Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.
BOB Geldof has used his Band Aid brand to help Ebola victims. Once more the celebrity chorus asks if Africans know it’s Christmas. Do you sense the whiff of celebrity colonaliasm, with Africa and its Ebola virus a backstory to those good Western hearts? Is his grandstanding annoying you? Or should you just appreciate the effort – after all, if it helps the victims so what the good cause is a celebrity vehicle?
Anyone listening to the BBC this week could be forgiven for thinking that the musician Bob Geldof had just emerged from Africa, like a latter-day Dr Livingstone, the first westerner with news of a deadly new virus..
Bob Geldof walks into this international effort as a nostalgia act from the 1980s. He seems unaware of all the parodies of his charity singles. One spoof, ‘Africa for Norway’, is a video showing Africans recording a charity song to raise funds for radiators to keep Scandinavians warm in winter. ‘In Norway, kids are freezing,’ runs the first line. ‘It’s time for us to care.’ The video asks us to consider what Africans would think of Europe if the only images they saw were of the freezing and the dying. (This winter, incidentally, at least 20,000 British pensioners are likely to die of the cold — an annual event. Where is the charity single for them?)
As one Liberian student put it this week, Geldof is suffering from a ‘white saviour complex’. Listen only to Band Aid and you might want to give to Africa but never invest there. You would not guess that any African country could have an economy, still less that they have hospitals, doctors and administrators who are making the biggest contribution to fighting Ebola…
The very title of Geldof’s song, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’, suggests that Africans are as ignorant as they are poor and sick. Apart from in Arabic north, Christianity thrives in Africa rather more than it now does in much of Europe — so there is a somewhat high awareness of when Christmas falls (in January, for Ethiopians and Egyptians). In Britain, people will most certainly know it’s Christmas but we’re less likely than ever to mark the occasion by actually going to church. In Geldof’s 1985 Live Aid concert, David Bowie knelt and said the Lord’s Prayer in front of the crowd. It is unthinkable that any pop star would try to do this now and expect the audience to applaud — unless they were touring Africa.
John Wight is also unimpressed:
Band Aid reinforces negative stereotypes of Africa and Africans. It reflects a colonial mindset that is so deeply entrenched in Western culture that we aren’t even aware it exists. The sight of a bunch of rich pop stars parading themselves as paragons of virtue and heroes is crass and eminently offensive. While it may allow them to wallow in self congratulation and positive PR, it is paternalism of the most grievous kind.
Laura Seay is literal:
The original version “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was awash in negative stereotypes of Africa and the Ethiopian people Live Aid purported to help. The song treated Africa as an homogeneous place, “where nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow” and “where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears.” It also claimed that “there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime,” a factual inaccuracy that betrayed the lyricists’ ignorance of both basic geography and the giants of 20th-century literature.
In addition to conflating an entire continent with one country, Band Aid’s portrayal of the crisis ignored the man-made dimensions of Ethiopia’s 1984 famine; people were starving not simply because of the regional drought, but because of direct interference by governing officials who used starvation to punish the ethnic groups they considered to be political enemies.
The 30-year anniversary version features rewritten lyrics that somehow manage to be even more inaccurate than the original ones were. Let’s start with these lines:
There’s a world outside your window, and it’s a world of dread and fear
Where a kiss of love can kill you, and there’s death in every tear
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom.
The idea that no one in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea will be celebrating Christmas, or that “Christmas bells…are the clanging chimes of doom” is beyond ludicrous; it betrays a total ignorance of the importance of Christianity in each country’s culture, the sense of joy and celebration that can arise among all people even in the most dire of circumstances, and the fact that most West Africans – even in the Ebola outbreak zone – are not in fact suffering from Ebola.
The tune is catchy. And should the lyrics be taken literally?
There will be snow in Africa this Christmastime.
Especially in the Ski Resorts of Maluti Mountains in Lesotho and Oukaimeden in Morocco. Later on in the year you could also find snow in Tiffindel and even Sutherland in South Africa…
Things do grow in Africa.
Rather a lot of our fruit and veg for example.
“Where nothing ever grows, No rain nor rivers flow”
It’s not the moon!
In 2007 African nations accounted for around 14% of UK imports of fruit and vegetables.
Here is some tea growing in Rwanda, Africa (which consists of 54 different countries by the way).
