I am becoming increasingly beady about ‘celebrity’ – and I use the term loosely – stunts in aid of charity. So, I believe, is the rest of Britain when it emerged that the women who appeared in the ITV’s The Full Monty: Ladies’ Night were each paid £10,000 to flash their boobies at the end of a burlesque-style strip live on stage. Donations came in just north of £4000. True, all the women had reasons for wanting to raise awareness of Breast Cancer. But, then again, I’d be the poster boy for the clap if someone paid me £10,000 for the privilege.
This was the second year of Real Full Monty activities with Alexander Armstrong – a man who is a total stranger to self-doubt – encouraging male ‘slebs’ to flash their cocks for testicular cancer. I watched both programmes and found the smugness rather unbearable. It was evident that even the most seemingly shy celebrity was loving every second of flashing the British population in the name of charity.
On Ladies Night, I thought Victoria Derbyshire protested too much. Would she be denied the £10,000 pay cheque if she didn’t open her ostrich feather fan to reveal boobs after a double mastectomy. To add insult to injury, the TV cameras cut to the back-sides of both ladies and gentlemen making the strip short change for those of us who stuck with the broadcast in the hope of seeing Jade Goody’s ex-husband Jeff Brazier’s enormous dick.
I think we’re all getting a little bit fed up of C-listers doing deeply titillating tasks in the name of Charity. The latest was Telegraph columnist Bry0ny Gordon running the London Marathon in her bra and pants in the name of breast cancer. I Tweeted that she was doing it for attention and applause rather than for charity. When reminded of the money raised, I countered that charity was best when done quietly and fastidiously. I could walk the Great Wall of China in slingback but I’m far too busy. Besides, Kitty, I’d never get any rummy played.
Children in Need is my particular bête Noir closely followed by Comic Relief where C-listers are asked to ‘do something funny for money’ that rarely if ever is. I donate to one charity every month to the tune of £40 which builds up as the years go by. I don’t talk about it and don’t want attention and applause for giving. The same goes for the odd tenner to a tramp.
It kills me when people say they don’t give to beggars because they will spend the money on drugs and alcohol. Too f****** right they do. I’d need a G&T in a can and a spliff if I was contemplating a night on the pavement in Central London in the pouring rain. Sanctimony is the enemy of charity.
I met a real charitable woman in the shape of the late Evelyn Lauder, daughter-in-law of the legendary Esthée Lauder. The lady raised $350 million for breast cancer charities with her pink ribbon initiative. It was cruel that this glamorous lady died from cancer. I admired Mrs Lauder immensely. She told me all about how she, her husband Leonard and Estèe set-up shop in a small office in which Evelyn would pretend to be the receptionist before putting herself through to her other line.
Estèe Lauder is now a multi-billion dollar corporation. You would not have caught Evelyn Lauder swanning around the Easter Parade in her bra and panties. Wild horses would not drag her into a debacle such as The Real Full Monty. Mrs Lauder had class.
My beadiness towards charity extends to the tsunami of celebrities coming out as living with mental health issues. It is laudable that the Princes William and Harry and their consorts the Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan Markle are spearheading their Heads Together mental health charity. But the hangers-on who pop up to say ‘me too’ really – in the words of Kath & Kim – get up my goat.
Mariah Carey recently came out as bipolar. I could have told her the years ago. Who in their right mind has riders such as ‘Mariah doesn’t do stairs’ and demand for fresh puppies in her dressing room to cuddle when she comes off stage. That’s the grandiose behaviour of a major manic attack. I can’t bear Mariah Carey anyway. She as a beacon of light for mental health makes me want to vomit. Cash doesn’t pay for mental health but is sure as s*** makes recovery a whole lot more comfortable and expedient.
People with genuine cases of manic depression know there is no cure. There are checks and balances both pharmaceutical and psychological that can keep it in check. But someone with manic depression is totally unable to control when a manic or a depressive phase begins to invade the mind.
I am coming out of a serious manic episode. It did not kill me but did make for some humiliating moments and very odd behaviour. I won’t go into that now because it is as much as can be a private matter. The people who matter are still with me. The good time boys and girls run a mile. They can stay a mile away the hell from me.
In addition to my donating to charity, I have come out of my manic phase wanting to do something for mental health charities. This does not entail running the London Marathon dressed as a gorilla. It will be discreet, quiet and hopefully as good for me as for others suffering from manic depression. Until next time…