Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Boyle Over

Image from www.mirror.co.uk

SuBo’s flipped. Now there’s a surprise. In the game of chance we call ‘life’ here on planet idiot-box, her card was always marked, ‘Go directly to The Priory. Do not pass Go. Do not collect £100,000.' The transition from village curiosity to global basket-case has taken what – all of two months? And she’s skipped the whole tedious business of rushing out a hit novelty album followed by a couple of risible duds, a string of bad marriages to a creepy fake Eastern European aristocrat, a scrap metal dealer with dodgy connections on the Costa del Sol and David Gest, not to mention addictions to prescription drugs, cosmetic surgery and internet sex? I wish.

Was it personal hubris or vicious puppeteering or perhaps a toxic mix of both that resulted in the shock loss that sent the unlikely diva spiralling into meltdown? Everyone’s got a theory about how a street dance troupe from Dagenham whose name sounds like it was arrived at by canvassing a cross-section of local authority community engagement officers, managed to snatch victory from the Youtubed-to-death sure thing. Tanya Gold in The Guardian reckons Boyle wandered perilously off script to uncurry favour,

'In Britain's Got Talent it is never simply the talent that wins. It is the journey that wins – the story that the British public deems most worthy of reward. Who from the fetid gutter shall we raise up to be a glittering star? Who will be the most appreciative candidate? At first we thought it must be Susan Boyle, who the tabloids nicknamed "the hairy angel". It is a despicable phrase, but it says everything about what we expected Susan Boyle to be. It means "ugly saint".

But last week Susan Boyle began to step out of her journey. It was reported that she was cracking up under the pressure. The "hairy angel" was becoming aggressive. She wasn't, in fact, an angel, but she was human, and troubled. She apparently swore at a passerby who was bothering her, and even complained to a policeman about it. But, Susan, aren't you ecstatic to be bothered? You have never been bothered before.'

Hang on a minute Tans, I think it was the folks from across the pond who were mostly keeping the Boyle boat afloat. I'm a long, long way away now but I picked up that the SuBo magic started to sour along with those first few notes of Memory in the semi-final round. Personally, I blame Amanda Holden. When she proclaimed Boyle the emblematic heart and soul of Britain, it wasn’t much of a stretch to visualise jaws dropping all over Essex,

‘You wha? That daft old bint represents us? No fucking way.’

The rallying of Facebook networks from Barking to Basingstoke, Upney to Upminster, Romford to Rainham may well have turned the tide. Perhaps the bookies figured it was cheaper to max out the minutes on premium price voting than pay out the estimated £5m on a Boyle win. Or maybe ITV rigged the poll to satisfy some twisted agenda well beyond the imaginations of decent licence fee-paying folk. It wouldn’t be the first time a TV phone-in fell under the spell of a mysterious ‘irregularity'. Or possibly the voting public realised SuBo wasn't really much of a singer but they'd inadvertantly gotten rid of all the decent contenders and a saxophonist was never going to cut it. It'll take at least three generations to eradicate Baker Street from the national psyche.

According to media reports, Boyle was assessed under the Mental Health Act and conveyed to The Priory with a police escort requested by doctors after staff at her hotel observed her ‘acting strangely’ on Sunday. I would venture that a celebrity in a five star London hotel would have to be doing something slightly more threatening than merely ‘acting strangely’ to be carted off by police to a Gucci-padded cell. I know someone who once walked into The Dorchester clad in flannelette pyjamas and tartan slippers, ambled about for half an hour in a state of studied disorientation and wafted out again past the liveried doormen without a single challenge or even a sideways glance. Discretion is the blind eye that keeps the kids in Kappa for the staff of top London hotels.

Still, the expectation is that this poor muppet will have a stellar career and earn between £5-10m. As Tony Parsons observed in The Mirror, ‘she is not the best singer in the country. She is not even the best singer on Britain
’s Got Talent.’ Arguably, being not even the best drummer in The Beatles didn’t do Ringo Starr any harm. Perhaps SuBo will get lucky and the world will be waiting ‘with bated breath and whispring humblenesse’ upon a golden album of dated show tunes. Hey, SuBo, Liza Minnelli called, she wants her life back and she's suing...