BOB DYLAN: How the times have changed
BOB DYLAN: How the times have changed
Ah, the counterculture. The mid-1960s, Greenwich Village, there was music in the cafés at night and revolution in the air. The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind. Everybody must get stoned. The times they are a-changin', so ensure your retirement is prosperous by investing in the comprehensive pension plan from the Bank of Canada. Oops, that last one is an early noughties addition; after years of insisting that he and his music would never lock horns with Mammon via the lucrative world of advertising endorsements, Bob Dylan gave in and allowed "The Times ..." to accompany shots of beaming Canadian OAPs embarking on pleasure cruises and crown bowling play-offs. And, talking of beaming OAPs, Dylan himself then appeared, to the accompaniment of his track "Love Sick", in a campaign for the upmarket US lingerie chain Victoria's Secret, cavorting with scantily clad models and looking unabashed.
Flip-flop rating: Dylan is at least consistent in his inconsistency. When asked, years ago, what would make him sell out, he replied, without hesitation: "Ladies' underwear." 2/5
ELTON JOHN: Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
Has Elton been taking the tablets? Or has he actually come off them? For whatever reason, he's been getting increasingly excitable of late. There was the outburst against Madonna at the Q Awards ("best f***ing live act for f***ing lip-syncing? Don't make me f***ing laugh"), and his petulant paparazzi/porcine comparisons in the Philippines. But it seems that he was reserving his most intense vehemence for the US elections. "I just wanna scream, it's a nightmare," he lamented at the return of George Bush to the White House. "Bush is the worst thing that's ever happened to America. These idiots think they can get away with anything. It enrages me that people can smirk their way through it." Far from shunning the Great Satan, however, Elton has been actively consorting with it - he's not only halfway through a marathon Vegas stint, he's also accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent Kennedy Centre Honours in Washington DC, claiming: "It's incredible for someone who's British to be given such an accolade from America," further lauding it as "the icing on the cake".
Flip-flop rating: Elton's never been one to let logic stand in the way of a good hissy fit; it's also easier to indulge an artist his little foibles as he tiptoes toward the twilight. 3/5
JIMMY SWAGGART: Sins of the Flesh
In the gaudy, intemperate world of 1980s US televangelism, no one burnt with a more self-righteous fury than the Rev Jimmy Swaggart. He was iron-hard on all the usual soft targets: gays, Hollywood, people not pledging their life savings to Jimmy Swaggart Ministries - but poured special bile on his peers, such as Jim Bakker, whose Praise The Lord network collapsed when he was revealed to have had an affair with his secretary. Swaggart went on Larry King's CNN show to say such sinners were "a cancer on the body of Christ". There was an inevitability to his exposure as a regular client of hookers at several insalubrious Louisiana truck-stops.
Flip-flop rating: Judge not, lest ye be judged indeed. An Old Testament 5/5
KIRSTY GALLACHER: A reluctant sex-bomb
The Sky Sports and You've Been Framed presenter has boobs. Two of them. Two really big ones, actually. She says so herself. Frequently. "They're really big," she told the Sunday Mirror. "They're beyond big," she told The Sun. "They're so big I feel like Marilyn Monroe," she told FHM. They enabled her to scramble up the lad mag and satellite prime time wasteland cliff of fame. Have they brought her happiness? "All I get in the street is stares and leers and dirty comments," she moaned. "Why can't people appreciate me for the work I do and the fact that I'm bloody good at my job, rather than obsessing on my body?" A profound question, and one the crew on location for her latest project - a bikini calendar shoot, in which she reclines in provocative poses - doubtless cogitated on at length.
Flip-flop rating: The fear of all those catcalls is doubtless preventing Kirsty from nipping out to Tesco to buy herself a Sex-Bomb Disposal Kit, aka a nice woolly jumper. Never has the blessing/curse knife-edge been more eloquently expressed. 3/5
JULIE CHRISTIE: Turning back time
Her English Rose beauty entranced moviegoers in 1960s classics like Darling and Dr Zhivago. She represented unadorned-and-more-gorgeous-for-it Authenticity, as set against Hollywood's cosmetic enhancements. She played the role so successfully that she almost escaped the flak when it emerged that she'd had a facelift herself back in the 80s; instead, the film industry was denounced for ghetto-ising older actresses and forcing them under the knife. But, it had to be admitted, she looked bloody good, didn't she? Now everyone from Diane Keaton to Anne Robinson is beating a path to the local Nip/Tuck and saying 'I'll have a Julie Christie'.
