Tag Archives: celebrity

My career as a ballroom dancer

I’ll tell you what’s been grinding my fucking gears recently: ski jumping.

The other week I was channel hopping when I stopped on a trailer for the Eddie the Eagle film. This was followed by the show The Jump.

Now, for those of you who don’t know much about the sporting history of England, especially on a social level, until the 1950s you were not allowed to be a professional sportsman. It was seen as unbecoming for a gentleman to be trying too hard; for example, if you worked on the dock yard, you could not participate in the shot-put as you had an unfair advantage. Even to this day, the English prefer the plucky underdog to the consummate professional.

So the story surrounding Eddie the Eagle befits the English sensibility. For those who don’t know it’s basically Cool Runnings (the story that is, I haven’t seen the film so couldn’t comment on it) and Eddie couldn’t jump for shit.

And then there’s The Jump.

Why the hell am I being made to watch a bunch of over-paid, under-talented leeches have an all expenses paid winter vacation? They can go skiing any fucking time they like, or at least could when they had money and didn’t need to flog their carcasses to pay the plastic surgeon.

I mean, seriously, why do celebrities get to do so many amazing and sometimes life-changing things? In the Jungle, ballroom dancing, they even help them find love. Let’s say I wanted to use the medium of reality TV to boost my career as a ballroom dancer. I’d be forced to slug it out with quite potentially thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of other people. On Strictly it’s about a dozen. It’s like everyone wants to win the Champions League, but celebrities start in the last 16 whereas you or I have to start from the bottom of the Ryman’s.

I wouldn’t mind so much if they’d properly hurt themselves once in a while. But no. It’s just another lump of dirt kicked in our faces, proving that the sole point of such shows is to attract larger and larger audiences by seducing us with a glimpse of these demi-gods of modern society.

Why can’t Joe Bloggs do all that cool shit?  What better way to ensnare an audience than by showing relateable people? I’m not Dean Caine, I’ve never been in a cereal advert or played one of the most iconic characters in all 20th century fiction. I do not relate to those people, it merely stokes my ire.

Surely we all remember The Crystal Maze – which has returned to our lives, albeit as a pay-and-play experience – Fort Boyard and the Krypton Factor? Real people, doing real shit. Since Big Brother and the explosion of celebrity culture and reality TV, we’ve somehow all been lulled into thinking that it’s actually interesting watching these vacuous souls.

Fuck, at least if I watch a soap opera, I’m watching paid professionals, expressing themselves through their vague approximation of art and talent. When I peer into the toilet bowl, I do not find myself spellbound. I am not willing to live my life based on what these ridiculous people say and do. Fuck ski jumping.

The dirty word of revolution

Sydney Lumet’s film Network is full of rants, replete with angry words, and they’re all spouted from a man losing his mind. He speaks truth to the masses and he does so from an increasingly popular pulpit – a TV talk show. His perspective is cynically exploited by mass media oligarchs but that doesn’t negate the truth behind the vitriol.

Regardless of how you look at it, anger and madness is sellable. It fits a need for truthfulness, a desire perhaps for righteousness. We’ve all heard the lies and the misinformation from government officials but the voice of an angry old man has less of an axe to grind and in his insanity we find some sort of accuracy.

It’s clear that angry words are important. Rage against the system, the chains, and the madness is needed if we are to ever effect change. Our prophets are often maligned, laughed at, and under appreciated. They are people that speak truths that are uncomfortable, truths that may be self-evident but under acknowledged, and truths that could shake our complacency if we’ll only let them.

But we don’t. Things stay the same, we seldom change, and society ticks on. We become our parents, then our grandparents, and then we die and the cycle repeats itself. Our unhealthy obsession with now, with the present moment, leads us to forget that life is a transition, that nothing is set in stone, and that we can effect change. Sometimes we need an insane old man to show us just how far we ourselves have fallen from sanity. Sometimes we need a prophet, someone who will challenge our complacency and hold a candle up to the contemporary darkness.

