Thursday, 2 December 2010

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

As that well-known beat combo the Dizzies Rascals once said, ‘everybody wants to be famous, nobody wants to be nameless’ – and I have always believed them. However, I’m now realising that this isn’t necessarily the case. Apparently, I want to be famous, but not everyone else does, as when I tell them about my fame-hungry exploits, many people look at me like I’ve suggested a David Cameron support rally. I wonder if it’s partly this unexplained urge for fame that makes me write this blog? I mean, I love writing it, and I think it’s good for me to do something at least somewhat creative with my spare time, but is it not mostly a form of showing off? Which is, after all, something that I so love to do. In fact, I love to show off more than I even realised.

My best friend and DJ life partner recently organised my surprise birthday party. The evening kicked off with a night at a karaoke bar. “Oh, no, no, no,” I protested, “I won’t sing, I can’t sing, I’d be mortified, I’d need 8,000 gins before I could even contemplate it.” Turns out, this wasn’t quite accurate. All I actually needed was about two seconds of watching another friend sing a Madonna song and I was joining in like the little limelight-hog I am. I then sang Queen and Britney and more Madonna and even attempted Steam by East 17. The rap defeated me. I’ll never make an ill-spittin MC, I am sad to tell you all. I must congratulate my DJ life partner – she knows me better than I know myself. I can never, ever resist the opportunity to show off. I fear talking to people I don’t know and get panicky at the thought of going to parties that aren’t made up entirely of my best friends… but put me in a dance class and I’ll sharpen my elbows with a penknife so I can better poke people in the eye to get them out of my way in my mad dash to the front of the formation.

Showing off is all very well and good, but we all know that nothing in this life counts for anything unless it’s on the television, and this is, I think, where my hunger for fame comes in. It’s all very closely tied in with my no longer-with-us (and not just cos it ended) obsession with Big Brother. For six or seven years (I lost interest the year of Brian and the twins, which one was that?) I love, love, LOVED that show. And I will still defend it to the death, despite the fact I went off it – although I do have an equally convincing bunch of arguments for why I stopped watching it, oh the confusion! – but perhaps in another blog some time, because defending Big Brother is something I can waffle on about for hours.

I applied to be on the show not once, not twice but three whole times. The third time was one of the open auditions, where 10,000 annoying screamy teenagers and some so-called eccentric (their word; I could think of others) adults stood in a cold warehouse brimming over with their own egos for hours on end before talking to a camera for thirty seconds and being told to go home. I actually got through to the second stage that time, but no further than that. And I know, really, that that’s a good thing – I’d be bored and horrified and tearful beyond belief in the Big Brother house, but I still wanted to do it. Why? I couldn’t really tell you. At least partly cos it looked like fun. But also, I guess, because I apparently want to be famous and don’t have enough genuine talents to do it any other way.

Having failed to get onto Big Brother proper, I applied myself to those smaller challenges within the same realm – Big Brother’s Little Brother and Big Brother’s Big Mouth. The DJ life partner and myself started out by answering an ad in Heat magazine to be in the audience for BBLB, mostly because we both had monster crushes on Dermot O’Leary (something that seems a bit unfeasible now) and wanted to stand close to him. As I remember, he waved at us, and I went home happy, probably figuring that was the closest to Big Brother fame I would get.

However, I had much more success with Big Brother’s Big Mouth. Once again, I answered an ad in Heat asking for fans of the show to come and speak their brains in the audience of Russell Brand’s companion series. A producer rang me and I had to do a quiz about Big Brother to show that I was a genuine fan and not some fame-crazed nutter who was just pretending in order to get on telly. You know, like one of the people we were all so avidly watching. I did very, very well in the quiz. I believe I got every obscure answer right. The only question I remember now (and this would have been around series 5, I think, so it harked back quite a way) was ‘who were the first people to kiss on Big Brother?’ The answer, fact fans, is Mel and Tom. Remember Tom, and his red shorts? I sure do.

As a result of the scholarly attention paid to my reading of the show (ahem) I was offered the chance to sit on the panel rather than in with the plebs and be given the title of ‘obsessive fan.’ I said no at first, believe it or not, cos I wanted to sit with my DJ life partner in with everyone else. But having spoken to her, I changed my mind and was on TV for all to see.

Two things stand out to me about that first time on Big Mouth. The first was that, at the time, I only knew Russell Brand from Dancefloor Chart and thought he was intensely annoying. Oh, how quickly that changed when I met him and looked into his smouldering eyes and fell to pieces inside my little beating heart! It was only after deciding that he was devastatingly handsome that I found that he is also one of the most intelligent, funny and kind people on the planet – it seems unfair that he has all of those things! What’s left for the rest of us, I ask? Admittedly, I only know this from reading his books, watching him on TV and seeing his standup, but I don’t think he’s faking. He’s so genuine and so right about so much. Anyway, enough babbling about Russell, let’s get back to **ME!!**

The other thing about that day which was noteworthy and so incredibly funny was that one of the celebrity guests on the panel was Timmy Mallet (the other was obscure comedian Paul Foot). Bless Timmy Mallet. I swear to god, he was more excited than I was. If you look on his website you can, to this day, see pictures of me and him together on our way to the studio as he was taking photos of EVERYTHING, like this was the grandest day out he’d ever had. I can also exclusively reveal that his ring tone is ‘Itsy Witsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.’ No word of a lie.

