Belfast Telegraph

Who's that girl? Don't ask Madonna's brother

There won't have been a Madonna fan in the country who will have been able to resist poring over the 'world exclusive' of her brother Christopher Ciccone's 'tell all' book.

And there won't be one of them who'll have reached the end of the first extract in a weekend newspaper and not shuddered at the picture painted of such a cravenly ambitious, deeply disturbed individual, utterly screwed up by fame and its trappings. What a control freak. What viciousness to show to loved ones and family. What grotesque self-importance. What a raving egomaniac.

Problem is, that's Christopher, not Madonna.

Yes, in a weird twist on the 'expose', it's the one doing the so-called snitching who gets burned over six pages of increasing tedium, not the target of his venom.

Christopher boasts how he has worked as her interior designer, PA, dresser and artistic director of her tours. He also describes himself as her "constant confidant", which is a hoot because based on these scribblings she remains as much of an enigma to him as to the rest of us.

For example, he bores on about her famous friendship with Ingrid Casares and admits to pondering whether the pair are having "intimate relations". And? Go on, Christopher. "Madonna never confirms or denies it," is the best he can do. It's that kind of tripe.

'Never before seen' pictures? That'll be the one of Madonna pregnant with Lola and wearing glasses (with her hands obscuring her face), looking, well, like Madonna pregnant and wearing glasses.

In a nutshell, as Christopher, who is gay, tells it, all was hunky-dory between him and Madonna until Guy Ritchie, who he believes is something of a homophobe, entered her life.

It seems Ritchie made the mistake of concentrating his efforts on wooing Madonna, not lavishing attention on the hanger-on brother.

From that point on, it's just a litany of pathetic and predictable complaints, mostly based around money and Christopher's idea of his own 'status'. He has a complete bitch-fest over her wedding at Skibo Castle in Scotland, pointing out he doesn't want to attend because he can't really afford it and no longer has "any real affinity for Guy".

But he claims to be owed some money from Madonna for work he did on one of her houses and agrees to fly over when told the debt will be paid in the form of an airline ticket to Scotland. Alas, it is just business-class. When he goes to collect the tux arranged for him, he is appalled to find it is made from polyester and so cheap and nasty that when he slides it on "it burns my fingers". Skibo Castle, he carps, with its 70 security guards to keep the Press out, is like Colditz Castle. His room is in "the attic of a turret" while Gwyneth Paltrow has a "massive and beautiful" suite. He is sitting five rows back at the ceremony.

Like her or not, Madonna is fascinating. She's been a huge star for 30 years, yet what do we really know about her? It's negligible. Most of it is gleaned from what we see on stage and screen. And that's all image, not the reality.

It's a given that she has fierce ambition and huge discipline — just look at her body. So what if she has neither a great singing voice nor knockout looks? A huge part of her appeal is that she's had the drive and determination to turn herself into the most successful female recording artist of all time. Her face is iconic.

What motivates her, at almost 50, to plan another world tour? With her huge earnings, why not just retire? After all, it's so much harder for a female than male star to keep on going as the decades pile up. What is the real story between her and Guy?

Bizarrely her so-close brother can't even speculate or offer any insights on all this, presumably because he's none the wiser, either. Interestingly, though, too for an artist who has never been afraid to shock, there's no scandal at all in Christopher's 'revelations' — no hint of affairs or drugs or outrageous demands.

Still, Christopher has done ok out of Madonna. Clearly, she gave him work for years. You'd think with that kind of celebrity leg-up, he'd have been able to push his career skywards. But no.

Now, in the last shakings of the bag, he's proved her evident wariness towards him right by writing about her, taking up the role of the dumped ex. One way or another, he's going to make a buck out of his big sister.

Still, it's one of the oddest and creepy kiss and tell's ever because surely they're meant to be penned by ex-lovers, not down on their luck bitter brothers?

Belfast Telegraph

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