Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Oh Katie!

Can a truce be called with Katie Price? If she just gave us a list of her demands; social acceptance, an annual tithe paid by the entire population directly into her bank account and Peter Andre penitent in a sackcloth, could she please, please just give us a break? She has become the nation’s nightmare ex- girlfriend, claiming to have moved on but still sending drunken, saucy texts messages and then screaming at you the next day for messing with her head.

In her recent appearance on “I’m a Celebrity” the former stunner finally morphed into a bitterer version of Mrs. Haversham wandering inconsolably around the Australian jungle in her faded bikini trying to woo back the nation and remind us how it used to be. Her physical appearance is genuinely becoming disturbing, her puffed up face is beginning to look like a fish in drag and she’s only thirty one. After walking off the show after being voted for her umpteenth trial in a row she used her post interview to break up with her cage fighting/ cross dressing boyfriend Alex Reid. Oh dear, we’ve come a long way from singing Disney duets with Pete haven’t we?

Just when we need a voice of sanity more than ever we’re dealt the blow that the world’s fantasy mother is moving out- Oprah Winfrey is retiring from her landmark chat show to concentrate on her burgeoning digital channel. The news came in the same week that “Oprah” received some of it’s higher ever ratings thanks to the appearance of a certain former vice president Sarah Palin. Palin was talking about her autobiography “Going Rouge” her version of last year’s election and calling card for a possible 2012 election run.

Her book raised eyebrows and dropped jaws (try it yourself, it’s actually quite sore) when she revealed how during a political trip to Texas to discus oil drilling, the heavily pregnant senator woke to discover she had gone into labour. Not one to be distracted by a bit of vaginal dilation, she grit her teeth, delivered her speech encouraging exploration in endangered areas (broken embryonic fluids or not those Polar bears are going down) laughed off jokes that she was leaving early to give birth (if only they knew she chuckled) and boarded two flights just so she could give birth later that night in her home state of Alaska. If someone told you that story on a parkbench you could have them certified but in a book on national television it becomes an inspirational story.

It was also Oprah or specifically her couch that gently let the world know how completely bloody mental Tom Cruise was. Before he used his interview with Oprah to practice human feelings he was just the toothy guy from Top Gun, now we know him as the world’s most sinister dwarf. His cult, I mean religion, I mean organisation that rips people off, Scientology have been under a bit of heat down under with the Australian government launching an investigation into its practices and threatening to remove the tax free status it enjoys as a registered religion. It recently lost a key celebrity member Paul Haggis, the Oscar winning director who criticised the inconsistencies of what he as a member knew happened privately and what their spokesperson’s admitted in the press.

It’s depressing how many other celebrities you lose respect for when you learn that there in the same club as Peaches Geldof- Kirsty Alley- no not Rebecca from Cheers, yes she too was strolling down the street one day and got distracted outside Pret a Manger by a free personality test and now thinks that she needs to go on thousand dollar course to win her soul back. I just hope Sam never finds out; even Dianne at her worst would never have fallen for that nonsense. The biggest disappointed, apart from Bart Simpson (yes) was the actor Jason Lee from “My Name is Earl” I was going to marry him; now I’m having big doubts (The wedding’s still on though...just)

A recent expose book revealed that a former member of the religion received a personal one on one session with mad eyes Cruise himself which involved trying to move ashtrays by shouting at them. I’ve tried to find keys by shouting for them so I could have saved him some time and told him that it just doesn’t work. I had thought that nothing would convince me to take this pyramid scheme of a religion seriously until I thought up the ultimate challenge. Take Katie Price, give her a few of your little courses and return her to us with just a glimpse of a humanity behind her eyes and then I actually might give the whole metal rods a go myself. Failing that just make anything Sarah Palin says make sense.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Is Mariah Carey a misunderstood marxist hero?

