The philosophers ‘will need to use a lot of drugs’, Plato says in the Republic, talking of the guardians’ need to con the banausics into thinking that their destiny is to keep their betters pondering. It’s one of my favourite Plato lines – ‘No pun intended, man!’ as Russell Brand might say. The other night, I speed-read – or, if you like, e-read, crack-read, acid-read – Brand’s shlockbuster Revolution, and had the strange feeling of having read it faster than I had.
In my favourite picture of Amy Winehouse, she’s holding a hoover. It’s partly the thought that Amy Winehouse did the hoovering, partly that she looked like that – hair aloft, fag askew, lids weighed down with liner – full-time. She always mixed the real and the unreal. Her voice, described in the New Yorker as a kind of ‘aural blackface’, belonged in several decades at once. Her version of ‘Valerie’ made the Zutons’ sound like a cover; the way she sang it, it could almost have been an original Motown song – the reverse of what Phil Collins once did to ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’. Detroit met Southgate somewhere in her voice.
Mia Farrow is still a star turn. See her testimony at The Hague, where Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, is on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity in neighbouring Sierra Leone. Farrow, Naomi Campbell and Campbell’s agent, Carole White, of Premier Model Management, were in South Africa in 1997 when, according to White and Farrow, Campbell was a knowing beneficiary of Taylor’s dodgy largesse. Here’s how it looks, very roughly, if you dovetail the testimonies of White, Farrow and Campbell at the Special Court for Sierra Leone:
Now that Tiger Woods is making ready to pull the sock off the head of his driver once more, and with our concern and warm wishes going out to Sandra Bullock in her moment of heartbreak, who among us can ignore the devastating toll sexual addiction takes, not merely on the celebrities we love and admire, but on the broader society, a society reluctant to even acknowledge this serious mental health issue and the countless lives it affects, inevitably in the most damaging of ways.
Only question asked by immigration official at LAX: 'Did you enjoy having Dennis Quaid on your flight?'
The trouble with living a bizarre life is that you've got a lot to live up to when you're no longer living. In that sense, Michael Jackson has got off to quite a good start. First, he dies at home surrounded by strange medical equipment and children's toys. Second, there's a doctor standing nearby. Most people, if they're in danger of dying, wouldn't mind having a doctor to hand, but in the case of bizarre celebrities the presence of a doctor doesn't always guarantee their safety. The opposite, in fact. The doctor is very often there, allegedly, to aid the process of premature oblivion. Let's face it: Michael was never going to fall asleep one day in the TV room of the Sunshine Inn, after a few years of forgetfulness and a dinner of prunes. I always thought it more likely he would die in outer space, or underwater, in a restless bid to discover Atlantis.