20 Things You Didn't Know About Being Famous
Exclusive: the truth about stardom.
Heartbreak pop star Clint Surname has a secret agony. "I'm so rich," he sobbed to your super soaraway One reporter. "This is my diary of pain," he choked, visibly moved.
★ It's a problem to know what to do with all the spare cash that the postman keeps delivering in sack-loads on the hour every hour. Piled up in the grounds they become interesting environmental sculpture. Indoors, spare evenings can be enlivened by trying to find two £50 notes with consecutive serial numbers.
★ Tax is very simple: a team of highly-trained accountants will fleece you of any income which in error hasn't already been diverted to financing Cruise Missiles and other worthy national causes. You cannot admit to doing any work within the British Isles in any given 20-year period, which shouldn't be problem.
★ Your phenomenally expensive annual tour, replete with holographic back-projection and an extended stage that entails temporary removal of rows A to RR, costs so much to put on that a sponsor will be necessary. This usually involves a deluge of gratis products from the lucky Japanese company, and more electronic gadgetry to be put out with the bins.
★ Don't pick up the phone in late February because a voice will say, "Hi Clint! You don't know me, my name's Wheelan, as in spokes, from New Electricity UK Inc! I wondered if you'd mind me sending around our fantastic Symphocaster 14-bit MIDI-compatible twelve-string digital AM synthesis four-track banjo? If we could just photograph you with it, Clint, you could hang on to it for a few years, and then..." The best response to this is, "No." Or disconnect the phone.
★ Remember managers are your friends. They have your interests only at heart, along with the 15% (negotiable every month with an R in it — in the absence of the said artiste an automatic increase is applicable of 17% or two sacks of money, whichever is the greater). The manager is your link with reality (hereinafter defined as the gross income from all territories excluding Japan for a period of not more than 91 days or the artiste's stardom, whichever is the shorter).
★ Sometimes it will be hard to reconcile the apparent hive of activity at the record company every time you make one of your popular surprise visits (every April 2nd, 3.30pm) with the complete lack of movement on such fronts as promotion, record sales, career development, and so on.
★ Your next single will be recorded at Air Jupiter (a short rocket's journey away from Los Angeles LAX) where moons-bathing and gas-surfing can be arranged for those idle moments during producer tantrums or computer overdubs.
★ You will be expected to contribute positive creative ideas to the video shooting script. These will all be rejected the day before the shoot without explanation, at which point it is your duty to throw what is known as a wobbler — "I'm a sensitive artist", "Look, I'm the star", "whose advance is it anyway?" and so on. In the end they go with your idea of the leather-garbed group miming a live set on a street corner in New York. The director resigns.
★ People of a Middlesex persuasion, with what resemble unwound shredded wheats re-knitted into a tent-like object covering the entire body, will implore you to wear their exclusive garments both on-stage and in an informal at-home situation. While you'd much rather loaf around in boxer shorts and fluffy slippers, you must think of your image (comes the message from Mick, the management assistant). Boxer shorts and fluffy slippers (seulement) sweep the nation.
★ Having seen the inside of every TV studio in the world, you find that you start to go all funny whenever lights go dim and lenses come up close. Mick, the handy management assistant, kindly assembled an entire TV studio (based loosely on KRTV in Austin, Texas) in the back stables to try to get you used to them — to no avail. All you end up doing is re-running the old videos and reminiscing about when you could knock out a prom for as little as 20 grand a throw.
★ The gig is the escape, the only time that The Others are powerless and you can have your way. Out there, you're alone. You can say what you like, you are the creator, interpreter, artist, supremo. The life-force of your craft is channelled into that vital hour-and-a-half. You haven't played a gig for three years.
★ Sending out for some food becomes something of an obsession. Mick, the hard-pressed management assistant, has not been heard of for about seven or eight weeks since he set off on foot to Catalonia for a double paella and chips (easy on the saffron).
★ The roadie is an invaluable aid to the busy, successful rock star.
★ The only question which will determine whether someone is a true friend or an opportunistic hanger-on is: "Oh dear, I seem to have left my personal known-only-to-me Swiss bank account number at home. Do you happen to know what it is?" The answer, "Yes," is obviously the retort of an humorous old school-chum, while, "Of course not, Clint!" can be met with polite yet firm machine-gunning. You are not paranoid.
★ Appearing in court is always a trial. Just say, "I did the murders," in a loud, clear voice; wear a conservative tie (small or large c); and do not vomit as it will be sent straight to the lab. Remember that possession is nine-tenths of the law so, statistically, you have a one-in-ten chance.
★ You will soon discover that there is only a finite amount of drugs in the world.
★ Meeting the press becomes easier the more often you do it, and is made much smoother by your press officer, who is different every week and can never remember how many strings a bass has. Safely referring to you as "the guitarist", s/he will prove invaluable by preparing stock replies for various publications, such as: "July the tenth, 1968" (for "Smash Hits"); "I find Bunuel's work has suffered since his demise, frankly" (for "NME"); or "Because it was there" (for "Kerrang").
★ Your children will need to be illegitimate and yet bear a striking resemblance to you so that when you're murdered in 1987 by a total stranger called Mick, Clint Junior can immediately take over. Normal sex is out the window anyway (what is normal, right?), but be careful how you close it.
★ Now that you're rich and famous you've bought your old mum and dad a nice little house in the country. Previously, they had a nice big house in the country. It was the manager's idea: he said you flog the old house and we'll split the...
★ Retirement's been tried for you — in 1980 and 1983. Mick the ever-ready management assistant is working on a more ambitious project for 1987, and that's all they're telling you.
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