It's too late for Bobby's crocodile tears for Whitney
Millions have mourned the death of poor Whitney Houston, dead and gone at 48. Far too young to die, even if she was a tragedy waiting to happen. Her terrible, glassy-eyed descent into the drug swamp of no return had been obvious to all for years.
No one could save Whitney from herself, even though many tried. And, ironically, no one has grieved quite so visibly or lavishly for her as her ex-husband Bobby Brown.
Mere hours after discovering that Houston had died in mysterious circumstances in a hotel room, the r’n’b star poured out his emotions in the middle of a concert in Mississippi.
Troubled: Bobby Brown and Whtiney Houston with daughter Bobbi in 2004
‘I love you Whitney,’ he blubbed on stage as the audience applauded.
Oh boo hoo, Bobby. Isn’t it a bit late for all that See if you can squeeze out a few more crocodile tears under the spotlights.
Of course, Brown might be genuinely sorry his former wife and the mother of one of his five children is dead — but surely those splashy public tears must also be because he realises his culpability in the downfall of a diva
Tragic: Whitney Houston
Famously, their 15 years of marriage were strafed with drugs and violence. The drugs they did together because they really, really enjoyed them. Both admitted to this.
Yet while Brown may have accelerated Houston’s addictions, he cannot be blamed for them. People are attracted to each other because they have the same dark appetites, not in spite of them. And note that in the five years since their divorce, Houston did little to clean up her act.
The violence, of course, was something else. That was Brown’s unique contribution to the marriage. Beating up Whitney was what he brought to the party. It was one of the things he did best.
And like many victims of sustained domestic abuse, Houston blamed herself. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she voiced her worries that it was her global success, which had eclipsed her husband’s fame, that was at the root of the trouble.
Poor Whitney. Fate shined on her in so many ways. Fate blessed with beauty and a soul-scalding, multi-octave voice. Then fate balanced that out with a creep of a husband who used to beat her up to feel better about himself and his own inadequacies.
Yet what is so astonishing is that Brown — despite all the sordid revelations of violence, cut lips and emergency calls to the police — merrily continued with his career once the fuss died down. He’s in concert, in the middle of a big revival tour with his former band, New Edition. Why isn’t he walking up and down streets wearing a sandwich board that says: Please Hate Me Because I Hit Women.
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The same applies — perhaps ever more so — to actor and singer Chris Brown, who famously beat up his (then) girlfriend Rihanna three years ago.
Brown blamed media attention for driving the couple apart in the aftermath of the attack. The bullying subtext was this — it’s everyone else’s fault, not mine.
Pleading guilty got him off a custodial sentence. And despite the fact that he was refused a visa to visit the UK in 2010 because of the attack, his career has gone from strength to strength. Never mind that pesky restraining order Rihanna once took out against him. Lights, action, showtime.
Once upon a time, wife beaters and girlfriend batterers might have had at least the decency to slide off the face of the earth, both shamed and too ashamed to show their faces in public.
Now, it seems to be no big deal. Just carry on as you were, boys, pretend you’ve just been given a parking ticket. The fans won’t mind whatever you do. Really, it is all part of the creeping misogyny and sexualisation that pervades modern life like mustard gas. Sometimes I think we are falling backwards into the pits, not marching on into a bright new dawn.
Take the ghastliness of hip-hop and R’n’B culture, with its casual degradations and lack of respect for women. It has much to answer for. Nearly every pop video from the likes of Pitbull, 50 Cent, P Diddy and even Chris Brown himself — usually features some grim little scenario of female submission and objectification. No one bats an eyelid at the relentless musical misogyny.
And I can’t be alone in being utterly incredulous at the new advert for animal rights organisation PETA, which shows a woman returning from hospital in a neck brace, unable to walk properly, after a night of passion with her partner.
The reason she is battered is because her boyfriend has gone vegan, and this turned him into a sex monster. ‘He’ll be able to bring it like a tantric porn star,’ says the crowing voiceover. Good old lentil loins. Let’s hear it for courgette power.
Never mind that it takes some leap of imagination to believe being vegan makes men better lovers. What is deeply troubling here is the pernicious message that sexual violence and brutality are things women desire.
Yes, of course, we want to be hurt, don’t we How ridiculous.
Loving someone does not mean putting them in hospital, as Whitney, Rihanna and thousands of innocent women have discovered to their cost. It is appalling that PETA should be so flippant about something so serious. It is disappointing that both Mr Browns have emerged with their reputations relatively unscathed despite their violent paths.
Whitney Houston’s funeral takes place tomorrow in the New Jersey church she attended as a child. It’s been reported her family have warned Bobby Brown to stay away, for at least they have not forgiven him his sins.
