Cameron Dallas

Cameron Dallas is very good looking. That’s it.

I watched the Netflix series ‘Chasing Cameron’. Oh, my goodness. It’s a car crash of a programme.

Let me explain. Cameron is a ‘Social media influencer’. What the hell is that? That’s what I asked when I saw it. Basically, someone who has a lot of followers and gets attention from most of the teenage girls. The title of the programme explains neatly what the programme is about. It is people chasing someone who is good looking. That’s it, nothing else of real importance happens.

What I found bizarre about the programme is that Cameron and his cronies call themselves ‘The talent’ without having any visible worthwhile gifts or qualities that contribute to society. Jumping up and down on a stage and throwing bottled water at someone isn’t talent, a monkey could do that and probably be more entertaining.

‘Touch every single girl lives in a way that they have never been touched before‘ is the horrific opening ‘prayer’ to one of their shows. The fact that a request of the almighty that each of ‘the talent’ has the energy for the show is ludicrous and should be mocked for what it is. A higher being is sitting mulling the world’s problems and he makes an exception and blesses a bunch of hormonal teenage girls in a room watching guys make complete fools of themselves while being charged hundreds of dollars for the pleasure. At least when we screamed at the Beatles they were performing something worthwhile. This isn’t.

We witness throughout the episodes the breakdowns, tantrums and a guy suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration treated with prayer. We also witness Dallas himself being berated for sneaking a girl on to the tour bus. This is alongside other teenage boys, who are living in the same area. His lack of awareness and blatant inappropriate behaviour is beyond astounding.

heteronormative world

I don’t mind gay people just wish they wouldn’t be so gay.

The closet is a lonely place. Really lonely. If you aren’t true to yourself you will never find happiness or love. I spent the 80s and some of the 90s in the closet and it made me miserable. I felt I couldn’t tell anyone that I was gay because of the rejection and fear it would cause.

Footballers and pop stars are no exception. There is an underlining fear that if you do come out then somehow your life will never be the same and that’s true to a certain extent. There is a fear that you won’t be accepted in the wider world. Best to keep things quiet and live a heteronormative life.

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I said it hundreds of time ‘Im not gay’ not only to others but to myself. Its speculation and inquiry that has lead to a lot of denials. Social media rushes to defend those who have publicly denied their sexuality. But as I always argue it’s not about whether someone is gay or straight it’s about honesty.

We value honesty above other virtues. Sometimes it can be brutal to hear but I would rather know in the end. Denial of sexuality isn’t honest with others and most importantly yourself. I have experienced first hand the damage that it can do psychologically to someone who is struggling to come to terms with their sexuality.

I watched a programme about Liberace and how he was in utter denial about who he really was and his sexuality. Eventually, his denial would lead to his death as he contracted HIV and refused medical treatment for the condition. This maybe an extreme example of denial but ultimately and sadly it’s consequences.

I think when you are mature enough and brave enough you should tell people who you are. The ones who stick around and are with you years later are the ones who love you. There is a reason why those people are in the past. Things do get better and it may not be great at first. My mother didn’t speak to me for days when I came out to her but it did get better and we were closer than before.

Chester Bennington

What do we do when someone we know commits suicide? How do we handle it? Do we mock them for being weak and ‘taking the easy way out’? Do we simply brand the person selfish? If only the answers to those questions were that simple.

I have tried to commit suicide. There I said it. I’ve wanted to. I don’t feel ashamed of saying it, but I am not proud of it. I don’t wear as a badge in a ‘feel sorry for me’ statement. My mental health has reached crisis point and it’s acknowledging that it’s got so serious.

Others have mocked people who have tried to take their own lives. A simple disruption to someones travel plans of a few minutes is met with derision on social media if they have found out that it was due to someone’s action at that critical point. It was someone on the lines or someone at the top of a building; cue the insults.

I don’t wish my worst enemy the thoughts of suicide. Believe me. If you have been there you know what it is like. Nothing that you could ever put into words or have a go at describing.

Chester Bennington’s death seems to some a natural consequence of a rock star lifestyle.

“He struggled for years with alcohol and drugs addiction” as is often reported in these cases. So do a lot of people, despite their wealth or fame, but suicide isn’t inevitable. It is the treatable manageable disease of depression which causes it. Depression and mental health problems aren’t helped by substance abuse although people seek short-term fixes to alleviate the suffering.

