A year ago today the world lost one of the most incredible actors of our generation.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was 46 when he passed away. When I found out I was numb for a little while (but managed to write this the day after, though I can’t remember doing it). I felt numb in that way that you can only really articulate by saying “I can’t believe it” over and over. It is an odd feeling to grieve for someone you’ve never met, only admired on a big screen, but it is still genuine emotion.
This loss is a massive one. There is nothing more I can add to that. It’s all been said already.
But I wanted to mark this horrible anniversary with a celebration of some kind, rather than dwell on melancholy. There were times in my life when I was blown away by this man. He made me laugh and cry; and sometimes he scared me. I felt like he spoke to me on a personal level and I think that’s the beauty of a greatly talented person.
I believed him always.
I’m hard pressed really to refine my favourite PSH moments. It would be very hard to narrow down my most loved performances to just a handful.
Well, sort of. I mean, of course he was exceptional as Truman Capote in Capote. He’s been great in nearly every film he put his name to (with a few exceptions), stealing scenes left right and centre.
But by far my favourite PSH turn is in Flawless. As Rusty, PSH took my admiration to a whole new level. This is how I choose to remember him, as the ballsy female impersonator with a whole lot of heart. (I reviewed the film a few years ago, here).
Rusty is the ultimate Groupie for the Underdog. Cheerleader for the brow beaten and the bullied. Fighting for the rights of the LGBT and being fucking fabulous while she does it. Reeling off one liners like rapid machine gun fire, she is exactly the kind of person you need in your life, and on your side.
Rusty is the person she is because of all the things she’s been/is going through and is the sum of all her own insecurities, all her flaws. And that’s what makes her beautiful and strong.
I used to watch this movie religiously, at least once a month. I watched it not long after PSH died and it was hard to do. I still miss him.
So this year I’ll be respectfully remembering the man I loved for over a decade, who made even the smallest character study a fascinating one, who ruled every scene he was in.
Reality TV and I have been friends for some time. I was obsessed with the first few series of Big Brother (the regular one) when it first appeared on our screens. Back in 1997, when it was still looked upon as a social experiment and the biggest scandal involved Nasty Nick sliding a piece of paper across a table to try to influence his housemates’ votes.
(I forget the exact details but I recall vaguely that he either constructed his own writing tool out of household objects, like a prison shank or had sneaked a pencil in inside his luggage).
Whatever the story, the world went ballistic as he was ejected from the Big Brother house and I doubt he has been referred to as just ‘Nick’ since.
Those were the days. Reality TV, or its younger sister, Scripted Reality, has come on in leaps and bounds ever since (depending on how you look at it, I suppose).
I believe the first example of the latter came in with the American show Laguna Beach (which I never watched). This evolved into the infinitely more appealing The Hills (which I have devoured in its entirety more times than I care to remember, thankyouverymuch MTV). God bless you, LC.
This side of the Pond TOWIE trumpeted the next generation of orchestrated Reality Television, with the slightly posher (but only in upbringing and attire, if we’re honest) Made In Chelsea bringing up the rear. In between but since fallen by the wayside we’ve had everything from Desperate Scousewives to The Valleys. There was even talk of a Brighton based show of the same ilk.
It’s all pretty terrible. These people aren’t actors and they aren’t civilians either so all conversations conducted onscreen are awkward, no matter how heated. Since it’s all manipulated for our viewing pleasure.
The appeal of this type of entertainment for me has always been the fact that I can check in my brain at the cloakroom – and just enjoy the drama. Sometimes a girl just needs to look at pretty people arguing woodenly while looking out of shot. Them, not me.
Big B isn’t scripted though and I suppose that’s what brings me back to my point.
(I’m typing this draft to the sound of Perez Hilton simulating sexual intercourse, by himself, in the garden to wind up a bevy of ‘famous’ women including Patsy Kensit and some models).
It’s all just so grimy.