My real problem is Geldof’s insistence on shaming Adele for not appearing on the track. “Adele is doing nothing,” said Geldof at the weekend. “She’s not answering the phone… she’s not writing. She’s not recording. She doesn’t want to be bothered by anyone. She won’t pick up the phone to her manager. She’s bringing up a family, you know.”
This is as condescending as the song itself – do Africans know it’s Christmas? Given that over 500 million people living there are Christians, we must presume the answer to that is yes – and worse, it is a form of bullying that has sneeringly been dressed up as do-gooding.
The message is loud and clear, even if the music isn’t: Geldof is here to save West Africa from Ebola, and Adele, with her peculiar un-celebrity desire to sod the limelight as she brings up a toddler, is a selfish little woman who must be publicly humiliated.
…on receiving the proposed lyrics on Thursday – two days before the recording was due to take place in London – I was shocked and appalled by their content. The message of the Band Aid 30 song absolutely did not reflect what Africa is truly about and I started to question whether this was something I wanted to be a part of.
I pointed out to Geldof the lyrics I did not agree with, such as the lines “Where a kiss of love can kill you and there’s death in every tear”, and “There is no peace and joy in west Africa this Christmas”. For the past four years I have gone to Ghana at Christmas for the sole purpose of peace and joy. So for me to sing these lyrics would simply be a lie.
In truth, my objection to the project goes beyond the offensive lyrics. I, like many others, am sick of the whole concept of Africa – a resource-rich continent with unbridled potential – always being seen as diseased, infested and poverty-stricken. In fact, seven out of 10 of the world’s fastest growing economies are in Africa.
Still. Catchy tune…
EVER been to a disco that made you feel awkward, terrible and upset at the realisation that you were among your people?
John Waters hitchhiked his way across the USA. He’s written it up in Carsick.
“I have probably 8,500 books all catalogued and everything. I’m a book collector. The novelizations of movies which no one collects? I collect them. I also collect porn parodies of literature. So yes, I collect all kinds of books.”
The first two chapters of his book are fictional. He wonders what thrills await him, such as giving head during a demolition derby and being murdered by a serial killer with a thing for film directors.
“Some people skip [the introduction] and they don’t realize the first two parts are fiction. They say, ‘Did that really happen?’ Do you really believe my singing anus did a duet with Connie Francis?”
Save it for the movie…
ONE Direction singer and sort-of dancer Zayn Malik has “blasted drug abuse claims made about him by a presenter on live US TV.”
The Sun’s story goes:
After the singer, 21, missed a trip to America, Today Show host Matt Lauer asked his four bandmates: “There have been rumours of substance abuse, what’s going on?”
Zayn last night told The Sun: “I’m really angry and upset by what was said on The Today Show. I was really ill at the weekend, that’s why I couldn’t fly to America.”
Zayn was so angry he called the Sun. That’s the paper that reported back in May:
ONE Direction’s Zayn Malik was at the centre of a drug-taking storm last night after he was filmed allegedly smoking a cannabis joint.
After a load of fans had burnt 1D souvenirs and declared Zayns a bad ‘role model’ in the Sun, the paper published a transcript of what he and bandmate Louis Tomlinson had discussed.
Dan Wootton, who brings us today’s Zayn shocker, late told readers:
ONE Direction’s Harry Styles is furious Louis with Tomlinson and Zayn Malik have risked the band’s future with a cannabis-smoking video.
What utter balls. Even if he was smoking weed, it never did the careers of this lot any harm.
‘Angry’ Zayn tells Sun readers:
“As soon as I’m feeling better I’m going to join the guys and carry on with the promotion for the album. I was gutted to have to miss album release day. But I’m going to be back as soon as I can.”
Hell hath no fury like a slighted 1D-er!
Lauer raised unsubstantiated online rumours about drug use in front of millions of viewers, during a massive televised gig by his band in front of 15,000 fans in Florida.
Rumours? This is what the Sun wrote:
Harry believes they were stupid and reckless after a leaked film shows Zayn puffing on a spliff in a tour van and Louis appearing to do the same.
The Sun has clearly stated that Zayn was smoking a “spliff” and featured in a “cannabis smoking video”.
The same Sun now says there are rumours that Zayn has taken drugs. Not in the Sun there haven’t been – in the Sun the allegation is presented as fact. Until today, when those apparent facts are reduced to allegations:
In May the band called in lawyers after a video emerged of him allegedly smoking cannabis in the back of a tour van in Peru…
But last night a source revealed: “Zayn usually accepts that rumours are part of his job. But he’s completely raging about Lauer’s comments. He’s utterly shocked. Sure he might have smoked a bit of dope in the past, but substance abuse is a completely different thing. It’s also disgusting that the other boys would be put on the spot like that based on rumours on social media.”
