years of age to father a child with her. What makes this story so intriguing is that the Heff has already begun interviews to find Holly’s replacement. What would such an interview entail? Would you need to supply a, ahem, suitable CV? Would references be necessary? I demand to know.My saddest break up off the year is an obscure one, the tragic schism between “Transformers” star Megan Fox and “Beverley Hills 90210” superstar Brian Green. It was like A Star is Born for The OC Generation- a washed up TV star of the nineties finds love with a young wannabe actress, who eventually becomes the hottest new star in Hollywood. Briefly it was as if Angelina Jolie was dating Saved by The Bell’s Screech. Work pressure was the malignant force blamed. The old rat race that persuades that success means a powerful job or a bigger car not an arm to sleep under at night. Poor old Brian had to go.It’s hard to know if love is even possible anymore or like Christmas it’s just a pageant you play out in memory of happier times. I miss my Grannies most at that time of the year. Grannies know you from the get go but without the painful intimacy of being your parents, so they are free to see you as you really are. If they know you at seven, they know your soul for the rest of your life, because you don’t really change, not in any way that’s important anyway. They can look at you and say exactly what’s wrong, and they’ve summed up every problem you’re ever going to have into a softly spoken aside and love you for it. Who will ever love you like that again? It’s like stories you hear at Christmastime about when you were little, that make you laugh, but not in a ha ha ha way- in the way you feel when you’re being tickled, when laughing feels like crying.Happy New Year!

I do not trust Baron Von Trap

Christmas is coming and with the dull inevitability of a Geri Halliwell comeback attempt, this means office parties. Comedy had its equivalent, The British Comedy Awards televised recently. Producers were expecting high ratings for its triumphant return after last year’s show went un-broadcast following allegations that ITV were being creative with viewers’ votes. Instead figures were down and television execs were forced to ponder the effect of the removal of its resident presenter, a certain Jonathan Ross, and his replacement, chastened bad boy Angus –rent an auto cue- Dayton. The Comedy Awards are notorious for the bad behaviour of its guests; Spike Milligan referring to Prince Charles as a grovelling so and so, Julian Clary’s scandalous joke about an encounter with Norman Lamount, and Michael Barrymore ripping out of Jonathan Ross’s auto cue, just some personal favourites. This year, the only bad behaviour; a wonderfully twisted dedication of his award to Karen Mathews from Alan Carr, didn’t even happen on camera and many found the event slightly boring. Dull, beige, neutered comedy the inevitable result of the newspaper community’s determination of late, to find insult in every single joke that is slightly interestingComedy is about taking risks and saying, as the cliché goes, the unsayable. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but freedom of speech shouldn’t depend on whether a joke is funny or not. Much has been made of the smugness and tediousness of the offending Russell Brand radio show but if Brand and Ross’s antics had simply been funnier would that have made it alright? Censored comedy isn’t only restricting the comedian, it’s insulting the audience. It’s suggesting that they cannot be trusted with anything slightly edgy without fainting with insult and putting the complaints department on speed dial. Like confused children they need comedy that confirms their safe view of the world and pats them gently on the head. You wouldn’t expect that from any other art form so why comedy? The result will be comedy that no one really cares about not least the comedians themselves. It’s also important to note, how last year’s controversy quickly turns into today’s classics. I personally remember the hoopla fifteen years ago, in Ireland that surrounded the first episode of “Fr. Ted”. Now they have an annual “Father Ted” Festival. I think they should have got Anthea Turner of Cliff Richard to replace Ross, then after a while a bit of inappropriate sexual banter, even full on sexual assault from