So… Nigella Lawson did a lot of cocaine and the readers of that revolting soapbox for middle-aged Aga owners, The Daily Mail, were appalled. Just as they were appalled when it was revealed that international supermodel Kate Moss was photographed with a rolled-up twenty-spot protruding from her nostril, and just as they were appalled when Elton John revealed that he regularly spent upwards of £20,000 a year on flowers. It’s disgraceful isn’t it? What has society come to when mega-rich, mega-famous people behave in a self-indulgent manner?
Or more to the point, what has society come to when society disapproves of this kind of behaviour?
The majority of people in this country seem to live their lives vicariously through celebrity gossip magazines these days, which is an upsetting enough fact in itself, but the really sad thing is how unbelievably tame the lives of these so-called celebrities are that they want to read about.
Chantelle from Big Brother goes out for a jog with her post childbirth navel clearly visible and half a million people spit their morning crumpets out; Miley Cyrus thrusts her bottom at Robin Thicke and hundreds of thousands of fine china tea cups are dropped to the floor in shock; screamingly camp Olympic diver Tom Daly reveals he’s in a relationship with another man and Werther’s Originals block oesophaguses all over middle England. Is this what it takes to shock people in 2013? What a frightened, closeted little country we have become.
Nigella did a load of drugs, Kate Moss did a load of drugs and Elton realised that doing a load of drugs was going to kill him so he started wasting preposterous amounts of money in other ways. If you are famous, with bollock-loads of money and little or no responsibility, it is your duty to behave in this manner. Famous people should live these lifestyles because you and I, the down-trodden, miserable general public with our remote controls and alarm clocks and bus stops can’t live these lifestyles. Instead we’ve got Chris Martin, the lead singer in the biggest band in the world (it makes me want to shoot blood from my eyes to type that sentence) naming his child after a citrus fruit, wearing sensible jumpers and probably watching Last Of The Summer Wine on a Sunday tea time. What a fucking wanker. I hate to use this phrase again, but it was so much better before.
A challenge: name five Oliver Reed films.
It’s alright I’ll hang on…
You can’t can you? But you know who Oliver Reed is don’t you? He is the actor who is known for being an absolute drink and drug monster, and for doing this sort of thing over and over again on the telly.
This is how famous people used to behave all the time. Admittedly, not always on live TV, but they used to take it as their right to gorge themselves on whatever they saw fit, and sod the consequences. It seems the reason people want to become famous these days is to have their airbrushed faces and airbrushed lives plastered all over the front page of various “Celeb Gossip Mags,” earn a fortune in a few months and then disappear. Back in the day when the word celebrity essentially meant that you were going to be on the panel on Blankety Blank, the truly talented famous people would be on the front pages for the quality of their albums, films, or talents with a football. George Best for example, is one of the most beloved and revered footballers of all-time, but if you ask any veteran football journalist or even a member of your own family over the age of sixty, they’ll tell you that Best wasn’t even the best player at Man United, let alone the world. So why do we remember him over Bobby Charlton and Denis Law? I’ll tell you. It’s because Bobby Charlton was bald at twenty five and is the most sensible person in the world, and Denis Law looked like he should live under a bridge. George Best, on the other hand, was appallingly good-looking, incredibly stylish, drank like a fish and banged everything that moved. He knew how to be famous. He knew how to behave like a piece of scum.
I think a lot of the problem is that in this country we’re too afraid of being told off these days. Its the real Millenium Bug. There’s just too much exposure, what with the internet and all those computers. A year or so ago, Mario Balotelli (a genuinely insane superstar) walked into a sixth form college in Manchester and asked to use the toilet. Within seconds, two dozen eighteen year-olds had tweeted photos of him and it was all over the world. He asked to use the toilet in a college. In 1978, Freddie Mercury hosted a party at New York club Studio 54 at which a number of midgets circulated with sliver trays strapped to their heads, upon which were mountains of cocaine, from which guests would help themselves. Can you imagine if that got into the press these days? They would probably mention it in parliament.
In 2002, John Entwistle of The Who was found dead in a hotel room after a drugs binge with two high-rent prostitutes. Entwistle was known as “The Quiet One” in The Who.
One night in 1979, Elton John, unable to sleep in his New York penthouse, rang his agent and screamed “Can you do something about this bloody wind outside?”
In 1982, Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a live bat onstage.
In 1995, to promote his HIStory album, Michael Jackson floated a fifty foot statue of himself down the Thames.
In 1998, Paul Gascoigne and Paul Merson played a game in which each of them would take a sleeping pill then drink a glass of wine. The winner would be the last one to stay awake.
In 2010, Keith Richards, aged 137, had amphetamine sulphate on toast for breakfast, then played a show in front of 60,000 people for the thousandth time.
And tragically, in 2011, Frankie Cocozza, aged 19, after six weeks on the X Factor, confessed that his life “had gone out of control” and he “just couldn’t hack it anymore.”
In closing, being famous has changed. It’s not about wanting to stuff yourself full of drink and drugs and behave ludicrously, it’s about wanting to have thirty sleazy tabloid photographers pointing their lenses at you whenever you leave your house because you are so desperate for attention. If the general public of 2013 want karaoke singers and celebrity chefs as their rock n roll stars then fair enough, but Nigella is deeply ashamed of her drug use. I remember a time when celebrity chefs used to do this:
I suppose I’ll just have to accept, as I dream of winning the lottery and dragging Fev, Lyndsay, Hoffs, Andy and Martyn to Las Vegas and diving, Scrooge McDuck-like into a lake of vodka, that old school fame has died. Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Keith Moon… this kind of star quality is almost obsolete these days. Notorious cainers such as Liam Gallagher and Charlie Sheen have become tabloid punchines, lacking the credibilty that they once had; Morrissey and Bono are too preachy and Joey Barton desperately needs someone to delete his twitter account. Only one person, in my opinion, carries that torch of genuine star quality in 2013. The one man who demands attention, debate, and opinion wherever he goes and whatever he does. Here he is guesting on popular Saturday evening family talent show The X Factor.
I love Robbie. He’s ace.
Allen Miles is 33 years old and lives in Hull. He is married and has a 3 year-old daughter who thinks she’s Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. He is a staunch supporter of Sheffield Wednesday FC and drinks far too much wine. He spends most of his spare time watching old football videos on youtube and watching 1940s film noir. He is the author of This Is How You Disappear, which is widely recognized to be the best book ever written. It is available here. http://tinyurl.com/disappear2014