However, he has vowed he will be there. He wants to provide fatherly comfort and care for Bobbi Kristina, the teenage daughter he had with Whitney. What a pity he didn’t think of that years ago. It might be a little too late now.
PUT SOME PANTS ON NIGEL… AU NATUREL IS SO NO NO!
Oi, naked rambler Nigel Keer. Put your pants on and grow up, you selfish lummox. No one wants to see your dingle-dangly bits blowing in the lovely fresh air, despite what you might think.
The naturist bus driver from Leeds was arrested by an off-duty policeman last October when striding across a popular West Yorkshire beauty spot in nothing but his socks and boots. ‘Get a life, you sad git,’ said the admirable PC Buxton, as he ordered Keer to take his clothes out of his rucksack and put them back on. ‘I’ve got a life, I’m a naturist,’ Keer replied.
He was later found guilty of causing alarm and distress, fined 150 and ordered to pay 150 costs. In his defence, Keer said that the 15 people he had passed before meeting PC Buxton had all reacted positively.
Which kind of says it all.
It is not about naturism, it’s all about exhibitionism. About giving old ladies and little children the fright of their lives, perhaps. About being validated by the reactions of strangers. About somehow mattering in a world that would otherwise ignore you. It is hard to think of anything more pathetic.
Back to work: Amanda Holden
Parp! Big toot on the sisterly trumpet for Amanda Holden. I loathe the innuendo that has surrounded the difficult birth of her second daughter Hollie.
Some have suggested that the birth complications were somehow Amanda’s own fault.
Why Because she wore a pair of high heels and went to work a few days before Hollie arrived a month early. How very dare she.
Amanda has been through a lot to become a mother and have a little family of her own, which is entirely to her credit.
She is to be admired, I think, not castigated. Now she has been rebuked again for returning to work on Britain’s Got Talent, instead of staying at home to bond with baby.
Come on. It is not as if she is returning to do the nightshift at a colliery or being deployed to the front line in Afghanistan.
Taking a couple of days out to judge the early heats of Britain’s Got Talent is a job she loves. She knows how to do it. Assistants see to her every whim.
She sits down the entire time — between David Walliams and Simon Cowell and some other chick with distressingly long legs.
Apart from that little Alesha-shaped hiccup, it is not exactly arduous.
Holden is a fit and healthy young woman. Give her a break. Putting on a pretty frock and appearing on television is what she does best and it doesn’t make her a bad mother.
So Amanda, it’s a yes from me. Parpity-parp!
THE JOAN COLLINS FAN CLUB OF WIGS
Adele: Keeping her hair on
I interviewed Joan Collins last summer. Yes, thanks for asking, it’s all fine now. The injuries have healed, the fingernail scratches on the face don’t show under make-up.
Obviously some of the deeper mental wounds will never be repaired. Psychiatrists have said there is little hope of a full intellectual and spiritual recovery.
That’s enough about Joan’s recuperation. It was no picnic for me, either.
However, one thing that sticks in my mind, along with the silver-handled pickaxe Joan always packs in her handbag for interview emergencies, was her incredulity that so few women in the public eye wear wigs.
I think she even wrote about it in her book, The World According To Joan. (There’s the plug Joan, plus the mandatory lorry of lilies and the champagne are on their way, please be cool.)
Anyway, I can see that wigs are marvellously practical. Whatever mess your own locks are in, you just cram them under a pop sock, clip on a hat of hair, and off you go.
Now we discover that Grammy winner Adele is one of the few younger stars to follow in Joan’s footsteps. In an interview for U.S. television this week, the London singer revealed that not only does she have a collection of wigs, she gives them all names, too. Including the June Carter and the Jackie Collins.
That got me wondering. What does La Joan call her wigs The Alice Cooper The Cruella The Lemmy from Motorhead
I’m far too scared to ask.
Adorable: A baby sleeps
They call her the Baby Whisperer. And no wonder. Photographer Maria Murray from Hampshire has gained a reputation for taking impossibly cute pics of newborns.
Adorable! They all seem to be smiling fit to burst, lost in some inner, tiny revelry that we will never understand.
Quite lovely, even if some of those charming, smooth-skinned smirks do inexplicably remind me of PM David Cameron when he’s feeling pleased with himself.
Maria says she only got into the baby-gurning photo racket because she was so disappointed in the pictures taken by a professional of her own children.
Yet I must say she spoiled it a bit for me by revealing the babies are not, in fact, smiling — they are passing wind. Oh, thanks for that, Maria.
Even if you have nailed the absolute essence of that elusive Cam expression.