Saturday, 13 December 2008

Carrie-d away

According to a report in the Telegraph, stockings this Christmas are unlikely to be bulging with the self-absorbed twitterings of Jonathan Ross, Jade Goody, feuding celebrity chefs or even Michael Parkinson.

André Breedt, of Nielsen BookScan, a book data service, said: "Trade non-fiction – the category for celebrity autobiographies – is down about 3 per cent year on year at the moment... People just don't seem to be buying at the moment."

Another symptom of the death of the British economy? At a time of prosperity, reading about the charmed lives of footballers or talent show winners might have seemed aspirational. Now it's simply grating. The celebrity sausage-machine now looks to be one of those insubstantial enterprises on which the phony economy of the Blair years subsisted.

Alternatively, people may simply have woken up to the fact that ghost-written self-justification rarely makes for good literature. Successful performers, like successful politicians, rarely produce memorable memoirs, and for much the same reason: they have too much to lose. They are defending, or creating, a mythic version of themselves. Losers, outsiders, people on the fringes of power and fame, who see the whole tawdry business for what it really is - only they usually write anything worth reading.


One such may be Carrie Fisher, whose amusingly entitled autobiography Wishful Drinking was also reviewed in today's Telegraph - by Lynn Barber. Carrie Fisher is fondly remembered by an entire generation for her stint as Jabba the Hutt's sex slave in Return of the Jedi, but she has always been a better writer than she was an actress and has had a life rich in the kind of personal tribulations that always make good copy, including drug abuse, depression and "a supernatural power to turn men gay". Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, seems an unconventional parent, too. Take this:


Debbie is a game old bird – still performing at 78. Eddie Fisher [her husband] said in his autobiography that she was a lesbian but, Fisher exclaims indignantly, "My mother is not a lesbian! She's just a really really bad heterosexual." She once gave Carrie, then aged 15, and her grandmother matching vibrators for Christmas, but the grandmother said she didn't want to use it because it might short-circuit her pacemaker and anyway she'd lived all this time without having an orgasm, she didn't plan to start now.

There's still a week of Christmas shopping to go.

2 comments:

passer by said...

SO then we will be still buying 97% of the same tosh we bought last year?

Anonymous said...

Heaven help us from Hollywood