Ever get the feeling you got the wrong impression of someone, summed them up slackly, sold them short? Well, I’ve been having that uneasy feeling about Mariah Carey of late. She was never a woman I took to my heart. She may be blessed with a voice that seems to dance around octaves yet she also seemed to spend most of this decade dressed as a street walker. What a depressing thought, a woman so blessed with talent, yet still seemingly feeling the necessity to borrow her clothes from an adult film star in the last throws of her career. Yet, in recent interviews with Mimi something strange is happening. When asked why she called her last album E=MC2, she dryly explained it was because she and Einstein had so much in common. Could the one thing she managed to keep tucked up her body-con dress hidden from the public all these years be a cracking sense of humour?

Yes her music may be the aural equivalent of the emptiness that descends after night of class A’s and have breasts so fake they should come with quotation marks, but thanks to the security that only a new healthy marriage and a resurging career can bring, she seems to be showing a newfound ability to laugh at herself. Who knew she could be witty; maybe it was just all that lyrca cutting off circulation to her brain?

Following Rihanna’s public revelations about her abusive relationship with Chris Brown, Mariah revealed the emotional cruelty that wracked her first marriage to Sony music magnate Tony Mottola. Not only did he control every aspect of her public image, even determining whether she should have a fringe or not, Mariah revealed she was barely allowed leave their million dollar mansion and spent most of her early twenties lonely and isolated. She finally got her own back by using the very million dollar Vera Wang dress she was married in for a video where she escapes the clutches of a slimy older man and runs off with the cute guy from Prison Break. When asked whether it was weird to use her actual dress she calmly explained that the dress was the least abusive part of the relationship. She’s now happily married to TV presenter Nick Cannon and has transformed her music career into a global empire. She is an ambassador for Caribbean Island, has her own perfume and cosmetic line and is soon to be seen sans make up in a gritty urban film “Precious” about a social working helping an abused teenager.

She also released a sarky music video where she mocked the man of la macho, Enimen for claiming to have slept with her. It wasn’t just the sarcastic single that showed her spirit, it was the scathing interviews to publicise it that showed she was not a dame to mess with. Had she actually heard the single, she was asked, where Mr. Mathews bragged about bedding her? No she replied sadly, the radio just never seemed to play it. Her single went platinum. Game, set , match, Carey.This week she has also managed to annoy, of all people, Philip Schofield by being hours late for her This Morning interview and delaying matters even further by struggling to find an outfit she liked. To add glitter to injury she then refused to let him post any pictures of her on his twitter page until her people checked them and then nixed the idea when she didn’t like them. So she’s no sweet and dippy Stacey from X factor then. She’s the music equivalent of Donald Trump but instead of real estate she’s selling her glamour girl image which is has to be guarded at all costs. If she has to choose between being a bit of a diva or damaging her million dollar brand, it’s a case of screw you Phil, sorry you know I do love your show. ..

Mariah is also appearing at Westfield Shopping centre to turn on their Christmas lights. There have been reports that the singer‘s demands are becoming nightmarish for the management there. She reportedly demanded a special pink carpet, limousine and podium, twenty kittens, one hundred doves and special butterfly shaped confetti to shower on her adoring fans. Now, this may to the outsider sound like the spoilt dead behind the eyes diva returning to her infant ways but again are we judging her too quickly? Is it that unlikely that she’s using her visit as a secret plan to bankrupt Europe’s largest shopping centre, the biggest symbol of globalisation and corporate greed by pointing out the hollowness and vacuousness at the heart of the capitalist dream? Or that she’s having a laugh quite literally at their expense? If we’ve learned anything, it’s never underestimate Mimi.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Bringing you the news that matters

