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.
Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boymusic
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Britain First 'acting like Ukip henchmen' by invading meeting of activists in revenge for pub protest against Nigel Farage
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 4 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 5 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Zayn Malik releases first solo song 'I Won't Mind' in 'Zaughty' collaboration with Naughty Boy
Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
Poldark review: Demelza’s insouciance is almost as impressive as Ross’ pecs
Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans