And my celebrity guest is wotsisname off, er...

'Andy Warhol is now famous only for saying that everyone will be famous for 15 minutes'
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The Independent Online

Andy Warhol once said that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, and there is some truth in this if we think of the girl who was refused by Oxford but accepted by Yale. Can you remember her name? All right, her name was Laura Spence, so here's a harder one. Can you remember the name of the headmaster of her school who made such a fuss about it? Of course not. Admittedly, he was only famous for about nine minutes, but the same principle stands - Andy Warhol was right, and we should all be ready for our quarter of an hour of fame when it hits us.

Andy Warhol once said that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, and there is some truth in this if we think of the girl who was refused by Oxford but accepted by Yale. Can you remember her name? All right, her name was Laura Spence, so here's a harder one. Can you remember the name of the headmaster of her school who made such a fuss about it? Of course not. Admittedly, he was only famous for about nine minutes, but the same principle stands - Andy Warhol was right, and we should all be ready for our quarter of an hour of fame when it hits us.

In fact, why don't we get ready for it right now?

Let's have your questions!

Who was Andy Warhol?

He was the David Hockney of America. He was a pale, transparent man who never got out in the sunshine and spent all his time on the telephone talking to famous people except when he was in the studio making pictures of famous people. He lived in the 1960s.

And what was he famous for?

For being Andy Warhol.

Who was Andy Warhol?

Andy Warhol was the first famous artist who is totally absent from all his creations. You can get absolutely no idea of what he was like from his pictures of Campbell's tomato soup cans or Marilyn Monroe. He was famous for not being there. He was the Cheshire Cat of art. The Macavity of culture. The Invisible Man of New York.

So Warhol is now famous only for saying that everyone will be famous for 15 minutes? And that's all?

Yes.

And was he right? Will we all be famous for 15 minutes?

Yes. The trouble is that we can't keep track of everyone who gets famous. That is why you sometimes read features in the paper by famous people called "My Kind of Day", or by two famous people called "How We Met", and you have never heard of any of them! You weren't awake during the brief 15 minutes in which they were famous.

And how did they become famous?

Most often by being a TV chef, an actor in a soap, or Ainsley Harriott.

Who is Ainsley Harriott?

He is a TV chef who is famous for 15 minutes every day. He is also too honest for his own good. He said recently that he never watches any TV soaps, so he never knows who any of the famous TV soap performers are who appear as famous guests on his own show.

Why is that being too honest?

Because it blows open the whole system. It's just like Tiger Woods saying that he can't see the point of knocking a little white ball round selected bits of landscape.

Has he said that?

Not if he knows what's good for him.

Why is Tiger Woods famous?

Because he is a great golfer who has stayed great. Anyone can be a great golfer for 15 minutes, but to stay great is different.

Does his being black help?

No, only hours of practice. Anyway, Tiger Woods is not actually black - he is of mixed Asian and American parentage. And sportsmen do not think of themselves in racial terms, or patriotic terms, or any other terms, only as individuals. Personal glory is the only important thing. No Olympic athlete ever performed for his or her country.

How will I know if I become famous for 15 minutes?

People will start interviewing you, asking what it feels like to be the slowest swimmer in Olympic history or to leave the Tory party and join Labour.

And what will I say?

Who cares? You will be forgotten in 15 minutes.

But couldn't I use that 15 minutes as a springboard to a career? Like Amanda de Cadenet?

Who is Amanda de Cadenet?

I don't know. It's just a name that came to me from nowhere.

Ah, that would be from the part of the brain which stores all that kind of thing. Scientists now believe that a large part of the brain is devoted to receiving and holding all the useless media stories which we are fed every day, leaving only a small part of the brain free for everything else, which is why we never understand anything that Melvyn Bragg says.

Who was Melvyn Bragg?

Continued some other time, perhaps.

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