Julie Burchill: Never mind the Lennox

 

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I loathe London and visit it as little as I can. But on the the other hand, I find it hard to resist the sight of a self-deceiving tool making a spectacle of themselves. So I really do mean to make a special effort to visit the forthcoming V&A exhibition, "The House of Annie Lennox", which runs from next month until the end of February and to which admission is absolutely free. In such cash-strapped times, I foresee many a middle-class Mumsnetter using this outing in lieu of the traditional panto. It will certainly provide the usual prompts for audience debate and participation: "Annie Lennox is a hypocritical cow to criticise Rihanna for prancing around in her scanties when she regularly used to take her top off onstage back in the day!" "O no, she's not!" – "O yes, she is!" – and so on.

"This exciting one-room display explores the image and creative vision of Annie Lennox, whose music and personal style is internationally renowned. On display are costumes and accessories worn by Lennox, photographs, personal treasures and awards, ephemera from the political campaigns she has championed, recorded interviews, and music videos", apparently.

Not even Bono and Sting – the other two precious, pretentious points in this eternal pop triangle of preachiness – have sunk to these depths of self-regard, so far as I know. I was then going to say "But they've certainly equalled Lennox in hypocrisy" – but (with the example of the Rihanna pot-kettle-black bitching) I wonder if we can ever really accuse pop stars of hypocrisy? But maybe when Bono bangs on about foreign aid while practising tax avoidance, or Sting yaps away about ecology while leaving a carbon footprint the size of Siberia as he flies between his numerous abodes, they're not completely culpable. When politicians and princes behave hypocritically, you can call them on it because they know what the score is. But pop stars are differently abled, to put it mildly; coddled and catered to for decades on end, they inhabit playpens of complete caprice, cooing and grasping at shiny, noisy political issues the way that cot-bound babies gurgle with excitement at activity boards.

Maybe the likes of Lennox, Bono and Sting aren't being hypocritical when they behave as they do, but rather confused? As in ordering the wrong-sized-Stonehenge, à la Spinal Tap, when David St Hubbins defends his band-mate Nigel Tufnel to their manager: "Nigel gave me a drawing that said 18 inches. Now, whether or not he knows the difference between feet and inches is not my problem. I do what I'm told" with the classic come-back "But you're not as confused as him are you. I mean, it's not your job to be as confused as Nigel."

Whatever the cause of their antics, I anticipate that this trio in particular will continue to delight us with their duplicity for years to come.

Don't waste your time waiting for 'The One'

The new film One Day is based around the idea that "The One" waits for us somewhere, and that one day we will find him/her, even if he/she's been standing in front of us for decades.

What a load of royal rollocks! When I hear some half-wit yapping on about The One, I think of what the late Peter Ustinov said about friends: "They are not necessarily the people you like best – they are merely the people who get there first."

The same goes for lovers, with bells on; in my experience, it's less about The One than The Queue. Over the years, you work your way through the line of people you're attracted to, finally ending up with the one you don't have the energy to leave. This may seem unromantic, but paradoxically its pragmatism has every chance of leading to the happy ending that romantics crave.

The romantic dilemma is that people who are idealistic about true love probably have less chance of attaining it than even the most merciless sexual sceptic. Forever analysing relationships and demanding that the wretched object of their affections talk endlessly about their feelings, such babbling boobies have a far better chance of ending up alone than solitary, self-sufficient bolters such as my bad self. One shudders to think how many more of this barmy army has been recruited by the – admittedly brilliant – book One Day, and now the film.

How we treat soldiers is the mark of true civilisation

No one is emerging well from L'Affaire DSK – the lying chambermaid, the creepy wife or the preposterous old lech himself. But a special mention must go to the French feminist and MP Anne Mansouret, who amazingly persuaded her daughter not to report DSK's alleged rape attempt on her, while frothing away that he "took me with the vulgarity of a soldier" three years earlier.

French soldiers do not get a good press, be they surrendering to Nazis or blowing up unarmed Greenpeace vessels. And now here they are being used as a byword for bad sex from the mouth of one of their own politicians, in a country where being a sack-artiste is all that really matters!

How different from the USA, where in addition to having the majestic G.I Bill to pay for your education, a US soldier stationed in Afghanistan can ask the most beautiful film star in the world to accompany him to the Marine Corps ball, and get a YES. I believe that the mark of a civilised country is how it treats its armed forces, and once more France looks sorely lacking in true civilisation – as opposed to overblown cultural window dressing – when compared to supposedly barbaric America.



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