Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The Fall of Keisha

Have you now or at anytime ever been a member of the popular music band The Sugababes?

Now think carefully before you answer because I was sure I hadn’t and then I remembered I actually was for a very short period in 2006, though that may have just been an alcohol induced hallucination; the girls kicked me out because they didn’t like the blue grass/roots direction I was trying to take the band and Mutya was jealous of the purple unicorn I was given for press interviews. So I was pretty surprised to read-ding dong the witch is dead, Keisha Bucchaman, the last remaining original member of the group, the Alf Stewart if you will of the original line up, has been asked to leave, making Amelle free to return to the group, like a wounded fawn, after her recent few weeks AWOL. Beautiful doe eyed Keisha has been unmasked as being a bit of a madam, which is disappointing for me personally, being the prettiest I assumed she must be the nicest-twenty nine years of American television wouldn’t lie to me. But in a shock twist it turns out her face was lying to us all along and she was allegedly bullying her former band members. Thankfully the despot has been overthrown, the mighty has fallen, the mighty Keisha, the ultimate mean girl at the back of the bus has been toppled- mission accomplished!

And it all started with such promise. The ‘babes” first slunk into our lives in 1998 with an average age of leave me alone and stop ruining my life Mum, Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Siobhan Donaghy really should have been doing homework not starring in cutting edge music videos and perchance that was the problem. Siobhan, like a pale woodland spirit, wafted through the Overload video and then after a brief press release explaining she was leaving for artistic reasons, was gone forever.
With indecent haste she swiftly replaced by blonde scouser Heidi Range, who having seen action with Atomic Kitten, witnessing Kerry Katona in her wild eyed prime, was well able to stand up to a pair of gobby southerners . They were almost a happy family until Mutya slipped up by starting one of her own and getting herself pregnant. Sugababes can smell weakness and a little more than a year after having her daughter, the Babes were searching for a new member. Enter the hero of the hour, fragile but lovely Amelle, blessed with a face like a Disney Princess and a voice like someone who could quite probably sing on a Disney soundtrack, she fitted in immediately.
After a quiet start she quickly became the People’s Babe, with a troubled personal life ( arrested for GBH- charges dropped, sister accusing her boyfriend of raping her- charges dropped, boyfriend attacked with samurai knife, the usual stuff) she was the one we could identify with. However, the Sugababes curse hit again, the girls were doomed to find happiness only fleetingly.

A fierce new haircut, a smash collaboration with a grime star and a lot of close ups in the new video and she felt the wrath of Keisha the alpha King Babe herself. Last week, with Amelle missing and her mother contacting the police fearing she had been kidnapped (as you do) we thought, that’s it, we’d lost another one. It’s like Siobhan all over again. Why do I bother getting attached, remembering their name, when they just leave? A replacement was even named in the form of Eurovision star Jade Ewen. Then in a piece of news that made me feel like Ebenezer Scrooge, when he realizes it was just a dream, the spirits had done it all in one night, it turns out, Amelle was safe all along, not kidnapped, and that it would be Keisha leaving the band after all- hurrah hurrah- buy the biggest turkey in the window my young boy and keep the change!

First Obama elected and now the nice girl beating the class bully, somewhere little Siobhan and Mutya are peering bleary eyed from an open front door realising they are safe at last, safe at last. Actually, I would love to see Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan meet up in some dodgy North London boozer, like criminals returning to a safe house after a heist , turn to see the new Sugababes line up playing on a tinny TV set and look at each other with baffled confusion. The band is Darwinism in bodycon mini dresses, unstoppable, constantly evolving, dispensing with deadwood with efficiency of the artic polar bear, protecting it’s next number one. They will never end. Ever. Imagine a Louboutin heel constantly crushing the toe of the new girl hogging the paps attention and that is the future of British pop. Well, at least it’s better than The chuffing Saturdays…

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I bloody love Kanye West

You’re in trouble, you need help, who are you going to call? Kanye West that’s who. Even if he lost touch with ground control many, many moons ago and is floating around, alone, somewhere in a universe entirely populated by his own ego and really jazzy sunglasses. His disdainful abandonment of earth’s customs was showcased this week when miffed that Beyonce didn’t win Best female video (despite going on to win best video, the nomination categories for MVA’s being nothing if not comprehensive) he stormed the stage like an angry Renaissance king, yanking the mike from the startled winner Taylor Swift, to voice his disproval to his kingdom. The MTV Music Awards suddenly turned into a really really good episode of Sunset Beach, Beyonce using her acceptance speech to invite bashful little Taylor back on the stage to have another chance to thank her Mom and Jesus or something really boring like that. A huge public outcry has ensued, with even President Obama taking time off from trying to introduce universal healthcare to the American people to call him an asshole. Reports that David Cameron called his actions well wack haven’t been confirmed. All this forced a shamefaced Kanye to make a humble appearance on Jay Leno to apologise, blaming his actions on over work. Such were his PR’s desperation to get the public to feel sorry for their Sun King; they even dragged his dead mother into the story with Kanye regretting how he had let her down. Of course it wasn’t over work, or even delayed grief that inspired Kanye to turn to Amber Rose and say" You know what would be a great idea, liven things up a bit?!" He did it because he’s absolutely mental. The man is no stranger to voicing his wrath, he hijacks music awards the way you or I butt into longwinded friend’s meandering sentences. The first time we witnessed the fitness was when he didn’t win a VMA for his video for "Touch the Sky". With an endearing mixture of arrogance and sheer bafflement he attempted to argue the award from the actual winners like MTV had suddenly included a debating section to the evening, he pointed out that his video had canyon jumping, cost a million dollars and had Pamela Anderson in it- PAMELA ANDERSON!! Looking at him, I experience the same feeling of envy and quiet awe when I see a child pull a really big, magnificent strop. I think; I remember when I could do that, that felt good. Kanye is still in that magical place. Instead of bitching with his friends that the wrong person won or complaining to his management afterwards, he simply breezes on stage demanding a recount. You know all those terrible thoughts you have in your head, when you secretly think you saved a night out from calcifying boredom, or you without you your company would have folded years ago, well, Kanye not only says that out loud, he’s confused why we haven’t already noticed it first. He has publicly declared what he does isn’t just music it’s medicine. He also went on record as saying he would be in The Bible if it was written today and completely oblivious to the consequences announced at a Hurricane Katrina telethon that President Bush doesn’t care about black people. Come on, let’s be honest, does he? He’s even written a book "Thank you and You’re Welcome" offering us mere non Westians the chance to benefit from his philosophy- Believe in your flyness , he urges, conquer your shyness. God, maybe he should be in the bible after all.

Taylor Swift will be fine, she’s more popular and liked more than ever ,(who's heard of her before?) Beyonce got the chance to be magnanimous in a really amazing outfit so everybody adores her more than ever and poor Kanye is probably going to have to go on a little holiday. We need more Kanye’s. We need more Lady Gagas. She did, admittedly arrive at the Award ceremony in an outfit so bizarre that it looked like her family were being held hostage and wearing it was part of some signal to keep the negotations going but isn’t it a refreshing change from some dull poppet in a vagina skimming Versace gown? Yes, some people find her annoying but how nice to be annoyed by a young blond American pop star for taking herself too seriously rather than depressed by one who is genuinely not sure what that word means. She decided to finish her performance on the show by pretending to stab herself as she played the piano. Bloodstained performances and bullying weedy country stars, not a great example for the young people of today, I grant you, but if they’re looking for moral guidance from MTV they’ve got bigger problems. It’s only rock and roll ,after all, but I really like it.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Let's just escape to the moon!

So hello there showbiz pigs, here we are back at the trough again, ready to nuzzle another helping of celebrity reclaimed meat. This week it mainly seems to be about that old staple; sexual assault. Rape is the new black. It’s just not daring, without some vaginal tearing. How times change? Do you remember, back in the day, when any starlet worth her FHM front cover had at least one tale of a teenage eating disorder? Then it was “my secret coke hell”, now all that seems rather twee and taken for granted, like Vera Lynn hinting that it was a dram of sherry that got her through the Blitz.

Jack Tweed, in the most inevitable story since Kerry Katona last did something really stupid, has been arrested on suspicion of rape. The alleged event took place at his Essex bachelor pad after a particularly strenuous night on the tiles at a West End nightclub. I think we’ve missed a trick here. If sleaziness could somehow be turned into renewable energy, that sentence alone could fuel the greater area of London for about two years. Jack has occupied a special place in British culture of late, being the first male WAG, a male z-list celeb famous for whom he went out with. Naturally a man in such a glamorous role attracts attention, girls would mutter-“I must have him, he married someone who died of cancer, if I bag him Mahiki nightclub is my kingdom” And strangely this heady mixture of sudden notoriety, money and a young man with a history of criminal violence proved to be less than successful. Let’s hope Jade’s Mum’s psychic doesn’t fill her in on this latest development.

Meanwhile, Katie Price has revealed that she herself was raped more than once, via that age old oracle her OK advice column. Her new man Alex Reid is currently filming a movie that newspapers alleged featured a scene glamorising sexual assault. Katie hit back at the claims, arguing that the photos were taken out of context. Call me old fashioned but I think, even if a scene just looks a bit rapey, it’s never a good sign. It’s not like a trick of perspective or a weird way the light fell at an odd angle. Nobody has ever complained about a picture and then suddenly realised that if you hold the picture back a bit, he’s making her a cup of tea, how silly! She says she revealed this episode from her life to prove Alex’s innocence, as someone with her history would never stick by him if it was true. This vague reason for revealing such a traumatic experience from a woman who has already released two autobiographies and who, at the moment, has never been less popular, makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Without revealing what actually happened to her or how she overcame it, or even how it made her feel, she’s not offering any help or guidance to similar woman in her position. She is however requiring us to feel sorry for her, to care about her; you can’t be mean about a rape victim and come out feeling like Audrey Hepburn. People don’t like being forced to feel sorry for someone, it’s like the attention seeking girl at school who had a panic attack every time you stood up to her. Her shrill appearance on This Morning to discuss the story had all the non blinking paranoia of Heather Mills in her prime. Now, nobody minds being cynical about vegans, they’re fair game (tofu game of course…) but she’s doing an active disservice to similar women by revealing this portion of her past in such a tactless manner. The very fact that she isn’t discussing it as a separate manner, independent of her celebrity, her divorce, her Jordan persona is inappropriate in the extreme. The doubt she has stirred, albeit unintentionally, has helped perpetuate that most revolting suspicion and terror of victims of sexual assault, that the verb “claimed” cancels out the harrowing word at the end of that sentence.

The awquard, hesitating way the press is reporting the story is also disquieting. The use of “allegedly” and “apparently” suggesting that she hasn’t quite proved her story yet. But how do you report the sexual assault of a woman who personifies for many the notion of women as sexual objects, there for the taking? Jordan was always up for it, gagging for it, loved it, the willing wink to come and get it. The porn industry, be it, hard, soft, or the onmipresecent flash of flesh that has spread through our everyday mental landscape is based on the sexualised image of the submissive, young woman. Beauty has always been used to sell things, but a society jaded by extreme images from the internet, filtering through to every aspect of our visual lives, needs an extra kick to keep things interesting. The promise is that you can have that doe-eyed page three girl or that pouting teenager in the jeans ad, whether they like it or not.Also in the news this week, in a story almost ignored by the press, was the American fashion designer found guilty of raping at least fourteen young aspiring models, whose careers he had promised to help .The trial reports are heartbreaking with tales of sobbing teenage victims holding each others hands in solidarity. It’s the hypocrisy of this story that I find revolting. Anand Jon Alexander was sentenced to fifty nine years for attacking them but the industry that was going to sell those very same girls, at the very same age as sexual objects doesn’t wonder if it’s morally any better? If our media encourages us to imagine dominating, controlling,taking, young beautiful girls, no wonder it feels uncomfortable reporting when someone takes them at their word. How after all, can you be a sexual fantasy and a human being as well? How can you be a sexy teenage temptress and a scared fourteen year old child in a courtroom? Katie Price created her Jordan persona so that it would be easier to sell herself as a guilt free sexual fantasy devoid of feelings or respect. So it’s Katie when we’re supposed to like her and sexy Jordan when we’re allowed hate her. Maybe, all women are going to need their own double indentity soon.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

What would happen if Pinnochio lied about getting his nose fixed?

