Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping and Fucking hit British theatre like a…
Big Brother Lover
First Published TheHospitalClub.com /Jan2010
It might be a little sad to admit, but I know exactly what I was doing and who was there when the winner of the very first Big Brother was announced. It was genuinely exciting, radical and interesting television. My preference for victory would have been Anna the singing, lesbian nun, but I still squeezed out a tear for the well-hung Scouse Craig and his generosity towards Joanne Harris, his childhood friend with Downs Syndrome. Phillips donated the £70,000 prize fund to her.
That first series was filmed in the East End and when the finale fireworks went off, I could see them on the telly and in real life through my living room window. There was a few seconds delay between the two, but like a puppy on Ritalin, I ran from one to the other, like it was the best entertainment on the planet.
In 2001, I put Brian Dowling on the cover of gay magazine QX and encouraged readers to vote for him, while slating Josh Rafter for being a mean, vacuous muscle Mary. Josh is now a friend, and continues to be a lovely, polite gentleman in the flesh. Brian, sadly, proved to be obnoxious when I had the misfortune to meet him. It seems that TV editing can be very misleading and fame has corrupting qualities. Who knew, eh?
Such editorial mishaps and the fact that I’ve a friend who’s edited the show and another who’s produced it, only serves to fuel my occasionally unhealthy appetite for the show. Even when you know the mechanics, it still has the power to cast a deceptive spell.
But back to this year. Celebrity Big Brother 2010 is proving a fascinating study. For most people, the show is delivering their first experience of Jonas Altberg aka Basshunter. His ‘sex tape’ came to light at the tail end of 2007 when he went to Number One with ‘Now You’re Gone’. It stayed there for 4 weeks, sold a million ringtones before it even hit the UK and in his native Sweden, it was the fastest selling tune since Abba graced the charts.
His music makes me want to rip off my ears and feed them to rabid badgers, but that’s not the point. He boasts the most underhyped sex tape in history. Can you imagine an attractive, female recording artist receiving almost no publicity regarding graphic orgy pics while fronting a worldwide dance hit? That woman would have been hounded, hyped and savaged by a salivating tabloid tsunami. Jonas on the other hand, barely got a mention.
Could it have anything to do with the fact that he’s male, well endowed and unashamed of his ‘work’? Not of interest to the mostly male editors of the tabloids? Not sending your paps to the gym to stick a lens up his shorts to get a blurry pic of his penis? No? Are you sure? But it’s okay to flood us with skinny, willing, pouting blonde babes with big boobs and stolen snatch snaps of young girls we’ve barely heard of? Just a thought.
Then there’s Alex Reid. Either he’s a tangerine hued, ugly, deviant idiot or a troubled pin-up with huge potential. The nation is divided…and no doubt, Katie Price will decide whether to continue her dalliance with him on the basis of whether we, the public like him or not. She’s as needy for approval as he is, but looks better in drag than he does. They are made for each other.
The Bible bashing Baldwin has encouraged the cage fighter’s dreams and may have unleashed a monster. It will be fascinating to see how long it is before Baldwin’s preaching tips the housemates over the edge. He’s by far the most interesting person in there, but the God bothering is bound to wear thin.
Heidi Fleiss is already questioning his assumed authority and so far, she boasts the quote of the show with her, ‘Thank God for abortion,’ quip. While Bible Baldwin has attracted a keen but dim flock of followers in the house, the Hollywood madam isn’t quite ready for her conversion to right wing Christianity. That doesn’t look even vaguely likely, but it’s gonna be fun watching.