Lest you slack-jawed readers think that smoking weed is substance abuse, Wootton is here to enlighted you. Sure, the NHS says smoking dope and drinking booze can constitute substance abuse – and the Sun agrees – , but the Sun’s Wootton knows better:
ZAYN is devastated and furious that such damaging suggestions have been made so publicly by a respected TV host. He may have been caught on film smoking some weed this year. But “substance abuse” is a quite different suggestion.
Weed is not a subsatnce, says the Sun.
I was with One Direction on Friday night when they guest edited my Bizarre column, then on Saturday morning as they recorded the Band Aid single. Their schedule is manic as they promote their album Four. It was inevitable one would get sick or exhausted. I’ve no doubt that is what’s happened.
Cancel the drugs tests…
THE Sun leads with news of singer Adele and Live Aid 30, the Bob Geldof-driven charity single for Ebola victims:
The Sun is disapproving of Adele, who failed a summons to ask us if Africans know it’s Christmas:
Sir Bob: Adele didn’t answer my calls, she’s doing nothing – Diva no show as stars record Band Aid song
No show? She’s doing nothing. The heartless, self-obsessed ‘diva’. How very dare she ignore Our Bob. ono was there. Mr G21 is doing his bit to save mankind (and tax).
SOCCER legend Paul Gascoigne looks blue as he is seen for the first time in public since being sectioned last month.
‘In public’ now includes walking your wheelie bin down the driveway. It might also include popping to the shops, buying petrol and sitting in your garden. Were the “troubled” former Newcastle, Spurs and Everton footballer taking his bin for a walk, perehaps with a dog or cat inside it, this might be news.
MODERN journalism is much about lists. You make a list and it is news. Things kicked off in 1977, when millions of people (my father mong them) The Book of Lists, compiled by David Wallechinsky, his father Irving Wallace and sister Amy Wallace.
It was a cracking book, a top toilet read. It was a valuable resource when I wrote the quiz questions for the TV show Jeopardy (What is the impossible job?).
CONGRATS to Kelly Rowland, the former Destiny’s Child singer (the one on Beyonce’s left shadow) has given birth. She tells People magazine:
“We are blessed to report everyone is healthy and happy! The dad picked out the name. It has to do with his family.”
That name is Titan Jewell.
He’s either a members of the second order of divine beings, or else a keen WWF fan:
BEN Rogers recalls a moment in the life of Oxford philosopher A J “Freddie” Ayer.
He recalls a conversation between Mike Tyson, Naomi Campbell and the Oxford professor:
KIM Kardashian’s bum makes a hot cup of coffee:
WHEN Kim Kardashain’s naked backside “broke the internet”, our pal Erin picked up her skewer.
TABLOID legends: Benjamin Pell the Bin Man used the so-called dark arts to get a story. He was very good at it.
….for all his idiosyncrasies, Pell is highly intelligent and could have had an illustrious career had he not flunked his exams after blowing £70,000 on a horse in the Derby the day before his finals in 1986. He eventually took a third class law degree from University College London and founded a cleaning company. But it was a large bag of confidential letters outside the bins of London estate agents EA Shaw that set him off on a more lucrative line, selling stories to papers.
For years, he would go out at night, dressed as a binman to fish through the rubbish of top law firms and talent agencies. He was rewarded with some big stories, notably those about Elton John’s cash problems and Jonathan Aitken’s misdemeanours. He was in constant demand from Sunday newspapers which would pay huge sums for his findings.
“I did my last bin raid in February 2001 because I was involved in [TV presenter] Jill Dando’s murder case, and I had to go to the Old Bailey every day” he says, “I’m a completely different animal now.”
THE Daily Star’s Mike Ward is serching for Parks. She is:
The talent show winner who’s vanished without trace: a warning to every X Factor wannabe
Ward is a man on a mission:
PROMISE me you won’t laugh, but I’ve developed this weird obsession with BBC Fame Academy 2003 winner Alex Parks.
Ward has “an obsession with finding out what the hell happened to her… most of them you can Google in a matter or seconds to get at least a rough indication of what they’re up to these days, before going: “Oh, righty-ho.…” and getting on with your day. Alex, on the other hand seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth – and, more to the point, seems to have done this intentionally.”
