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.

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