Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Anonymity vs celebrity

A couple of things today have made me think about anonymity vs celebrity.

I heard on the radio that some ridiculous number of people have now watched the lady singer from Britain’s Got Talent on YouTube. She is a good singer from whatever I know, and I’m no expert on it. But why is it that this is such a phenomenon? I just don’t get it – apparently it is more the USA that is hitting the performance than the UK, again I don’t know why. Will her success last? Who knows has she the stamina and acting talents to lead a West End production 7 or 8 times a week? Has she the market appeal for album and concert sales year on year? We’ll see.

One thing though she has lost her anonymity. Two weeks ago she could have shuffled around my local Tesco’s and no one would have given her a glance. Now she is a celebrity, probably more justified than many celebrities to be sure.

To be perfectly honest whilst I might harbour dreams of being recognised as the genius I truly am would I really like all that goes with that? I like being Mr Nobody – I can trundle around the supermarket sniffing my fruit and veg and nobody will write about it in the tabloid press. I don’t have to appear on talk shows where the interviewer is more worried about getting as many one liners in as they can to show how witty they are and make sure you and audience don’t forget that they are the star of this show and you the guest. Even better my family can carry on regardless of me, the way it should be, my son or daughter can do what teenagers do without having to deal with it being linked to some bad celebrity parenting display etc.

My life may well appear very humdrum from the outside, like many of us, I get up, go to work, try to make sense of a (at times) manic world, come home, help the family get on as much as I can, try to enjoy myself at times by doing things I’m luckily able to afford and be fit to do etc. But actually that isn’t so humdrum really is it, that’s pretty impressive. Many people in the world would give up significant body parts to have what I have just because of the virtue of the country I was fortunate enough to have been born in. I see it less now but in Kent where I live my commute home used to regular take in the sight of a bunch of newly arrived “economic migrants” braving the M2 hard shoulder as the direct route to London… normally the Police presence they attracted drew my attention.

So to all my boring humdrum friends out there – rejoice in your lives, if you took yourself out of yourself and your situation for a moment and put yourself in someone else’s shoes you’d realise how bloody brilliant every day is. And even better I’ll not be on the front page of every tabloid tomorrow if I slip arse over elbow on my way out of here later.


  1. I'd rather be rich and anonymous any day of the week.

  2. Rod Temperton and Bernie Taupin probably have the best of both worlds. Everyday anonymity but the super-rich trappings of heavy-hitting celebs

    I'm sure you know already but Rod Temperton started out in Heatwave got approached by Quincy Jones and went on to write this lot

  3. So the obvious here is to be a song writer to the stars but not the star... Damn why didn't I think of that 20 years ago?!

  4. i think the reason Ms Boyle has caught the imagination is this...

    She walked on that stage looking like a fool... She was cannon fodder for the likes of Simon Cowell. People were rubbing their hands with glee, "oh goodie, lets watch her make a tit of herself and get ripped to pieces"... this is the nation we have become, it's like the Christians being thrown to the lions. We completely judge books by their covers these days....

    She opened her mouth, and... bloody hell! Not really my thing, but like you, I can fully appreciate she has got something.

    For the last 15-20 years (maybe longer) you've had to have the right hair, the right clothes, the right teeth etc etc... quite often this will get you past the hurdle of not actually having any talent!

    This frumpy, slightly oddball woman has shown there IS an alternative, and that is what I think people have latched on to. You don't have to get swallowed up in hype, i think it may have been quite liberating for may 'ordinary' folk out there who have been downtrodden and told they are no good.

    well, maybe anyway! Shall i shut up now??

    Nice post,


  5. I think you are probably right P - in some way it is probably the look on Simon C's face that is priceless all the put downs shot to pieces... now that is priceless.

    Oh Oh - a new ad... dress £10 from Matalan, Hair cut £5 by a mate... the look on Simon C's face when she shows she can sing.. priceless... :-)

  6. it will be ruined of course when they end up givin her a complete makeover!!

    Would love to see her win and release an album STILL with the 'tash and birdsnest hairdoo.


  7. Well, Piley basically stole my thunder as he hit the nail right on the head re: the sensation that is Ms Boyle. We have become a world obsessed with looks and superficial exteriors (especially here in the USA, and even more so where I live, California), and we were somehow shocked that an unattractive person can sing (as if looks had anything to do with your vocal cords). Talent really no longer matters as anybody can have their pitch corrected via studio, as well as another million stdio magic tricks to make anybody radio friendly. Sad thing is, Ms Boyle may have a fantastic voice, but her looks, or lack thereof, will sadly come into play eventually, and once the novelty wears off, she will fade into history. People want Beyonce and Britney...whether they can actually sing (much less play an istrument and write their own music) is beyond the point. Luckily, there are some still real musicians out there that let me know actual art and musical skill is still appreciated, and one of my faves, The Church, is coming to California in June. I already have my tickets, and, for me, they are one of the few bands that keep my faith in the whole music scene.