That insane old man can be found in our latest secular saint, Russell Brand –a one time heroin addict turned TV personality. The noughties were an odd decade for the contemporary rogue as he hopped from drugs to saccharine film entertainment. He married Katy Perry, a singer notable for squirting milk from her chest in an overtly sexual music video, and of course for the unflattering #nomakeupselfie captured by Mr Brand himself.

But Brand has rebranded since those early sobering days. Now he’s a man with a mission and one that he actively rams down people’s throats. He wants to see change; he spits out the dirty word of revolution in a tone of almost reverence, and he strives to better the world and leave behind a positive legacy. But we like to hate, so we assume that he’s in it for the celebrity status, for the acclaim and the fame.

This is unfair and it seems reductive. Russell Brand is a man who has come from nothing. He has fought for his health and sanity, and he has succeeded. Every day for him is a challenge, a struggle to stay on the path that he has chosen, but he hasn’t fucked up yet. Instead he campaigns tirelessly for better living conditions, the rights of the maligned, marginalised and broken, and he argues and uses his notoriety for good. But our society pushes back – we’d rather support Cameron’s austerity through inaction and quiet acquiescence than fight for Brand’s vision of change.

Where does this complacency come from? Why do forget that we are divine, autonomous beings with the ability to live lives of freedom? We accept the rules, the increasingly archaic religiosity of the past, and we live our lives based on received wisdom. This renders us inert, it ensures that we will always be the generation of the echo, the people who never shook nostalgia, and lived in the era of the never was. By living in the past we negate the present and we ignore the future too.

Russell Brand is a voice suggesting that there are alternatives. He’s no messiah (although he may claim to be) and all he is doing is providing us with a different vision of the future. It’s a future that requires active participation and it’s one that needs us. That’s the key to it all. We are the people behind the scenes; we’re just too quiet. Instead of understanding our innate power we simply live out our days as audience members letting our ‘betters’ talk over us and dictate our perspectives.

We let the political into the personal and it leaves us with a reality that has very few choices. In actuality there are as many opinions as there are people and each is just as valid as the rest. We should be championing conversation, dialogue, and challenging our preconceived notions about the world around us. We’re not Tories. We’re not red, white, or blue. We’re people and we don’t need saving. We don’t need God; we just need to find our voice.

Instead of shooting down those who speak up, we should congratulate them. Russell Brand is a man striving for something and we need to acknowledge that he is doing good, or at the very least he is trying. What are you doing with your life? Are you making things better or are you part of the problem?

Until we start to open our minds to alternative visions of reality we are collectively the problem. Our wages are too low, our futures are sold to foreign investors, and we’re priced out from our home cities. Our legacy will be as destroyers of legacies, and future generations (if they exist) will look back on us as world destroyers. An impressive title perhaps but the reality of our actions will be a destitute world, a place where the rich get richer and the poor go hungry, freeze and die.

Russell Brand isn’t a hero but what he is doing is heroic. He is a man that married a pop star but he’s also a man that protests side by side with the working class. That’s where he comes from – he understands the pain of poverty, but he also escaped it. In that, you should surely see why he’s a man that should be listened to. His testimony is one of self-discovery, self-healing, and selflessness.

Next time you feel like being cynical, target David Cameron or Nick Clegg. Their dreams of the future are literally our nightmares and their attempts to change Britain for the better have clearly not worked. Let’s give some more time to the voices that are untested, the voices that have no reason to lie to us, and let’s hear them out. Change is coming but it’s up to us to determine if it’s for the better.

A lesson in life and commercialism

People make me sad, and as a result I take great delight in any video that promises people involved in epic failure. The recent excitement at the release of a phone that is slightly bigger than the last one left me clutching my sides with schadenfreude – watch as a man who has queued (yes queued) for days rushes to open his iPhone only to drop and crack it on the pavement. You deserve that fail young man. That is a lesson in life and commercialism.

Whenever I feel sad and want to hibernate from office bullshit, I scroll to my NSFW bookmarks and watch idiots. Partly it helps me see that life really is stupid and mean. I am a clumsy motherfucker, I fall down kerbs, walk into walls, trip over cats (they do it deliberately), drop my phone down toilets at the worst times possible (Christmas 2013 – a dark day of family “fun”), but at least seeing other people fall over on ice shows me that we are all fallible.

