Monday, 26 February 2007

Stars in our eyes

It wasn’t long before I got round to celebrity. I didn’t want to because I’ll be just putting my shoulder against this particular wheel and in terms of momentum the celebrity bandwagon has enough to move a lead zeppelin (don’t you just love a tortured metaphor).
But I’m getting to where I can’t escape it and it is worrying me for all the usual reasons, it detracts from other areas of life. It’s Sunday and with the Observer comes their food monthly ,magazine and like most of the Observer it is kept a float on a lake of celebrity custard. Out of the 89 pages 10 at least contain solely or partly stories about or hung on celebrities. This is impressive in magazine that has 32 pages of recipes about 21 pages of full page adds. Basically most of the editorial not involved in bĂ©chamel sauce and “frying off” duck breast is based on celebs. That’s without four pages featuring Oliver Peyton (restaurateur) who now he’s a judge on a TV show is slipping into celebland. Now the chardonnay supping editors will point to the long piece on fair trade but whoopee do, a serious paper writes a serious story do they want a badg? Why do all the other stories have to be about celebs. A pub review is solely about a member of Take That. We have to have random nutritional advice hung on the fact that Christopher Lee likes a ryvita. The celeb shopping basket feature ,I thought at first it was a spoof as an early one had what’s in Shane McGowan’s basket!
We have discussion of celeb bars that only 1% of London let alone the rest of the county will visit. If a deli is good it shouldn’t matter if Meg Mathews is a regular visitor. This whole thing came to mind after I picked up a free sheet on the train, in the food section they had article on London chippies, which was themed about chippes of the stars arrgghh. This meant that the only chippies covered where in the areas celebs hang out so they missed the really good one around the corner from me that Paul McCartney pops into becsue it'in south london.
It won’t stop but it will get worse, it is so bad already that it‘s almost a clichĂ© to rail against it, you appear a prig or snob. But I am truly not interested in most of these people. It’s not news. Take the Oscars times past you’d go to sleep and wake up and they would have happened. Occasionally some Brits would win, mostly not, occasionally Richard Gere would say some daft mostly not. Most people couldn’t tell you what day they were on, pr who won, or who hosted it. Now the BBC even cover live the 5am (LA time) press conference to announce the nominees. TV shows preview the ceremony and tie themselves into the whole show, the event will be raked over afterwards for at least a couple of days particularly in women’s mags as their fashion Tricoteuses click away as this years lovelies face the guillotine of sartorial disapproval. Which other competition voted for by oap’s get so much publicity’s, are there any leek growing competions that could do with more coverage. After all your average show leek takes more time to prepare than your average starlet.
And it goes on, the Today programme reports on the latest celeb break up, every TV show has a celeb angle to it. You know the game will up when David Attenborough in tones over shots of penguins " the emperor penguin is the Posh and Becks of the animal kingdom"!
ps for the photo I typed "celebrity overload" into yahoo and the first picture was of I think Jordan which I thought was appropriate.

Friday, 23 February 2007

Face of Justice

They have arrested someone for the recent parcel bombing campaign I fear that regardless of his innocence or otherwise he will already be found guilty by the public by virtue of his photo.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Eat ya Greens

It will be a long battle but the forces of the irrationality have received a check today. Gillian McKeith, self styled food guru has been forced not to call herself "Dr" in print and TV media adverts. See the excellent Ben Goldacre's article in today's Guardian. This strange women has been plaguing us for years with her ill informed quackery and it's good that someone has seen fit to bring her to book. The only sad not to this happy news is that the Guardian/Observer will, if not today, print an article by one of their own lifestyle gurus, that will be full of all the unproven,unscientific,self serving nonsense that Mckeith is fond of. We will see lazy phrases such " organic food being free of chemicals" printed without shame and going unchallenged. The problem won't change until the anti-science bias in the media and government is rectified.
For more of Ben's excellent work see his site.

Friday, 9 February 2007

Our endless sense of entitlement will hang us all Pt1

I was on the tube the other day, looking round the adverts, they were the usual mix of insurance, vitamins, phone cards and holiday ads. One advert jumped out it was for hotel website alongside the usual claims and discounts next to the smiling blonde call centre women was a picture of a Maldives island hotel. You know the usual cluster of thatched cabins on stilts sticking out into a clear blue Indian ocean, two jet skiers scudding along in the background. So much, so what’s new it’s staple of the holiday brochure always portrayed as the acme of honeymoon location. A once in a life time place to swan around in wearing linen and chatting to all the other newly wed couples fresh from Baltimore, Stuttgart ,Lyon and Penge. What could be better. Well what did attract me in this ocean of blandness was a little addition to one of the huts, it was a cantilevered swimming pool. Sticking out over the bluest Photoshopped water was another fresh water pool, hot tub spa whatever. These are swimming pools for people who I suppose would send their cream cakes back for light dusting of chocolate on the cherry.
Presumably being surrounded by crystal clear water some people just aren’t satisfied, they want fresh water. In fact I’m sure there are people who spend whole weeks on these islands without ever dipping their toes in the sea and spend all day flubbed out in these hot tubs necking a stream of drinks in preparation for their air freighted prawns and steak. In fact they probably proudly joke about in over priced surrey pubs “ yes Colin never left that pool, he said the sea was full of turtle piss didn’t you Col…..“
I don’t need really need to outline that heated and treated, fresh water pools half a mile out into the Indian ocean may just be the straw that breaks the camels back ecologically speaking. I also don’t need to remind you that we are riding on the back of this camel and it’s the only one we’ve got. It’s this sense that we can meet every need whatever the consequences, that we have everything and so become jaded with everything. That there are people who fly half way across the world to sit in idyllic spot above a paradise ocean but within half an hour are bored and need bubbles blown up their fundaments. It’s because “your worth it“. We all do it on a lesser scale, you’ve had 4 meetings today so it’s a takeaway and DVD, you’ve had the kitchen for 8 years so you get a new one with self closing doors and “cooler” draws . It’s selling ford escorts because they can connect to your phone, it’s the paying £2 a week for someone to clean your wheelie bin. We can’t meet these needs because by their nature they are unmeetable. There will always be the hotel hot tub with better pulsating bubbles, disco lights, aroma therapy vapours, gold taps, gold and diamond taps……