2008: Gordon Brown’s Non Celebrity Celebrity Year
GORDON Brown is not a celebrity. And that’s good.
Says Gordon Brown, serious politician:
“I think we’re moving from this period when, if you like, celebrity matters, when people have become famous for being famous. I think you can see that in other countries too – people are moving away from that to what lies behind the character and the personality.”
Adding that people have “a new thirst for seriousness” and a yearning to see their leaders deal with “big and serious issues in a way that does justice to them”.
So here’s Brown standing up for equality by telling us to vote for Shilpa Shetty to win Big Brother. Here’s Brown making eyes at Bob Geldof to address world poverty, and looking at Bono, Mr G9, to make sense of starvation.
But enough. Brown says no more celebrity. He is no Tony Blair knocking on the media door to grin at the good news and frown at the bad.
Brown would save the world in a humble suit and with no fanfare. The magic would be done away from prying eyes in the phonebox.
Under Tony, celebrities were who we listened to. They had the conviction. Politicians just existed, like old aunts in care homes, Prince Edward and haemorrhoids.
So Brown is not a celebrity. But he knows some who are. And it’s been a busy year of autograph hunting.
Gordon Brown’s 2008, in words and pictures:
Soccer superstar David Beckham has attended a private meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday afternoon. The 32 year-old chatted for almost an hour with Mr Brown at the Prime Minister’s residence at Number 10 Downing Street. The influential pair are said to have enjoyed informal discussions before he left just after 6pm. A Downing Street spokesman said the meeting was a “genuinely private matter” and that Beckham had been invited at the behest of Mr Brown.
Gordon Brown is the Mail’s new celebrity columnist.
In “Why Sarah and I know this is right”, Prime Minister Gordon Brown “backs the Daily Mail’s Banish the Bags campaign”.
Anorak’s own campaign urges Britons to boycott the Mail, on account of its exploitation of turtles. Millions of you agree with us.
To the column, and Gordon Brown is every inch the columnist, using the word “I” 19 times, and “we” on 17 occasions. The “we” is split between Gordon and his family, and Gordon and the rest of us. But what the difference?
That is Gordon Brown’s smiling face beckoning holidaymakers to Fiji. Stel Tzirki, the media director of DK Advertising, adds: “We wanted to use the others too, but it was going to be too much hassle to get permission. Downing Street agreed that we could use Gordon Brown’s image as long as it was not derogatory and it did not appear that he was endorsing the islands in any way. We showed them the image of the Prime Minister with the red flower behind his ear and they said it was okay to use.”
Five chocolate eggs bearing the faces of Gordon Brown, Victoria Beckham, David Beckham, Lily Allen and Prince Harry have been createdto “represent a spectrum of British culture.
Pucker up for singing sensation and model Carla Brunightly.
Gordon Brown shed his usual reserved image to plant an exuberant kiss on the cheek of visiting French first lady Carla Bruni.
Mr Brown, who recently invited the Hollywood actor George Clooney to No 10, joined Shakira in a conference call to launch a global campaign for universal education.
Gordon Brown yesterday met Hollywood hunk George Clooney – once tipped by the PM’s wife to play him in a movie.
The 46-year-old actor arrived at Downing Street to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.
Sarah Brown has said the Ocean’s Eleven star would be the perfect choice to play her husband.
GORDON Brown is talking on the local radio in Oxford.
The Sun tunes in. It hears and that the PM can’t get the theme song for children’s TV show Ben 10 out of his head.
This is Ben 10, who encounters Kevin, a sociopath with flicky hair who eventually morphs into a hideous amalgam of Ben’s original ten forms. Kevin teams up with the yellowy Vilgax, and together they try to do down Ben 10.
She also managed to grab a quick chat with the PM himself and as Naomi [Campbell] revealed they “touched in issues happening in the world”…now thats a conversation we’d love to witness!
He’s a leading player in the Sun’s “Help for Heroes” campaign, the one backed by actor Ross Kemp, he of ITV’s Ultimate Force show, and so well placed to explain what being a soldier is all about. Kemp spoke at the City Salute, addressing the injured, McBean included.
