I met Tom Cruise this week. I interviewed him at the world premiere of his new movie, Jack Reacher. I’m not showing off, it’s just a fact… Ok we’ll I’m showing off a bit. He’s very good-looking and very charismatic… and quite short. However, it was difficult for me to reconcile the man in front of me, who was answering my questions in an articulate and thoughtful way, with the man who has spent more time in the headlines in recent years due to his personal life and his religion rather than his movies. When he flashed his dazzling smile at me and shook my hand with what seemed like genuine warmth, I found myself thinking there’s absolutely no way this man could have any character traits other than good ones. Now I’m never normally star-struck and I wasn’t here either, it’s just the impression I got from the man.
There are two options here. Either a) He’s a nice man and should be judged at face value or b) He has a certain ‘X Factor’, a quality few have and like a tiny Jedi, he uses this to bamboozle those he meets and make it impossible for them to question his inherent goodness. If it’s the latter, then is this something all huge stars have, which explains why despite very questionable behaviour they stay on top? It’s a conspiracy! But I think it’s option ‘a’. He’s a nice man and yet, as human beings are complicated creatures, he has different facets to his personality. The man I saw spent three hours with fans in the freezing cold, ignoring the requests of various PR reps to go inside and chatted warmly to press. Apparently he also gives a lot to charity, is well-known for his kindness and I (being a child) was especially impressed to find out he insists on doing all his own stunts and totalled 9 cars trying to shoot one chase sequence in this movie. I’m not sure why we choose to focus on the negatives in the lives of the rich and famous. We all do it. I’d much rather hear about a salacious Las Vegas romp than an act of human kindness and I suppose that’s part of human nature, wishing to see strife on the part of those more fortunate than ourselves. From an evolutionary perspective I suppose seeing weakness in the ‘Alpha’ presents the possibility of our own ascendancy and let’s face it, humans aren’t far off being scrabbling little predators. But what else makes us human is conscience and reason so maybe next time we’re about to judge someone we’ve never met, don’t. Because let’s face it, what’s Tom Cruise actually done wrong? He prescribes to a religion that most of us don’t understand and that’s his right. It’s not he’s a Nazi, in which case we’d be well within our rights to say: ‘Yeah Tom, that is actually pretty bad… What? No I don’t care that you’re nice to your fans, you support racial genocide so really, I can’t be your mate.’
So leave Tom alone. He smiled at me and now we’re best mates alright!? By the way have you heard of Scientology, Tom was telling me all about it and it sounds great, so…
In other news, the X Factor final was last weekend and now we have another new popstar. Yay! This one’s called James Arthur and he used to be poor but now Dermot read his name out, some silver confetti fell out the sky and he went on Daybreak so everything’s better.
I agree with Ricky Gervais that we don’t need any more popstars but there will always be people who want to be singers so the idea of something that gives talent a platform must be a good thing… but that’s not really what the X Factor does. It gives middle of the road pop music a platform. Even this year’s winner complained at various times about not being able to express himself artistically or perform his own material and he’s right. Urban music is the most important current musical art form and yet there’s never been a rapper (Mischa B doesn’t count) gain prominence from the show. It feels like a medium that’s outmoded and irrelevant and the fact that, despite it’s well-publicised decline, it still gets around 10 million viewers a week astounds me. Maybe James will be a trailblazer and use his record deal and the exposure to fulfil his own artistic ambitions but I doubt it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with mainstream pop music, I love it but there are other types of music out there and it seems the X Factor has forgotten that.
Next week is the JoeBusiness Christmas special and I promise I’ll try to be suitably light-hearted and festive… although it’ll blatantly end up being another pseudo-philosophical lecture…
Published on IAmMusic.TV, 15th Dec 2012