I went back on Big Mouth once more as an obsessive fan, and I now have an imdb page as a result of these two ventures into the silver-plated screen, something an ex stumbled on accidentally some years ago. Oh yeah, suck it, losers! That second time one of the celebrity guests was former youth icon and current day BangFace TV presenter Normski, who said – and he was right – that my DJ life partner has magic powers. I forget now what she’d done to elicit this response.

Then, to my eternal sadness, they dropped the obsessive fan from the show’s format, but, undeterred, I was an audience member enough times that Russell and I got to be on saying hello terms. Well, I said hello, he asked me if I was a lesbian and said I had nice boobs, something I hope will be written on my gravestone (a wee joke). I could tell you my brilliant Russell Brand story, but it’s too off tangent and I have an idea for a future blog which it will better fit into, so I’ll stop wittering about Russell and move on.

My attempts to appear on the front of the Daily Mail (dressed in my mother’s bridal veil) have not been limited to Big Brother. Keen followers of my blog will know that if there’s one person I’m more obsessed with than Russell, it’s Shaun Keaveny, the marvelous and erudite presenter of the 6 Music breakfast show. I’ve been actually on his show twice now and had about a million texts read out. My most recent mention came when he had been joking about people fancying him and I sent him a love poem. It went ‘Shaun, Shaun, I know you love Lucy, but I fancy you and that is the truth, see, you fill up my mornings with music and jokes – run away with me and be my bloke!’ (Genius, I think we can all agree.) (NB – Lucy is his wife. She is a lucky lady.)

Sadly, Shaun didn’t read it out, but he did play about 3 seconds of ‘J’taime’ (is that what it’s called?) and dedicate it to me. I was happy all day long. (Well, for about five minutes anyway, which is roughly the same thing, right?)

Other highlights of me + fame include an actual live performance as a robin in the horse of the year’s Pony Club show when I was 11, something that involved staying backstage for a week at Olympia, meeting all the famous horses and nearly dying of excitement (although also fear – the posh Pony Club girls did not like me and my charity shop clothes, oh no, not one little bit), and a recent blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance DJing in an episode of Party Wars. It’s on Living, you must have seen it… right? No?

My most recent attempt at getting into your telly box (all the better to control your brain) would have, if it had succeeded, been my best effort yet. I nearly, nearly, oh-so-nearly got onto Come Dine With Me. I got down to the last 10, of which five would have been picked, but sadly, I am not mouthy enough. I made it through two phone interviews and a home visit from two producers before being turned down. And now for this blog’s second exclusive revelation – I can now tell you, blog fans, why the contestants on CDWM never seem to have prepared or know what they’re doing; it’s because you only find out you’re on the show five days before they start filming! I had to break all my superstitions and act as though I was going to get on – cleaning the house, practicing my menu etc – before I knew one way or the other, cos there was no way I was going to get caught on the hop if I DID get on.

I was disappointed not to make it, for sure. But a part of me was also pretty relieved as there is no way in hell I would have NOT got drunk and made a show of myself on at least one of the evenings, probably all five. I’m a great one for taking things personally and crying like a child, especially if there’s been a drop taken, and even I’m not crazy enough to think I’d want to be recognised by strangers as being ‘that blubbery Hello Kitty weirdo off Come Dine with Me.’

I am still no closer to knowing that it is that drives me to want to be on telly. Is it cos when I was a kid I thought for a while I might be an actor, or a show jumper – or both, for preference – and so be on your telly all the time? Is it cos I want to do new and fun things, and some of those things involve being on TV? Is it cos I love telly and think it somehow holds the answers to the mystery of life? Or is it just cos I’m a big, fat, self-obsessed show off who thinks that everyone is surely as fascinated by me as I am? You’ll have to wait until my biopic comes out to learn the answer to that one, I’m afraid.


  1. We evolved to want to be like the most successful of our peers, which is generally a good strategy for surviving in *any* environment, not just the ancestral one. If you're in some environment, copying those who are doing well there is a good strategy.

    Only how do you tell who's "successful" or "Doing well"?

    One good way is looking for the people who everyone knows, who's popular, who's famous.

    And copying and trying to be like the most famous person in your tribe was probably a good idea most of the time.

    Actual fame in the modern world though is a different matter. Not being able to pop to a shop without autograph hunters, not being able to have a pint in your local without being stared at, not being able to get drunk and snog someone without it being in the newspapers.

    Actual fame in the modern world is a nightmare, but we're still driven by the desire to be famous since that reflects social hierarchy.

    Good luck in your fame hunt! I'm sure I'll be successful in my don't-get-famous-that-looks-like-it'd-suck hunt :)

  2. It's funny, I dind't really need to read the blog, as it just told me everything I already knew :)

    loved it though!

  3. LOL, thanks Stoo! And yes, Pre, intellectually, I know you're right. But I STILL CRAVE THE FAME! I guess I am a slave to evolution.