Celebrities – Credit Where it’s Due

We all enjoy bemoaning celebrities.

The sordid world of super injunctions, loose morals and media manipulation fuels our anger towards these money-grabbing dark icons. Giant cars, flash parties, MTV cribs, rich lifestyles… Let’s be honest, we are all a little envious too!

Well last night I got a tiny taste of it all through an invite to the Stoke Park Classic Party.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, Stoke Park is a spectacular estate just outside the M25 – home to a beautiful golf course and a magnificent 19th Century hotel and spa. And yesterday it played host to the Stoke Park Classic Golf tournament, an invite only exclusive event. Although my invite didn’t extend to the tournament (which is a good thing considering my lack of golfing ability) I did manage to wangle a call up to the after party (thanks to the kind people at Jaguar – one of the major sponsors).

So suited up I found myself sipping cocktails, sharking canapés and rubbing shoulders with a host of celebrities from the world of sport and tv.

This story has a sub-plot and a very upsetting one. I work with a girl, an amazing girl, who has been locked in a battle against a very rare form of heart cancer – Jo is a determined fighter who will never give up. Although I don’t know her well (barely at all) her blog updates give everyone an insight into her unbelievable strength and personality. I’ll insert a link to her blog at the end of this update – it is inspirational.

A number of  her friends and my colleagues have been working hard to drive attention to her fight – and have managed to get a host of celebrities and public figures to show their support for Jo by simply agreeing to a picture holding a “Go JB” message. Through the power of blogging, twitter and facebook they then publicly showcase her incredibly brave battle.

I was with one of her close friends last night and had an opportunity to offer something to this. Together we roamed the room and meekly approached a few of the big names. Without fail they all quickly agreed and offered up a part of their appeal and popularity to help a girl they have never met. So DJ Spoony, Will Greenwood, Tim Lovejoy, John Regis, Dougray Scott, Ieuan Evans, Jamie & Louise Redknapp all posed with their “Go JB” placard.

What’s more they were all so approachable, amenable and much more normal than I could have ever imagined. They weren’t self-absorbed, prickly and ignorant – they were all warm and helpful. And Will has already retweeted his photo, pushing Jo’s message out to his 73,000 followers.

So let’s stop with the celeb bashing – yes there are some nasty feral celebrities, but then there are also plenty of rough immoral “regulars” too…

…and then there are some amazing people who we should all value and support! http://myacheybreakyheart.tumblr.com/

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Played by Hooligans…

How many times have I heard that old adage:

Rugby – played by hooligans, watched by gentleman
Football – played by gentleman, watched by hooligans

The problem is, as an English sports fan, the saying no longer holds true.

The first line probably still applies. The general rugby fan is reasonably wholesome, more interested in a family day out and a few warming pints than goading opposition supporters and storming local pubs. And the English rugby team certainly proved at the recent Rugby World Cup that they can still be classed as hooligans. Mike Tindall and co. managed to not only make fools of themselves (tossing dwarves and snogging locals), but they also let down the wider English public and even managed to embarrass the Royal Family. Well done Mike!

The major problem with the saying focuses on the football team. Yes the hooligans still rule the terraces (despite the best efforts of the family stand and numerous ‘kick it out’ initiatives), but unfortunately the same idiots now also perform on the pitch.

Almost all the current crop of big-name England internationals have at least one major front page headline to be proud of. Our (former) captain John Terry has a long list of misdemeanours, culminating in his current race row. But he’s not alone, Wayne Rooney has had a few Grandma prostitutes, Gerrard a few nightclub brawls, Ashley Cole managed to cheat on Cheryl, and Giggsy (yes I know he is Welsh) cheated on his wife with his brother’s…not exactly gentleman are they?!

And it gets worse – the current crop of sporting stars now have a new outlet, a new hi- tech opportunity to embarrass themselves and their clubs… their social network, and in particular their twitter accounts.

And who is the leader of the sporting digital generation? Joey Barton, a man who must never be referred to as a gent. Well done Joey, we know you once read an abridged copy of the sayings of Nietzsche and yes, your uncle is gay, but this does not make you any less of a dreadful thug. Joey’s list of bad boy antics make JT look like Mother Teresa – he once slapped a 15year old Everton fan, and even put out a cigar in a youth players eye! How can he be the twitter icon for the new generation? He should be in prison!

It seems us English sport fans have only one hope – our cricket team. Please don’t let us down Alastair, Andrew and Stuart, we need to cling to your clean cut image as long as we can…you are now our only remaining sporting gentleman.