Demi Moore has never had plastic surgery. Ever. Now, there are barefaced lies and then there are botoxed to within an inch of its collagen plumped cheeks tall tales. It’s like if I shaved off all my hair, then complained that my new fringe was getting in my face and you had to look me right in the eyes and hesitantly offer to lend me a hair band. Its part of the usual evasions given out by Hollywood stars- No, I’ve never had surgery, I’m just lucky; oh you skin obeys gravity does it? I gave up dairy and the rules of physics years ago; my publicist did a deal with Isaac Newton. No, I never work out; I’m just too busy having a better life than you that I don’t put on weight. I gorge myself on deep-fried fat people and nothing! Yes, I have the perfect marriage, ok, my husband is gay and my religion means that I believe in space aliens but you’re missing the point. I’m your genetic superior. It’s the strange double think that Hollywood uses to convince us that Jessica Simpson is a girl next door and Britney Spears is now sane because she’s been trained to brush her hair.

Forty seven year old Demi not only looks like a twenty year old, she looks like a completely different twenty year old to the one she was when she actually was that age. Gorgeous, beautiful Demi was the belle of the eighties. Her doughy cheeks and sparkly eyes broke a million stone washed denim achy breaky hearts. She’s still stunning; she just looks like a different stunning person. Not in a bad way, just like if her face was a flicker book you’d go old, older, Oh “Ghost” god, I haven’t seen that in ages, older, Oh whoops it’s a new book, hang on who is this? I feel like I should defend her because we’re friends. Twitter friends that is. Demi, Denise Richards, Paris, all the gals’ tweets cheer me up as I slowly become sentient over the first morning’s coffee. The time difference means as I’m murderously turning on my computer in rainy London, my LA twitter friends are lazily snuggling into their Egyptian cotton sheets, twittering their thanks to God for an another awesome day on the beach. The sad thing is that in Demi’s tweets she seems so sweet and completely earnest. She appears genuinely indignant that anything other than yoga and running on the beach could be the reason why she has managed to dodge the aging process. Of course we’d all like Demi a lot more if she admitted that to avoid becoming invisible in Hollywood and to feel better around her much younger husband, every now and then she had bits of her face cut off. The same way we’d all have liked Victoria Beckham if, during the Rebecca Loos unpleasantness, she’d wandered around in her pjs for a while muttering. I’d love it if she did a full interview revealing the real reason for her eternal youth; the occasional sacrifice of the odd virgin and a bit of bathing in the unfortunates’ blood. That would be some “OK” home shoot. She could even bring out her own home sacrifice kit and sell them on QVC. Apparently it really closes those pores right up.

Meanwhile even Kerry Katona’s nose is jumping ship and apparently quietly rotting away. The woman whose job it is to make us all feel better because at least we’re not as bad as her was caught snorting cocaine by a tabloid and has been dropped by supermarket chain “Iceland”. She’s also been held by the police after allegedly attacking her former accountant. Maths is the least of your worries Kerry. Her husband was caught getting a bit too friendly with a stripper on their make or break holiday away and now Kerry faces losing custody of her children after allegations from her nanny that she is an unfit mother. Meanwhile, Brian McFadden, the father of two of her children is flying over to Dublin from his base in Australia to attempt to gain custody. Notice there’s no story running about an absentee Dad leaving his children with an unhinged drug addict. Had he to be reminded he actually had kids? I remember his first solo single was about wanting to spend time with them so you’d thing when he performed that on stage it would at least jog his memory. Apparently Kerry picks away the black, rotting, coke addled nostril flesh from her nose with a tweezer. Just pause on that image for a while. She’d probably offer to show it to you as well; in return for love. Never mind the glittery phantasms of the Hollywood publicity machine, that my friends, is the foul rag and bone shop of celebrity British style. Peer into it's heart of snotty darkness and wonder.