Why do we feel ‘celebrities’ owe us something?

Greta Garbo

I don’t like the concept of celebrity. Once upon a time that term meant something. It was reserved for people such as Elvis, Greta Garbo or Marilyn Monroe; megastars with the talent to match. Now it’s pinned on anyone who happens to have been on television for five minutes. Reality TV is to blame for that, with its Big Brother and Celebrity Jungle crap. A few weeks ago I came upon Celebrity Masterchef and didn’t have a clue who any of them were, and neither it seemed did anybody else I talked to. These shows are now riddled with unknown people that make those watching it go: “Didn’t she used to be married to that guy off that band?” or “Isn’t he yer man’s son?”

On Wikipedia celebrity is defined as – a person, who has a prominent profile and commands some degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media. The term is often synonymous with wealth, implied with great popular appeal, prominence in a particular field, and is easily recognized by the general public.

The first past is the most worrying. We have a fascination with them, a hunger even and in turn they have huge influence over our society. We give them our money, time and adulation, expecting something in return. We want our piece of flesh whatever that may be. So while I don’t like ‘celebrities’/pop ‘stars’ or the power they have, there is another side to this ‘celebrity life’; a fact confirmed to me by watching a documentary on One Direction fans.

One Direction band

There is no nice way to put it. These girls were mental. If they weren’t crying about them, they were sending death threats to whatever girl they happened to be going out with. They stalked them at concerts (which is fair enough as they have paid to be there) but also outside press conferences, their homes, their parents homes and the offices of their record company. In short they felt these five boys owed them something and they wanted it all the time.

I do remember fan mania around boy bands such as NKOTB and Backstreet Boys (yes I am showing my age). Everyone had their posters, their tapes, went to their gigs and watched them on Top of the Pops. But now it’s just maniacal. With such easy access through social media ‘celebrities’ are bombarded with messages that can border on psychopathic. Getting a death threat just because you didn’t stop to get a photo is laughable, but it’s also worrying. Why are so many young girls and teenagers putting all their life’s energy into a group of guys they will never get anywhere near?

Z

I’ve never understood the hysteria around people who are famous. There are many actors, writers and musicians I admire, but I never cried about them. The worst of them all is the Z listers, the Kardashians being the main ones in mind. What the hell are they famous for? What do they actually do apart from talk about their private lives endlessly and wear lots of makeup? Plus they are one of the main culprits in bringing out that awful side to celebrity life. They court the tabloids, use their agents to stir up publicity, share every intimate detail of their lives to anyone who will listen, and as an unfortunate consequence that level of knowledge about a ‘celebrities’ life is now expected. Fans want to know who is getting drunk and where, who such and such is sleeping with, what their favourite brand of perfume is and when they are having children.

Many argue that people in the limelight have asked for this. That they put themselves out there so the intrusion is justified. It’s not. At least not in the case of someone just doing a job and as a consequence being famous for it. (If they do however sell pictures of their children to magazines or leak their sex tapes onto the internet then all bets are off, and may the chips fall where they may). I will go and see a film with Ryan Gosling because he’s a great actor. I will buy a ticket to Bat for Lashes because they make great music. I will go to a book signing of Stephen King because he’s a brilliant writer. I don’t give a crap what they eat for breakfast or do in their spare time, but how come there’s so many people out there that do?

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10 things you should be allowed do in public

10 things you should be allowed do in public

I am loving this new viral that’s going around showing people dancing in public as if they were in a nightclub or in their front living room. Some of them are being coy, a waggle of the hips or stolen punch in the air and then there are those who want to be seen, share their erratic sways and lunges to the world and don’t really care what people think. They could be mad, possible escapees from the nearest mental home, but hopefully they just have thrown off the shackles of society’s unsaid rules and are doing what they want to do, when they want to do it.

Dance like nobody's watching

I for one am too aware of the people around me and what they might think. I am a wound up ball of decorum and awareness that even a lion would have trouble unravelling with a few paw swipes. So to celebrate them and their brave maddery I decided to list (and I do like the odd list) ten things that we should be able to do in public without shame or repercussion.

1)      Wear pyjamas to work – This would be luxury. Imagine sitting at your desk warm and snug in flannelette pj’s? No more tights, skirts/dresses that ride up or trousers that are just getting too intimate. Instead you could be there working away with a cup of tea and slippers. I concur that this may not be great for some jobs such as a fireman (due to the flammability) or a policeman (due to the fact they would be laughed out of the place), but if we all get on board pyjamas would be normalised and nobody would blink an eye.

2)      Use all the rides in the playground (as an adult) – I have done it, but only at night when all the kids have gone home. Why is it when you reach a certain age having fun on a horse that throws you back and forth is no longer allowed? Slides and seesaws are devices created for fun. They shoot you to the ground and launch you into the air for God’s sake, what isn’t there to like? Adults should be allowed to have a go on a merry-go-round on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Kids or no kids.

Slide

3)      Eat dinner with your hands – What’s all this knife and fork thing about? If it’s good enough for people in India to eat with their hands then, it’s good enough for me. I’m not talking about laying into a three course meal like a polar bear, but utensils can be annoying and clink a lot. I think there is a niche in the restaurant market that is severely lacking  – a hand only buffet with free bibs. Who’s with me?

4)      Hopscotch across cobblestones – All cobblestone areas (and Dublin has a lot of them) should be marked hopscotch only zones. Large blocks and numbers should be drawn across them with a Frisbee as the marker. Failing to do would result in a punishment such as having to rub your stomach and head at the same time for two minutes.

5)      Pole dance – Similar to the hopscotch zone there should be a pole dancing zone, preferably near water or docks so the wind helps swinging. Clothes should be greatly encouraged. In the snow they can be used to string a web of Christmas lights.

pole

6)      Pick your nose – I know it’s gross, but people do it. I have seen them trying to cover it up with a cupped hand or tissue, but we all know what’s going on under there. I’m not saying we should suddenly all embrace our noses and poke around in them while at a meeting or interview or start dining on it like whelks at the seaside, but it’s just green goo, your green goo.

7)      Have outbursts – Whether that be a quick joyful squeal or irritated grunt, venting is okay, healthy even. Violent outbursts I am not for and should be restrained with handcuffs or a whack to the head with something heavy but soft.

8)      Walk away – By this I mean if you are dying of boredom in a conversation or just having to put up with someone being offensive or letchy you shouldn’t have to stay and be polite. Leave that person there like a fish seeking water, let their mouths flap to themselves. Perhaps your move would make them revert to point 7 and get it over with. JUST. WALK. AWAY.

Bus

9)      Throw an item out the window that takes up a seat  – This is a personal annoyance. People that put all their bags onto a seat as if it needs one. Unless there is a child in it or an ill puppy take it off and put it on the bloody ground. All forms of transport should allow the chucking of seat hogging items and windows should open sufficiently to allow it. That or just have a button you can press that allows for this type of emergency and chuck it out the door. I think it should be purple with ‘IGNORANT’ written on it.

10)   Read out loud – Some books are too good to keep to yourself. If it’s funny or powerful we should be able to share it with the world. Pavements, transport, restaurants should all become places that allow and embrace the spoken word even if there is no real audience and no mic.

And to think I was going to write something on Maggie Thatcher today! Is there anything you would like to do in public, but feel is too out there? All additions to my list are welcome!

The Plumber Relay

Earlier this week I had issues with my boiler. The water was coming out, but in a reluctant dribble. It was not providing a shower but more so a drizzle. The kind that feels like rain, but you’re not quite sure. I sat there after the plumber left, another company’s number in my hand to call as he couldn’t sort out the issue and wrote this poem.

Leaking pipe

The Plumber Relay

He came with tools

the promise of a fix

new tubes and pipes

amongst his box of tricks.

 

Noises were made

the oohs and ahhs of broke

as water dripped

and gurgled with a croak.

 

As minutes passed

your hopes began to grow

that dreaded block

was finally set to go.

 

But then he said

“There’s nothing I can do”

with hands held high

“You’ll need another crew.”

 

So you are left

the water weak and cold

to scorn and curse

the fixing put on hold.

 

And still you wait

the heat and shower still

for more to come

and take away the chill.

 

So swathed in clothes

I will the phone to ring

and try to block

the pong of sweaty zing.

The ranter went relentless and it wasn’t pretty

This weekend I was coined as relentless. I nagged and didn’t seem able to stop while being unaware I was doing it. This was not good. It didn’t help that I was irritated and had a lot on my plate but – relentless –  is not a word I want to be alongside, never mind crawl all over. On consulting with my good friend dictionary.com I found out its many meanings and started to feel worse.

re·lent·less

[ri-lent-lis]

adjective

that does not relent; unyieldingly severe, strict, or harsh; unrelenting: a relentless enemy.

Origin: 
1585–95; relent + -less

Synonyms 
rigid, unbending, obdurate, adamant, unyielding. See inflexible.

Antonyms 
merciful

So not only am I unrelenting, strict and harsh, but according to its antonym I am unmerciful. I have subjected my boyfriend to a day and a half of pecking like a dominant bird in a nest that doesn’t want its sibling to live so it will get more food. It was a revelation to me. I started this blog because I like to rant about things that matter, silly things I notice and people or events in everyday life that are just irritating. But I never wanted to become a nag. A relentless nag at that.

Bird pecking

So at what point does ranting become henpecking? How do you know where the line is and how not to know to cross it? I just thought I was giving out a little bit at the weekend. Perhaps giving out a little bit too much ‘I know more than you’ advice. But when I sat back and thought about it he was right. I was being relentless. It was as if all the things that irked me slightly all came to the forefront like a mob being let through the doors to buy a new iPhone. The clambered over each other and wouldn’t relent until I expelled them from my rapidly moving mouth and eye rolls.

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As Google makes running shoes talk, I want to know what the others sound like…

Google shoe

As Google makes running shoes talk, I want to know what the others sound like…

A few weeks ago Google launched a talking shoe. No, not in a parallell universe where Walt Disney is alive and has turned his attention to footwear rather than mice, but a shoe designed to motivate runners. It does this by saying things like “I love the feeling of wind in my laces”, “You have made me a very proud shoe” and “Are you a statue? Let’s do this already”.

But what about all the other shoes? If we lived in a world where footwear spoke of their own accord what would they be saying and how would they be saying it? As usual I have a few thoughts on that very issue:

Flip-flops – A Bob Marley sound-a-like with narcolepsy. This pair talk about sand a lot and not in a good way. ‘It gets everywhere man’ is a common phrase, while a salty sea is what sets off the narcolepsy as they are terrified of water.

Doc Martens – A teenage boy whose voice breaks intermittently so it goes from high pitched to deep in the space of seconds. When it’s high it sounds like someone having just sucked helium, when low Darth Vader without emphysema. ‘You won’t break me in’ and ‘Have you bled yet?’ are common phrases. The Doc is a threatening shoe.

Riding boots – These just neigh, a whiny neigh that can only indicate yes or no. Although that doesn’t matter because it’s hard to distinguish which is which, and the real horse always blocks them out. As they are not able to articulate words they just neigh at each other all the time. However they do enjoy both mud and rain so are at their most melodic in winter.

Stilletos

Stilettos – Meryl Streep. Or more so all her voices in every film she has ever been in starting with 101 Dalmatians and moving backwards. In the world of actors she is a stiletto as she towers above most other actresses (apart from maybe Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard & Cate Blanchett) so it only makes sense they sound like her.

Wellies – A farmer with a mouth of marbles. These guys are from the nether regions of the world and as a result are nearly impossible to understand. Every fifth word sounds familiar because it is either ‘ya know’ or ‘yar’.

Sandles – A small girl with a voice so squeaky dogs run away on their approach. Sandles are giddy and like to be the centre of attention, which is a shame as they are more often than not, very ugly. Socks are the only way to muffle the sound and are used effectively by many older men whose dogs do not fetch them shoes, but socks.

Ankle boot – A Russian dominatrix wearing leather and slapping a whip. “I can’t hear you” and “You’ll do as you’re told” are said with regularity. The whipping sound scares the crapp out of most animals so they are banned from zoos, racecourses, animal shelters, safaris etc.

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The holy smoke has spoken…

pope

The holy smoke has spoken…

The white stuff has spoken. We have a new pope. While the recently usurped and renamed Benedict hides out in some mansion overlooking a glistening lake being tended to with goblets of tea and shortbread biscuits in his rabbit fur-lined chair, a new man has taken his place.

Francis is Argentian and being promoted as a humble and simple man. Instead of limousines he takes buses and pays for his own meals. Catholics across the world are swooning (perhaps due to a sleeping gas impregnated in the smoke that only affects the really holy). At first glance he seems ‘better’ but is that really the case? Let’s look at the facts:

1) He is anti-abortion. You have no choice irrelevant of the circumstances. Just have the child, the holy spirit will buy it clothes and food.

2) He is against gay marriage. Only women and men have a right to marry in the eyes of the church. Even though churches are run by just one sex and women are shunned. Remaining celibate and single is the only other option.

3) He opposes same-sex adoption as it denies a child a mother and father. It doesn’t matter if said mother and father are unfit and/or neglectful. The possibility of a nurturing upbringing is exclusive to heterosexuals.

4) He also opposes euthanasia. If you’re terminally ill just have to put up with the pain until your body gives up. God will decide.

Can someone please tell me where does the ‘new’ come in?

They call it eBay, I call it a waste of time.

ebay

They call it eBay, I call it a waste of time.

Last week I decided to give eBay a try. People had convinced me by going on about how easy it was and that people on there would buy ‘anything’. So armed with some clothes that I no longer wore that just kept mounting into a leaning pile, I decided to dive in. It was time to sell up and cash out. Or at least that was the idea.

Signing up was easy and pretty pain free. Thankfully I already had a Paypal account so did not have to go through the headache of that experience again. Photos taken I was ready to start. Listing was not as painless, the categories went on forever from material type, to neckline, length, colour, style. By the end of putting up one item my head was spinning. The real pain was setting the price. There were loads of options with price charts and strategies. After a quick read of a ‘dummies’ type guide up I opted for the auction option and put a start price of 1.49.

Then I waited…and waited. The items were up there, but nothing seemed to be happening. Not a sniff of a bid on a paltry 1.49. Then I forgot about it got on with other things. Then 10 days later two sold notifications landed in my inbox. Confusion ensued. I didn’t even know there had been interest. With some excitement I clicked on the mail. Two of the best items were gone, a DKNY top and another from G-Star. I didn’t wear them anymore so they were better off in someone else’s wardrobe rather than my own…but I didn’t intend to sell them for the starting price. Both of them were gone to new owners for a pathetic 1.49. The money paid for the postage was three times that. What the hell?

So by my calculations from a total of 5.49 this is how my ‘profit’ breaks down:

4 euro postage

25c insertion fee

10c for the envelope

2 euro at least for all the wasted time sorting it out and posting the packages, based on minimum wage payment of 8 euro per hour means that my total profit is a loss of 86 cents. Double that for the two items means that I am 1.72 out of pocket and irritated into the bargain.  Not only, but the items that didn’t sell cost me money so I actually owe bloody eBay 1.40 in ‘fees’.

To add insult to injury I got an e-mail from them today which reads:

Congratulations on your first sale!
Take me shopping
Take me shopping
You’ve done it! You’ve sold your first item and it’s making someone happy right now – and you’ve pocketed the cash. It’s time to do it again!
The first time you sell can be the hardest but now you’ve learnt the ropes you’ll be able to do it more easily next time. If you didn’t the first time, consider using a listing upgrade, such as Gallery. You’ll stand out from the crowd and are likely to attract more bidders.

So not only have I wasted time and energy along with losing money they want me to do it again?! I especially like the line of ‘you’ve pocketed the cash’. All I have pocketed eBay is a pain in my cerebrum and a negative Paypal account.

You could say it was my own fault – for setting the price too low, not having good enough pictures, not paying attention to the listings, but seriously how do you end up owing money when selling something?!! My tryst with eBay was a failure, a promising relationship that has turned sour. All you eBay lovers can keep it, I am going back to the charity shops and wondering if the person in the queue in front of me is wearing my jumper.