Big Bother

big-brother-cameraI’ve done something I haven’t for a very long time this January and I’m not proud of it.

I mean we all know I’m a great advocate of the Proud Pleasure but I think this might fall into a whole category of its own. I’m talking Celebrity Big Brother.

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.

My First Lady of Realiteee
My First Lady of Realiteee

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.

Attention seeking? Not this guy
Attention seeking? Not this guy

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).

Michelle Visage: Diva
Michelle Visage: Diva

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.

Katie Vs. Katie?
Katie Vs. Katie?

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.

Reality TV: what’s your view?

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Naked

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Frankly I felt the cover needed just one addition

This week Kim Kardashian West attempted to #breaktheinternet with the release of some rather grand photographs of her butt.

Shot by Jean-Paul Goude for Paper magazine, the cover (right) pays homage to her famous derriere. Dig a little deeper (as if you’re not interested) and you will witness Kiki ‘re-imagining’ Goude’s best known image “Caroline Beaumont, New York, 1976“.

The Internet seems to still be in tact, just about, but what of all the minds blown by the photographs themselves? People are amused, shocked, disgusted, outraged, curious, excited and royally pissed off by the images.

Kimmy has been the butt (pun intended) of many jokey tributes (including some frankly creepy/unflattering ones) and criticised all over the shop for being a bad feminist, a bad mother and yet again a talent-less, plastic nobody. So far I believe she has turned the other cheek (!!) and I hope that she continues to do so.

NB: Kim did tweet this following release of the pictures:

Who says she isn't self-aware?
Who says she isn’t self-aware?

What has all those knickers in a twist really, though? Is it the nudity, or the apparent Photoshopping? Is it the ‘pointlessness’ of it all? Or is it just that it’s Kim having the audacity to celebrate how bloody hot she is?

I know it’s a broad topic and one that has so many arguments but this post is really about butt appreciation from my point of view, so I shall take it from here, guys.

(And a bit of KK appreciation, if I’m honest. Another Proud Pleasure).

Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge

Kimmy, in general, to me is something special. I know where she began, what she has done (who doesn’t? She’s kindly documented almost every aspect of her life for us). I know that technically she doesn’t have a ‘talent’ (singer/baker/candlestick maker), but what if her talent is having a work ethic that would make a mere mortal weep?

What if her super power is having the ability to continually pick herself up, dust herself off and turn all her mistakes into gold? Those are talents I can get behind.

I like Kim, love Keeping Up with The Kardashians and I like Kim’s body too. She looks sensational almost all the time and she’s banging, dammit.

I’m not into body shaming, all bodies types are fine with me and I appreciate the female form as much as the next person. I love seeing curvy women celebrating their curvaceousness as much as I like seeing svelte women representing my favourite designers on the catwalk.

Personally, I don’t have anything against the use of thin women to promote anything as long as there is a visible alternative. How heavenly it would be to see those alternatives in the mainstream, and not just as an afterthought. But that’s a whole other topic for another time.

I’m voluptuous and trying to be proud of that. I’m unlikely to ever be quite as banging as Mrs West (shocker), but as a short woman with a small waist and a big old booty, she is closer to my body type any day than the Keira Knightleys of this world (love her). So why not be happy to see that in all its glory? I sure as shit am!

In another shot within Kim’s issue of Paper, we get to see her full frontal. No, I don’t really see the big deal. It’s just a pair of (great) boobs and very smooth private parts (a fitting tribute to the work of her waxer). She is young and looks amazing. Her pose is playful and proud, not even particularly sexual.

Cheeky ;p
Cheeky ;p

But she’s a mother, say some? Heaven forbid that she teach North to be proud of her body as she grows up. That would be awful. North will see these images one day and you know what? By then Kim will have had the talk with her that explains some of the decisions that she made, that have made her who she is today.

Trust me, North is going to have a more complex time wrapping her head around the cult of celebrity, reality television, Daddy Kanye and the Kardashian Family en masse. Nakedness and an infamous bum are going to be the least of it.

Yes, this is a simplistic view. Yes, the photographs look heavily Photoshopped, thus giving us mere mortals yet another unrealistic ideal to aim toward. We’ve long known that pretty much every cover, every photograph we see in fashion magazines has had the same work. It’s part and parcel of the fashion industry and will hopefully change one day.

Had Kim stood up there in all her natural, oiled goodness with her butt at an angle to emphasise its ripeness would she still have got it in the neck?

But, of course.

Thoughts? Can you add to this conversation?

None of the photographs within this post belong to me.

Proud Pleasures Part 1: In Praise of Miss Swift

image-1989

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, I believe in Proud Pleasures.

If I like something, even if it’s just a Shaggy record from 1998, why not admit it? I don’t care what the cool kids think. When all is said and done, I know who I am and who I am has horrific taste in music and LOVES pop.

Candy striped, sickly sweet pop music that gives you toothache.

Which leads me effortlessly into my love for Taylor Swift. I know she’s in the press a lot, that everyone loves her for her autobiographical songs and her full skirts. I like these things about her too but if I’m honest, I’m mainly in it for the Muzak. That girl can make a damn good tune.

Music is not my first love (film is) and although I do of course listen to and enjoy it, I’ve never really got into the Indie albums my friends love. I don’t know the latest bands or who’s the best performer at a live gig. I’ve never been a festival goer and I don’t spend my money on concerts.

Maybe I am musically stunted, I know there is a whole aural universe out there just kicking it’s heels waiting for me, yet I’m stuck here on Planet Pop – and I’m okay with that.

So Taylor, I like you. I really like you. Red was fantastic with strong songs in I Knew You Were Trouble and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and 1989 – 1989 is a perfect slice of steaming hot pop pie! Not a foot wrong as far as I’m concerned.

(Vintage looking Polaroids included with the physical CD? Genius!)

article-1333842-0C44F4E7000005DC-579_468x543
I love you more than PSLs

I’m in love with Welcome to New York, Blank Space, All You Had to Do Was Stay, Bad Blood and Shake It Off, it’s hard to pick favourites on an album, as my friend Lightle says, full of tens.

As for my personal feelings about Tay, she seems okay. Nice enough. I assume the saccharine girl persona is just that, and that there is probably more to her than we know but she’s obviously self-aware and I like that. Anyone who can poke fun at themselves is A-OK by me.

So, in closing, I want to hark back to my favourite T. Swift era: the Dawn of the Woolly Hat and Jake Gyllenhaal in Coffee Shops Swifty. I wish he had never pissed her off and that they had stayed together. Sure, we wouldn’t have WANEGBT but we would have Jaylor Swyllenhaal!

I’ll get my coat now.

Incidentally, this is the first in a series of regular posts I am going to call Proud Pleasures.

Update: AND How You Get The Girl and New Romantics. So good. So so good!