Archive for the ‘Celebrity’ Category
Michael Barrett was the last person to be hanged in public on 26 May 1868. His execution brought to an end a spectacle that had been a very popular form of public entertainment for hundreds of years. Today our entertainment comes in many different forms but does not rely on people being killed as part of public retribution. However, there are a few entertainment shows that are starting to cross a very thin line between entertainment and persecution.
X Factor contestant Danyl Johnson has been the focus of a nasty campaign of intimidation and insults following his relegation to the sing-off last week. The disappointment clearly had an impact on his Saturday night performance, he looked vacant and his singing was lifeless. Fortunately he managed to garner public support and avoided the sing-off this week. That was left to two of the better performers in the contest, Rachel Adedeji and Lloyd Daniels.
The judges ducked the decision of which contestant to vote out by leaving it to the public. As it turned out one of the potential winners ended up being humiliated and Rachel left the competition even though the general consensus is there are others in the competition who stand no chance of winning. However, that does not account for the whims of the public who love to see the underdog getting through without regard for the consequences.
A middle aged man drugs a child and then forces her to have sex, he goes to court, admits the crime but flees the country before sentenced. The police catch up with him in another country and start extradition proceedings to get him back to complete his sentence. All quite straight forward you would think; not in this case.
He is a well known film director and the crime was over 30 years ago. We are now subjected to the faunings of actors, actresses and other arty folk claiming its all a disgrace that Roman Polanski should be subjected to such ignominy. Er, when did being well known and successful come with a get out of jail card for free. The man raped a 13 year old, there is no excuse, he should have been in jail.
The fact the crime goes back over 30 years is only relevant to the inadequacies of the system that allowed him to remain free for so long. Why has it take the Americans so long to act? Surely there have been plenty of opportunities to get their hands on this disgusting individual before now.
In some ways the death of Keith Floyd comes at no surprise in view of his life style, he certainly did not include the idea of restraint in his attitude to life. Watching his cooking programmes back in the mid to late 1980 was a real eye opener. His natural style of presenting and simple cooking which produced such wonderful results kept us all amused and encourage to try something new.
I never met the man but did come across his double running a small restaurant in Elat on the Israeli Red Sea coast. Smele’s Place served fresh, simply grilled dishes of local fish and meat with equally simple salads. The owner who was also a great drinker and womaniser would quickly a start to flirt with them in the most outrageous way, the younger they were the greater his efforts.
He claimed to be Keith’s brother who had left England to get away from his estranged wife who was bleeding his bank account dry. Whatever the truth he was as big and colourful as the real article and proved the world is in great need of more of these characters to brighten up our lives and debunk all the mystery and fads that surrounds cooking and food.
Good news today, listeners are tuning their radios away from Jonathan Ross’s radio show in increasing numbers, over half a million since the first quarter of 2008. At the same time the number of people listening to Chris Moyles has fallen while those tuning in to Terry Wogan have increased to the point where he is the more popular morning presenter. In fact there seems to have been a bit of a shift from the shock jocks to the more gentle side of radio entertainment including Classic FM, Radio 3 and Radio 4.
Listener numbers are riding high at the moment so the shift away from the foul mouthed pair is even more surprising. Some claim the change is a reaction to the bad behaviour and controversy caused by both individuals. That may be a bit simplistic and the shift could be just one of those cyclic changes that happen for a whole range of reasons. There is one factor that must be considered, however, the problem of listener immunity.
The more we are shocked the more we get use to the style. The presenters response can only be to try and shock even more, but there are limits and a point is reached were public decency will not accept any more. Both presenters have crossed this line on many occasions, usually the line just moves, not any more. The public has become bored with the shock approach and until something new happens they have gone in search of more comfortable entertainment. The problem with both presenters is they do not have the intellect to be truly creative, perhaps the truth will soon be realised by those who decided they should be paid such absurd salaries.
They are at it again, six years ago the papers were full of pictures and commentary on the beauty of J Lo’s backside, with comparisons to that other famous bum, Kyle’s. The papers particularly focused on J Lo’s ‘extraordinarily curvy body’ (their words not mine). Apparently it’s the shape to which every woman aspires.
Well after six years it’s time someone came out with the truth. J Lo has a big bum. It’s as simple as that. Its not curvy, it’s not spectacular (unless you are referring to its size), it’s not elegant, and it’s certainly not the shape every woman should be aspiring to achieve. It’s just big, fat and out of proportion to the rest of her body.
All this fawning over some over rated bimbo who probably could not survive without a flock of obsequious hangers on busily licking her oversized posterior is just too much. There are far more important things to consider in this world, its time to get real.
In today’s Sunday Mail colour supplement is an article about Sky News presenter Kay Burley’s exploits in growing her own food. The pictures that accompany the article show Kay in three different outfits each carefully posed to show her at her best and not the real subject of the article the fruit, vegetables and chickens she is raising for the dinner table.
