Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Now that's a party

We've all had the "what I'd do if I won the lottery" conversation. Some people want to buy their parents a new house, some people want to travel the world and then build a guitar-shaped swimming pool, and others want to give it all to a cats' home. The thing is, until you experience that kind of wealth, it's impossible to know how you'd really spend it.

Simon Cowell, on the other hand, has had the best part of decade to get used to the kind of wealth that even lottery winners can only dream of. We occasionally see glimpses of his fleet of supercars, or get to see the inside of his property portfolio when he brings the X-Factor wannabes to his home for the final selection process. But aside from that, little is known about how the flat-topped media mogul chooses to splash the cash.

This weekend however, the world was treated to a glimpse of the kind of bash you can stage with a £100 million-plus fortune. Arranged by his friend and business partner Sir Philip Green (and his wife Tina) the 50th birthday party boasted a wide variety of tacky but costly novelties, from baby sharks in the bathroom to 'Simon's Chicken Soup', which spelled out the birthday boy's name in pasta shapes. Velvet chairs, waiters wearing Cowell masks and Simon's image depicted on a fake Michelangelo ceiling, helped to complete the party theme. All in good fun, if not taste.

Reading like the index page of a celebrity gossip magazine, the guest list included Ryan Seacrest, Cheryl Cole, Dannii Minogue, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Gordon Ramsay and Leona Lewis, plus pre-recorded messages from the Beckhams and Jennifer Aniston. But one person who clearly wasn't invited was poor old Daily Mail columnist Amanda Platell, who is in danger of becoming a p0pvulture regular.

In yet another spiteful screed, the hateful hack lays into every aspect of celebrity culture and manages to blame it for all the world's ills. Displaying an almost forensic hunger for details, she outlines every vanity-mocking element of the party, whilst choosing tactically to overlook Simon Cowell's notoriously self-deprecating humour and pragmatism - no doubt the real reason for the 60ft projection of the guest of honour or the army of Cowell-faced servers.

The article itself is arrogantly entitled "My verdict on Cowell birthday party... Vulgar, crass and so tacky" - as though anyone gave a shit about her opinion (unless of course she's deciding whether she would like to be drowned or hanged for her crimes against journalism). Picking her targets with all the precision of a five year-old firing a machine gun, Platell takes lazy pot-shots at every element of the party, missing no opportunity to condemn Cowell as a life-wrecking, narcissistic bully with a poor taste in friends.

Having expressed her distaste for the guest list, which she dismisses as "a sad reflection of Britain's 'Get-Rich-Quick' values" the postulating puff adder asks rhetorically, "Is it any surprise that a survey last week revealed that the aspiration of today's youngsters is to be the next Leona Lewis... or Wayne Rooney." As if this was a bad thing. Both her examples have made multi-million pound fortunes by their early twenties, based on talent and determination alone - I struggle to see how anyone could dispute their value as role models for the youth of today.

It's also unfortunate that Amanda misses the irony of critiquing the very culture that sustains her own career. Whether she's skinning them alive in her column, or eviscerating them on one of the many 'pop culture countdown' shows, Amanda's never happier than when vomiting into the hand that feeds her. She may lament the existence of these 'celebrity creatures' and 'shallow beasts' but they're the source of all her evil powers. Here's hoping someone drops a house on her before she finds someone else to write about.

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