Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Katie Can Write Her Name

I was visiting someone in hospital yesterday and on the bus back home, I saw a long queue stretching down Princes Street at Waterstones Bookshop.

The reason for the queue was that Jordan, aka Katie Price, who is famous for…well, no one is quite sure… was signing her book. She wasn’t reading from it – I guess reading from a book that a ghost has written for you might seem a bit false – heaven forbid! – but she was signing her name. But only on “dedicated books.” In other words, you had to buy them in store, and once they had run out, that was it. No chance of an autograph on her back catalogue. And you could wait for an hour in the freezing cold and then find you were out of luck and the chance to “meet Katie Price” was gone until the next tour. What conversations people might have with Katie and how long each conversation would take (10 seconds tops?) is hard to imagine. Katie would obviously have to be rushed on to the next venue, the next queue, the next photo shoot. I can already imagine the reality TV series filming her as she is sped away, not forgetting to shed a few tears for the disappointed fans who had turned up in vain.

The long queue stretched from the shop down the street for about a hundred yards (this was 50 minutes since the start of the 60-minute-maximum signing). They weren't all going to get to see Katie. It was hard, impossible really, for me to feel sympathy for any of them, which is very unLenten of me.

7 comments:

Hedgie said...

Here's a comforting thought: In just 3 months (according to her Wikipedia bio), she'll turn 30 and become an entering-her-fourth-decade over-the-hill former celebrity.

Background Artist said...
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Background Artist said...
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Background Artist said...

the culture of celebrity extends to even the poetry world, and it is mad innit, that we will pay massive money to watch soccer, read "trash" and attach to an electronic brain-supressant like the tv..and i am guilty as the worst offender for telly, but i came to see it as a trivial non necessity and since i stopped having one, and one begins to see from a different and more objective perspective of they who do watch over 5 hours of telly a week, particularly if one watches, or rather, performs the ritual/s of staying silent and detached from the material reality of our existence and suspend our disbelief, and allow ourselves to self deceive, that people like Price have any bearing on our life whatsoever, and when i say our, i mean the verbal artists' life, and qualified further the verbal artist who practices at a high pitch live and in print, bass and inner gravitas, the invisible thing, the magic of belief the relaxed real thing has, whose lives and practice merge over time until addicted we are, non stop windbags writing and reciting, timing the gaps between events which beacon and punctuate our careers, and so beleif is what today?

We are overloaded with choice and sold stuff advertised by an ever more naked youth, at it, the boundaries, schools and influences, where to make a stand among all this, to stake a stay and anchor for the longer hall, of living in one's skin, amateur or pro poet, the divide increasingly pointless as we chart our course, measure what we wrought, the quality of our verse, stood alone and next to others' in our band of rivals, natural event lifting bouyant the one's who end up writing, for whatever reason, whatever mad way in, the higher order string and strain holding one's line, towing and hoisting our wings, pretending at first, impersonating what we take to be the real thing, until slowly we ascend and detach, hypnotised to a screen, manus behind the hand writing our life, the telly we are hooked to, making invert, skewering the truer picture, price is irrelevent and to talk of her leaves evidence of a source, however small, and in your case, you saint, only the mildest of bashings, hardly a bruise, but the intent, the well wrought sentences, the humble...?...nah, but close to being the truest in your bunch...like price, the real thing, just doing it, and i noticed your reply in holland's gulag to her latest attempt, which may tragically succeed, at talking the huddled thralls, into fabricating some kind of neo millenial stazi of who's who, by association, all based on a codified set of who's yer mate, but not you, the ego least bright, dark horse, jordan is the new genration's gimp ...only messin' experimenting, not shifting eliot out, doin' owt newsie, but having a pop, practicing...

trish said...

love the pic of Katie & Peter, Rob - it made me smile. Am I the only person who finds something to admire in Jordan? She's got a good head for business, gestates her own babies (rather than adopting), brings up her disabled son, doesn't give a shit what other people think of her.

Rachel Fox said...

I imagine most people were just going to have a look at her...up close...in the flesh (if she still has any). Then they can go home with a 'she doesn't look anything like her pictures' story of some kind...which of course is nonsense as she looks different all the time depending on surgery etc.
The whole story of her is craziness...more fairground attraction than anything...and good material for stand-up comedians. Is she the one that called a child 'Princess'? Oh my god, as all those big hair women say, all the time
RF...

Rob said...

It's the whole machinery I don't like. I guess it's possible to admire Katie for the reasons Trish gives, but I don't admire her. I admire Tomas Transtromer, I admire Don DeLillo, I admire Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, because they combine astonishing talent with a singular vision. And they have been successful without compromise. But Katie is just part of the money-go-round.