And here is Mr McBean in the Sun, receiving tribute on behalf of the Armed Forces and a Sun Global Recognition Award, sponsored by Walkers crisps.
Says Gordon: “Thanks to the Sun and ITV for this award because it is vital we promote the talent this country has.”
Brown ends his tribute with a rather threatening: “I hope to see many more occasions like this so that we keep in mind the people that make Britain Great.”
People like Gordon Ramsay, who received tribute from Victoria Beckham (who lives in the US) and picked up an award for his frontline swearing in the white heat of the celebrity kitchen.
Lewis Hamilton, a Great Briton who lives in Switzerland, won the Sport Award.
A little reminder of his pain:
“The film The Queen shows in beautiful detail what happened when the British people chose those female values over male stoicism. And it’s why Gordon Brown has to take a direct interest in, say, the Madeleine McCann case.”
We are at Good Housekeeping magazine’s celebrity accessories swap, held at the North London home of Kathy Lette, the punning Aussie author. Also there are: Dannii Minogue, Fay Weldon, Ruby Wax, Lynda La Plante – Kathy Lette’s “eclectic gang of gal pals.”
I ask Kathy Lette what she plans to swap and, snapping into character, she says: “My husband.” She’d like to trade the QC Geoffrey Robertson for Penny Smith’s bloke but actually she is donating a strange Moschino bag shaped like a milk carton.
Sarah Brown arrives:
When asked by the photographer to ham it up, to pretend to fight with Kathy Lette over a shoe, Sarah plays along, but her shrewd feline eyes hold a look of irony and bemusement that say: “OK, if this is really what you want . . .”
However, in the interview, Mr Brown says it is “absolutely correct” for people to compare him to Heathcliff. He then adds: “Well, maybe an older Heathcliff, a wiser Heathcliff.” Many MPs were openly questioning last night whether Mr Brown could have even read the book to make such a comparison.
Andrew McCarthy, the acting director of the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Yorkshire, told The Daily Telegraph: “Heathcliff is a man prone to domestic violence, kidnapping, possibly murder, and digging up his dead lover. He is moody and unkind to animals. Is this really a good role model for a prime minister?”
A quite month to reflect and know that 101 per cent of us are happy with Gordon.
Statistics never lie.
The PM talks with Bono on the way to an Education for All event at the UN, 25 September 2008
The Prime Minister revealed the story to 100 members of campaign group the Peace Alliance earlier this week, leaving the guests “in stitches”.
He explained to the group that the two men were among 50,000 people watching the controversial Winehouse, 25, whose husband Blake Fielder-Civil is in prison, perform at Mandela’s London birthday concert.
But the former South African leader was left confused when the singer substituted the chorus of the song “Free Nelson Mandela” with a statement of her own.
Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross phone calls were ‘unacceptable’, says Gordon Brown. Gordon Brown has waded into the row over Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross’s prank phone calls to actor Andrew Sachs, describing their behaviour as “inappropriate and unacceptable”.
Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington tells of a private audience at No 10 with Gordon and Sarah Brown.
Brown is tuned into the X Factor, as he was last year.
Yesterday Spanish finalist Ruth Lorenzo revealed that Mr Brown wrote to her praising her for ignoring Cowell’s instructions to sing in her native language. Lorenzo said: “He said, ‘Keep singing in English, girl. You’re doing a great job! Going against Simon’. It was great.”
Daniel Evans also received a motivational note that read: “Can I say that the next time Simon says that you are only supported by the over 60s, you can tell him that my wife Sarah and I disagree. Although you would be better off mentioning Sarah rather than me, as she is much farther away from 60 than I am!”
The Britain’s Got Talent winner, George Sampson, 15, met the Prime Minister as part of his documentary Living The Dream. (That’s Sampson and not Brown’s documentary.)
Over a cuppa at No10 with The Apprentice tycoon Sir Alan Sugar, one of Britain’s top businessmen, the PM says that if times were not so serious he might have been “punished” for decisions he made.
A dance with Strictkly Come Dancing’s Lisa Snowdon.
Celebrity is dead. Long live the anti-celebrity…