Wossy would seem like halcyon days.I was not, you may not be surprised to hear, at The Comedy Awards and I’m glad. I hate parties, almost as much as I loathe night clubs and I have a suspicion, if they are honest, the majority of people do too. If I said to you that I loved the cinema, but I insisted on having four pints, two JD and cokes and ten shots of sambuca before I sat foot in a multiplex, then couldn’t remember anything, you’d think, how weird ?why doesn’t Gráinne know she hates the bloody place? Clubs are boring, seedy, sweaty taverns of tedium, deliberately made as mindboggling depressing as possible, so you need to get as wasted as possible to survive the experience. What I find confusing is the meticulous effort made my young women, dancing stiffly in shoes that are to dancing what cement boots are to swimming, to go to a dark, sweaty place, full of temporarily drink blinded people, yet tomorrow, will be wandering around in the glaring daylight sun, make up free, not a care in the world. The whole experience is sold on a lie. Just as top designers make their money from people paying for their branded perfume when they can’t afford their couture clothes, the minimum waged workers splurge on ten pound cocktails at name nightclubs, assured for at least one night, that they are living the dream. I think clubs should come with a disclaimer, spoilt nineteen year old girls will elbow you all night, dodgy old men will try to dry hump you, you will feel both guilty and annoyed by the lady selling toiletries in the ladies (why should I give you fifty pence for handing me a hand towel?- Gráinne- she probably got into this country in the back of a truck, give her fifty measly pence). My personal nadir occurs when the dj finally plays a song you adore only for you to immediately start hating it on seeing a floor full of boozed bankers sing along to every word. Thanks for ruining The Killers for me guys...Forget about going out, it’s safer to stay in. Although, I would like to take this opportunity to air a few concerns I have about “The Sound of Music” everybody’s favourite St.Stephen’s day/ Boxing Day treat. The film equivalent of a stuffing and brown sauce sandwich has some inconsistencies that have always troubled me. Maria is told that the children are a nightmare and the reason the nannies never last. Yet on arrival it becomes obvious the children are a delight and the Captain is hitting on her before she has time to take off her wimple. I’ve a feeling there’s another reason why the Von Trapps can’t keep a nanny and it’s nothing to do with the kids not wanting a nanny. It’s the quiet ones you have to look out for, at least with Russell Brand, you know what you’re getting...

"Weep for Britney"

Have you seen Bosbury, Herefordshire by night? I have. While you may imagine stand up belongs in the big, rowdy rooms of the metropolises, there are other gigs, gigs that are never spoken of afterwards, in darker , danker, corners of this fair isle, the country cousins of city comedy clubs. They are usually on damp, windy Tuesday nights, they are usually (like Guy Ritchie is emotionally, eh Madonna I right?! Am I right?!) miles away and they are always, always, unrelentingly, shit. The long car journeys with other London based comedians can be divided into three categories. The first, where everybody is too tired or bored to talk and the car relaxes into gentle grateful silence, each comedian lost in their own reverie of why they are heading to Bosbury on a Tuesday night. The second, where comedians have an “I Can’t believe this is a Conversation!” conversation. Named after the simulated butter, these affairs sound like conversations, may even look like conversation, but they are decidedly not, in any way, conversations. They are a jarring mix of comics reeling off all the gigs that they’ve done, how brilliantly they went, and shoe horning new jokes into any remaining airspace. To listen to it, is to hear what would happen if Geri Halliwell and the noise of sharp nails scraping against a black board ever got married and had a baby. Imagine being trapped in a car for four hours with the entire panel of Mock the Week. ..Dara O’Brien is busy driving and Frankie Boyle has just farted.The further away the gig the greater the pressure. It’s a long journey back but even longer if the gig has