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Simon Cowell has officially broken John and Edward. On last week’s show Jedward and lovely Lucie from Wales found themselves unexpectedly in the bottom two. The twins from Dublin had become the show’s surprise stars; Louis Walsh their mentor was jubilant while Simon Cowell, their arch critic, seemed increasingly frustrated, arguing that it was after all a singing competition and threatened to leave the country if they won. There was the bizarre version of “Oops I did it again” complete with matching red vinyl suits and bizarre incestuous undertones and a version of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” where they struggled around the stage like two drunks asthmatics gate crashing an end of term school play. Judge Simon huffed and puffed but try as he might he couldn’t blow the house of Jedward down. Short of popping a shirt button open with rage (if it wasn’t open to the waist already -ladies!) or waving his fist at them and exclaiming “you pesky kids” he couldn’t have made his disdain for them more evident. So when he was finally gifted the chance to rid himself of the Macaulay Culkins to his Walter Matheau and save the silver voiced Welsh lass, Jedward fans throughout the nation sadly noted the time, stopped all their clocks and quietly prepared for the inevitable.

Annoyingly , what he ended up doing was even worse than just voting them out. If he’d done that they’d at least have left on high; loveable, odd underdogs to the end. But by going to the public vote, a vote he knew thanks to the boys big press they’d win, he revealed himself to be what he always was, not the show’s grouchy judge with an eye for talent but the programme’s canny producer with a nose for ratings. We’d all been swindled; we were supposed to think we were annoying Simon by liking them, suddenly everything seemed like a bitter sham. What next? Simon and Louis don’t hate each other but are two happy middle aged mates working in music management? Cheryl and Dannii aren’t really waging a tit for twat war through the medium of hairdos but are two successful women who just don’t know each other that well? My eyes, my eyes as the scales fall away. Damn you Simon Cowell.

Meanwhile poor old Britney is in trouble with the Australians after disappointing concert goers by lip synching her way through “life” performances. Britney was criticised for seeming vacant, unengaged and bored with fans fleeing three songs in. I’m surprised people expected anything else, the light died in Brit’s eyes a long time ago. She’s become a performing monkey blankly going through the motions. They say that the age you are when you become famous is the age you’ll stay for the rest of your life. So they’re paying to see a sixteen year old former drug addict who is not trusted to be alone with her own children and then wonder why she doesn’t have much pep in her step.

Maybe she needs a new man in her life. Peter Andre is on the loose now, freshly divorced and feeling flush after winning a libel case against a gossip magazine that claimed he was pretending to be good father for publicity purposes. Andre celebrated his victory with another exclusive photo shoot with his kid’s faces lovingly displayed over a ten page spread. Nothing says family man like selling pictures of your children for money so he sounds like a catch!

Or maybe Brits should just stay single for a while longer like fellow pop starlet Rihanna. The girl has been having a tough year but luckily her record company who have owned, sorry, supported the star since she was fifteen are taking excellent care of their young charge. In an interview, that happened to coincide with her latest album release, the singer spoke to American TV legend Diane Sawyer about her abusive relationship with fellow singer Chris Brown and revealed in detail the horrific night he almost killed her. In a fantastic piece of journalism the veteran reporter, receiving the highest ratings of the year, grilled the shaky, nervous looking twenty year old about being knocked about by the first love of her life. Apparently her record company deliberately held back on spending money on the video for new single as they knew the resulting controversy would provide enough publicity anyway. To help her further along the road to self esteem and confidence they also released tasteful new shots of the singer topless and in various S &M outfits. I think I speak on behalf of most people when I say how happy I am that RiRi has finally escaped from such a cruel, exploitative and degrading relationship.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I love Michelle and Barak..or do I? dum dum duum!

When we first met the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue it became a journalistic cliché to refer to the Obamas as the new Kennedys- an unfair label to put on any new political family.

