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Starsuckers: Amy Winehouse’s Hair Catches Fire In Michael Jackson Tribute

by | 14th, October 2009

Starsuckers – new film exposes how Amy Winehouse’s hair caught fire in trouching tribute to Michael Jackson…

starsuckersIN Starsuckers, a group of documentary film makers in London’s Brick Lane take on the role of actual tabloid journalists by trying to plant fake celebrity stories in the national press.

Says the film’s director Chris Atkins in the Guardian:

“We consumed a lot of coffee thinking about it. How can we do this intelligently? How can we prove our point? But how can we make it funny?”

It’s a great idea. Not too long ago, we got a call from big TV production company asking to speak with Barry Richards, 16, a pupil at the Wat Tyler comprehensive in Grays, and a leading member of the Essex Young Conservatives.

His book, The Little Blue Schoolbook, was a riposte to controversial Little Red Schoolbook, which was published in the UK earlier this year. But whereas the original enjoins pupils to organise strikes and demonstrations, Richards’ version extols the virtues of obedience, patriotism and polished shoes.

We got Barry on the phone. And then we came clean, fearful for the researcher’s career.

Their first call, on 18 March, concerned a fictional sighting of the Canadian singer Avril Lavigne asleep at the nightclub Bungalow 8.

The story appeared in the following day’s Daily Mirror under the headline: “Avril Lavigne a lightweight at London clubbing”. “After knocking back cocktails, the singer was found slumped across her table, snoring,” the story noted. “Lightweight!”…

Remember this?

A story about singer Amy Winehouse’s hair catching fire from a faulty fuse spread across the world after it was printed in the Mirror on 21 March under the headline “Amy Winehouse in hair fire drama”. The Starsuckers’ researcher gave the newspaper fictional details of the story, which she said she had “heard” from an unnamed friend who was at the singer’s house.

“Fuses blew as Wino jammed with mates at the house in north London – and sparks lit up her beehive,” the Mirror reported. “We always knew you were a hothead, Amy.”

Two days later, the same story appeared in the Daily Star, which had also received a Starsuckers call, with an embellishment about how a friend of the singer “ended up punching flamey Amy’s head to put out the blaze”. It reappeared on several celebrity gossip websites, a New York Post blog and, eventually, the pages of the Times of India – the widest-circulation English-language newspaper in the world.

One question: why do no celebrities sue for a false story? Answer: if they do we get to know about what really goes on.

Atkins offers:

“Had those fake stories been fact-checked by the newspapers before they were printed, they would have realised – I think within minutes – that they were about to publish complete and utter babble.”

Fact check. Newspapers. Make the link…



Posted: 14th, October 2009 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink