Tuesday, 9 January 2007

How to be famous

In yesterday's post I mentioned that during my stay in hospital, some of the conversations I overheard reinforced my view that the cult of celbrity has passed me by. I remain unimpressed by Big Brother, uninterested in soap opera and underwhelmed by gossip journalism. In todays Independent, Katy Guest's feature on Jade Goody the Big Brother winner, lays bare the UK's fascination with fame. In a wry look at Goody's path from dental nurse nobody, through 'Britain's most despised woman', to multi-million earning professional celebrity, she disects our national need to be close to famous people even to the point of inventing our own. As publicist Max Clifford is quoted as saying, "The public get the celebrities they deserve". My favourite quote though, goes to Guest herself when, talking about Goody's mother Jackiey, she says:

"She is not your average one-armed lesbian."

Having read the Goody piece I am no closer to understanding why I remain unaffected by the obsession with fame. In the same edition the paper celebrates the return of the Gallagher family in Channel 4's fabulous series Shameless. The piece compares the reality of West Gorton, the tough Manchester estate where the series is set, with the reality of the true residents. The comparison, even according to the locals, is a good one. Ironically the makers of the series may have to move the family to another Manchester estate because redevelopment plans could mean that the estate loses its tough appearance. Oh, by the way, when you watch Shameless tonight take a close look at the area; my grandma, used to live there, in Armitage Court an eleven storey block of flats, typical of the '60s housing used to replace the terraced slums that were the heart of many of Manchester's older communities.

I have an irresistable urge to to tell everyone that my Gran is nearly famous; tell your friends.

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