Perez, who you might know, is what we like to call here in England a bit of a penis. I say this purely because that’s all you can really say. His ‘personality’ is so large it dominates everything, only equaled in size by his gargantuan ego. Yet, there’s nothing going on indoors, I’m fairly sure. The people who shout the loudest always have the least to say.
I don’t know why I’m watching this time around. I’ve skipped out on the last handful of years, even the celebrity version because it all seems so tired. Scandalous celebrities keen to shed their ‘bad seed’ images, tabloid favourites keen to hold on to a little more fame time.
Sex in hot tubs, bed hopping; homophobic and racist slights. Borderline violence and a lot of shouting. OH THE SHOUTING.
Hand Mama two Neurofen, there’s a love.
This year has been turbo charged to say the least. In the week or so it’s been on air I’ve witnessed terrible misogyny and sexual assault.
I didn’t actually watch this episode when in aired, but on viewing the clip back (which is an audio clip, actually, no footage was shown of the actual act, in which a drunken housemate pulled open the front of another’s robe to reveal her bare breasts).
This was followed in quick succession by an older housemate being removed from the house for a series of disgustingly sexist comments toward the younger females in residence and a racist rant in which he used the ‘N’ word. No, not ‘Ninja’.
Last night Michelle Visage cried in the Diary Room about the behaviour of Perez, who in her eyes has set the LGBT community back 50 years. Rumour has it that he has quickly become the Most Hated Man in the country, although how do they qualify this? I’d love to know.
Personally I have an easier time hating people who are actually relevant, you know? As far as I can see he contributes nothing to the world, beyond gossip. Publicly, anyway.
As for the Wicked Witch of the show, the infamous Katie Hopkins, well she’s not really done much yet. I mean, of course she’s been blunt, that’s her whole spiel isn’t it? She has labelled Alicia stupid because she doesn’t read and there has been whispering around the breakfast table about bullying but I don’t know if she can be blamed solely for that.
And now they’ve sent in the Cavalry (to rescue the ratings?) in the shapely form of one Miss Katie Price. Which is perhaps the answer to the question of why I haven’t switched over yet.
Good old Jordan sent in to take on Katie Hopkins in a battle of the bolshy. The Beautiful and the damned. Or something.
I should be sorry. I should be changing the channel. Better still I should be switching off the gogglebox and reaching for a book.
But we all know I’m not going to do that. Maybe I’ll mute it though.
I was reminded this morning of my gargantuan crush on Kiefer Sutherland back when I was still a kid. It all but evaporated the minute he (allegedly) cheated on Julia Roberts back in the early nineties, but until I decided he was no longer worthy of my love, I was obsessed.
Looking back I think I fell for him in The Lost Boys, aged just ten (Me, not him, obvs). His character wasn’t exactly heart-throb material, being an evil vampire an’ all but I liked him all the same. A year later came Young Guns and suddenly, something was stirring within me.
I’m confident it wasn’t sexual desire, though maybe subconsciously as I broke through into early adolescence, but I wasn’t really thinking in those terms then. I can’t explain what it was but it was there and so were the posters on my bedroom walls.
It was with to my dismay that he got together with, and subsequently engaged to nineties sweetheart, Ms Roberts. I was pretty in love with her too to be fair; that hair was so naturally gorgeous, her smile so wide that how could I not be under her spell too?
I wanted to be her and since I was head over heels for Kiefer, I accepted the union because, frankly, what more could I do? My childish heart quickly grasped the reality of being 13 and unlikely to ever meet and steal him for myself.
Did Kiefer cheat with a stripper on his Stag night as I had been lead to believe, or did I imagine it? Or was Julia the naughty one, leaving the country pretty sharpish with Jason Patric on her arm, having just shattered Sutherland’s heart? (And who can really blame her?).
Who knows what went on back there in the heady nineties? All I know now is perhaps I should have heard Kiefer out; not reacted so strongly to a piece of celebrity gossip that could very well have been completely made up.
