fame

‘Twerking’ by any other name… Presenting: the most famous star the world has ever seen. Again!

The marketing and exploitation of the female image as part of the fame trajectory – for good or for evil – has a very long tradition. I first encountered the detail of helpless blind-ambition of fame-hungry starlets, whilst researching my book the Fame Formula. The manipulative craft of the publicist can be detected in the […]

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The Monstrosity of Fame.

Our so-called obsession with celebrities is as old as the cult of saints. But the adoration of flimsy celebrity effigies is now facing a stark reality check, thanks to the revelations of Operation Yew Tree. I am appalled yet weirdly hypnotised by the carousel of failing celebrities. Disgraced household icons, once the essential popular entertainers […]

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Greg Smith: I Could Be an Internet Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here…

Call me a cynic, but something rankles with me in this Greg Smith resignation furore. What’s unquestionable is that this man, formerly at the top of his profession (at least outwardly) has now rendered himself unemployable. The publication of his article and the resultant storm of comment combined in a perfect storm of PR disasters […]

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Katie Price, Vengeful Goddess of the Tabloids

Ever since Tom Paine’s book Fame: From the Bronze Age to Britney came out, I have been looking more and more at the way celebrity and myth intersect – and now the news, and Katie Price specifically, has presented another killer analogy. In Celtic mythology, the Year King would be feted and loved and cherished […]

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Malcolm McLaren: Great Lives

Today’s Great Lives on Radio 4 is a look at the life of the great rock and roll swindler, Malcolm McLaren, who died earlier this year. He was nominated for the programme by me. Here’s the blurb from the BBC website. “‘I’ve been called many things,; McLaren wrote as advance publicity for his one man […]

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Chilean Miners and the Cold Light of Fame

It’s weird to consider the forthcoming global PR implications for the Chilean miners. It’s all too clear that this will be the biggest story in the world come Wednesday assuming that the men are released from the mine. It can’t be ignored – every news gathering organisation is surrounding the escape route as it nears […]

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Starless in Hollywood

I’ve been travelling around California for the last 10 days, taking in the sights and sounds and meeting people on a research trip for a book on the ways that sexuality has been used to create fame. Hollywood is a spawning ground for media whores, after all. I thought I’d be taking time out of […]

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Debating the wretchedness of Reality Television

I took part in the Cambridge Union debate last night, arguing for the proposition ‘This House Believes that Reality TV Represents Everything Wretched about Britain Today’. I underestimated the space, at how steeped in grandeur it is, and found myself more than a little nervous. The debate was well attended; over two thirds full. Joining […]

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Stunt Deflation: The Balloon Boy Aftermath

It seems that there is a total sense of humour failure endemic throughout the world when it comes to stunts like the ‘Balloon Boy’ incident, as the ongoing trial of the parents proves – they apparently pleaded guilty only after the wife, who is Japanese, was threatened with deportation. Certainly, the need to think about […]

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The Deflation of Balloon Boy

The more implausible elements of the ‘Balloon Boy’ story are deflating fast, but still people are hanging on in there, waiting to see what happens when the balloon crashes finally to earth. Deprived of the possibility of an injured or dead child to fulminate over, the press are waiting to see what happens to the […]

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Great Apes! The Fame Formula on X Factor

Some of the contestants in the X Factor, wanting to learn a thing or two about the publicity tricks of the past to help get them through the tough new auditions system, (where they have to face not only the barbed comments of Simon Cowell and co, but the baying of a full-throttle audience out […]

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Hype, Glory and a Question of Talent in Hay

I’m still recovering from a sold out Hay Festival appearance and the blazing sun. I’d forgotten how wonderful the Festival can be when the weather’s good! The discussion, Hype and Glory, with the Guardian’s Marina Hyde and our excellent chair, Paul Blezard, was wide ranging and got an excellent response from the audience. Marina wanted […]

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Finding Fame in Hollywood

I was intrigued to read in yesterday’s Independent about the splash Paul Duddridge is making in Hollywood. He’s moved from being an agent for comedians based in Soho to becoming a fame guru in Los Angeles in two years and seems to be making a good fist of getting numbers of the countless acting hopefuls […]

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Max Clifford: Media Ringmaster

Put any misgivings about Jade Goody’s Barnumesque three-ring Circus sideshow to one side for moment. Instead, focus on the silver fox who has been the undisputed ringmaster of recent events in her life; Max Clifford. He may not be attired in a garish ring suit, but Max Clifford is clearly visible as the man, centre […]

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Jade Goody and the Art of Dying

“Dying is an art,” wrote Sylvia Plath, in her poem Lady Lazarus, and the very public final weeks of Jade Goody are reinforcing Plath’s point remarkably well. Jade Goody has moved on from the unthinking, mouthy persona that brought her to national attention with a sudden aplomb, becoming, in her need to make a better […]

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Bongs, brands and swimming against the tide

“So, what now for this latest dopey Olympian?” asked a headline in today’s Daily Mail, referring to American swimmer Michael Phelps’ bong-sucking faux pas. Phelps, who holds the record for the most gold medals won at a single Olympics (eight in Beijing) and the most ever golds won by an Olympian (fourteen), was photographed nursing […]

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Reality Show Rehab: Car Crash TV

The ghost of Barnum is stalking TV land, as a new show displaying the dark and slightly freakish side of celebrity seems to be proving: Living TV’s Rehab. And some less-than-A list celebrities are queuing up to take part. One, who was turned down, was apparently eager to get on the show and discuss their […]

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