It’s like calling around to the new next door neighbours, admiring what they’ve done to the place before pausing on the doorstep to exclaim with a winsome smile on your face - “You know, you remind me exactly of the family that used to live here. You know the one... Dad got his head blown off and the mother ended up with a sleazy Greek who never really loved her. Their surname became synonymous with tragic bad luck. God, who were they again? Anyway, welcome to the neighbourhood! ”

It can’t be reassuring for Barak, living in a country populated by a sizeable community of racists with grudges and guns to remind so many people of the man whose assassination was a defining moment of the last century. He wouldn’t be blamed for wishing to be compared to one of the non murdered by a lone gun-manny presidents. Although, if he was a fan of the Oliver Stone film he’s probably working on some major, major CIA funding cuts as I type. “What’s that Barak? The CIA’s new budget stretches to just one gun we have to clock in and out and share? And you’ve put Kevin Costner in charge. WTF?” It must be frustrating for Barak as, apart from his youth, good lucks and oratory skills, he hasn’t that much politically in common with JFK. In fact his attempts to unite a deeply divided America have much more in common with Abraham Lincoln.

Who was also assassinated. Right better forget that one too...

It isn’t very flattering to Michelle either. Yes, she rocks a shift dress and looks great in pearls but unlike her breathy, baby-voiced predecessor, the Princeton graduate is unlikely to ever have to depend on cheating spoilt heirs to keep her in American designer one offs. Rather than sigh and start mixing an extra strong martini at the news of her husband’s latest indiscretions, she’s more likely to sue and take everything belonging to him. If Barak ever cheated on Michelle with some modern Marilyn, the world would be so universally disappointed in him we’d give her the presidency as part of the divorce deal. Every State of the Union address would end with Congress officially stating for the record that the new president was better off without him. The comparison is also not very encouraging to little Sasha and Malia. If they really are the next Kennedys, who gets to be Caroline and who draws the unlucky John John straw and ends up spiralling to her death in an out of control aeroplane next to a coke addict they’re in a loveless marriage to? More importantly which unfortunate cousin ends up with a Schwarzenegger?

Barak may wish he had his own Rat pack and possible mob connections at the moment. He’s experiencing receding ratings due to his reluctance to outline his exact plans in Afghanistan and the unpopular healthcare bill he is marginally managing to drag through Congress. To keep approval ratings up he seems to be increasingly relying on Michelle’s steady popularity. The First Lady has appeared on the front cover of countless magazines, guested on reality programmes and even popped up on Sesame Street. They recently gave a joint interview in which the revealed how the presidency had affected their marriage and how they struggled to have some “them” time. Barak complained about recent criticism for using the air force one jet to take his wife on a date and Michelle remarked that their marriage was constant hard work. We found out that Michelle turned him down several times before they got together, that White House staff often walk in on them mid embrace and that Michelle livens up boring Official meet and greets by whispering unprintable comments about visiting dignitaries in her husband’s ear.

Now, we may feel like we can’t get enough of the golden couple at the moment but we also feel like that about Jedward who, in our heart of hearts, we know in six months time we’ll view with all the affection of a pool of unmapped vomit the morning after the night before. I’m worried it’ll soon become a case of too much information. I just don’t want to know this much about the ins and out of their relationship and when I do catch a glimpse into their private world, like those swoonsome pictures of the Inauguration Ball, I want to tingle with the unexpected intimacy of such a glamorous moment not jadedly note that they’re at it again.

I like our Obama crush; it’s a natural reaction to the current cynicism specifically after the gloom of the Bush/ Blair years. We need idols to love, larger than life people to root for and aspire too. Just as the Kennedy’s seemed to offer glamour and style in a country wracked by racial tension and the threat of nuclear war, the Obamas offer integrity and idealism in a political world corroded by corruption and arrogant warmongering. One joint interview too many and they’ll turn from the gorgeous new neighbours you wanted to hang out with to the ones that you dread bumping into because you’ve heard them having very loud smug sex every night for the last week.

Forget about being the next Kennedy’s they’re close to being the next Newlyweds with Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey; the pop starlets who allowed a MTV TV crew to document every moment of their fledgling marriage and then wondered why it combusted like the Challenger disaster four years later. So maybe Obamas, ask not what the country can know about you but what you can keep mysterious from the country and whenever you feel the need to spill the beans look to the patron saint of too much information; Bill Clinton and reconsider.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Sacre Bleur!

