So You Want To Be A Star?

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When the news of Sinead O’Connor’s death broke in the evening of the last Wednesday of July, it was a painful reminder that fame – even when the height of it is long distant – comes at a high emotional price.

Her death will be processed no differently to the sudden and unexpected death of any other UK resident: a postmortem followed by a coroner’s investigation. 

The autopsy will already have been performed. If the cause of death is found to have been natural, she will be laid to rest in accordance her expressed wishes within a matter of just a few weeks.

And it is, of course, entirely possible that the singer succumbed to some sudden illness or catastrophic health event.

But as any journalist will tell you, w...

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Why Magical Thinking Is The Worst Drug

Why Magical Thinking Is The Worst Drug

In 1939, the New Yorker published a short story titled The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Written by James Thurber, the partially autobiographical story and the expanded novel that followed three years later introduced readers to a meek and unassuming man with a wild fantasy life.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story (film versions have starred Danny Kaye and Ben Stiller), you’ll find no spoilers here. But it’s enough to say that Walter has what might be best described as an incidental relationship with reality.

During rare lucid moments when reality does intrude on Walter’s overpowering fantasy life (he believes himself to be, among other things, a wartime pilot, an emergency-room surgeon, and a louche killer), he is confronted by a world he doesn...

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Why The Reality Of Reality TV Is One We Should Avoid At All Costs

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It’s now thought that around 70% of UK TV audiences regularly watch reality TV shows.

As statistics go, it’s at the more depressing end of the spectrum, especially when you consider that the genre itself is the ultimate misnomer: there really is nothing real about reality TV.

There are those shows – like Gogglebox, Location Location Location and Grand Designs, for example – that have their feet firmly planted in the world of entertainment. These are shows where the participants may be front and centre on our screens (and they can – and do – play to the camera), but they are not the sole focus of the programme itself.

But those that are centred purely on the human condition and have been con...

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Why Caroline Flack’s Death Shames Us All

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In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

These are not my words. These are the words Caroline Flack posted on her Instagram account in December last year after she was charged with assaulting her boyfriend, Lewis Burton, and the media enjoyed yet another field day at the expense of a celebrity caught in its crosshairs.

The former Love Island host committed suicide in her London flat a fortnight ago, just a couple of weeks before the scheduled start of her trial.

Since her body was discovered and the news broke, social media has erupted into a firestorm of moral outrage at the way Caroline Flack was treated by the UK media, not just in the eig...

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The Sickening Truth About Secrets

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Over the last few days, former Wham! manager Simon Napier-Bell has suggested that George Michael may have been tortured by a childhood secret that proved to be both the singer’s inspiration and his curse.

Michael was, of course, a global superstar, recognised as one of the most gifted songwriters of his generation. A string of bubblegum hits in the Eighties with Wham! made him the bedroom-wall-pin-up for teen girls – and some teen boys – around the world.

And as he outgrew the sockless deck shoes and coiffured highlights and forged a more contemporary image rendered in brooding charcoal and black and punctuated by goatees and designer shades, his songwriting became similarly substantial...

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Who’s To Blame In The Fame Game?

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Triskaidekaphobia is the formal word for the fear of the number 13 and it’s a phobia that I’ve treated occasionally in my time as a hypnotherapist. But if you happen to be famous, a far scarier number – and one deserving of its own phobic classification – is surely the number 27.

Depending on how old you are, you might now be thinking of Amy Winehouse or Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin or Jim Morrison. Possibly Kurt Cobain. Maybe Brian Jones.

No-one is old enough to be thinking about Alexandre Levy, even though the Brazilian composer became the founding member of the now notorious 27 Club in 1892.


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