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