gone badly. Imagine, if you will, the type of angry silence usually reserved for an unpopular ex girlfriend who crashes a dream romantic wedding to announce, yes she does have a reason why these two should not be wed. But it’s not a good reason, it’s a weak reason at best in fact, the couple are deeply in love and the beautiful bride has terminal cancer. Imagine how the assembled guests would view that interloper as she slowly shuffles away and now you’ve an idea how I’ve exited the stage at some of these events. Once after such a gig, huddled in the corner trying to avoid eye contact with the entire world, I was gently patted on the back by a kindly member of the audience who assured me “Don’t worry. Well, you see, we’ve never had a female comedian before”. Britney Spears might be feeling like that after her appearance on ITV’s “X Factor”. After much hype, she jadedly mimed through her dance routine with all the sexuality of someone doing an aerobics video. Encouraged to shimmy at sixteen for our love, who knew she’d end up in her twenties stark raving bonkers? This event follows her triumphant comeback at this year’s MTV awards which felt like watching a battered wife returning to her abuser. MTV being the same people who persuaded her to perform in the midst of a ravaging mental breakdown, live, to millions of people, in her underwear. Now we were supposed to celebrate that they loved her again, mainly because she’d lost weight and brushed her hair. Distressing though her breakdown was, there was something honest, almost honourable in her angry destruction of her pop puppet persona. Grinning blankly, clutching onto her awards, she looked like Winston at the end of “1984” realising that she did love MTV after all.Watching her on Saturday, I was reminded of a book I had read once about ghosts. It explained hauntings as the result of a person spending so much time and energy doing the same thing so that, even when the person was long dead, a part of them remained there, stuck, like an old recording. Watching Britney, dead eyed going through the motions, It seemed like someone sure she used to enjoy doing this, a long long time ago but couldn’t quite remember why. Which is all very sad. In fact the only thing that has cheered me up is the news that presenter Nicky Hambleton-Jones is furious at being replaced as host of Channel Four’s Plastic surgery propaganda programme “Ten Years Younger” by a younger model. The irony is exquisite. The woman who regularly ridiculed normal women for obeying the laws of aging and gravity has been replaced by seven years younger Myleene Klass. I suppose she could argue that age, experience and maturity are something to be celebrated but considering she’s made a living pushing expensive, unnecessary plastic surgery on vulnerable women, it may sound hollow. She described the news as like “a slap in the face” which is good news for her, thanks to all the Botox she’s injected there, she’s probably lost all feeling in that long ago.Talking about people who seem to make a living just being annoying, Peaches Geldof is back in London to launch her own clothes line. Thank God, I was looking for something that would make me look me look like a dull, over privileged moron with the personality of a pot of jam and I’m sure Peaches will have just the skirt. The woman doesn’t so much have a face as an emoticon for smugness. It’s not just Geldof, it’s Daisy bloody Lowe and Jaime Arse Face Winston, their main achievement, it seems to me, is wearing clothes and making it look difficult. I wear clothes every day, I don’t drape myself all over my best friend with all the inappropriate intimacy of an incestuous sibling and sneer at a camera lens just because I’ve managed to put a pair of jeans on. Am I being too hard? Probably. You see I just can’t imagine Peaches trekking four hours across the country to do a bloody gig. I can imagine poor old Britney giving it a go and most comedians, because there’s a third type of car journey. Where you actually have a lovely time with charming people yapping the miles away and the gig turns out to be wonderful because people in Bosbury enjoy a laugh as much as the next place that doesn’t happen to be London. Because everybody deserves a laugh, even sour faced Peaches, even Nicky Hambleton-Jones, if only she could move her face.

