What is fame and where did it come from?

Dear T

You saw Jim Broadbent! I’ll always think of him as Slughorn from Harry Potter.*

*Side note: I suddenly felt extremely sad yesterday as I was shelving Harry Potter books in the book shop. Because it dawned on me that there’ll never be more Harry Potter. Obviously they’re still marketing it for all it’s worth but there will never be that fresh, new material that used to make me giddy and I would read cover to cover in one sitting. I wonder if a book will ever have the same effect on me again*

I don’t think you’re weird for not speaking to Jim Broadbent. The whole *celebrity* notion, in my opinion, is SO strange. Especially because in today’s society the celebrity label can be stuck overnight. And as soon as one is declared famous all social norms are thrown out of the window. It’s suddenly ok to camp outside the hotel of Lady Gaga just so you can watch her leave and get into a car. It’s normal to scream in the face Harry Styles and grab at his limbs. It’s alright to follow Justin Bieber (who you don’t know), take thousands of photographs of him doing everyday activities, and make money from the resulting images. It’s acceptable to know all about and discuss in great depth the love life of Ellie Goulding, despite not knowing her at all or her alleged flames. I am terrible for that last one. But if a stranger followed me round with a camera I would call the authorities.

So why is this life for specific people? And they are just people: they watch tv; they get hiccups; they poo. It’s like we need celebrities for one reason or another. We put them on pedestals or kick them down into the gutter. We don’t know them, but it’s ok. Doing it makes us feel better about ourselves. Or else it gives us something to be, to aim towards. Magazines help us to be more like flawless celebrities and less like those featured in the circle of shame pages. The media has the power to decide who deserves the glory and who should be exiled.

But obviously the A-listers the media portrays are not real people. They’re social constructions of an ideal. Does anyone look at Beyonce’s Instagram and truly believe it’s her real life? Is her hair always perfect? Is that seriously how she naturally sits/stands? Does she always wear clothing of that standard? Why isn’t her greasy hair piled on top of her head like mine is right now? Why is she never in her sweats and dog-chewed slippers like I am right now? Why aren’t there any chocolate stains on her clothes from when she accidentally sat on a miniature hero? I manage to get chocolate on my clothes most days; I don’t even get confused anymore when I see chocolate on my jeans but know for sure chocolate hasn’t featured in my day.’Beyonce’ has to create an image of herself that isn’t necessary for me to create myself. The world is watching *celebrity*; the world isn’t watching me. And thank god it isn’t. Because if it was it would feel very sick by what I think is acceptable to eat off the floor.

Alex xoxo

PS. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow for Christmas in Cardiff!!

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Cardiffmas: the most wonderful time of the year

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