Thursday, 24 December 2009

Dead C'lebs

This year has been a particularly bad year for real people dying, real people are the people that you or I personally knew, unless you know a celebrity personally then they do not fall into this category. Real deaths are tragic, personal and intimate occasions, celebrity deaths are not.

Every now and again a celebrity dies and the press go into overdrive on a feeding frenzy, suckling on every little piece of dirt and sensation they can find. In a way
you can't really blame them for this because the state of the publishing industries is DIRE at the moment and every paper they can sell just pushes the demise of the published word a little further back. So the joyous thing that this desperate situation brings is a feast of gory details portaining to the deaths and grizzly lives of these much lauded but always deeply flawed individuals.

There were two equally enormous feeding frenzies this year, the first came with the death of Jade Goody which essentially became a national event occupying hours of valuable prime time TV space, thousands of pages of print and saw a bizarre outpouring of public grief. A couple of months later this was somewhat eclipsed by the goliath event that was the death of everyones favourite pop star Michael Jackson. Now, I say eclipsed because by anyones standards the slow demise of Jade was a media feast of epic proportions but anything us Brits can do the Yanks can do bigger and better and as everyone is well aware Jacko's death trip was utterly unbelievable. The unveiling of his children alone was just beyond acceptable...

The British offering to the memory of the king, and this is really unbelievable because we pulled something extra special out of the bag, was a live séance where Jackson was contacted in the other world! "No shit!" I hear you cry! Afraid so, some dick off the TV "contacted" Jackson and lame little fan boys and look-alikes got to ask meanial questions, declare their love for him and break down LIVE on national TV. Oh, I forgot to mention David Guest and June Sarpong were there too, so all the people he would want to talk to right?

Back to Jade TV. The Jade death trip was a highly surreal experience, she announced her cancer on live TV and was then followed by cameras almost until the moment she died, when she was too ill to speak to the press "family" and "friends" were more than obliging to divulge all the gory details. As things slowly got worse and worse for poor old Jade we just kept getting closer and closer to her. Essentially that box of light and sound in the corner became a sentient and suffering human being that we had to deal with all day every day.

Then came the wedding! A happy occasion, no? Nope, not when the bride is terminal and only doing it to sell the coverage rights to OK magazine, she said it was for the children which was most probably true but all involved parties would have made a killing too (bad pun). Consequently, while I'm having a pop at OK magazine I think it should be remembered that their "Jade tribute issue" was actually released before she died, the final macabre act of a sinister media circus. And in another of their heart felt tribute issues, this time for Jackson, they remembered him with a lovely picture of him dying, or, according to some, already dead, on a stretcher.

At least this was in keeping with the whole Jade concept and product, she was a creation of reality tv, a ready to go caricature of everything trashy and stupid about the modern world so she fit perfectly into the new reality documentary mould which dictates that mindless morons doing inane activites make for good quality television. She was created by the media for the media and the media always had full control over her, from the second she entered the Big Brother house to the moment she died, she never really left that house.

Honourable mention goes to foxy Brittany Murphy for really ramming home that the media don't even need any evidence to pass judgement on a celebrity death. You see, tabloid journalists dont even need a coroners report to confirm the cause of her death, they already decided it was a concoction of prescription medicine. Yes, that old bastion of truth and balanced writing the Daily Mail paid tribute to Murphy with this:
"Despite the official statement Brittany Murphy died of natural causes following a heart attack, it has been reported she was hooked on Vicodin (the same painkiller Michael Jackson relied on before his death) as well as other prescription drugs, following a series of plastic surgery operations."
Sue Reid goes on to talk a load of crap about Elvis, Heath Ledger and Tiger Woods and gives zero mention of Murphy's career. Nice. I will mostly miss her as the ditsy Luanne in King of the Hill. Sad times.

Lots of other people died this year, some were old, some were young, some were illustrious and some were a plain old waste of space, many deserve to be written about for years to come because of what they bought to culture but, unfortunately it is those that we really shouldn't remember that we will remember the most and until the day comes that vile speculation really can't be printed and then quietly retracted these ridiculous death spectacles will continue.

In the words of the late great Keith Floyd, "Food is life, life is food. If you don't like my approach you are welcome to go down to McDonalds"