Tag Archives: celebrities

Is It Really Their Swan Song?

I can confess that I’m not a JLS fan, mainly because I’m not 13 and also I consider myself to be a bit old to be a boy band fan. But when I passed the newspaper stand the other day I was stunned to read ‘R.I.P JLS’ on the front of a tabloid! Had there been some awful accident? Had the foursome carried out some sort of boy band suicide pact? I quickly scanned the article, “fans traumatised….help line has been set up….they have decided to concentrate on their solo projects…” Oh, the band have split up, panic over!

Illustration by Faye Brocklebank

Illustration by Faye Brocklebank

JLS apparently stands for ‘Jack the Lad Swing’ to represent the genre of music they produce, which sounds a bit invented to me. Still, it is an improvement on their original name UFO (Unique Famous Outrageous) which thankfully was dropped in the X Factor process or they would have sounded more like a Drag Queen act!

I don’t wish to be mean to JLS, they seem like a smiley bunch of lads that can carry a tune and have given us memorable lyrics such as “If I die, would you come to my funeral, would you cry?”. I’m sure they are very nice boys who treat their Mothers’ well, I’m just having a whinge about the whole emotional break-up/reunion thing that pop bands are so good at these days.  JLS have split up after just 5 years together (helpline really?) and their main reason for the split was ‘to go out on a high’. But are they really going anywhere when they have a farewell tour and greatest hits album to do first? I can’t recall anyone splitting up from their partner to then go on a farewell backpacking holiday together.

After JLS have dragged out the last bit of their fame to say goodbye to their fickle fans they said that they will be concentrating on their ‘solo projects’ which will be down the route of acting, producing, with one member planning on becoming a farmer. But is it inevitable that they will end up on the line-up of Never Mind the Buzzcocks in a few years time? Perhaps Aston can return to the kids programme the Fun Song Factory? I have kids Aston, I saw you sing Polly Put The Kettle On weekly in our house. Not so Jack the Lad Swing then eh?

I don’t mean to single them out though and I wish them every success in their future careers. It’s just the regurgitation of pop bands returning from the past which makes the tears of the band splitting up so hard to believe. Kerry ‘flog a dead horse’ Katona is currently finding a new way to appear on TV with the seriously addictive Big Reunion programme, reuniting Atomic Kitten along with other forgotten gems from the 90s. I watched it obsessively, for a bit of nostalgia but mainly as many of them are in my age group and I could compare how we had all fared over the years. I thought Ms Katona would provide the biggest source of entertainment but when the “fight like my Da” girls from Bewitched started ripping into each other I couldn’t tear myself away. As the Spice Girls/Take That demonstrated, pop bands do tend to detest each other after a few years of relentless touring and photo shoots and a reunion is often filled with grimaced smiles and veiled insults until they have earnt enough money to disappear back into obscurity.

When should a band reunion be a bad idea though? Are Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney a long time retired? A few years ago hubby and I went to see one of our favourite bands, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, in Hyde Park. Their support act was James Brown, the Godfather of Soul himself. I was quite intrigued to see him in concert, he is a legend after all but we were concerned at his advanced age and how he would handle it. When his infamous song ‘I Feel Good’ started up, his huge backing band and entourage of singers took the weight of the song leaving JB to mumble ‘Yeah’ continuously over the microphone. Back in his heyday, JB used to have a gimmick where he would pretend to collapse in exhaustion, a member of his crew would put a cape around his shoulder to ‘help him off stage’ and JB would throw the cape off in a ‘ta-dah I’m alright really’ kind of way. At this concert, JB (we think) pretended to collapse, the crew member put the cape around his shoulders and just led him off stage, unfortunately there was no ‘ta-dah’ moment and after a long segment of the instrumental version of ‘I Feel Good’, he stumbled back out to rapturous applause, the crowd thankful that they hadn’t just witnessed something awful. Am I glad I saw him perform? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Not really as it was all a bit worrying.

Time for my pot kettle black admission now. Me and hubby are off to see Adam Ant in concert in a few weeks  time, a birthday present from me to hubby. I have seem him on Jools Holland recently and he is in good voice, however, his eyesight has deteriorated so much he  has to wear glasses. And for some reason he wears glasses normally referred to as ‘NHS glasses’ alongside his trademark Piratey regalia. Will he be as virile as his younger self was or will his ‘Dandy Highwayman’ be less ‘Stand and Deliver’ and more ‘Sit down and have a think about it?’. I will let you know.


Reality Bites!

I can remember when the first ever Big Brother graced our screens over 10 years ago. Channel 4 had no idea of the monster they had scheduled. A programme about a group of adults locked into a house like lab rats, having to perform tasks for their food and drink. Nasty Nick was almost lynched and hurried out the back door because he wrote people’s names down with a contraband piece of paper and a pencil. Shock Horror! Then came Celebrity Big Brother, much more entertaining as we were treated to a fly on the wall look at celebs looking dog rough without their make-up on and going into a meltdown as they couldn’t blow dry their own hairdo. But being a Big Brother fan is a full-time occupation, it is a nightly show, along with live streaming on their website which I confess I used to watch during the whole Nasty Nick debacle.

Big Brother

Big Brother

I have managed to wean myself from being an avid Big Brother viewer over the years, it was the George Galloway/Rula Lenska cat moment that helped cure my addiction. I have had no interest in the ‘normal’ housemates for a while now but I do tend to watch the launch night of the Celeb edition, just to be nosey. But for some reason this year I have been suckered back in. Don’t ask me why, there is no-one in the house I’m a particular fan of and they are a fairly uninteresting group of people, but I can’t turn it off. Each evening at 9pm, I feel like Peter Sellers in Dr Strangelove, fighting with myself to try to turn over to a different channel. But if I do switch it off, how will I know if Claire from Steps will ever realise that a onesie is not a good look for her, or discover if Rylan is slowly morphing into Max Headroom and find out why Toadfish is actually in the house?

Reality shows have been a cheap alternative to proper TV for a number of years now. In fact, celebrities will pretty much do anything for a bit of shameless airtime and stress its for charity purposes and not purely for their desperate need for the limelight. Strictly Come Dancing is still raking in the viewers despite Bruce Forsyth’s awful banter and Tess (I’m so northern) gushy interview techniques. My parents are avid viewers but will only watch it once they’ve recorded it so they can edit Bruce out and with it half the programme.


It seems that some celebrities will do pretty much anything in the hope to relaunch a forgotten career. They will eat kangaroo willies in the Australian jungle, don ice skates and be held in ungainly poses while plastering on their air hostess smiles. The most recent addition to the reality market is with the celeb diving reality show Splash. This Saturday night filler my eldest son unfortunately persuaded me to watch with him the other week. We tuned in to see the celebs in training, with the tautly toned OlympianTom Daley launching Ab Fab actress Helen Lederer into the water on a gym mat, as if he was releasing a marine animal back into the wild. Back to poolside and the live show, Vernon Kaye minced about in shorts and t-shirt while the celebrities danced (really) around the pool to their designated diving board. There seemed to be no rule with the dives with some older podgier celebs belly flopping off the low board next to younger fitter celebs somersaulting off the top board. I had to feel sorry for Helen as her make-up streaked down her cheeks and she hunched next to the perfect figure of Jenni Falconer who was making lycra look comfortable.

Well done Helen!

Well done Helen!

Whatever your view of reality TV is I don’t think it is going anywhere just yet. And although it is cheap television and often leaves you feeling unsatisfied afterwards, there is often something intriguing about it as well. And just think if we had no reality tv, there would be no Simon Cowell, Dermot O’Leary and Bruce Forsyth on prime time TV. Actually perhaps we should switch it off!