The Fame Formula, By Mark Borkowski Pan £8.99
By Brandon Robson
Sunday 26 April 2009
Mark Borkowski, one of the UK's leading exponents of the dark arts of PR, describes the manufacturing of celebrity from the days of carnival and vaudeville through the golden age of Hollywood and up to the present day. He recounts the exploits of such legendary publicists as Phineas Barnum, Harry Reichenbach and Maynard Nottage, and the stunts involving elephants, safecracking exhibitions and dances of the Seven Veils that kept their clients in the news.
But Borkowski's admiration for such "geniuses" is mystifying. It's no revelation that sex and scandal get you talked about, and that this applied as much in the days of Clara Bow as it does in the days of Britney Spears. I'm afraid I found most of this book uninteresting, and Borkowski's style does not help. The mixing of metaphors in the preface (he cut his milk teeth in a backwater and played with a lukewarm cauldron of publicity as a bushy-tailed youth) warns you at the start that you're not in the presence of a master of English prose.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 2 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove