Nobody’s Perfect. February 2017.

Dear Rowley,

I am merely curious but what, precisely, has David Beckham done to unleash the attack dogs of the tabloid press? From what I understand, old emails between he and a PR have been leaked suggesting that Beckham wanted a knighthood, intimated dues had been paid with charity work and called the honours committee ‘unappreciative c***s’.

Citing self-appointed nation’s sweetheart Kathryn Jenkins getting a gong despite a cocaine-fuelled past, Beckham called the honours system ‘a f****** joke’. As far as celebrity honours are concerned, I happen to agree entirely. I always thought people in show business – and make no mistake David Beckham is in show business now not football – got the K or DBE at the end of a distinguished career.

Instead, the understanding is that should ‘slebs’ press their services on Help For HeroesUNICEF or Children of Courage then what Beckham calls ‘the halo effect’  will be rewarded.  To be brutally frank, I don’t think anyone with a brain would be moved to support a charity just because Cheryl Cole has been flown into Africa, hugged an orphan, shed a tear and left. But charities must think otherwise or they wouldn’t recruit famous people to the cause.

I don’t know about Kathryn Jenkins’ drug-taking but she did give the nation hours of fun lobbying for a gong. No matter the occasion, come rain or shine, if there was a member of the royal family in attendance up popped Miss Jenkins in a strapless frock warbling the National Anthem. I should think you’d need a toot or two if you’ve got to sing I Vow to Thee My Country next to the winning post at the Grand National.

One can’t blame celebrities if politicians use them to pep-up the honours system and hide the fact that the list is riddled with party donors who have bought not earned a knighthood. The inference that David Beckham did all of that charity work since 2005 with UNICEF merely to get a tap on the shoulders, a medal and a title seems very far-fetched to me.

Though there’s no doubt he’s a grafter, fortune has favoured David Beckham. The urge to acknowledge that life has been kind by helping those to whom it has not is admirable. Surely one would rather fame was used positively than not at all and I am sure Brand Beckham has enough in the coffers to close the doors of their mansions and live privately should they so wish. Naturally, I doubt they so wish.

Perhaps we should view the conspicuously charitable with a degree of suspicion. The secret good samaritan is above suspicion whereas the bombastic fame monster holding a giant cheque on Children in Need is clearly not the soul of altruism. However, having seen footage of Beckham travelling for UNICEF, he would have to be a better actor than Mark Rylance if his empathy was feigned.

Whatever you or I think of football (I know, we don’t), David Beckham is one of the greatest ambassadors for his sport in the world. I don’t doubt the effect of bringing a hero to a deprived community has the power to work magic. To repeat the exercise countless times for the charity is Beckham’s compliment and I’m not surprised if – like Orville – he expects a prize at some point.

The backlash against David Beckham has been startling in its smugness and venom. Journalists and broadcasters have lost no time in taking a pick axe to his feet of clay and bemoaning the fact that he really was too good to be true. To quote Some Like It Hot, ‘nobody’s perfect’ and if David Beckham did begin to believe in his sainthood then who’s to blame? People who keep him in the headlines.

I did scent hubris when the then Sam Taylor-Wood filmed David Beckham asleep for a video installation commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery. I thought it was creepy that she had the idea and unsettling that he agreed to it. As iconography goes, the passive portrait of a sleeping beauty took David Beckham far beyond the realms of sport. His choice of edgy fashion magazines and photographers had already deified DB.

I’m with the Greeks and Romans. All gods are monsters on some level. H0w can they not be slaves to ambition when the rewards are so great? You have to be a particular character to power on through the careers that made you famous  and still hold the world’s undivided attention. What’s to say about Victoria Beckham’s career in fashion other than it is endorsed by US Vogue editor Anna Wintour? It doesn’t matter what we say. She’s made it.

There will be much said about David Buckram’s position in the celebrity Pantheon after the email leaks. It wasn’t coincidental that the news broke within a week of Beckham having been chosen as the 75th anniversary guest on Desert Island Discs. I did hear a rather breathless, star-struck Kirsty Young interview him and was struck by how Beckham went out of his way to sound humble and be liked. If that was a crime I think we’d all be serving time.

The crowing about David Beckham not being a charitable, metrosexual family guy we all like and aspire to be is rather distasteful. The only false note in the whole affair is Beckham declaring that he never wanted a knighthood in the first place. I am sure the copper plates reading Sir David and Lady Beckham were already struck at Smythson. But when you consider the undeserving oiks who have been given gongs in recent honours lists, one can sympathise when David Beckham calls the committee ‘unappreciative c***s’.