Tuesday, 27 December 2016

2016, the year of Celebrity Death

<rant alert>

So today it's Carrie Fisher and Liz Smith. It seems that popping your clogs is the latest celeb fad, the last ditch way to get column inches when all else fails.

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I do wonder why some folk get so maudlin each time someone famous moves into the next phase of their career. I know some like to think of Leonard Cohen or Caroline Aherne as a having a special place in their life, but I find it hard to be especially moved by the passing of someone I've never met. If you're a fan of Bowie then you might mourn that there will be no more of his artistic outpourings, but George Michael hasn't had a hit for 20 years despite his 'A list' status and the inevitable flood of "OMG the world has lost a(nother) genius" type gush.

It also seems that there are criteria for mawkishness. In a summary of the 2016 death toll on the radio earlier the presenter listed the names above, but euphemestically finished the list with "and others"; perhaps Lemmy's name wouldn't have elicited the same emotional response, at least not from your average Radio 4 listener.

As each famous name has popped up on the 'BREAKING NEWS' alerts, there has been a gathering sense of 2016 being an annus horribilis, and much debate has been given to this. This attention has been focused on the unusually high celebrity mortality rate, as you might expect given that celebrities are simply people with a talent for getting your attention. This year certainly has been a busy time for the emo groundsman, but his annual crop of actors, singers and well-known persons of dubious merit is but a tiny, if bling-laden cohort in the queue for reckoning. For every celeb there's a hundred talented people who pass away without it being announced via push alerts on your mobile phone. Oh and what about the continuing bloodbath in Syria, Nigeria, Iraq? Oh yeah, that.

If 2016 has been the year of celebrity deaths, then I fervently hope that it also comes to mark the death of celebrity culture. I'm sure we reached "peak twat" some time ago. Let's have a think about the real people, not the fake tanned, HD eyebrowed, shiny white toothed, eating disorder botox monsters that occupy so much of our cultural airtime.