Friday, June 25, 2010

The recluse issues a press release

This was originally written to be read at a thing that, in the end, I didn't get to - the theme was "beasts", with a bit of Cornish interest to be thrown in, if possible. I figured it may as well hang around here for a while. (And if hanging doesn't kill it...) 


"You've been in the papers, everyone's heard of you. Why not see where it takes you?"

"How did you find me?"

"If I can, anyone can," she said. "Now, how about it?"

He shrugged. And so The Beast came to have a publicist.

The Beast wishes it to be known, began an initial press release, that he is not a violent creature, he has never worried sheep, nor has he harmed cattle - the persistent slanders of the farming community are wholly and entirely untrue. In private, the real Beast is an enthusiastic vegan cook, gives to charity, and has even attended peaceful anti-hunt demonstrations - dressed as a protester dressed as a cat. Also, one day, he might like to be taken seriously as an actor, and fears being typecast.

He is not, repeat not, it continues, and contrary to present rumours, seeing Jordan in secret. Nothing that Jordan does is ever in secret. The Beast has the utmost respect for Peter Reid, or Alex Andre, or whatever he's called.

Furthermore, The Beast is not from Dartmoor - he is Cornish, he is a cat. Please, get it right.

In closing, the publicist extends her client's gratitude, to fans and media, for respecting his privacy over the coming weeks and months – formerly shy, and reclusive, this is likely to be a difficult time for The Beast. It's inevitable, she stresses, that he will need time to adjust to the public spotlight. We thank you for your patience.

In the meantime, please see the latest Hello! For a six-page tour around his house.

Just the next day, looking sleek, and poised – and surprisingly at ease in designer glasses – the Beast steps out into Truro HMV, greets the crowd and media, sits down behind mics, for his first full public appearance. Beside him, the publicist moves to deny unfounded speculation regarding a move into the music business.

"Simon Cowell has not been, we repeat, not been in touch," she reiterates. "Nor has his brother, who we gather lives down here."

"What unfounded speculation?" says The West Briton.

"That is all," sings The Beast, ominously breaking into the kind of guttural croon that once made Nickleback so hard to avoid.

Outside, on Lemon Quay, The Beast pretends to maul some children for the photographers, chases his tail, just to show a lighter side, finally disappears effortlessly into the slow-moving crowd of tea-drunk pensioners that constantly percolates through Truro M&S.

"It was terrible," one of them said, later, "just terrible! I didn't know what to do. They'd completely run out of scones..."

Is The Beast a scone-stealing immigrant, asks the Daily Mail online poll. Yes, say 60%, No, say 10%. We have no opinion, say the rest, but we don't see why that should stop us being heard.

Soon enough, news of a debut single breaks: a duet with Susan Boyle, announces The Mirror, to be released just in time for Christmas, backed with a dubstep cover of Camborne Hill – "both daring, traditional and danceable", says Dannii Minogue, with little regard for maths.

Beast and Boyle to marry? asks The Star. Beast and Beast to marry, claims The Sport, unsportingly. The backlash has begun, declares The Sun - then begins the backlash. Somewhere, in Portugal, Cliff cancels his Christmas single. "It would have been the people's single," says his friend Tony, taking a day off from causing peace in the Middle East, "Cherie and I will never forget."

At the national tour's launch event, just five minutes in, an embittered and opportunist Pete Waterman storms the Acorn stage with his latest act, The Owlman of Mawnan Smith, shoving Su-Bo heavily to the floor; a flurry of fur and feathers and anti-Cowell invective ensues. But the show goes on.

Later, The Owlman is found outside, in a pool of feathers, minus a head.

"Typical," declares Pete Waterman, on This Morning, "they always eat one bit and leave the rest. You know what I'm talking about." The Beast, for his part, has an alibi, and expresses his deep and unreserved sympathy, in an exclusive interview for Heat.

The rest of the tour sells out in an instant. Extra dates are added. Even matinees. The best thing to happen in music since Ozzy bit the head off a bat, declares Kerrang! Channel 4 commissions a series of How To Look Good Furry. The 3AM Girls vow to be backstage at every gig.

The Beast is even invited to the Royal Variety Performance.

Backstage, Prince Charles looks admiringly at The Beast's claws, and suggests a private meeting with his mother; Prince Philip gives a laugh, and mutters, "Ruddy hell, I bet you're the only Black Panther in Cornwall." An aide whispers in his ear. "Oh..." he says. "Really? Have I done it again?" The Queen, sadly, has gone home already following recurrence of an old waving injury.

All in all, the rise has been meteoric, too much so: behind the scenes a relentless schedule has begun to take its toll. Finally, at a recording session for Christmas Top of the Pops, after weeks on the road, it all just gets too much, something snaps, and Fearne Cotton is viciously savaged in the green room.

This is devastating, says a representative. Sadly, this year, there will be no Christmas Number 1.

In a Mount Hawke pub, The Beast sits quietly with a friend.

"I was this far from savaging Patrick Kielty, once," says Alex. "You know, after Fame Academy." She pauses. "And Cat Deeley."

The Beast slumps back in his chair and shakes his head. "No, but that's just natural, though. Anyone would. You didn't bite the head off an Owlman!

"I can't get over it..." he says. "I just can't. Not Susan! Why would she do it?"

Alex puts a hand over his paw. "Come on," she says.

"She'd been doing so well," says the Beast, but then stops. He nods, and takes a few quiet sips of his beer. "I know, I know, it's been months. I should get over it... But still..."

"We're not all cut out for it," says Alex, gently.

On a reinforced sofa, opposite Piers Morgan, the Loch Ness Monster is shedding a tear over the lonely years in hiding. The Kraken has arrived at Newsnight, he's filling in for Paxman. And in a cheap leather chair, just outside Manchester, a helpless Yeti is being yelled at for no particular reason by Jeremy Kyle.

Backstage, The Beast's old publicist sits and watches. On the table, in front of her, a Blackberry begins to vibrate. A second passes, then so does another. She sits forward, for a moment, and watches her phones dance - then smiles. She has never, never been busier.

[Incidentally, I don't have anything in particular against Susan Boyle, The Owlman or Fearne Cotton; I'm sure they're all perfectly good people (or whatever) that I don't remotely know.]

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Descartes gets insomnia



COGITO: .....I'm thinking.

ERGO: ........So what?

SUM: ..........Shush, or we'll never get to sleep.


Later, a desperate, sleep-deprived Descartes will modify his celebrated proposition, to I am, I exist. It doesn't help. Instead, he spends the remaining nights of his life worrying about tautology, while during the day hiding from the young Queen of Sweden in a warm bread oven, it being preferable, he says, to a cold one.

Throughout many parts of the former Swedish Empire, even today, Hide & Seek is still illegal. Outside of official royal buildings, however, the ban is rarely enforced.

But enough of that.