Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Monday 9 May 2011

A letter to the famous.

DEAR celebrities:

You are rich and famous, and seem to enjoy it. You like the free clothes, the frequent holidays, and appear to need the adoration. I do not mind this in the least, because I would not want your life for all the tea in China. I like riding on the Tube; I don't want to put my face on before I go to the shops; I prefer to do the walk of shame unpapped.

So please accept the following advice as being from somebody who is not jealous of your job but does know more about it than the average bear and can look upon it with an objectivity that perhaps you, your loved ones and paid sycophants cannot.

Here it is: fame is a pie, and you have to eat all of it. You don't get just to eat the cream off the top but have to force down the rest as well.

So when someone comes up to you in the street and wants an autograph, smile and say yes even when you feel rubbish. That's the person who pays your £2million mortgage, right there. If there are photographers hanging around they'll soon go away if you're boring. If you want to sleep with the world's most beautiful or interesting people, the rest of us will want to know about it. If you rely on a certain public image to make millions for film studios, record companies and football clubs then, I'm afraid, you ought to do your best to make sure it stands up to scrutiny.

Yes, it's tittle-tattle. But it's your fans that buy the newspapers to read about you, and thus feed the appetite for more. As a result they buy your music, your books, your tickets. Would you be happy in a world where you had no fans, no adoration, no wealth?

Be aware that if you are one of those celebrities who phones up picture agencies, who cuts a deal for a percentage of the syndication fee, who 'makes friends' with showbiz columnists, whose mortgage and self-worth rely solely on being a public figure, then you have ordered a bigger pie. For this you get more cream, but also more of everything else.

And if you do something you oughtn't - if you shag Wayne Rooney's hooker, enjoy spanking women while dressed up in rubber, get a colleague sacked when your affair turns sour, pretend to be a family man while cheating with a Big Brother trollop or try to stop an ex-wife writing a book about you, for example - it really is best just to cough to it.

The alternative of hiding the truth, of lying to your partner, of spending £100,000 on lawyers and bending the law to suit yourself and cover up repugnant behaviour is not viable in the long term. Half such stories, were they published, would have faded after a week and rarely been mentioned again. And the law, flawed as it is, generally snaps back if you push it too far.

If I didn't know better I'd say that super-injunctions had been invented by either a newspaper editor or a showbiz agent. They lead only to more gossip, more newsprint and a much bigger bollocking from your wife than you would originally have had.

All of us have things about our jobs we don't like, but have to put up with. Teachers, management consultants, hairdressers, dustmen, journalists. I hate doorstepping bereaved relatives, but I know that if anyone has to do it I'd be better at it than plenty of others, and it's the price I pay for those good days when I get a phone call telling me to get on a plane RIGHT NOW.

When the bad starts to outweigh the good, I'll change my job. You can do the same - you can send the pie back, if you like. Fame fades just like newsprint and if it is all too much of a pain you can retrain as a tree surgeon. Plenty of exercise, less need for injunctions, but fewer fans I'm afraid.

Alternatively, keep your dick in your pants.

Lots of love,