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Friday, October 24, 2008

Peaches, Kerry and the Olsen Twins: what hath fame wrought?

I urge you to see Peaches: Disappear Here. It's a show on MTV. The producers are Ten Alps, a company in which her father is a principal. The idea here is that Peaches gets to produce her own ideal magazine. She is provided with an editorial team whose interesting haircuts and total absence of relevant experience interacts with Peaches combination of cluelessness and idleness to produce the least convincing depiction of the actual magazine experience I have seen since "Absolutely Fabulous". Peaches issues manifestos to her staff and then buggers off to the United States.

I imagine many of us can recall doing or saying stupid things while working on a sixth form or student magazines. That's fine. Nobody was filming us and holding us up to public mockery. Every now and again in this film a reaction shot captures the uncertainty and fear in what are after all some very young faces. James Brown, who is supposed to be mentoring Peaches, doesn't need to say much. His eyebrows do most of the heavy lifting. The producers can't be bothered to follow through on the central conceit of the magazine. We don't actually see much of it and the climactic moment at which they supposedly pitch the idea to proper publishers has been re-cut so that we don't hear a single word that is actually said. Nobody comes out of it looking very good. At TX time they are still waiting to hear back from the potential publishers. Get away.

This was in same week that Kerry Katona spilled on This Morning. I could only watch this one through my fingers. As ever the backstage story was illuminating. Here was this damaged sample of humanity mounting the auction block to have her teeth inspected by a posse of comfortable media professionals. Furthermore, the minute details of her humiliation were being documented by MTV and so she was being tailed by one of their crews who laid down the interview ground rules. This interview had been arranged by the PR of the publishers of Zoo Magazine who had paid a sum of money for first look at her new bosom. When the interview went out Richard Desmond (the original daily beast) was furious, having already paid for a Katona column in his own "OK" magazine and consequently feeling he had some prior claim to those mammaries. (Media Guardian reckons he pays £500,000 for this privilege. I find it hard to believe he can keep his empire afloat if he's paying this kind of money.) Then Philip Schofield, in my experience a very decent individual, went on Chris Moyles to explain how it all went down. Everybody gets a piece.

I blame real stars for creating the vacuum into which these microbes of the fame game have rushed. The big stars of TV and music and film have either retreated behind their castle walls or imposed such inhibiting conditions on their encounters with the press or made themselves so boring that it's no surprise that the media prefer to play with plasticine people like Katona and Geldof. They're cheaper and there is no humiliation to which they will not submit. If you want to know what you have escaped thanks to this celebrity reticence please have a look at the Olsen Twins appearance on Oprah where they recount in some detail what they have for breakfast with a soul-weariness previously unglimpsed in people so young.