Belfast Telegraph

Annie's tirade on fame-making TV talent shows is music to my ears

By Robert McNeill

Yay for Annie Lennox. The former Eurythmics star has had a pop at the "feeding frenzy" of British celebrity culture and at so-called "talent" shows on the telly.

Annie herself has ever been ambivalent about fame but at least has put hers to good use, supporting various causes. But it's because fame isn't necessarily good for you that she's hit her Facebook blog and set the hare a-running.

She warns that there's "no money worth losing your freedom or privacy for". But, she adds, "everybody's rushing for the golden carrot". And audiences tune in every week, rooting for their chosen vegetable.

The cause of this, she says, is collusion: "The collusion of music industry and fashion labels. The corporate sponsorship deals with brands. The perfume deals." Yup, Annie smells a rat.

A whole row of them in fact. She goes on to castigate: "The reality shows, the horrible talent shows with their stupid row of judges. The endless tide of corporate advertising.

"Everybody's part of the feeding frenzy. The exhibitionists and the voyeurs, all making Faustian pacts with brand empires."

Stirring stuff. Brave too. It's infra-dig, because snobbish, to disrespect these shows, however risible you feel them in your soul.

A lot of middle class people get guilty enjoyment from them. And that's fine. But they needn't bother the rest of us with their inverted snobbery. Apart from the crass vapidity of the shows, it's the idea of being led on that puts off the sensitive soul.

These latter don't want any part in it, nor will they have their emotions tweaked by some fat burd, even if she can sing like a lintie.

Some people see a trend and can't wait to be part of it. If it's decreed fashionable to grate an onion on your head, they're off to Sainsbury's fruit-'n'-veg counter within the hour.

Others remain aloof from fashion, believing more in time-honoured ideals and long-established trousers.

Surprisingly perhaps, hundreds of punters rushed to praise La Lennox's blog, describing it as "awesome" and "eloquent".

A few disagreed, pointing out reasonably enough that singers had to be discovered somehow, and that such shows were a way for irregular-looking people with real talent to shine and be discovered. It's a fair point.

But Annie is right about these rows of "stupid" judges, and the godlike status they're given. We live in a pillockracy, where fellows like Simon Cowell are accorded adulation, despite their large breasts and peculiarly shaped heads.

Reality shows are another kettle of red herrings altogether. I never got into that vibe and couldn't see where the interest lay. Fascinating experiments in social interaction perhaps. But, in reality, just famous people showing their pants as usual.

There's a more substantial point about wanting to be famous in the first place. Would you really want it? If I were good at music or dancing with my hand on my lower abdomen, as these people do, I would tick the box requesting anonymity.

Sure, I'd like all the money. And having sex with lots of people would be awfully interesting.

But imagine never being able to step outside the door without having cameras pointed in your face. Or being recognised by absolutely everyone everywhere. You'd never get a moment's peace. And peace is what, deep down, we all prize more than anything else.

Belfast Telegraph


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