Burn, Baby BurnWritten by Holmes Charnley
A recent report in The Independent revealed that smoking in Hollywood films is making a comeback. Recent research at University of California has shown that stars smoking in films is back to levels of 1950s. This is causing worries amongst many health experts because it has been found that many teenagers, whose screen idols smoke, are likely to smoke themselves.
Let me take you back a bit, away from Hollywood, to a certain incident that took place in my life many years ago when I was a teenager. (Not that many years ago then Holmes, surely…) I settled down with a friend to listen to a record he had brought round to my place one evening.
He had with him Lou Reed’s Take No Prisoners. The record is a bootleg recording, fairly rare to get hold of, and is of Lou Reed live. During one of many rants during this particular performance, Lou Reed lights up a cigarette, then turns to audience and says, and I’ll never forget this: “You can’t have attitude without a cigarette.” High-voltage Lou Reed, and what an insight it gives us into use of smoking within films!
Now, between you and me, Hollywood has never been one of my favourite industries. I am an awful watcher of films, I tend to fidget. I once went to a screening of The Exorcist and fell asleep. I can’t help it. It’s not a genre of arts I find particularly engrossing.
But that aside, I do have some films I will watch time and time again and one of these films happens to be Casablanca. Now, health issues aside, role modeling aside, how in God’s name am I to find Bogart’s portrayal of Rick half as enthralling if he doesn’t chain-smoke his way through a breakdown? Sipping a mineral water and shrugging “C’est la vie” is not going to happen. The man is at threshold to emotional hell, no, is in hell and as such, has scant regard for his cardiovascular system. He also looks cool. Through a haze of smoke, he contemplates on what has been, in all honesty, a bit of a balls up of a life.
10 Jades-A-PennyWritten by Holmes Charnley
It seems that everywhere you look, there they are, wanting to grab limelight, wanting their 15 minutes of fame. This was attitude taken by Ian Burrell in a recent article he wrote for The Independent. But this phrase “15 minutes of fame?” How did a quote from pop-artist Andy Warhol become so ensconced into Western World’s psyche?
The full quote that is attributed to Andy Warhol is: “In future everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes.” These words were spoken in 1968. I like quote. I find it incredibly portentous.
If we go back for a minute to Burrell’s Independent piece, essence of article was his views on how media as a whole has a wealth of tricks up its collective sleeve to lure people into spotlight. But don’t just think reality TV here, though of course, this is a massive part of it. Think also of myriad of kiss and tell stories that we so often read. All these chances, all these opportunities to make a deal and go public, just for sake of being paid to go public. The media pays vast sums of money. Why speak of this? Well again, I want to quote Andy Warhol here. He said: “Being good in business is most fascinating kind of art.” Here, he was speaking in 1975. It’s a mess quite frankly. Fame is cheap but money’s good. Everyone wants to be a star. Being a star is big business.
Let me try and pull it all together by thinking a little about what Stephen Fry recently said in an interview with Jack magazine when asked about his views on 21st century fame. He spoke of it being “less stylish”, “more self-conscious.”
I think he’s hit nail on head here with his talk of there being a distinct lack of style. My sentiments exactly. Hypothetically speaking, and disregarding chronology, were I to switch on TV and watch Parkinson, I would hang onto every word that likes of Audrey Hepburn said. Regrettably these days, I’m far more likely to get turbo-charged spillage of Jade Goody. See difference between these two people? One was a personality, other’s just a person. Big Brother alone is spewing out enough sewage to last a lifetime. When you consider Pop Idol et al also … no, it’s not good. You have to earn fame before you exude star qualities. Now, they just earn via a kiss and tell and expect fame.