Belfast Telegraph

Rab's Week: Looks put us in a pretty pickle

By Robert McNeil

Looks aren't everything. But they are, let's face it – so to speak – quite a lot. What prompts this opening salvo of wisdom from the coalface?

It's the news that millions of people in Britainshire are depressed because of the way they look. And this in Body Confidence Week too.

Indeed, a new campaign called Be Real: Body Confidence for Everyone is being launched to stop the lieges having unrealistic ideals about looks.

This news just in: you are what you are. But despite this fact, many of you out there are down in yonder dumps, with one in four of you saying that your body image has held you back from enjoying a fulfilling relationship.

One in five has avoided going for a job for the same reason.

Can't think what that job that would be. Certainly not journalism.

After all, they let me in (though I did apply a lot of make-up and, indeed, for one job a body-double).

Go figure these figures: 16 million citizens are depressed due to the way they look and 18 million don't exercise because of body anxiety.

My own researches bear out these findings. It's long been my contention that the way people look is a prime cause of much depression.

Sure, you hear of preternaturally beautiful people unable to form relationships who, consequently, feel down.

But they are, surely, lifted every time they look in the mirror.

All the mirrors in my house, by extreme contrast, come with a Samaritans' business card.

As for exercise, I agree, certainly where the gym is concerned. You can't move for biceps, and it gets depressing when your own biceps won't move.

I could drink a gallon of protein shakes and bench-press for three hours but still come out looking like Charles Hawtrey from the Carry On films. It gets me down, but I'm usually all right after some chocolate and a pie.

When handsome comedian-activist Russell Brand wrote about inequality this week, one of these intellectuals who leaves comments online pointed out that looks were a prime form of inequality and asked if, to cure that, we should have plastic surgery for all or scarring of the beautiful?

We are all born unequal, though beautiful children grow up hideous and ugly kids end up comely.

Just check out any supermodel.

All stress is caused by your own reaction to vicissitude, so just tell yourself you don't give a damn.

Laugh at the beautiful and laugh at yourself. And remember: nobody ever looks good crying.

Sunday: Been at the French fancies, Gerard?

The seven wonders of the world must add another to their number. I refer to the gut of M Gerard Depardieu.

It’s now huge. An astonishing picture shows the French actor waddling along in nothing but shorts, with this humongous tum hanging over the waistband.

This column admires drinkers, the dissolute and those who have decided to let themselves go — it’s a rational response to life.

But Gerard has gone beyond the call of duty. His over-indulgence is mind-boggling. He can get through 14 bottles of alcohol a day.

In a surprise development, he’s had five heart bypass operations. Astounding. And strangely admirable.

Monday: The Clooneys get their house in order

Yon Clooneys have bought a house. And it’s in England. Berkshire, to be precise.

Who knew? Well, everybody did, apparently.

I thought they would have lived in Americashire, George’s home country — the one with the glamour and sunshine.

Mind you, his new wife Amal is English. And she has a job and everything, so maybe buying the house made sense. Meanwhile, George can always pick up roles on EastEnders and Celebrity Microwave-Off.

Luckily, the couple found a Grade II-listed manor house for just £10m. Reports say it has an indoor lavatory.

I’d wish the Clooneys every happiness in the world.

But I think they have quite enough already.

Wednesday: Freeze-dried death

All in all, I rather like the sound of being freeze-dried. Not right now, madam. I mean when I’ve handed in my dinner pail and gone to join the choir eternal.

We’re talking about promession. Developed in Sweden, though not yet legalised anywhere in the world, this is an interesting alternative to the normal burial or cremation. Here’s your handy cut-out-and-keep guide.

First of all, your body is frozen at -18 degrees for a week-and a-half. Then it’s vibrated with soundwaves, reducing it to dust, with all liquid evaporated in a vacuum chamber. After sifting any metals or mercury for recycling, the powder (that’s you, that was) is placed in a biodegradable coffin or urn and buried under a tree or bush, becoming organic compost in between six and 12 months.

For, lo, ye have eaten of the Earth, now the Earth eats of ye.

Sounds like a deal? I’ll take it. But my preference is still for immortality.

Friday: Amazon spreads its web

And so we come full circle: Amazon is to open a shop. But don’t all rush. It’s in yonder New York.

But, really, Amazon is supposed to be about ordering some goods online and then getting them three weeks later.

The idea of purchasing something instantly from a so-called “shop” is truly revolutionary.

Saturday: Show’s a right little horror

Evilness news, and a Halloween house of horrors in Londonderry is so gruesome that children are banned from seeing it (puts on fast voice like the small print bits at the end of radio ads), “Except from 1-5pm daily and during school holidays.”

Chateaux Le Fear opens this week and promises a nightmarish experience for anyone who doesn’t find life bad enough. It ticks all the boxes: gore, screams and, most horrifically, actors accosting the public

I’ll be unusually honest with you. I don’t even know when Halloween is, nor can I remember what it’s supposedly about. All we can say for certain is that, in the 21st century, it’s about as relevant as Christianity. But if fear floats your boat, fill your boots.

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