Tuesday, 29 March 2016


In one of his many volumes of memoirs Clive James quotes admiringly from the autobiography of Kirk Douglas, once the highest-paid star in Hollywood:  fame, said Douglas, doesn't change the way you behave, but it changes the way people behave towards you.

He might have added that if enough people change the way they behave towards you your own behaviour is likely to change too, over time.

Prompted by recalling the edict of John Reith, first Director General of the British Broadcasting Corporation, who reportedly banned radio broadcasters and journalists from using the adjective 'famous' be causes, as he rightly reasoned, if somebody really is famous the adjective is unnecessary and if not, not. I shan't even bother to type out Andy Warhol's most famous dictum, but would add that there fifteen minutes is far too long - the modern celebrity has the longevity of a mayfly. They are in the public eye too briefly for us to alter our behaviour towards them.

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