I must admit I also take pleasure in seeing stupid people neuter themselves. There are so many people walking the streets who plough through me, or shout random nonsense that seeing such shit stains on the pants of life hurt themselves gets me through a day. The incredibly obese girl who spends her disability benefits on a trampoline, which she proceeds to burst straight through – a joyous sense of calm comes over me. There really is some sort of karma. The rich kids who attempt to skateboard down railings for their YouTube posse – that crunch of balls against metal should remind us all that nature will always find a way. No more little Tarquins in your family line. Usually these idiots live a charmed life, doing stupid things that would cause most of us irreparable harm or a prison sentence. The internet now shows us that there is a justice – a shallow, fucking hilarious one.

The internet even levels the precious idols – politicians, celebrities and sportsmen. Keegan’s rant against Manchester United or falling from his bike in Superstars is a perennial favourite, guaranteed to raise a smile. Oh you poor man.

This was well before such things became manufactured for our enjoyment. My wonder at humanity’s utter pointlessness stops at the cringeworthy made-for-television fails that exist solely to make a Z-lister a minor C-lister for a few months.

I’m A Celebrity takes this to the extreme, with idiots attempting to eat kangaroo anus for our putrid obsession. I remember The Word’s “I’ll do anything to get on TV” feature. It was painful to watch, but in keeping with the period. It should have died, but now it is everywhere, the get-famous-quick scheme that starts with up-skirt shots right through to ‘accidentally’ released sex tapes.

Saturday night television is filled with wannabes trying to get famous quick, or those who used to have a talent selling their souls to make people laugh at them. Exhibit A: Hole in the Wall. Exhibit B: The Jump. Exhibit C: X Factor. There are many, many more exhibits. It’s cheap, and it fills me with contempt. Fallibility should not be created, it should be accidental. I watch these people with pity that they’re so desperate and dominated by a need to get somewhere quickly with no effort. It feeds on our need to see people fail, to make us feel better, but this feels like something far dirtier and more corrupt.

Then again, if it leads to a Running Man or <shiver> Hunger Games-type programme, then maybe all of this is worthwhile. It’ll take Darwinism to the extreme and get rid of a lot more idiots in one fatal bloodbath. But for now I refuse to partake in these grubby, manufactured celebrity embarrassments and will stick to fat people falling through trampolines.

A toxic mix of desires

I recently screwed my face up reading Van Badham’s article on the sexual violation of Jennifer Lawrence, and female celebrity nude photos in general. The quote that caused this face scrunch was the following:

“[To look at these pictures (no context applied)] is an act of sexual violation, and it deserves the same social and legal punishment as meted out to stalkers and other sexual predators.”

As someone who is aware of the daily abuses and institutionalised sexism that is subjected towards my earthly sisters, part of me wants to agree that it is indeed a sexual violation to view female nude material you have no consent to. After all, it is immoral, a clear violation of privacy and pertaining to nude (and therefore in this case, sexual) material but I still can’t help but feel a niggling itch that it’s an over-exaggeration of terminology.

Sexual violation usually refers to assault of some kind, or other sexual deviations such as voyeurism. The act of looking at the photos, however, doesn’t require that same level of dedication to one’s own perverse sexual self-gratification as being a voyeur in someone’s bushes. Irrelevant misogynistic last-minute resistance I hear you cry. I’m afraid I don’t mind girls and that, it is actually an argument for reason but I’ll come to it later.

Allow me to break this down using ‘star’ as a substitute for any famous person involved.

The creation of the photos were star’s choice and therefore cannot be compared with child pornography, which Van Badham did, in a rebuttal to criticism of her article.

The automatic cloud storage of the photos were perhaps unfamiliar to star. It’s either a lack of understanding of the technology or star knew and trusted in the cloud security but either way, it’s irrelevant to the crime. No ‘she shouldn’t have been so stupid’ victim blaming from me.

