Belfast Telegraph

What would Paula say? If opportunity knocks, take it

By Frances A. Burscough

Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Yates Geldof: crazy name, crazy gal! Let's face it, the middle daughter of Sir 'effing' Bob of the Boomtown Rats and supergroupie Paula Yates was never going to be a librarian was she?

So, it's really no surprise to see her all over the papers this week making her catwalk debut at London Fashion Week, even if she is a quite a bit shorter and quite a lot less attractive than the other models sashaying past. And that's just me being kind.

The obscure design label, PPQ, chose her as their muse and, rather cleverly I thought, styled her in the very image of her late mother. The peroxide white hair, ashen complexion and ruby lips were once the trademark of the '80s vamp, so presenting her daughter as a new-age replica was a media masterstroke which virtually guaranteed front page and 'top of the news' coverage for an otherwise unknown brand.

They weren't doing anything particularly original - the 'ghostly goth' look teamed with tartan tutus, corset tops and clompy ankle boots were standard issue for post-punk new romantics. I should know, I was one.

But quite frankly, that doesn't matter. We mere mortals love nothing better than to ogle at celebrity spawn, and who better than the wild child of the original wild child?

However, despite being given this incredible opportunity and many others - such as a newspaper column at the age of 15 and regular slots on national radio - the pouty and petulant teenager is fed up with the constant comparisons and is considering a move to New York where, she claims, "people see me for my talent, not for my name".

Yeah, right. Talent at what though precisely, one wonders? Had Paula still been around, she would no doubt have a thing or two to say about this. Tragically she's not, so we can only imagine a message from beyond the grave ...

My Darling Peachy-kins,

Did I not teach you anything? If you've got it, flaunt it. If you haven't, then name-drop until you do.

Everybody knows in this day and age that having famous folks is a free meal ticket for life - just ask Stella McCartney and Calum Best.

Both of them might have been total losers if they didn't have a famous surname and, quite frankly, so might you if you don't heed my advice.

You don't realise how lucky you are, young lady!

Ok, so my dad was a TV presenter (come to think of it, both of my dads were) but they weren't as big a name as your dad is. In order to clinch 'celebrity' by the throat, I relentlessly travelled round the world stalking your father on tour and enduring his caterwauling on stage for months before he even noticed me.

But f*** me, was it worth it! Once he did, the rest of the Western world followed suit.

I didn't have any talent; I couldn't sing; I was a useless presenter who kept forgetting prompts and I wasn't exactly an oil-painting either. But that didn't matter!

With a little bit of inherited notoriety courtesy of the 'Randy Rev' Jess Yates (Grandpa#1) and a lot of balls, I married into the in-crowd and used the family name to launch myself as a legend in my own lifetime! Opportunity Knocks ... (as Grandpa #2 might have said).

Darling, believe me, limelight-leeching is in your blood! Accept it and use it to conquer the world and any man you set your sights on - as long as he's a rock star of course. And don't believe anyone who says they admire you for your talent: they'll just be lying.

Yours Eternally,


PS. Sorry about the wacky name - it seemed like such a good idea at the time!

Million dollar baby? ...

There was a helluva hoo-ha recently when the Government announced plans to give pregnant women a one-off payment of £120 to spend on healthy fruit and veg.

It was greeted as offensive and insulting by commentators who saw it as Nanny State interference where it wasn't wanted, while many other recipients jokingly declared that they would put the money aside to pay for booze to 'wet the baby's head'.

But that's small potatoes compared to a new incentive which has just been introduced in New York.

The Opportunity NYC programme is awarding families cash payouts for performing simple parental duties which most would probably do anyway without any prompting.

For example, each time they take a child to see the doctor they are given a financial reward of $$200.

They get a similar amount for trips to the dentist, for ensuring they go to school regularly and even borrowing books for them from their local library.

But unlike parents here who would probably view it with cynicism, the 5,000 New Yorkers who qualify for the awards are delighted and have accepted this unexpected windfall with no questions asked.

Coincidentally, it has also coincided with a huge increase in the popularity of the city's mayor Michael Bloomberg who, as a self-made billionaire, has funded the scheme from his own pocket. Let's hazard a guess of approximately ... say, 5,000 new voters? Bravo, I say, for Councillor Bloomberg.

He can easily afford it; his public now loves him and their kids are getting a boost, so everyone wins.

It's just a pity he isn't in office over here.

If I received a hundred quid for every time I took the kids to the doctor, the dentist, the library and school, I'd be well on my way to being a billionaire myself by now.

It's kids you feel sorry for

It's been a funny old week for some of our favourite cartoon characters. First we were faced with a new version of Paddington Bear who has completely sold-out to consumerism and has swapped his trademark marmalade sandwiches for that most revolting of spreads, Marmite. (I am of the anti-Marmite camp, whereas my sons love it).

Then comes the desperate news that Desperate Dan has gone completely soft and turned into a tender, inoffensive new-man who is in touch with his feminine side.

In the newly re-launched version of Dandy comic, he has slimmed down, shaved off most of his stubble and replaced his trusty six-shooter with a water pistol.

They'll be telling us next that his regulation cow-pie complete with hooves and tail sticking out of the pastry crust is no longer on the menu as Desperately Dull Dan has become a vegan.

Meanwhile, after 20 years out in the cold, the Fox's Glacier Mint bear is heading back to our screens for a new, updated advertising campaign.

He still has the same arch-enemy, Fox, who tries in vain to uproot him from his position on an oversized mint, but this time around the two cartoon characters have had a bit of a makeover.

In his 2007 'reveal', the cunning canine will appear wearing cool shades and a trendy combo of pink shirt and jeans. He is even wired for sound with an MP3 player.

Meanwhile, 'Peppy' the Polar bear is shown sprawled comfortably across his beloved mint, chatting casually on his mobile phone, this time around with the commanding thespian voice of the eminent Shakespearean actor Simon Callow.

My suggestion for an updated, thought-provoking punchline is this:

" But, my dear Fox, this isn't actually a mint: It's all that's left of the Polar Ice Caps."

Size matters to Ulrika ?

They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but Ulrika Jonsson (left) serves her cold and in tiny, bite-sized pieces. The weather-girl and TV presenter turned newspaper columnist loves nothing better than getting a discreet dig at her ever-increasing number of exes. But fellow Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson seems to be a constant favourite.

This week, after hearing that the newly-appointed Manchester City FC manager, whom she describes as 'Tom Thumb Sven', was considering having an extension built onto his mansion to house his hundreds of expensive bespoke suits, she sneered: "Well, of course, he is. Not many people fit an XXS jacket and a 22in inside leg." Ouch!

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