THIRTY years ago, Michael Buerk brought the pain of millions of starving Ethiopians to British screens. His BBC report in 1984 sparked Bob Geldof to create Live Aid.
Buerk said the broadcast was one of “the most influential pieces of television ever broadcast [prompting] a surge of generosity across the world for Ethiopia[that raised] more than $130 million”.
BIG Bank Hank, US rapper and Sugarhill Gang founder member, has died. He was 57.
Born Henry Jackson, BBH only became a rapper as he couldn’t find a job connected to his oceanography degree.
He was “six foot one and tons of fun”:
ITV2 have killed off Dapper Laughs show On The Pull because the star, one Daniel O’Reilly, made a joke about rape.
The Daily Mirror helped trigger the campaign to end the show by pointing to O’Reilly’s performance at London Scala, in which he told a female audience member:
“She’s gagging for a rape. Yep, we’ll have a chat afterwards. She’s having a chat about ‘yeah, I get quite tight but I get a bit… poor girl. Do you want to come backstage after? Bring two of your mates, you’ll need them.”
WHEN someone suggested that Russell Brand’s Revolution burbling could be echoed with the Blur-inspired cry Parklife, Brand responded with this song and video.
See if you can spot the moment Brand jumps the shark:
TO Uppsala, Sweden, where former Europe’s lead singer Joey Tempest, aka Rolf Magnus Joakim Larsson, is performing a one-man version of his group’s classic, back-combed tribute to space travel, The Final Countdown.
MAX Clifford has lost his appeal against his eight year sentence for sex offences. The PR fixer remains in prison. His victims remain damaged:
Sky News has apologised over an error which led to one of Max Clifford’s victims being named in a recorded broadcast of his appeal… The woman, who has lifelong anonymity under the terms of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992, complained to the police when she heard her name 17 minutes into an edited clip which went out on Sky’s website on October 10.
Sky took the clip down. But did you catch the error?
Sky’s counsel, Adrienne Page QC, claimed that the maximum number of viewers was five – including the victim…
Websites aren’t taking over the news business yet, are they…
EVER wonder what a needle on a vinyl record looks like at 1000x magnification?
Here’s what it looks like in action:
PERVERTS rejoice: you just need 150 eggs, 10kg of flour and the same of butter to make a 5ft 10in Jennifer Lawrence effigy…from cake. Wallsall’s very own Lara Clarke baked a tall Lawrence for the Cake International contest, which she won.
SOPHIA Loren has explained why she gave Jayne Mansfield the side-eye at a Beverly Hills party in 1957. She tells Entertainment Weekly:
Paramount had organized a party for me. All of cinema was there, it was incredible. And then comes in Jayne Mansfield, the last one to come. For me, that was when it got amazing. . . . She came right for my table. She knew everyone was watching. She sat down. And now, she was barely . . . Listen. Look at the picture. Where are my eyes? I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate. In my face you can see the fear. I’m so frightened that everything in her dress is going to blow—BOOM!—and spill all over the table.
COMPARE and contrast The New Statesman’s reporting on Russell Brand.
24 October, 2013, Russell Brand edited an issue of The New Statesman.
Helen Lewis, deputy editor of the New Statesman, said:
We’re delighted to be working with someone as entertaining, inquisitive and provocative as Russell Brand on this special issue of the New Statesman. With contributors ranging from Judd Apatow to Naomi Klein, the edition will be witty, intelligent and surprising. I mean, looks-wise, he’s no Ken Livingstone, but you can’t have everything.
ANDREW Lawrence writes on BBC bias in comedy:
Can’t help but notice increasingly, a lot ‘political’ comedians cracking cheap and easy gags about UKIP, to the extent that it’s got hack, boring and lazy very quickly. Particularly too much moronic, liberal back-slapping on panel shows like Mock The Week where aging, balding, fat men, ethnic comedians and women-posing-as-comedians, sit congratulating themselves on how enlightened they are about the fact that UKIP are ridiculous and pathetic…
Out of touch, smug, superannuated, overpaid TV comics with their cosy lives in their west-London ivory towers taking a supercilious, moralising tone, pandering to the ever-creeping militant political correctness of the BBC with their frankly surreal diversity targets…
There is a deeply ingrained militant liberal politics at every level of the BBC, despite the fact that it’s tax-payer funded and supposed to be neutral. It’s a biased organisation and the only sorts of political comedians that are welcome within its corridors are those that reflect it’s values.