The “fifteen minutes” obsession

We are currently living in a world that is entirely obsessed and dominated by celebrity culture. There is, for some god-known reason, a shared belief that everything will be okay if we can just get that fifteen minutes in the limelight. That will obviously fix all of our problems in life, love, money, health, etc etc. (And if we can’t be famous just yet, then we crave every inner detail about celebrities’ lives. As if we can somehow live that celebrity lifestyle through them.)

‘Celebrity’ has, it would appear, become less of an elitist word than in previous years. There is a trend, through the use of social media sites, for celebrities to present themselves just as normal, everyday people. Fair enough. They are just another human being, the same as you or I. However, unfortunately, that de-glitzes ‘Celebrity’. It takes away the mystique. In the past celebrities have had to work (hard) in order to get to their level of success. They’ve had to actually have some form of talent, and they’ve struggled to achieve fame and success. Many “celebrities” of the past didn’t even want the fame (or even in some cases the fortune), they simply wanted to do what they loved and were good at. In today’s culture it is the fame that people crave. In today’s culture fame is marketed and advertised. It is presented as something attainable. It is too easy.

Reality television offers the chance to be broadcast to the country. To be given fifteen minutes in the spotlight for the small fee of your dignity. As long as you don’t object to being publicly humiliated you can be famous too. It’s disgusting. We are constantly being presented with face after face after face of people who are famous for simply being famous. They have no desirable skill or talent. In fact, the majority of them appear to only be good at being orange. Or at having an incredibly irritating speaking voice. They can’t sing, act, play an instrument, dance, cook, sew, make a house, write a book, etc etc. And yet they are apparently our current role-models. It could be laughable if it wasn’t so terrifying.

We now have an entire generation of people who’s sole ambition in life is to be famous. To be famous for being famous. No ambition to be successful, or inspiring. Just to have fame and fortune. There are teenagers who, when in discussion with careers advisors, simply state that they’re going to be famous. Or rich. Or famous and rich. And when asked how they think they’ll manage that, their response is an off-hand shrug and: “Oh I just will be.” There is no sense of realism. No idea of talent or hard-work or skill. They simply believe that someone will hand fame to them on a plate. And the sad thing is, that for a lot of people that’s exactly what appears to be happening.

Yesterday I watched the X Factor.

I am not proud of that fact. Nor was I a part of the decision making that went on to determine what we should watch. Therefore, I was not responsible for my watching of the X Factor. I cannot be blamed.

I am however, in one way, quite pleased that I did see it. After an hour of padded story lines, humiliating families, bitchy judges, and sobbing individuals, I was able to walk away having confirmed what I’ve always known without even watching the program. And that is that it’s a load of bollocks. A commercialized, legalized form of public humiliation and bullying, with no real interest in musical talent.

In the hour that the show was on, we were shown contestant after contestant who couldn’t sing. Who had been put through that first round of auditions to appear in the live shows purely as a form of hideous entertainment. Purely for the audience to mock. To laugh at. To boo offstage. To boo the judges when they highlight how dreadful the individual is. To actually look affronted when they are told that they will never make it as a musician. For every awful humiliation we were shown a (less than) 5 second clip of a talented individual being put through to the next round. What happened to make us, the human race, crave the soul-crushing over the success? When did it become a national (pretty much international) hobby to watch as people are tortured before our eyes. That’s all I witnessed. One incredibly talented woman (who was, it has to be mentioned, mocked for her job as a pre-school leader) and a dozen acts who were laughed at, snarked at, and metaphorically pelted with rotten tomatoes from the audience.

Reality tv is like a modern day version of the stocks. We are no longer able, as society, to lock people up and throw things at them for public humiliation and entertainment. Instead we slap a few flashing lights around them and call it a music show.

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All about the time I failed an audition and got lumbered with everything else..

Remember that time when I epic-ly failed an audition? Which time? Aha.. Oh you think you’re so funny.. Well, remember how I then agreed to get involved with helping backstage, because y’know I haven’t done anything like that before and it would be a really good experience for someone wanting to be involved in theatre.. And then remember how I agreed to help out a little bit with makeup cause I’ve done bits before and enjoy it? Nope? Did I not tell you that bit? Oh. Well.. Now guess who’s *in charge* of the entire hair and makeup for Sussex University Musical Theatre Society’s production of West Side Story? Uh-huh.. You guessed it. Moi.

Genius.

In all honesty it is actually super exciting, and will be another useful little credit to attach to my cv. But really, this week is already more than stressful enough.. Even just helping out backstage I’m required at every rehearsal and show (for obvious reasons), but now I actually have pressure on my weak little shoulders. If a piece of set is in the wrong place? It could be any one of a number of us. Okay, 5 of us, but still.. If someone looks like shite onstage. That’s all down to me. Okay, again only sort of, but it adds to my current state of panic to think that.