I have come to terms with my suicidal thoughts, I acknowledge them. If they get bigger than I can handle I know I have to seek help. Recognising they are serious is the first step. Stopping yourself getting to that crisis point by telling someone else you are feeling this way. I have done it numerous times. People will be happy enough to stick with you if they are good friends. It’s the pain of not reaching out to someone at that point that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Kenneth Williams

I had a look back at my blog and thought I must have written about him hundreds of times only to realise I think I mentioned him once when I had bought an autobiography for 1p on Amazon. That’s it. It is strange what you perceive in your own mind and what is the reality. Things couldn’t be any different once you delve into the past.

I feel an affinity towards Kenneth Williams not only did he appear in the 26 of the most successful British comedy films through his life but he was a consummate raconteur of the talk show circuit in the 1970s and 80s. He was a brilliant panelist on Just a Minute a BBC radio show from 1968 until his death in 1988. The premise of the show is talking and this was his craft and he honed it to perfection.

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Kenneth Williams led a reclusive and sad life. He wouldn’t allow people to visit a sparsely decorated flat that he lived in. He hated any kind of germs or untidiness. He was brought up in a strict Wesleyan Methodist household. It was certainly different from the Methodism we see today. High morals and certainly a disapproving of someone who was seen to be a homosexual. It would have been seen as a sin and a dark cloud that would have irritated and upset Williams’ father, Charlie.

It was only in 1967 that Britain decriminalised homosexual acts and by this time Kenneth was well into his forties. The deep spiritual belief that being gay was a sin was entrenched into Williams’ psyche something that he wouldn’t be able to accept or come to terms with throughout his life.

Even meeting the playwright Joe Orton with his liberal views wasn’t enough to shake off the British facade of wearing the collar and tie even on the beach. You had to look the man to be the man.

My mother was desperate for me to emulate older people within my family unit. “Why can’t you dress like your uncle so and so?” She used to ask me. Growing up with someone who believes that in the 1980s young teenagers should dress like someone in their late 60s caused a great amount of conflict in my house. Especially when it came for me to tell them I had become a Christian and would be regularly attending the local church. My mother was horrified that I was going to church each week dressed in jeans and t-shirt. I had become morally bankrupt in her eyes.

My life seems to have been almost a copy of Williams on paper. His father was Welsh. The religion was Methodist as was my mother’s. We both suffered from depression and conflicts due to being gay. Always the consummate clown from an early age. I was berated by my mother when they received the annual school report to say Philip is messy and a chatterbox. I can remember from the age of six thinking up my first joke. I explained to this to my mother many years later that in conversation with who it may be my brain is thinking of a funny line to say. If I do think it’s funny, I will say it. If it isn’t I won’t. Other times I will say things without thinking and some people do laugh but others seeing as being crude or rude.

Williams quoted someone in one of his television appears about being an atheist. The person in question had asked what if all of life was just a joke and there was no God. The person responded by saying if it is a joke let’s make it a good one.

PR

Sunderland football club has messed up. It is was disgraceful that they lifted Adam Johnson’s suspension and allowed him to play for the first team in the months leading up to the trial. He should have been removed while the legal proceedings were taking place and if found not guilty (like some have been found) been reinstated to his position within the club.

According to reports at the time, he was brought to answer questions to the management and admitted to them he acted in a manner which was totally inappropriate. At this point the should have taken action. They didn’t and now they are dealing with consequences.

I don’t know much about how the game of football works but I know about how public relations work. I am not an avid follower of any team and have no so-called loyalties. I know that Newcastle United as well isn’t too good. They are dragging their heels in keeping someone in a post who is clearly not getting the job right. I am sure that there are others out there might use stronger words in their description of how the club is run.

I know that some celebrities do rely on stories in the press to keep their persona in the media spotlight. I know that they will make up stories and work together to get their names into print. It’s a common practice and articles will appear every day in tabloids where somehow a celeb will be out shopping. If the photo hasn’t been taken surreptitiously and the makeup is perfect etc you know it is a fake story.

If you are promoting a business or a cause you need to have people on your side and quickly responding to questions or information relating to your chosen field. Sitting on your hands and not using social media in the way it was designed will only have a negative impact on your work. I have spent 13 years building up a decent eBay profile. Getting the answers dealt with and responding quickly and clearly to potential buyers is crucial. If you have a smartphone you have no excuse for not replying to questions within 24/48 hours of them being posted.

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This is how I have built up followers on my twitter account. If someone makes a joke or a comment that is longer than three words I will always reply to someone. It reinforces that you have read their comment and taken what they have said on board. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with what they said just acknowledged the comment in the first place. The worst thing you can do is fail to answer a question.

I think PR should be sharper than a pin in the way in which it is run. You aren’t going to please everyone all the time but you should at least aim to please some of those who you come into contact with. You risk alienating supporters and those who financially contribute to you.