If only I’d had the wisdom I have now, back then, eh? Maybe he’d still be on my wall and in my heart.
This week the world went loco about Renée Zellweger’s face.
It wasn’t really new news, as I’d seen images of her before she attended the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards and set the world spinning off it’s axis; but it seems that now infamous trundle up the red carpet has stuck in the consciousness of everyone from your BFF to the (male) Janitor who talks to you in the ladies while you’re having a wee (true story).
It gets me down.
I’m not going to deny that I find the transformation quite shocking. I have loved her unusual face for years and whatever anybody else says about the casting of Renée as Bridget Jones, she was fucking great in the role. Like totes believable and charming. Furthermore, I felt like she made Bridget feel like my friend, something I hadn’t gotten from the books, even though I adore them.
But the face. Yes, it’s a shame she looks different to that girl but it’s not up to me what another woman does to her own face and body. Plus people age and change over the years. She still looks good, just like a woman in her forties. The horror!
That’s the thing about society and it’s attitude to beauty. You can’t grow old naturally in a highly glamorous industry like that without being battered for it, but you sure as hell can’t fight it the way you see fit either. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Of course, Hollywood and your local high street are worlds apart but the above only reinforces the fact that the only person you can really please is yourself, wherever you are.
Love yourself, be happy with your looks and fuck everyone else, truly because there is always going to be someone who doesn’t agree with what you’ve got going on.
Look at me: too ginger, arse too big, too fat, too short, too pale, too tattooed; the list goes on. I’ve been called up on every single one of those things in the past by people with an opinion. It hurts, it gets to you and in the end you have two choices; believe the negative and ultimately, let those fuckers keep you down, or realise it’s all bullshit and live your life happily, enormous booty in tow.
Which should be simple, I realise but is easier said than done. As for Renée, well her response to the uproar was perfect and raises a great point.
“I’m glad folks think I look different! I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows. …
People don’t know me in my 40s. People don’t know me [as] healthy for a while. Perhaps I look different. Who doesn’t as they get older?! Ha. But I am different. I’m happy.” ~ Renée Zellweger
Yesterday most of the world woke up to the news that Robin Williams had passed away.
I was in a decidedly un-glamorous place as I scrolled through Facebook and found out for myself (embarrassing source of all my news). My subsequent scream from the bathroom caused Mr Bee to get very annoyed when he realised I hadn’t just been injured or attacked.
It is always strange when a beloved celebrity passes away. This year we have already been rocked by the passing of another favourite, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and in similarly shocking circumstances (all still alleged). Hoffman from a heroin overdose in his own bathroom and now Williams, who is believed to have taken his own life.
It’s just so very sad. I guess when you think about death at a not even that old age, you hope for something quick and painless. Tragic, of course but natural. To consider the ongoing suffering of somebody famous for making others feel better is a bitter punchline in itself.
This morning as I was stomping around the park thinking about this subject and of what Robin meant to me, I got to thinking about the joke Rorschach tells in Watchmen:
I heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.” Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.
Moral of the story: you never know.
Now, I don’t feel qualified to comment on what sort of torment must lead a person to such a hopeless place. I don’t think it’s the cowards way out though.
I know a few things about mental illness and depression, I know a bit about addiction but all my experience is second hand. I know it’s serious and that we should be able to talk about it openly, without judgment and help should be readily available. It goes further than that though and I understand this.
I just feel incredibly sad. I feel as though the world will genuinely have an empty hole in it now. Robin always felt like an uncle to me and when we spoke about him, Mr Bee and I called him ‘Uncle Robin’.
Had he been my real uncle (and I do love my actual uncles), I imagine Robin would have been able to fix anything with a hairy armed bear hug. Nothing could be bad within that embrace and nothing would ever light up the room like that smile. That laugh.
Now this is my fantasy, of an uncle I’ll never have but I’m sure his own children felt that way about him. I’m sure his friends, his wife, all his loved ones felt that way too. I hope he’s at peace now.