An important role of the media is to keep the public informed; keeping an allotment and growing your own food is has become very popular and is worthy of objective and informative coverage. Unfortunately the article is typical of the way the media feel that unless there is a celebrity at the centre of the action the public will be uninterested in the subject matter. What happens, of course, is the subject is only used as a vehicle to promote a celebrity who ultimately becomes the focus.
Allotments are not just about growing your own food, they also increase community cohesion and provide opportunities for families to work together, teach children about food, nutrition and the environment. There are many very interesting stories stemming from the resurgence in interest in allotments, its a pity the Sunday Mail did not give the story the importance it deserves.
The current series of Yorkshire Tea adverts featuring Graham David Fellows alter ego John Shuttleworth are a wonder, humour in a simple but very effective vein. Graham’s character of the Sheffield born singer songwriter is so well crafted you could well believe the person actually exists. His earlier appearance in the John Shuttleworth radio show was a slice of old style British humour that perfectly portrayed the slightly amateurish broadcasting attempts of a 50 year old who’s lack of talent and charisma never fail to hold him back.
Like many radio comedy shows it did try to make the big jump to TV but without any great success which is a pity as the addition of the visual element added greatly to the overall characterisation. The story line of the failed show tour of less that desirable venues with the added complication of having to travel by public transport were very funny, but limited in scope and longevity.
Local yokels have always been a good source of material for comedy programmes using their accents, quirky language and local traits to good effect. The BBC Radio Cambridge character Dennis of Grunty Fen is another brilliant example of the genre. A local hero who is completely batty while full of country wisdom. To end, here is one of my favourite Yorkshire jokes;
A Yorkshire man takes his cat to the vet:
Yorkshire man:”Ah’ve come to see thee abaht me cat.”
Vet:”Is it a tom?”
Yorkshire man:”Nay lad, I’ve browt it wi’ me.”
I am assuming that BBC correspondents get paid a fee for contributing to the non core elements of the BBC such as their Magazine, but even if they do not one would expect they would put a bit of effort into their outpourings. The BBC’s Paul Reynolds article, Hell on Earth, is a case in point. This is typical of the no effort output we often see in newspapers and magazines and which some writers have made the basis of their careers. The formula is simple, take an everyday event or pastime and knock it about a bit by adopting a derogatory stance.
In this example http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8119428.stm the occupation enjoyed by thousands of people is turned into some sort of horror story with out any underlying substance, facts or evidence. Its simple and quick to write and does not require any effort to research. Its presented in a tongue in cheek style that dose not challenge the intellect of the reader but fails to achieve its humorous aim.
Many newspapers now pay celebrities to write these articles on the assumption they have something interesting to say. Of course they do not so they have to revert to this easily produced style, some going as far as being deliberately obnoxious just to get a reaction as opposed to getting a valid view point across. Our newspapers and magazines are sadly lacking in quality writing, but I would have expected the BBC to avoid falling into the same trap.
Celebrity culture seems to have developed an obsession of adopting children from third world countries. These trophy kids are paraded as some badge of honour, a display to the world of how the individual is doing their bit to help the less fortunate. Madonna’s plans to adopt a second child show just how out of touch these people are from the real world. Her first adoption was mired with controversy and she seems immune to criticism.
They seem to think because they can provide a more affluent lifestyle for a child the whole process can be reduced to a shopping expedition. Just fly over, pick out some sweet looking child that would make a nice addition to their collection, pay off the authorities or relatives and head home with their trophy child.
Having read some of the minor reasons our social services have used to refuse to allow people to adopt, I doubt Madonna would pass the first assessment. We need to help these children, but not just the ones who looks particularly cute, but all of them. She should do what the more enlightened celebrities have done and fund a children’s home or school so they can develop into people who will contribute to their own societies for the betterment of everyone.
The death of Jade Goody cannot go unmentioned. The morning papers have pages full of her rags to riches story peppered with quotes from people from all walks of life. The general consensus is she made the most of what little she had, lived an honest life and did what any mother would do to ensure her children would have better prospects and a better life than the one she had been dealt. Big Brother was her doorway through to a better life and she took it without a second thought.
She had her detractors who would have preferred her to hide away out of the public eye and not put her illness on show. For others, her action could do nothing but good, encouraging young women and those who have never been screened for cervical cancer to take an important and perhaps life saving step forward. The actual impact of her openness would be very hard to quantify but if just a handful of lives are saved it must have been worthwhile.
Its something of a comment on our society that an individual who, by her own admission, had little intelligence but a willingness to have a go and, perhaps more importantly, learn from her experiences and mistakes can become a marketable product in her own right and earn a considerable amount of money in such a short time. The public love an underdog and Jade was just that, an underdog who’s ignorance kept us amused and who’s untimely death made everyone realise cancer is not just an infliction of the old.