Thursday, January 12, 2006


The very word -celebrity- was hardly ever used before the noughties, now it'll go down in history as this decade's obsession.

Trite and pathetic the anti-Galloway witch-hunt may be, but it's a simple fact that the Bethnal Green MP has not been doing his job. As well as being virtually absent from debates and parliamentary votes, his attendance record at the Commons is one of the very lowest amongst all MPs.

So one wonders if George Galloway knew what he was doing when he entered "Celebrity Big Brother", jeopardising his political career on the altar of the dullest, most brain-dead programme of all. If he thought he'd use it as a platform to "get across the anti-war message", then what a massive blunder he made. A quick look at the Z-Lists of fallen egomaniacs he's surrounding himself with and his constituents would be more inclined to think that he's there to preen his feathers instead.

But since you cannot judge what you don't know, this year I decided to give it a go. Yes, I did fear I’d develop a soap-style addiction, but in reality all I could stomach was just about an hour. Not only is it boring, it's just painfully unbearable.

The 'platform' is none other than an A&E centre for a dim-witted collection of failed celebrities with absolutely nothing to write home about. Except, so to speak, for constant sexual innuendos and graphic jokes which don't take long to wear thin.

One character is called Chantelle (give it another generation and kids will answer monikers such as Lambrini and Sudoku), a thick Essex idiot who doesn't even know what a gynaecologist is and resorts to model herself after another chief nonentity, Paris Hilton. And what about that Geordie Big Brother voice, "eeeght-thirtee-three-eeh-yem", striving to add a sense of drama, as if there was anybody left out there believing they're in the throes of a social documentary.

The very word -celebrity- was hardly ever used before the noughties, now it'll go down in history as this decade's obsession, the new device to fill empty lives. The saturation with celebrities has become endemic, a cult run by a self-perpetrating industry that makes a mint out of it.

According to USA Today, the number of celebrity mags in Britain has doubled in the past four years and, in spite of being a sixth its size, there's more celebrity weeklies in the UK than there are in the US. One thing I've learnt from watching "Celebrity Big Brother" though is that those egomaniacs are not to be envied. Just look at Jodie Marsh, Michael Barrymore or Pete Burns. So self-absorbed, desperate to impress and to keep their hollow celebrity status, that breaking point is never too far removed from them.

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