They were copied from the original file, not taken. It doesn’t matter, it’s still theft BUT we are talking about data. Analogies about personal property being stolen such as someone’s TV are not relatable. And by the same token data theft that is beneficial to the public is not relatable, like Snowden’s revelations.

The distribution or supply of stolen data to the public is highly immoral and an abuse of privacy. If it isn’t already, it should be illegal.

Now, with that cleared up. Let’s get on to the wankers.

One thing that was missing in Van’s article was the MO behind the ‘criminals’ she would have locked up for taking a peek, the reason why someone would think it’s OK to look at the photos against JL’s will. Van ignores the psychological and more importantly sociological conditioning of men who view women as objects, and for people in general to sensationalise celebrity.

These two things when put together give a toxic mix of desires that on the surface is disgustingly intrusive and underneath embarrassingly immature. While I agree it’s deplorable to take a look, it does not require the same compulsion you see in sexual predators. Men (or women) who have speciality sexual tastes that they keep within the confines of their privacy (where in the creation of said materials no law has been broken) are not and should not be covered by the same legal prosecution as those who opt to take it outside of their bedroom. Viewing these photos is inconsequential to the direct abuse of JL et al as, although a case may be argued for the popularity and ad revenue of the sites that gets raised as a result, the harm was done when the pics were put into the public domain.

Because of this men who view these photos need a good slap and awakening about the world they live in, but to be sent down?

There is I fear an opportunistic aura around Van’s article.

Her attack on a ‘crime’ she knows to be predominantly committed by males seems a great way to highlight the constant abuses men subject on women through their wicked evil ways, and take an underhand jab at them. The link she included to the site of the photos themselves in a way seems like a smug taunt, a dare to click. And advocating further invasions of privacy to track down those who have invaded someone else’s privacy.

It reeks of hyper-feminist, yellow journalism. The 2D, black and white, right and wrong argument in a 3D, colour world of variables.

Oh and just to be clear Ms. Badham, I didn’t give a toss about any of these photos until your article. So if I get done for viewing them for context in this kind of debate, I’m fucking taking you down too for persuading me.

Cats and dogs dressed up like cakes

There’s so much shit going on in the world it can be hard to stay on top of it all. I am concerned about the shit stuff, like the wars and famines and so on, but I can’t spend all day every day reading about it. I have to find something more light-hearted to drag me through the endless minutes of what can feel like an interminable day at work.

This regularly leads me to stories about animals. I can spend hours looking at pictures of cats and dogs dressed up like cakes, or other animals, or in people-uniforms. I know the animal isn’t complicit in the decision to wear fancy dress, so I do know on some level it’s a bit cruel. It’s a moral conflict I regularly choose to ignore, going in favour of kittens in cardies and dogs in clown outfits over finding out any more about the Islamic State and whether or not Cameron and Obama are going to get all up in their faces or not.

When the animal pictures run out, more often than I care to admit I find myself immersed in stories about the moderately well-known as I traverse the countless pages of crap that are slowly unpicking the very fabric of society: the celebrity gossip pages. I know this is wrong on just about every level. People are being blown up for no good reason, children are dying of hunger, innocent people are suffering day in, day out. The world is going to shit and, instead of reading about it so I can at least make that last sentence sound in some way informed, I’m reading about Paul Ross.

It’s been quite a turnaround for one of daytime TV’s faves; he’s been having a bit of the other behind his wife’s back and getting off his tits on Meow Meow the whole time.

I’m not a drug user. Not in a smug “my body is a temple” way, because I can and do imbibe my weekly allowance of alcohol units several times over, several times a week. I’ve had the occasional flirtation with some chemicals but it has never appealed to me enough to make it a regular thing. It’s expensive and the days of suicidal thoughts that followed my rare indulgences have proven enough of a deterrent to keep me on a straight and narrow, albeit slightly wobbly, binge-drinking path.

Although my experience with drugs is limited, I’m fairly certain of one thing, and this is where I think Paul has got more than a little bit confused; drugs don’t turn you gay.

If I wanted some Meow Meow I would have no idea where to get it from. I would have no idea how to take it (snort it? smoke it? eat it? shove it up my arse?) and I would have no idea what to expect, side-effects wise. However, if street drugs came with labels, I very much doubt they would come with something like this: “Warning: may cause episodes of sodomy and long-term homosexual relationships”.

You cheated on your wife, Paul. And of all the fucking unpleasant things you can do to someone that doesn’t involve causing them actual physical harm, that’s pretty high on the list. The fact you cheated on her with a man really is neither here nor there, so trying to blame the homosexual nature of your infidelity on the drugs is just pointless.

It’s the shaky, pointy finger of blame that comes out every time. I’ve used it myself. Alcohol has been cited as the reason for most of my misdemeanours. Most recently at a wedding when a classic 80s Madonna song came on and a friend and I apparently launched into the kind of synchronised dancing that looked like we’d been practising a routine for weeks. The quantities of white wine we had knocked back had imbued us with such appalling confidence and our uninhibited minds became as one. It was because we were drunk, Paul. Never in a sober moment have we managed or even attempted to recreate a pop video.

But it was done and dusted in a night, Paul. Sure, we’re both embarrassed and wish it hadn’t happened. We don’t want people thinking that as women in our thirties we’re going home and choreographing moves to pop songs and then Skyping each other to practice. But in the end no-one got really hurt.

The clear difference is this: none of my drunken mishaps have lasted for 14 months. Because if you’re doing something for 14 months, there is at least a hint of autonomy going on, whether you’re prepared to admit it or not.

I don’t doubt it would take an enormous amount of bravery to come out. Daytime TV doesn’t strike me as the kind of place to nurture and coddle an individual wrestling with some heavy-duty emotions. The viewing public want their presenters straight and married, and the world remains a homophobic place. I don’t envy you, Paul, but for fuck’s sake take responsibility for what you’ve done.

Being gay isn’t a crime. Well, it is in some repulsively narrow-minded countries, but it’s not here, thank Christ. Be gay or be straight; be whoever you are, which can sometimes be the hardest thing. Just don’t be a cunt to someone who trusts you and then blame it on some party drug.

If only I was as concerned with world affairs as I am with Paul Ross. Ah screw it. I’ll stick with the cats in costumes from now on.

Showering with your socks on

Guess which national paper’s website I was reading from these headlines:

· Black man can’t pronounce Worcester.
· Mother has huge tits; take a look.
· Jedward nearly drown.
· Troubled star moans about being rich while in rehab.
· Kanye West is still a ‘GENIUS’.
· Clarkson: fat.

Of course it’s the Daily Mail. Well done to those who got it right, and for those who said The Sun or The Mirror, you win too, because all their news is the fucking same.

Even the BBC jumped on the pricktard band wagon with this little gem about Mohammed Abu Khdair. “Mohammed, pictured here taking a selfie, was a sixteen year old boy (reflective pause) with a fashionable haircut.”

Granted the Beeb don’t like talking about uncomfortable issues but Jesus, give us some credit. We don’t need a trail of delicious breadcrumbs to keep our interest in stories.

If it wasn’t for Lee Camp’s Redacted Tonight on RT (Which you all should watch to prevent your brain rotting with stupidity) I may have already thrust my skull through the glass of the BBC front door and yelled “This pane is broken in case you hadn’t noticed” just to let them know what their ‘news’ broadcasts feel like to me.

Not all news is bad I suppose, there are some facts in amongst the bullshit. Some of those facts are even relevant. So maybe I should look at these specific stories I saw on the Daily Fail’s website.

I’m sure fashion is amazing. All those different fabrics and colours are like sooo in right now or not but the sheer amount of semi-celebrities caught stepping out of a petrol station toilet, larking about on a beach, rubbing themselves against a tree or throwing a pet down the lens is exhausting. The paparazzi must be like an army of ADHD-riddled snap addicts. A lovely dress that has an inbuilt coffee machine or a pair of sunglasses that can see through clothes sounds like great fashion news; Mrs Steven Gerrard’s post-meal pre-fag sarong and flip-flop combo does not.

The Mail generally hates ‘foreigners’ and non-whites but mocking the Labour MP Chukka Ummuna over his pronunciation of the word Worcester is the equivalent of mocking a Mail columnist over their pronunciation of the name Chukka Ummuna. They may as well have screamed the headline “MAN MAKES MISTAKE: NO HARM DONE”.

Some bird has obtained size HH breasts. This is basically just a subtle nod back to the days of the freak show. Add in a bit about her being a mother to have people hate her: story done.

Shia Lebouf got famous and drank a lot. Robin Thicke made a song about forcing his aging genitalia into teenage models and when his wife left he cried and made a song about that. Kanye’s mad and Clarkson’s fat. Am I the only one seeing this?

I didn’t cover Jedward nearly drowning as that’s the only bit of news I thought was worthwhile.

You shouldn’t read newspapers, listen to the radio or watch TV for anything. Sit in your house in darkness and put your tinfoil hat on, and your mild addiction to eating mayonnaise out of a Metallica cap and showering with your socks on may just hit the headlines. You’d love that five minutes of fame, wouldn’t you? You make me sick.

No results found for “Alistair McGowan git”

Neo-conservatives, paedophiles, estate agents and the Welsh: there are so many abhorrent categories humans place themselves within it’s hard to know who you’re supposed to be hating most when you lever open your eyes in the morning for another purposeless few hours of life on Earth. What’s most confusing is that you’ll occasionally meet a Welshman who doesn’t bang on about fucking rugby to anyone within earshot, so he might actually be all right; you just can’t tell without asking him about rugby, which is like pissing on an electric fence to find out if it’s on.

Perhaps we should have one despicable basket to put all our cunts in; one name for the lot. I suggest ‘impressionists’.

This weekend I was subjected to the celebrity edition of a popular television quiz show, and one of the contestants was Alistair McGowan. Since Rory Bremner’s abdication McGowan has been the undisputed and fucking obviously unelected leader of the army of impressionists who pant and gurn their way through a succession of tired, pointless mimicries. Like we’ve not had enough of Alan fucking Hansen without someone else pretending to be him, or rather him during some kind of fit.

You could see the fatigue and desperation in McGowan’s eyes as he pitched and yawed his way through Andy Murray and Gary Lineker, all “Oh fuck fuck fuck who shall I do now? Yes! Des Lynam!” McGowan was the only one of the quiz show no-marks treating it as some type of audition. I didn’t see Joe Mangel banging on about shrimps and barbies and fucking Bouncer the dog in a pathetic attempt to get back into the good books of the Neighbours script writers. I didn’t know who any of the other six contestants were.

As McGowan, or that reedy voiced sub-McGowan twat Jon Culshaw, continue to roll through their fiendish repertoire on the way to the tragically inevitable Michael Caine climax, they should know that we will hold them responsible for the end of comedy. Its demise is epitomised by impressionism’s supreme being: the ultimate light-entertainment Satan, Rob fucking Brydon.

By paving the way for Brydon’s smug, lifeless, ‘likeable’ humour, impressionists have unwittingly created the black hole of broadcasting, otherwise known as ‘The Guess List’. This is a show in which Brydon asks a panel of six people you’ve a one in five chance of having heard of one question each in about an hour. In the many intervening minutes he does Rob Brydon, winking at cameras like a cheeky sex pest and making audiences laugh nervously with the bedroom noises of Ronnie Corbett.

The Guess List is utterly hateful and I want everyone involved with it summoned to the palace to be slowly disemboweled in front of cheering crowds. McGowan himself will be wielding the knife, before he’s taken to the river and dunked to within a single breath of death over and over again in one of those medieval witch’s chairs, simulating what listening to his fucking impressions does to the rest of us.

And when Steve Coogan finally snaps and pushes Brydon off an Italian Alp I will be there to clear the latter’s path all the way down to ensure he makes the loudest possible squelching noise, and so I get to make certain the massive-faced cunt is finally at an end.

He’s Welsh too. Well I never.