Nothing gets Breakfast TV switched off quicker in our house than the scheduled few minutes with the Show-Biz Correspondent, possibly live from
with tales of who has been seen with whom. Glossing over the fact that I have
not heard of most of the people mentioned, I really cannot believe that anyone
gives a rat’s about this stuff. Does someone out there actually care?
Not being interestingly rich or famous myself, I have never paid much attention to the private lives of those who are. I accept that I appear to be in a minority here, so let’s be a bit more specific – I don’t care much about the private lives of people who are still alive, anyway. Once, long ago, astounded to learn on the BBC’s lunch-time national news that a Palace Spokesman had told the world’s press that Princess Diana was suffering from a slight cold (she was still alive at the time, I hasten to add), I complained to my wife-of-the-day that I was once again thinking of resigning from the human race, or any other species which spent its time waiting for daily news of this calibre. Bad move – I was immediately skewered with a familiar laser-beam stare.
“You,” she said, “should be trying to get in the queue to JOIN the bloody human race”.
To this day, I am sure she was right, so since then I have tried to keep track of areas where I don’t quite line up with the mainstream – not because I necessarily wish to change, you see, but because a little understanding never did any harm, and forewarned is fore-something-or-othered. Armed – yes, that was it.
All those magazines that stare at me next to the checkout in the supermarket – the ones with an exclamation mark at the end of the title – all plugged into some national obsession. “Katy Price tells all – exclusive”, and there is Katy on the cover, looking right at me – sharing her secret just with me. Good on you, girl. You tell em. Don’t tell me, though, for goodness sake.
That’s what nearly all kids want to be now – rich and famous. Rich = famous. I’m not so sure about that, but there is a general assumption that fame brings riches, and you have to be rich to be interesting. Just as well that Jesus or Gandhi aren’t around now, then – they would get no coverage at all.
I see special celebrity editions of shows like Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, and many of the supposed celebs are unknown to me. There are more and more famous people, it seems, and I’m still not one of them. I’m probably jealous – that must be it.
I knew we were in trouble a few years ago when I saw a bit of a TV show which featured people who earned money from being professional look-alikes – being booked to turn up at hen-parties and suchlike. I found that an interesting idea, and I thought the Bruce Springsteen clone was really good, but there was one character I had not come across before, and it turned out that this particular guy earned his living from impersonating one of the then-current stooges on the Big Brother reality TV show. Just a minute – but isn’t that a reality show, featuring real people (i.e. non-celebrities)? Does that mean that exposure on reality TV converts people into celebrities important enough to justify the existence of a paid look-alike?
This is scary – especially since anyone who thinks he sings quite well in the bath can now get publicly humiliated on
Got Talent – are they all famous too? At this rate, everyone is going to be a
celebrity eventually. I hadn’t thought of this – if I become the last man on
earth that no-one has heard of, surely in its way that would be, like, really
exclusive? I mean, you know, such a person would be interesting enough to
warrant some media exposure. Someone should interview him on TV to see what’s
wrong with him. Ghost-write his autobiog. Hmmm.
On the radio recently there was a pointless phone-in about something or other, and someone was sounding off at length about the obscene amount of money Wayne Rooney gets paid a week, and what a disgrace this is. [For non-UK readers, or UK readers who could not care less, Rooney is a prominent football (soccer) player with Manchester United – arguably the most gifted English player at the moment, and his private life keeps the media and the public in a state of great excitement]. For once, the pundit in the studio seemed to me to have something sensible to say:
(1) If Rooney is offered a certain, very high, wage, is he expected to say (as we all would, of course), “Oh no, that’s far too high – I’m not worth it”? Bear in mind that a single bad injury could end his playing career tomorrow, so this whole issue is very high-geared. The man is not a filing clerk.
(2) This is a free market – if the complainer begrudges him the money (or envies it?), all they have to do is apply for Rooney’s job. I’m sure that Man Utd would be delighted to talk to them.
Is all this, ultimately, just about envy?
I fear that, once again, I have not progressed my ideas very far – I’ve just sort of wheeled them out of the shed. No matter, I can wheel them back again for another day. On the general topic of not fitting in with the times, here’s a good song from Loudon Wainwright – this is the best clip I could find. I’m sorry that the last 4 minutes or so appear to be silent – you can stop it when the music ends or, if you prefer, you could use the silence to meditate on a topic of your choice. I guess LW is not rich or interesting enough to justify a better clip.
Once, back in the days when I wore a suit every day, I was mistaken for someone famous. I was hurrying up
“You’re him, aren’t you?” said one, “him on the telly.”
I was a bit taken aback, and explained that I was sorry, but I was not him.
“Oh, come on!” said the second lady, “we know who you are!”
I muttered something appropriately pathetic, and continued to my meeting.
Later the same day I was telling some colleagues about this. One of them couldn’t believe that I hadn’t asked who they thought I was. I was a bit surprised that I hadn’t asked, too, but deep down I’ve always known that I would probably have been upset if I had found out, so I’m glad I never knew. Sometimes I do wonder, though.
That’s as near to famous as I ever got.