Sunday, July 12, 2009

"I need to say my say"

Katie Price at a book-signingAlter-egos can be a bit of a bother. Leonard Nimoy once broke down during the shooting of Star Trek because he was living life as Spock; David Bowie had to kill off Ziggy Stardust because he was getting somewhat confused as to which persona he actually was; and Olympic swimming champion turned Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller reportedly spent a short portion of his personal life in character.

Katie Price is a British glamour model, authoress and horsewoman who used to go under the name of Jordan. Just what she thought was sexy about the name of a small middle-eastern country that struggles with Islamism I don't know, but there you go.

Peter André - click to read about Bollywood deal
Having recently had a high-profile split with her husband, singer Peter André, that has caused a tabloid feeding frenzy, she's just had an interview with former News of the World editor Piers Morgan broadcast, on the grounds that "I need to say my say". She dealt with the question of whether Katie Price was the real woman and Jordan the persona, or vice versa, by saying that "there'll always be a bit of Jordan"; a clip was shown of her in a nightclub in Ibiza informing a group of admiring males that "I'm Katie Price tonight, sophisticated, but after midnight Jordan might come out". She then lifted her top to display her underwear, justifying this to Morgan by describing herself as an exhibitionist.

It can't be easy for any man to be married to a woman who is both so enhanced as to resemble a blow-up doll, and is a former topless model (appearing once in Playboy) who occasionally returns in somewhat more restrained fashion to the pursuit. Their relationship started oMary Pickford - click to read moren the TV substitute for watching paint dry, I'm a celebrity, get me out of here and was charted in the series When Katie met Peter. Much of their life together has been televised, the strain showing in their last series, Katie and Peter: Stateside in which they tried to break into the US market - an activity which has sent more than one marriage onto the rocks. (And not necessarily through failure, as is shown by, for example, the romantic life of "America's Sweetheart", Mary Pickford.)

There's a corrosive side to fame: being a celebrity is often an occupation which eats its own children. Morgan writes on his website about the pressures faced by celebrities in a defence of Susan Boyle, the apparent heir to the crown of this year's Britain's got Talent who unexpectedly lost in the final:
Everywhere you go, people recognise you and want a piece of you - an autograph, a photo, a quick song, a chat to their mum on a mobile phone.

You can’t got out any more without being mobbed in the streets. You can’t nip down the supermarket for a pint of milk or go to the paper shop...

All the fun of being propelled into international acclaim starts to disappear. And you start to feel jittery, self-conscious, paranoid, and fractious.
Just so, Price complained of going out on the town a limited number of times, and being approached by people who would snap her on their phones and sell the pictures to the press. I don't know what was going on, but can understand her defence that she looks in a worse state than she is in these images - I've got a snap of myself taken when I was sober as a judge: I look as if I'd drunk London and Las Vegas dry.

So what lies behind Katie Price's urge to bare all in front of the camera, sometimes in every sense? OK, she says she's an exhibitionist, but I know somebody who makes the same claim and contents himself with breaking into song in public.

Piers Morgan and Katie PriceThe last time Price and Morgan met, it was on Piers Morgan's Life Stories, when she told of doing a photoshoot for a man when she was a teenager, then discovering he was a paedophile. Then she admitted, for the first time, that she had been attacked by "a wierdo in the park" as an infant. She'd previously talked about shocking her family when, aged 13, she was given some money for a dress and got hold of something very revealing. (I wonder who sold it to her?)

I was a psychiatric nurse for a long time - until my manic depression convinced me iJoan Collinst was time to do some admin - and met a lot of people who had been abused. In time you might hear that they had an "exhibitionist" streak, in the sense of lacking boundaries, and very often that this was expressed in a sexual way, especially in women. Our society has many sinister sides: one is that it seems to be acceptable in some quarters for women to bare all without questions being asked when the baring all has the smell of a compulsion. Tabloids all over the world feed on it, printing pictures of the deshabillé girl then presuming to take the moral high ground. I saCaroline Flint, who complained about being used as window-dressing: click to read about a spectacular own goaly "girl" advisedly: Morgan, who is 45, at one point told Price, who is all of 31 years old, "You're no spring chicken, love!" (He seems to be unaware that women over 30 can look good, like Joan Collins; or, closer to his own age, Labour politician Caroline Flint.)

I'm sure this story will keep on running until the media beast finds another victim to "fête and slate". There's a whole lot of proxy bickering going on between Price and André. Unfortunately, sometimes a marriage does go to Hell in a handcart, and it's not an easy thing to behold: any breakdown, if reported on continually, would make uncomfortable reading or viewing.

A sign of hope, perhaps, is Price's assertion that she hadn't gotten married to get divorced; and Kant would have nodded sagely at the nod to his Theory of Ends when she opined that people shouldn't have babies for the purpose of saving a relationship. Can we put her in charge of the fight against saviour siblings?

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