Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Lily Allen's hospital selfie gives me a severe case of the vapours

Bedside manna: Lily Allen's A and E selfie

You have to wonder what goes on in the head of a celebrity when the first thing they think about on landing in hospital is doing a selfie. You have to wonder just how serious their ailment really must be when they decide to share such a personal moment with the world.

I know we have come to expect nothing less of the vain and famous these days, when every cough and splutter must be shared with an adoring and eager public, but some things should be filed under Too Much Information, and tweeting from your hospital bed (unless you've just produced a baby) is one of those things.

Take Lily Allen, for example, who recently found herself lying on a hospital gurney, looking pale and delicate, but amazingly still quite presentable. She had a painful looking drip protruding from her arm and nothing but a plain old gown to preserve her modesty. What would your thoughts be in that situation? Would it be to capture the moment on your camera and share it with thousands of strangers?

I doubt it, but for some bizarre reason that's exactly what the singer did and, of course, that then produces a 'story' for the mainstream media, such as the BBC and, yes, the Belfast Telegraph to run in a serious manner.

The hospitalisation, Allen helpfully informed us, was to stop "projectile vomiting" caused by food poisoning. (You can file that nugget under Too Much Information as well). Some of the newspapers picking up on this major international development noted that the illness came on the back of two weeks of 'transatlantic partying'. Fair enough, the last time I went transatlantic partying, I was fairly wrecked at the end of it, too. She is now recovered and was last seen boarding another transatlantic flight. Is a singer with a dicky tummy really news? If she hadn't offered the information herself, would we ever have been clamouring to know? What does it say about us – and her – that we feed this inane drivel?

I don't know why I'm focusing on Allen. She's just the latest of a long line of the famous and infamous to feel the need to share. Miley Cyrus (in hospital yet trying to look sexy), Mariah Carey (also in hospital yet still trying to look sexy), Justin Bieber (he too in hospital yet trying to look sexy) have all done it. In fact, if you google the words 'celebrity hospital selfie' you'll find some online galleries to peruse when you have a spare 10 minutes in your life that you're happy to never get back.

And guess what? They're all trying to look oh so ridiculously sexy with their hospital chic.

I have to give special mention to Chloe Madeley (not really a celebrity, did I just hear you say?) who snapped a selfie of her wearing big paper pants while waiting to undergo surgery on her cervix. Yes, really.

Was the point of her picture to garner sympathy ahead of a serious op – or was it coincidental that her fabulous new abs were on show above the stupid pants? I'll let you decide.

Then there was Cara Delevingne and Michelle Rodriguez who snapped their matching drips, needed to rehydrate them after more of that dangerous transatlantic partying. It would appear a cannula is the new designer handbag.

Without singling out any of these names in particular, it's hard to take when celebrities insist on sharing these very private, low moments – yet are so quick to cry foul when they believe their privacy is being invaded by the media. In other words, they're happy for information of that nature to be out there, so long as they are fully in control of what it is, no matter how absurd.

Giro d'Italia welcome had me tickled pink

Wasn't the Giro d'Italia fantastico? We all did Northern Ireland proud with the fabulouso welcome we gave the Grande Partenza, to the point it was actually quite emotional at times. I love the way we all now talk about epic riders like Marcel Kittel and Michael Matthews like we've known them all our lives.

And wasn't it nice to stand on a Belfast street and hear a police siren and helicopter signalling that something exciting is about to happen?

And to see foreign cyclists coming down the Newtownards Road without being attacked. I think the colour pink suits us all.

Bus lane bandits are a fare cop

Call me evil, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching two drivers getting pulled over by the traffic police for whizzing down the bus lane in their cars while the rest of us languished obediently in heavy traffic.

I see countless drivers take advantage of the bus lane on my way into work every morning – and there never seems to be any deterrent.

So I was delighted to see the police out in force on one main commuter road in Belfast and nabbing at least two, including a young woman who was clearly unimpressed. May that be a lesson to the bus lane bandits out there!

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