Flip-flop rating: The offence is somewhat alleviated by the fact that we can all play a delightful parlour game, 'Spot The Julie,' every time an Actress of a Certain Age appears taut and unexpressive on Parky. 2/5
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone
We know exactly where US right-wing radio talk-show demagogues stand. For: God, guns, nuclear families. Against: Gays, liberals, tree-huggers, towel-heads, abortionists, and drug-users. Rush Limbaugh, once the most widely-syndicated and fiercely "dema-" of the "-gogues", led the charge. "I don't buy into the disease part of drug abuse," he thundered. "The first time you reach for a substance you are making a choice. If people are violating the law by doing drugs, they should be sent to jail, not some five-star rehab hotel at our expense." It was later revealed that Limbaugh had gone into rehab, twice, after ingesting thousands of addictive painkillers
Flip-flop rating: Bang to rights. 5/5
CINDY CRAWFORD: Naked truth about fur
Cindy was prominent among the 80s supermodel line-up who posed in all their denuded loveliness for the ad campaign, "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur", by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Of course, the stars of the fashion world wouldn't know an ethical dilemma if they toppled off their Vivienne Westwood platforms and landed on it. Fur's restored grooviness has seen Naomi Campbell opt for beaver fur rather than birthday suit on the catwalk; now Cindy has signed a contract to be the "face" of mink coat company Blackgama. While no one looked to Naomi for moral guidance - anyone who loudly protests their imperturbability while belting successive assistants with mobile phones is never going to be a Gandhi Mk II- people expected better things of breezy, ruddy, seemingly principled Cindy. "Washed-up model jumps on fur bandwagon," was the verdict of one website. But in truth, every previous Peta pin-up has suffered slippage to some degree, from Pamela Anderson to Pink's less-than-ringing endorsement: "Yeah, I'm for Peta, but I wear motherf***ing leather boots. The whole thing's a head-fry, right?"
Flip-flop rating: The "H" word is another that doesn't turn up in the fashion handbooks, and, well, a girl's got to keep herself in foie gras somehow, hasn't she? 3/5
WAYNE ROONEY: Better red than blue
You're a teenager who, following your triumphs in Euro 2004, has been hailed as English football's brightest hope. The world is clamouring for your genius. So the first thing you do when you get home is to reassure the club that groomed and nurtured you to greatness that your future belongs with them. "My life couldn't be better at Everton," Wayne Rooney assured none other than Paul Gascoigne/ Gazza/G8, the minute he touched down, garlanded and haloed, on English soil. "Once a blue, always a blue." Gazza went on to assure Evertonians that, with his new house in Formby, "Wayne seems incredibly settled ... money isn't even on his mind ... he hasn't got an idea in his head about moving on". Days later, it was announced that Manchester United had bought him out of his contract for £30m. Red had become the new blue.
Flip-flop rating: You can't blame a teen with an eye on the main chance and a fiancée to keep in Dolce & Gabbana for being disingenuous with his musings. However, entrusting those musings to a narrator as unreliable as Gazza was probably a disingenuity too far. 4/5
MICHAEL MOORE: Putting on the Ritz
Gruff, scruffy, baseball-capped everyman and crusader against corporate fascism and military/ industrial oligarchs and their political poodles. Mike is us and us is Mike, right? I mean, if we were working in England on our Channel 4 series The Awful Truth, we'd demand to stay at the Ritz and spin it as looking your enemy in the eye by crawling into its decadent belly. And if it transpired we sent our kid to a private school, at least he'll have an intimate knowledge of the pricks he'll be kicking against, yes? Forward to a brighter day ... once room service brings that ketchup we demanded for our eggs Florentine.
Flip-flop rating: It's tough being a secular saint, so it might be fortunate that Moore's bona fide beatification is some way off. 2/5
ALEC BALDWIN: When Bush comes to shove
The Clinton years were a rare boon for the Hollywood liberati - all those Oval Office photo ops! - and their griping reached fever pitch as the 2000 election saw George W Bush run neck-and-neck with Al Gore. Word got out that Baldwin, a staunch Democrat, had announced he would leave the US if Bush was elected. Bush scraped home and the people readied themselves to bid farewell to Baldwin. But he didn't go. He blamed his then-wife Kim Basinger for making the remark to a magazine. "We have to get Bush out," he boomed, "and I'm not going anywhere till we get that done." (The rest of the world is thus safe for another four years).
Flip-flop rating: The fact that Americans have a cavalier attitude to geography could be used in mitigation, but even the most educationally deprived have a dim awareness that the US is not "somewhere else". 4/5Reuse content