So Celebrity Big Brother is on at the moment which means we’re being exposed to yet another couple of weeks of vacuous desperation and indignity. The Reality TV phenomenon became a hideous parody of even itself long ago and every year the ‘Celebrity’ Big Brother house is re-populated with Reality ‘Stars’ and this year is no different. Not only is there Spencer and Heidi or ‘Speidi’, as they’re known by the tabloids, from hit US show The Hills but Rylan Clark. Ohhhh Rylan, hello again. Despite having the demeanour of a camp, goth Peperami, Rylan seems to be immensely popula. Most of you will know him as being the crap but funny one on last year’s X Factor but that was not his TV debut, oh no. He also finished second on the Sky Living series Signed by Katie Price which was a show that sought someone not even with a particular talent but just generally to be represented by Katie and her management agency for… ummm… just being on telly I think? However, before even this Rylan cropped up as a ‘talking head’ on John Bishop’s Britain, the sort of gig aspiring actors and models are offered just for that all-important ‘exposure’, and in a similar role on other shows, so it seems his quest for the limelight has gone on for many years, if not his entire life. Herein lies my point, that Rylan Clark, without knowing it I’m sure, is entirely representative of the overwhelming trend in popular culture over the last decade and that is, the desire for fame without achievement.
He went on last year’s X Factor, having previously cast himself as a ‘model’, and I’m sure he knew he was bad at singing, as did everyone else but it didn’t matter because he was on telly! He just wanted to be on TV for the sake of it, so upon leaving X Factor took a gimmick-inspired stint on Daybreak as a presenter – he was rubbish and the entire scenario was a source of intense irritation to all the presenters I spoke to and probably terror for any watching children as he leered towards the screen like a biker version of the Child Catcher. He then promptly signed up for Celebrity Big Brother. So now we have a man who is famous for having no talent on a format initially meant to make stars of fame-hungry people but on the version specifically intended to have already famous people on it, that also happens to be presented by a former contestant and no one thinks the whole Reality TV thing has gone too far!?
I know I’m a bit of a hypocrite because I interview these people on a regular basis and generally get on with them and I don’t seek to attack reality TV stars as people, it’s rather the sad trend they represent and it’s enormous influence on every aspect of modern society. The gestation for this article began when I was reading a piece about legendary ultra-method actor Daniel-Day Lewis in Time Magazine, where it talked of him staying in character between takes for his Oscar-winning turn as the severely disabled Irish painter and writer Christy Brown in My Left Foot, including being carried and even fed by members of cast and crew. While reading this fantastic profile it occurred to me it’s been so long since I read, or heard on the radio, or saw on TV some ‘entertainment news’ that wasn’t about a lovelorn member of the TOWIE cast, an X Factor bust up or a shock elimination from Dancing on Ice and yet here was a man who represents how and why fame should be realised – through dedication, commitment and the honing of a special talent, not making a tit of yourself on telly so that The Sun can take a picture of you next time you’re pissed outside Mahiki.
I’m sure Rylan’s not a bad person but he entirely encapsulates something that is endemic in modern society, that people want to be famous despite not having achieved anything. In the past fame was a by-product of talent, whether it be singing, sport, acting or anything really but now people just want to have their picture in the paper, go to faux glamorous parties and befriend other ‘celebrities’ without having done anything to warrant the attention and I think this is deeply, deeply unhealthy. An entire generation of kids and more worryingly many adults, just want to be famous and dedicate their ambitions to the pursuit of attention at all costs, rather than doing something they’re good at, they enjoy or that’s worthwhile. These should be the considerations when choosing a career path, not the warped version of reality that is ‘fame’. On the other hand there is a glamour model called Lacey Banghard in this year’s house and she’s got massive knockers! So sit back, relax, turn your brain off and your TV on.
Published on IAmMusic.TV, 17th Jan 2013