You get so used to the ‘build them up and knock them down’ attitude of the tabloids over here. There was apparently nothing to knock Newman for. I’m trying to think of a single star who measures up to this today – can you think of anyone? I was interested when Scarlet-blue posted about Kate Moss’ blood and lipstick scrawl given to Pete Doherty (the anti-Newman?) which sold for £33k. The vanity and excess of these kind of modern day ‘heroes’ looks pretty shabby in comparison. I watched ‘Bedazzled’ recently with the glorious Peter Cook and his sidekick Dudley Moore. Pete played Lucifer as lugubrious club owner George Spiggot (‘The garden of Eden was a boggy swamp just south of Croydon. You can see it over there.’ ‘There was a time when I used to get lots of ideas... I thought up the Seven Deadly Sins in one afternoon. The only thing I've come up with recently is advertising’) Vanity was portrayed having a huge mirror physically attached to him, blocking his view of what’s ahead. Pride before a fall – the inability to see anything except yourself.
Maybe that’s the difference with a real Star like Newman – it was more about the work, family and charity than him? Even when you think back to the hellraisers of his generation – O’Toole, Burton, Reed – they were great actors with genuine talent. When you see talentless wannabe WAGs and X-factor hopefuls it all seems to be about ‘me me me’ and not about what they can give back. Football is another case in point - I know nothing about the game but the players are lauded like rock stars, money and women are thrown at them - the whole industry is like a morality play. It wasn't always like this - sport used to be just that, a game, low-key, for the masses. Same goes with the movie industry - when it started out the stars were stars, but they didn't have the crazy salaries and lifestyles of today. Rampant selfishness seems to be a modern disease. The implications of what is going on with the world banks and markets are hard to fathom but you sense that the pride, vanity and self interest of the few people who have grown immensely wealthy at the top of the tree are going to have a massive effect on us. When did everything get so complicated?
Do you think pride, vanity, ego is a natural state that we have to overcome? Children are naturally very self-focused and learning to put others first, to share, that they are not the centre of the universe takes time. I’m really glad the book wasn’t published ten years ago – the humility gained through tough times travelling, and the fight to be able to write will hopefully stand me in good stead. Success – if it comes – won’t be accompanied by hissy fits and an inflated ego. This is the best job in the world, and if I make it I’ll be so thankful. Like Newman said, if The Book makes it onto the shelves, it will just feel like an enormous privilege.
TODAY’S PROMPT: What does pride mean to you? Is any pride good? Surely taking pride in your work is a good thing? ‘The proud mother’ who dotes over her children – is that wrong? Why not take your notebook and brainstorm your feelings about pride – can you think of any people you have met who could form the basis for a prideful, vain character (at this moment I am remembering a boyfriend who would always sit opposite mirrors and watch himself as he talked to you, and the man who used to wear a black and white spandex suit to Body Pump – it was not unlike Borat’s thong, and as I was always running late from work unfortunately I would get the last available spot. Strangely the space behind him was always empty … lot of bending in Body Pump). Two deserving cases – maybe you can think of more?