Technically I’m ‘in charge’ of hair and makeup. What this actually means of course is that I’ll give the majority of the cast (the scales are desperately tipped to the advantage of the girls) an idea of what they should look like, and then they’ll go off and do something completely different that’s more up their street. That’s just what girls are like. At any age. Unless they’re seriously dedicated, they’d rather look pale with undefined eyes onstage (and to the audience), than be orange and panda-like backstage, and in front of the rest of the cast. Because, y’know, in a production it’s way more important for you to look your best *offstage*. Of course. So really I’ll only be responsible for the main cast, and the guys. Oh the guys. Bless their little socks. I’ve come to find with men and the stage, that if you act like you know what you’re doing, they’ll shy away, complain, wriggle.. And then they really do end up resembling punk rock gone wrong. If you simply grab them whilst brandishing an eye-liner? Sorted. They’re so terrified you’ll stab their eye out if they so much as breathe, that actually they’re better recipients than the girls.

Wow. This actually sounds like I have experience in make-up. If I just embrace this feeling of cynical confidence (at guys’ terror, and girls’ ‘I-know-best’ attitude) then hopefully my bundled up nerves won’t make themselves known for the rest of the week. Oh god I hope so.

On another note. Again, one in which I actually sound like I know what I’m talking about. The director told me yesterday that she’d already spent some of the budget on 4 foundations and red lipstick. £100 worth. I swear she must have seen me pick my jaw up from the floor.. Who, and I do mean *who*, buys MAC make-up a) for the stage, and b) for a cast of 34?! You could get all that for less than a tenner. Oh dear. Oh very very big dear..

Now don’t go thinking I’m knocking my director. Or *the* director. Or whatever.. I simply think that she should have probably reconsidered buying a relatively expensive brand to smother on 34 peoples’ faces. 7 times.

Don’t cha’ think?

Y’know what snow? I think you should take a running jump under a bus now..

Disclaimer – Firstly I feel I should make it clear that I’m talking to that *wonderful* white stuff outside the house and not some poor person out there with the surname of said white stuff.

Right. Now that’s done, my rant can begin..

Snow, aka that-8-bloody-inches-of-white-stuff-outside-my-front-door, is fab on the first day. It’s fresh, in pristine condition, makes you feel Christmassy whatever time of year it is, and looks beautiful. Cut to half way through that first day, and the place is a state. There’s brownish-grey slush everywhere, it’s super slidey, kids are crying from being cold or bruised.. Isn’t that fun? Cut to three days later and you’re ready to tear your bleedin’ hair out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t like the stuff. Well, not exactly. I do like it. It’s really pretty, and I love going for walks in it, it just looks so disgusting after not very long that you kinda wonder what all the fuss is about. And well, when everything’s come to a stop due to it’s presence, you kinda start to want it to bugger off.

Why is it that a little bit of snow causes the whole bloody country to come to a standstill?! I mean okay, fair enough, maybe there are record amounts of the damn stuff carpeting our little island, and the roads are coated with thick compacted ice and snow that kinda resembles Austria on my school ski trip, but even so? People have lives to be getting on with here!! I should technically be currently sat around with my fellow house 20-ites drinking tea and most probably preparing to go out for the night. But am I? Am I fuck. Because, thanks to this wonderful white stuff, and the added joy of living in a ditch in the countryside, we’re snowed in. Did I mention the joy?

This past week I had plans. Plans that I would have liked to have happened. Y’know, seeing people I haven’t seen in months and now won’t see in even longer, stocking up on all that actually quite useful crap that’s needed before another term at uni, the pub (an important one there). Oh, and going back to Brighton. This *wonderful* snow has scuppered my week up. Not to mention all the people who’ve missed work, school, exams, flights, etc..

Plus, I have become known as ‘the most boring person in the world’ because I’m actually not the world’s biggest fan of sledging and snow ball fights. That’s bollocks. I like the snow. I love skiing for starters. But I’m not gonna lie, I don’t see the appeal in rolling around getting soaked and frozen and then having to walk back through however many hills and fields just to return to a cold house and semi-dry clothes. I reckon, if I were with the friendlings I might have a laugh. They’d get me involved, but respect my cacked-up-issues enough to know when to stop. But like I said to someone the other day, what with the brother and his mates, and the ‘W’ boys up on that hill, who do you reckon would be the key target? Yours fucking truly. Genius. So fine, call me the most boring person ever, at least I’m warm. And dry. And not covered in bruises. And can appreciate snow without having the damn stuff shoved down the back of my neck.

You’ve had your fun now Mister Frost. So please. Bugger off?