Hello, Wordpretzels, I’m here today to talk about an affliction that affects millions of people, maybe even you. You may not even realise you have it, but once I’ve described the symptoms, I’m sure you’ll be able to self-diagnose or, at least, recognise the condition in a loved one. It’s called ICH – Irrational Celebrity Hatred.
This may happen whilst watching TV. Suddenly, a celebrity face pops up on the screen that makes you feel slightly irritated. For whatever reason, without being able to put your finger on it, you find them completely annoying and talentless; how on earth did they end up on TV, being paid lots of money, being feted by others?
Elvis Presley was a victim of ICH, but found a great way to deal with his condition. He kept a revolver by his side when watching television. If something particularly annoyed him, he would shoot out the screen. Rather extreme, using a TV remote made by Heckler and Koch, but very effective and satisfying, I should imagine.
My dad had it quite badly. Whenever David Essex (1970s pop ‘heart throb) appeared on TV – whether it was Top of the Pops or Seaside Special, my dad would make a very low growling noise. The rest of us would meekly glance in his direction without moving our heads, like human pigeons. Upon catching your eye, he would mutter ‘fucking layabout’.
I’m not sure if it was David Essex’s hair. Or the ear ring. Maybe it was the way he dressed or his smug, casual air when being interviewed. Whatever it was, my dad couldn’t stand him.
Then there were the TV interviewers. For some reason, Michael Parkinson was fine. Perhaps it was because he appeared on a Saturday night when dad and his mate Reg returned from the pub in a jovial mood.
Terry Wogan was another kettle of fish. As Wogan used his Irish charm to introduce a guest, my dad would fidget in his armchair.
“Wassee good at then?” he would demand. The family were sensible enough to know this was a rhetorical question.
“He’s useless, bloody hopeless,” he would explain, jutting his jaw out to emphasise the fact.
Other chat show hosts were similarly lambasted. The late Russell Harty was ‘as silly as arseholes’. The veteran broadcaster Jimmy Young ‘an arselicker’. Bruce Forsyth, however, somebody I thought would be a prime candidate for dad’s ICH, was tolerated, seeing as he had once asked my dad for directions to Tottenham Court Road when my dad was working in the West End in the sixties and seemed to be ‘alright’.
Famous footballers, revered by others, were not held in such high esteem. Woes betide anybody who told my dad that Pele was the best player in the world. This would initiate a long list of players that were much better than Pele. Similarly, the World Cup winning midfield supremo Bobby Charlton.
“They only show those shots he hit that screamed into the net from 30 yards,” he would explain, “they never showed the other shots he had that went out for a throw in.”
So as you can see, my own father had a bad case of ICH. Unfortunately, I have a feeling it’s hereditary. I have my own list of ICH catalysts.
A particularly virulent one is the comedian Patrick Kielty, or, ‘so-called’ comedian as my mum would have said. He’s not funny, even though he thinks he is. He mixes with lots of celebrity royalty to ensure a high profile. He’s married to Cat Deeley, damn him. Ok, I realise that he rather tragically lost his father during the troubles in Northern Ireland, but does that entitle him to torment me on the TV with his smug face?
Then there’s Phill Jupitus. For a start, he spells Phil with a double l. If he was as funny as he thinks he is, he’d be Charlie Chaplin, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx and Woody Allen combined in one body. He makes appearances on smug panel shows
where he’s under the impression that he’s making ‘jokes’. He’s very bitter about the BBC ditching him from their 6Music breakfast show more than 7 years ago, which I was delighted about. He just makes me very irritated, the big useless lump.
Don’t even talk to me about Will. i. am. Phil with a double l is bad enough, but punctuating your name with a full stop should be a criminal offence. He makes awful music. He can’t sing. Even so, somebody in their wisdom has decided to make him a judge on a TV singing competition. Will. I . Aren’t, more like.
Likewise Russell Brand.
He’s turned from a comedian to an actor to a political activist. He stinks at all of them. The thing about Russell Brand is that I want to like him. He stands up for the underprivileged, the poor, he rallies against greedy bankers and the super-rich, the tax avoiders and the terrible economic inequalities supported by our current coalition government. But I still think he’s a tit. From the first time I clapped eyes on him presenting a ‘Big Brother’ chat show I found him annoying. I initially thought some member of the audience had won a raffle to present the programme.
I asked Lady Barton St Mary if she suffered from ICH. She thought for a moment.
“I can’t think of anybody. Then again, I’m not as judgemental as you,” she said, judgementally.
“What about Steve Wright, the DJ?” I enquired.
“Oh that doesn’t count. He really is irritating. He makes up stupid words and talks over records that he doesn’t identify and thinks he’s really funny, just because his sycophantic entourage, there to support his ridiculous ego, laugh at everything that comes out of his mouth.”
I rest my case. By the way, she’s right about Steve Wright, but then I do have a serious case of ICH, remember.
I don’t know if there is any way to get help or support for my complaint. Perhaps aversion therapy or a ‘Clockwork Orange’ style treatment, where my eyes are forced open and I have to watch every episode of Piers Morgan’s TV show whilst listening to ‘Steve Wright in the Afternoon’ though headphones gaffer taped to my head.
Either way, if you are a sufferer, let me know, I know it’s not just me and my family – is it?