in deference on your knees

[photopress:Jane_Mansfield.jpg,full,pp_image]

i’ve been thinking a lot recently about the complexities of fame and fandom. by nature i am a ‘fan’ type of person, i get borderline obsessive about things and can go through periods where i am particularly gripped by some particular programme or musician. sometimes they are passing fixations, sometimes longstanding interests.
i’ve never been extreme – ive never followed a band on tour for example but i have, when i was younger, frequently waited for hours outside venues to catch a glimpse of someone only to be to afraid to say anything if they did appear.
now that i am a bit older i find myself caught between wanting to give in to the pleasure of hero-worship and being cynical enough to know it’s all a load of rubbish. i almost don’t want to meet my idols now for fear of the pressure to be ‘grown up’ about it.
i like my icons to be untouchable. i mourn the golden era of hollywood when there was a whole galaxy of moondust and magic between the stars and the mortals. not a stint on big brother and muck-raker story in heat.
but why?
why do we need to have someone to look up to? is it where we find our faith and our spirituality when god has gone? even though i know that the famous are falliable i still fall for it. and it is a fall, like falling in love only a little less noble. there is something rather discpicable about the way we eulogise and mythologise the famous but i know i am guilty of it too.
for anyone that hasn’t spotted it allready this blog is named after a lyric in sheryl crow’s ‘if it makes you happy’

We went searching through thrift store jungles
Found Geronimo’s rifle, Marilyn’s shampoo
And Benny Goodman’s corset and pen

it’s a great referance to those objects of lust and attraction that are so purely because they are iconic of the celbrities they are synonymous with. when christies auctioned off most of the marlilyn monroe estate in 1999 it included everything from the ‘happy birthday dress’ to her plastic kitchen spatula. why would anyone want marilyn’s spatula? simply because it was hers.

i’ve been at fairly close quarters to people who have gained a modicum of fame, or notoriaty, and seen it from the inside. how people will start to talk differently to them, look at them differently. it is foolish and self-depreciating but…

put me in a room with my icons and watch me (metaphorically at least) drop to my knees.

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13 thoughts on “in deference on your knees

  1. it’s funny isn’t it? of the paradox where i know i could better thom yorke in terms of eco-politics or nicky wire in terms of poliics ye i seem to revere them as touchstones of progress. but i, too, like the idea that my idols are superhumans and untouchable and, essentially, not me. they give me something to aspire to, rather than putting all my efforts into current housing estate poetry. i love who i am, how unpopular i am, how popular i am, and this generation. how else can anything happen? and my love for myself is not contrived, believe me. unbelievable, but not contrived.

  2. well, i’m no post-structularlist but i enjoyed it all the same :*

    it’s definately possble to recognise your own talents but still need something to light the way. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” and all that. and you can take that both ways – looking at what is allready above you and what you could become.

    it must be weird being famous and meeting your own idols. i wonder if there is a ‘top of the tree’?
    is there anyone that could make bowie starstruck? or madonna?

    actually there’s that great bit in ‘in bed with madonna’ where she is asked who she wants to meet and she says something like ‘haven’t i met everyone? i think i’ve met everyone’ and sounds really weary. like knowing that there is ‘no-one’ (ie no-one famous or important) left to meet makes her feel a bit empty. nothing left to strive for…

  3. actually that whole film is a study in fame – i just remembered the bit with her childhood friend (moira?) who describes a sexual experience she claims to remeber with the young madonna (who interestingly i seem to recall describes her as having been her childhood idol) which madonna doesn’t remember happening. she then asks madonna to be the godmother to her child, despite not having seen her for years. it’s a very odd moment in the film..

  4. callisto: i wish i was as self-contained as that. i have a list the legnth of your arm.

    donks: oh, you should. she is pretty much at her most hideous in terms of ego and pretentiousness in it (though arguably the tour itself is her finest work) but she is also sharp as a whip and very funny. it has a lot of very revealing moments both about her life and about that kind of fame in general.

  5. indeed, and i notice (from your link – are you affiliated? it’s a great site…) that warhol’s marilyn is selling for $16 million… now, there is a multi-layered comment on celebrity if ever there was one!

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