Hey gang! Do you remember when Sartre said that hell was other people; well what many don’t realise was that he had two very specific people in mind. For as well as discovering that existence precedes essence and that freedom is a burden in an indifferent universe (thanks JP!) , he also had, one morning on the Left Bank, a chilling vision from the future so horrifying that he spat out his croissant ,splattered coffee all over his new stripy sweater and startled a passing mime artist “Sacre Bleur!” he bellowed, summoning Simone in from writing his next essay, hell was other people but how to describe the soul destroying, faith in god annihilating snapshot of the tomorrow he had seen? Who would believe him? He paused, gazed wearily over the Seine and sadly adjusted his trusty string of garlic. They’d just have to wait, live long enough and see it on ITV I player themselves and then the world would understand what he meant. Once they’d seem “Fearne Cotton meets Peaches Geldof” with their own innocent eyes.

ITV have brought us Room 101 in its literal televisual form. Not a jaunty chat show with Paul Merton but a programme so mind bendingly awful you’d gladly chew your own head off just to escape. Watching Peaches speak is like staring into a black hole of boredom, where nothing escapes, humour, intelligence, joy, light; if you stare at Peaches Geldof long enough you end up seeing the back of your own head. The show’s format is like Louis Theroux sponsored my Bliss magazine, but instead of trying to learn more about the interviewee the programme seems to pivot on whether the celebrity guest will want to be friends with its host Fearne Cotton at the end or not. It’s like ITV is paying a random famous person to keep her quiet for a while. Her next project is presumably a travel show where the sole aim is to find the country that’s most flattering to whatever outfit she’s wearing.

Cotton is a cyborg set to cute; everything she says, does, thinks is ruthlessly designed to make you find her as sweet and adorable as possible; liking her is a command not an option. Her delight has the hollow ring of a skinny girl claiming to be fat. In last week’s show she ran around after Peaches Geldof, like a seagull chasing a trawler for social acceptance. I’m surprised two such cataclysmically irritating people so close together didn’t set off some celestial reaction and result in animals acting spooked in New York zoos, horses eating their foals or Great Birnan wood suddenly arriving at Dunsinane Hill. I know for a fact, someplace else in the world, two otherwise insufferable people became slightly more bearable just to balance out the cosmic order.

Peaches Geldof, famous for being the daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates , is as delightful as any privileged, jaded twenty year old, who lost her mother to a drug overdose and has been attending celebrity parties since she was fifteen can be. Maybe she will grow up and cringe at her earlier social malapropisms or still be too much of a smug numbnut to care, till that fine day she is on our TV screens. She moved to New York a year ago to establish a writing career but her most impressive achievement is, in that short period of time, acquiring a perfect American accent. She like totally loves like sci-fi, Richard Dawkins and awkward moments, weird stuff like that since she’s such a nerd. I find it interesting that people who revel in how weird they are always seem to like the same “nerdy” things. It’s always seventies or eighties nostalgia, obscure punk bands or Victorian writers, no one ever brags about how much they like Northern miners’ brass bands, home brewing or the novels of Gyles Brandeth. Pensive Fern tried to get Peaches to really open up; Peaches just looked really hung over and bored. The two fixing each other with laser stares; you will find me adorable, you will find me cool, like mutant teenage girls with passive aggressive super powers.

The shock revelation of the night was that Peaches had accepted the Church of Scientology into her heart. How did Fearne deal with the news that her subject believed in angry aliens? She said how amazing that was! And then in an incredible turn of events, that no one saw coming, despite Peaches having spent much of the documentary ditching her, falling asleep in her company and occasionally sneering at her to her face, Fearne concludes that Peaches seems like a really nice, down to earth girl after all. Well, of course she’d say that, Peaches had no option,the freedom to choose being mates with Fearne is an illusion. No wonder Sartre was scared