Spare a thought for the rich and famous

PERHAPS, JUST for a few days, it is time to lay off celebrities. All year, their behaviour has made us wince, rage and laugh as they have strutted across newspapers, television screens and the steps of the High Court. Surely at this time of goodwill they should be allowed to be humble, private and human, like the rest of us.

On the other hand, what the hell. Most of them are so dysfunctional, they have forgotten what privacy is. So let us raise the veil one more time and reveal precisely what our most revered public figures will be doing over the festive season.

For many politicians, of course, these few days are a traumatic, stressful time. With no excuses to nip off to a discreet flat in St John's Wood for a brisk late-night briefing with a research assistant, with no exciting press conferences or appearances on the Today programme, they are left simply to be themselves.

Tetchily they re-introduce themselves to their families, playing party games with a frantic, wild-eyed joviality. By next Monday or Tuesday, they will be forced to recognise that they have forgotten how to be themselves. A crisis will be manufactured - leadership, new scandal, London mayor; you know how it is, darling - and they will be on their way back to St John's Wood.

But some politicians will be engaging in more useful holiday projects. Peter Mandelson, for example, has checked his new best friend, Bobby, the golden retriever, into the SIT! Clinic, where it is hoped that Bobby's recent off-message behaviour will be cured by the clinic's strict yet friendly social indoctrination training programmes. With the help of a special pager collar, he will soon understand basic commands - "Wag tail!", "Lick face!", "Act zany for the cameras!" - from his master.

Meanwhile, celebrities who find fame a burdensome chore will be seeking inner peace. Those closest to Mohamed al Fayed have known for some time that their employer acts the vulgar potentate only because the tabloids expect it. Essentially a brooding introvert, Mr Fayed has hired out the Millennium Dome's Spirit Zone, where he will retire with a few humble security guards for a period of silence and fasting.

Meekness of that kind is surprisingly prevalent among public figures. Chris Tarrant is so mortified by his part in the weekly celebration of greed and vulgarity that is Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? that he will be spending Christmas Day in London's soup kitchens - an option so popular that, in some hostels, the unfortunate homeless may be outnumbered by caring celebrities.

The great writer Howard Jacobson will be ladling soup, AA Gill has told his family that this year he has a "higher calling" and the country's leading communist, Julie Burchill, the Diana of Brighton, will be moving among the common people, dispensing warmth and kindness.

It will be a more memorable Christmas for others. Neil Hamilton, Jeffrey Archer and Jonathan Aitken are on an aversion therapy course, during which anything less than the whole truth will be punished by a sharp, painful shock - or, in the case of Aitken, the lack of a sharp, painful shock.

Later in the season, the comic novelist Joseph Connolly will do something he has not done for years: shave. Owner of a beard so enormous that Hampstead fire officers have declared it an official fire hazard during the dry season, Connolly has promised to reveal his face if not invited to the Dome on New Year's Eve. Charlie Dimmock and a task force of topiarists are standing by for their toughest assignment to date.

Bear these people in mind as you settle down tomorrow in domestic contentment. They have given much over the past year and deserve your thoughts and sympathy as you all enjoy, I hope, a very happy Christmas.

Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower