Thursday, 24 January 2013

Life is Too Short To Be Shy & The Rise Of The Nobody.


I understand being shy as a concept, if you're under the age of seven, but as a lifestyle choice, I think it's no longer an option.
I don't think in 2013 it's even possible to suffer from shyness. Surely, the glut of TV talent shows, reality TV and the publics thirst for horror stories like 'Keeping up with the Kardashian’s', prove that it's a spill out of your bra and then spill your guts world that we live in.
The last people I really remember being described as 'shy' were Princess Diana and Michael Jackson. Doe eyes, milky white skin, the over use of a Kohl pencil and a fondness for Military style jackets with Dynasty style shoulder pads made them both the embodiment of the perfect pop culture Princess. It was only a penchant for crotch grabbing and baby dangling that sullied Jackson's reputation and the tragic, high speed death of Diana that finally snuffed out our last sniff of her Royal shyness.
Shy Di and baby voiced Jackson seem like an eternity ago. We now have a new generation of blonde's with ambition and the latest incarnation of those who fiddle with their faces can be found on the high street. Star power and the 'IT' factor got watered down and sucked up by anyone with access to a spray tan gun and a Botox needle.
Now our only superstars are soap stars and our Princesses are lowly pop stars.

Nobody has to suffer the drudgery of being just a nobody anymore. It's the right time to be a YouTube sensation and the perfect moment to kiss and tell. Sex has never stopped selling and that's why it's a viable option to record it and then flog it, or flog it and then record it. Whatever floats your boat when you're busy getting your rocks off can be used to make you a quick buck. Careers can be built on the back of a tape of you laying flat on your back, and it even works for the boys too. Ray J hitched his wagon on Kim Kardashian and ended up riding on the coat tails of Whitney Houston. What you do with your privates no longer stays private when there is money to be earned, and a reputation to be gained.
The downside of building a career based purely on sex? Eventually the bottom is going to fall out of your business and you'll be left on your knees.

In a buy now and pay later culture children are fair game to be exploited, made up, made over and overfed. The old cliche of the 'showbiz mother' is alive and well and her ambition is growing faster than her child's self esteem ever will. Babies are no longer thrust into the arms of a politician for a photo opportunity, there is a far bigger catch in the fame pool and his name is Simon Cowell. Like Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, Mr Cowell will accept any cash cow (child) thrust into his arms and parade them on a stage for us to vote on how talented we think they are. 
'Britain's Got Talent' is like a breeding ground for nervous breakdowns and shattered dreams and even our pets want to get in on the act. Our 'oohs and ahhs' are no longer reserved for someone with five teeth and pigtails, we now save them for puppy dogs in fishtails.
At least a furry thing with four legs will incur a lot less vets bills than a human 'finalist' will in therapy, and the best thing is? 
A dog can't answer back.

But what becomes of the talent show finalist once the dream is over and the cover versions are dried up? Big Brother will always be watching even after you've turned the public off. The only price you pay for trying to win them back will be by allowing us to watch your every move, witness your every emotion (real or fake) and then show our appreciation by voting you in or throwing you out. Tears will always work,  but tantrums not so much. A Queen with a flair for drama is a lot more user friendly than someone who's just a drama queen, and a 'fly on the wall' documentary about your relationship / engagement / wedding can be just enough to get you a photo shoot in 'Hello'. Flashing some flesh will always work, as will buying a baby or contracting some awful disease, because death has never been so lucrative.
Just make sure you live long enough to enjoy it.

It seems all of us are searching for an audience. 
If the first thing you reach for in the morning is your phone to check your Facebook page then you're just as much a part of the fame game as a late thirties housewife who used to be a Spice Girl. We all need a little recognition and social media has created a hunger for as many 'Likes' and friend requests as we can muster. I read recently that anyone with other 1000 Facebook friends is borderline narcissistic and most probably very shallow.
And there was me thinking they had really met, touched or slept with those people?
Luckily, I'm only half way to narcissism and I'm still splashing around in the deep end.

A celebrity obsessed culture has left too many people obsessed with becoming a celebrity. Why finish school when there's an audition to be attended? 'A Levels' and Degrees are no match for high kicks and low life's.
So you think you can dance? Sing? Be a top model or even stalk a celebrity? The fame game is now being played on an open playing field and you can bring whatever talents you have or even think you have and give it a go. You can wear what you like, say what you like, do what you like and then post your photographs on twitter. You can even become an Internet 'troll' and become a celebrity. You've gained 5000 followers at the same time as a criminal record but at least people know who you are.

So you see, there really is no time for shyness, for being coy or not chasing after your dreams. We can all build ourselves an audience, flirt with fame and try to achieve some form of recognition.

And if all else fails, there's only one thing for it.

I suggest you start writing a blog.












Monday, 7 January 2013

Keep a Diary, Start a Blog or Just Mind Your Own Business?


"Keep a diary and someday it'll keep you".

I have never really understood the meaning of the quote attributed to Mae West. 
Did she mean that if you religiously write down everything that has happened to you, what you have felt and every dirty little secret that you've managed to keep 'secret', it will one day fill your pockets and let you live in relative comfort; or did she mean that if you keep a record of every resolution and achievement, failed affair and disappointment, then one day you'll be bound to it? 
If you keep a diary, your life is right there before you in pen and ink, and there is no running away from it. The mind can sometimes cloud, paint and blur the edges but if you've got it all written down in front of you and in your own fair hand, then the rosiest of rose tinted spectacles are not going to make anything bad seem better, or anything grand seem grander.

I have just started to keep a diary again. 
I wrote my first diary at seventeen, my next at eighteen and then apart from a weeks worth of angst, romanticism and self-medicating prose at the age of thirty six, I stopped.
I obviously didn't deem anything I was doing interesting enough to write down, or maybe I was just too busy to actually spend the time writing down whatever I was doing? It's another question I've been asking myself about my latest foray into the world of Bridget Jones.
If I'm going to keep a diary then I first better make sure I have a life to write about, but then if I'm living such an eventful, fulfilling life, how the hell am I going to find the time to write about it?

Do we truly write a diary just for ourselves or is our eye always on the reader? My teenage diaries are in turns hilarious, unforgiving, naive and surprisingly upsetting. I never knew I was that confused. I always thought my teens were full of laughs and bad haircuts, instead, it turns out they were full of tears and bad haircuts. I have friends who kept diaries of what they wore, where they went, what they had eaten and whom they had slept with whereas my diary was full of how I was feeling and an intense desire to make things better for myself. The only consolation I take from those diaries is that I've become more shallow as I've grown older and all that teenage angst went flying straight out of the window as soon as I discovered pharmaceuticals and a disco ball. 
There is nothing better to rid yourself of wanting a life, then leaving your bedroom and going and getting yourself a life.

I don't think any diary should be discreet. If you are writing for yourself then let it be unmediated. Why would anyone keep a diary without writing down the explicit and sometimes the exquisite truth? I recently started to read the Richard Burton Diaries in which he chronicles his relationship with Elizabeth Taylor. I'm about a hundred pages deep into the life of those two madly passionate icons and even the humdrum and benign entries seem exciting because he writes exactly what he feels about her, and she in turn, reads his diary and then scrawls her own thoughts and feelings over the top.
I don't know if writing a diary in the knowledge that your nearest and dearest is going to read it is a ridiculous or an incredibly smart thing to do?
In many ways it would save on therapy bills and couples counseling but at the same time surely it would be playing to an audience and a way of using your written words to aggravate or alleviate?
My diary is strictly for my eyes only.
But then again, I live alone and it's extremely well hidden, so nobody is ever going to see it anyway.

A diary can give you a true depiction of yourself, as long as you are honest when writing it. It's no use to anyone if you only write an exercise in vanity, if that's what you feel you need to do, then you best start a blog. My diary is myself laid bare, it's never going to play for laughs, dress things up or be used to get a reaction. It's not going to be record of recipes, haircuts or outfits either, unless, they happen to be particularly bad and I have no idea if it will be a record of sexual conquests, career achievements or ridiculously bad decisions. It may be a record of insane highs and desperate lows or it maybe just the thoughts and feelings of a mad but sometimes sane man? 
I have no idea. A diary allows you to ramble, the only editor you have is yourself. 

I did a search of famous diarists and Wikipedia has a comprehensive list, from Pepys to Warhol to the Marquis de Sade and to Anne Frank and back again. A diary can be used to tell the tale of an era in history that would never have been recorded otherwise. It can be used to tell the secrets of superstars and all the glitter that surrounds them or it can be used to show the depravity and inhumanity of and against a race of people. Sometimes a diary can be fictional and yet a whole swathe of the female population will buy into it or it will speak to every schoolboy aged 13 3/4. 
Call girls, politicians, newspaper editors and rock stars have all at sometime sat down, opened the page and wrote about what was important that day.
At the time, it may have only been important to them but their diary somehow ended up being published and now it's important to you and I, which just goes to prove . . . 

"Keep a diary and someday it'll keep you".