Amy

Never ‘got’ Amy Winehouse until her second album. Never really did with Adele until she released her last album 25 as well. Watching the film made about Amy Winehouse simply titled ‘Amy’ reveals a complex personality. Someone who had immense talent but just couldn’t handle the fame.

The film mentions that there is no text book or manual that prepares you for fame. But there are thousands of people out there who have gone through the mill of press intrusion and having their lives scrutinised and placed under microscope of rolling 24 hours news and social media where one word taken out of context can travel the globe within seconds.

I always look at the management and advisors that are around the people who are in the magazines and TV etc. Too many ‘yes men’ and not enough of those who are there to protect the artist from the people who can either choose to make or break them.

Making major decisions in life I have always asked a friends opinion. You run it by them to get their ideas. Keep you on the right track. The sad story of Whitney Houston’s demise along with Michael Jackson and other similar stars that died too young reminds us that these people are human but leave in an unreal world. Distorting that unreal world with mind changing substances that numb the person pain makes things much worse.

There are those who have become famous and remained relatively unscathed by their lives in the spotlight. They might have had a moment of indiscretion but they have come out the other side seemly a better person.

Find the right balance of people who will keep you grounded and safe. Whether you are famous or not we all need some sort of stability in life. Not deciding to do what we choose without thinking first of the consequences of the process. I think it’s important that we surround ourselves with people who are good for us. Those who mean a lot to us. Not those who would demean and belittle us. It all sounds easy in words but actions are different.

Celebrities 

A hundred years ago we had people who were famous around musical halls and some in the developing film industry. A little movie pun there. It was something of a honour to have someone visit your town. Now it seems we all want to be or even know who had experienced their 15 minutes of world fame.

Pick up a tabloid and you will in the first few pages be reading about some person you probably haven’t heard of walking out of supermarket on the way to completing their shopping. How does the photographer know they are going to be there? It’s all set up to make it look like its spontaneous.

Newspapers and magazines do a deal with a person they are trying to promote and for a certain amount of money or a gentleman’s agreement will place them all over their pages.

I know I have spoken about being “famous” before and the crazy reasons people who want to be known.

I was talking about a certain person last night who is on the television in the programme “The Only Way is Essex”. A reality based programme that catalogue the daily lives of those in the Essex area. I was explaining that this person is bereft of any redeeming qualities. False hair, nails and boobs. An ugly personality to go with it. Why on earth anyone would want to emulate this person is beyond my comprehension.

The values that some people hold seem to be that you should look as glamorous as possible the more make-up the better. Tits, teeth and tan. But what happened to honesty and education? Happiness and caring heart?

I would rather spend time thinking about how I treat my friends or speak to a person on the street than spending hours worrying how I look. No wonder we have so many young people who are self-conscience about their appearance.

Rolf et al

Everyone has an opinion on these cases. None more so on Rolf. I am still trying to get my head around it. Someone who has been in front of you as a prominent entertainer throughout your childhood isn’t the person who you thought they were.

The thought of the person who is be be feared was always the stranger in the park. The one who is unknown to us. Never could I have imagined that it would have been the kindly avuncular character I used to watch for twenty minutes before the news.

Expectations and outcomes they always seem to surprise us and catch us off-guard. But the test of a character is how we react to these changes. I couldn’t imagine myself screaming and banging on the side of a security van, a scene we often see when high profile cases are reported. I do expect those who have committed offences to be punished in the correct manner.

I used to teach a pupil who has appeared in court charged with causing the death of three people by dangerous driving. My reaction to this is utter revulsion for his crime but sympathy for those families and friends who have been affected by this persons actions.

The courts are there to do a job. It is a stark reminder of the world we live in. Making sense of this world to me seems to be more complex as time goes on.

Celebrity

I am struggling with the term “Celebrity” at the moment. I am having a hard time getting my head around what it means to be actually famous. So I thought about looking at the actual definition of the word. It’s origins lie in someone who is honoured or celebrated.

If I am widely known does that make me a celebrity? I am sure people wouldn’t consider someone like the serial killer Dr Harold Shipman as a celebrity when he was alive. So notoriety and knowledge of a particular person do not make them one. The minute that someone is placed on a talent show, broadcast on mainstream television, some think that they are a celebrity.  To me, they are not.

Look at what so-called celebrities have achieved. You have auditioned and failed to win. You haven’t achieved anything. I certainly will think again when someone considers themselves to be a celebrity. I will start first with what they have given to society and is it worth celebrating.