I'm worried I'm jealous of every humanbeing alive

My name is Gráinne Maguire, I’m 28 years old, I’m a stand up comedian and I’m also worried I’m jealous of every single person alive.I took part in a comedy for kids’ workshop and stand up show last weekend. It teaches stand up skills to extremely privileged London children. I don’t mean to be envious but when you hear an eight year old start a joke with “You know when you’re skiing and your au pair falls over...” a little bit of your soul can’t help but shrivel. On arrival, I was introduced as a fancy professional comedian and gave them all a “You can do it!” verbal high five. Standing there blinking in the mid day sun, donning my New Look best and last night’s gritty mascarared face, I faced this mini Bodean clad army feeling like a Nanny they had just found pilfering Mum’s medicine cabinet. Worse still was how gaspingly talented some of the moppets were. At the performance at the end, I followed an eleven year old comedian, so witty and talented, I actually heard my brain consoling myself that he had probably been going longer than me and that this was his crowd. And then it was my turn. Have you ever been booed off stage by a baying mob of over excited six year olds, vibrating with sugar? I have. Hen and Stag nights, I can just about manage but when a ten year old interrupts your set to shout “I have no socks”, it’s hard to think of a comeback. Jealousy is a feeling I’m used to; usually promoted by a battalion of magazines trying to sell me things. If it’s expensive, it’s an investment, if it’s cheap, you stock up on it, if it’s ridiculous waste of your money, it’s a splurge; nobody just buys anything anymore. The female body is a repulsive work in progress, that needs to be waxed, plucked, scrubbed and exfoliated or it will make men vomit on sight. How on earth the human race reproduce before the invention of body firming cream is a mystery. That’s why it’s a shock that Patron Saint of making the best of yourself Madonna is divorcing. She isn’t so much a woman as iron discipline in a wig. If we believed the magazines, her two hours in the gym every day, mind bogglingly restrictive diet and obsessive control over every aspect of her life must make her the happiest lil’lady in the land. Of course not. This is a woman worth £50 million who said her greatest indulgence in life was white bread toast with jam. Toast with jam? I have that every morning for my breakfast and I have a seven pound over draft. What a joyless existence it must be, to be that successful and still need to sweat two hours of your life away everyday in order to live up to other people’s expectations of you. It’s the actions of a woman frightened by like not in charge of it. All that work trying to look sexy and then allegedly, too tired to have any afterwards. Next time, you feel pangs of envy looking at her lyrca clad bottom, remember that, and put the toaster on. In other celebrity body news, Nicola Mclean “star” of “I’m a “Celebrity” get me Out of here” (quotation marks writer’s own) celebrated her “breasts” (sorry, I’ll stop now) first birthday. Her 32G mammaries are so bizarrely out of proportion on her tiny frame that they look like footballs attempting to escape from her person. In an interview, she giggled (I think Nicola probably giggles most things...I’ve just ran over your dog, our house has been repossessed, I’ve been diagnosed clinically brain dead) “I love giant knockers!” Giant Knockers? She is talking about her own body! The woman has obviously grown up solely on an intellectual diet of lads mags; her vocabulary is made entirely of words she’s learnt from Nuts magazine. She belongs to a generation of women so chillingly immersed in misogyny, they’ve internalised the sexist nonsense we had, we hoped left behind in the seventies along with home perm kits and being sacked because you were pregnant. Nicola obviously sees her own body entirely in the context of how men view it. What’s pitiful is the generation of young women who will compare their own normal breasts with McLean’s space hoppers and find them wanting. Nevermind that Nicola has probably lost all feeling in them underwent painful plastic surgery to achieve them, will never breast feed, suffer constant back pain and borderline sexual harassment from every man she ever meets until they leak and have to be removed- they’re sexy! Well they look sexy anyway and that’s all that matters.In other blonde news, Kate Moss is all set to launch Top Shop’s flagship New York store. It’s interesting to compare Moss’s tango with the tabloids with that other gossip favourite Kerry Katona. Kerry, officially the person you’re allowed to be vile about, was ridiculed for a pathetic This Morning appearance, where she seemed confused, emotional and in need of an early night, a pint glass of water and a bucket beside the bed. Instead, she was encouraged to give a life interview on national television by a sneering band of MTV producers gleefully filming the ensuing train wreck for their television show. When Kate Moss was exposed as a drug user the scandal transformed her from a fashion industry legend to national icon. Why the big difference? Well, while Kate, favourite with the glamorous, privileged fashionistas dealt with the scandal by swanning off to another party. Kerry, face of Iceland, cuts her coke with a Matalan loyalty card, just fell apart. Like any party you’ve ever been to, there is the girl doing shots that will still make it to work the next day and the one who after two Bacardi Breezers is crying in the toilets. It’s not what you do but what you look like that counts, like everything with women in the public eye. And that’s why I’m so jealous and depressed. I should have finished with that at the kids comedy club. It might have got a bigger laugh.