Jules Renard once said: “Fame is a constant effort.” Although, I’m fairly certain that if he’d glimpsed a future in which one-dimensional idiots could become famous at the drop of a hat, and that those one-dimensional idiots would be able to hold onto their fame by essentially doing nothing, he probably would’ve publicly retracted that quote. Because the truth is: we now live in an age when seemingly everything is newsworthy, so fame actually takes no effort whatsoever.
Only the other day, the Daily Mail reported that Amy Childs (from ITV2’s The Only Way Is Essex, for the uninitiated among you) was “mobbed” by schoolgirl fans as she exited a hair salon. In reality (actual reality, not the reality created by the oxygen-starved brains of Daily Mail journalists) the pitiful ‘mob’ consisted of three schoolgirls politely chatting to Amy on the street. In fact, there was probably only one schoolgirl and the other two were Photoshopped in to create a scene of total chaos.
The Mail’s coverage of this astounding non-news event also managed to achieve yet another journalism low, with the sentence: “Amy had just finished getting her mahogany locks blow dried at the salon, where she was spotted drinking a Vimto soft drink.”
If the Daily Mail had written: “Amy was spotted being powered down, disassembled and packed away in a box by a friend,” that might have been halfway interesting. But instead, the best they could muster was the earth-shattering ‘news’ that a Katie Price action figure, with fewer school-age fans than Doreen Rodwell, the North-East’s most popular lollypop lady, had drunk a carbonated soft drink.
Of course, the tragedy of the age in which we live is that if Amy Childs then went out armed with a Shewee and proceeded to piss Vimto up a cash machine, she’d probably receive even more undeserved column inches.
(The Only Way Is Essex is starting to sound less and less like a programme title and more like a damning verdict on humanity, delivered by a bellowing God-like figure sitting on a cloud. “You had the chance to do great things, my children. But now, I’m afraid, the only way is…Essex.”)
What is it about these ‘celebrity’ nonentities doing nothing even remotely interesting that intrigues people so?
In Star magazine last week, a photographer had obviously instructed Alex Reid to contort his face into an expression of embittered seriousness. However, the resulting photo looked like it belonged in a local newspaper article about a man who’d been found wandering on a beach in his underpants, repeatedly muttering half a phone number to himself.
The photo accompanied a short article, with the headline: “ALEX: Jordan drove me to suicide,” which was a quote that left me momentarily confused. After all, I’d heard absolutely nothing of his suicide bid. Had Alex smuggled one of Katie Price’s lethal acrylic nails out of her Surrey mansion and desperately hacked at his wrists? Or maybe he’d tried to explode his own brain by attempting a junior Sudoku puzzle? I simply couldn’t wait to read more!
But of course, there was no story whatsoever. Because in the first five lines of the article you learned that Reid merely “considered suicide” after Jordan dumped him (which is still somewhat unbelievable). Even by the laughably awful standards of ‘celebrity’ magazines, it was a complete non-story: here’s news about something that didn’t happen, with a headline quote that isn’t technically true.
Alex Reid considering suicide has the same news value as a story about Alex Reid considering whether or not to have a second Müller Crunch Corner straight after the first.
But enough about Alex and his demons. What’s his ex-wife up to these days?
Well, Katie Price’s latest ‘relationship’ is with an Argentinean model called Leandro Penna. Given that he can’t speak a word of English and she can’t speak Spanish, it sounds like their eyes met across a bleak, minimalist conference room at Price’s PR firm. Still, love knows no bounds, so they’ve been communicating through her iPhone translation app.
Never was this more apparent than when she recently posted a message on Twitter in both Spanish and English, saying: “Leandro Penna is very transparent and mature. It has a fantastic family and everything together. I’ll soon know.”
If that tweet is anything to go by, before long every ‘celebrity’ magazine in the country is going to read like a compendium of Radio Londres coded messages. In an exclusive interview with New! magazine, Katie Price said: “Leandro sits by the fire. The teapot is melting! We are loving together soon.”
Yet again, there are rumours that Price’s latest relationship is yet another lucrative business arrangement, with the future break-up already planned. Which prompts the question: why are the newspapers still covering this meaningless, fake bullshit? And why do so many people still pay to read about it, and tune in to watch? Isn’t there enough real news and drama in the world?
Katie Price recently told a showbiz reporter from The Sun that she was currently taking helicopter lessons and planning to have a helipad installed at her mansion. With a nod to her constant pursuit by the paparazzi, she said: “People might think it’s extravagant but I’d like to see people following me in the air.”
I have to admit, I’d like to see that too. But only if her pursuers are flying F-22 Raptors. Let’s face it, this ‘celebrity’ nightmare has to end somehow.