Simon Cowell is having a baby with the wife of a close friend - but he remains as inscrutable as ever

His achievements are huge, but defy logic. He is a considerable power in the global music industry without, it seems, having much interest in actual music

Share
Related Topics

It is hard for ordinary mortals to fathom what goes on behind the cold eyes and razor-thin smile of Simon Philip Cowell. His achievements are huge, but defy logic. He has contrived to build a transatlantic reputation (and a £225m fortune) on television programmes which, reduced to their basic essence, encourage multitudes of fame-hungry dreamers to stand before him and be judged. He is a considerable power in the global music industry without, it seems, having much interest in actual music. He has a reputation for devastating wisecracks and coruscating wit for which there is, sadly, no available evidence.

His emotional life seems equally inscrutable. Mr Cowell has a reputation for dating glamorous women, breaking up with them because of his chronic aversion to marriage (“It’s a boring routine”) but remaining friends, buying them property and inviting them en masse on yacht or cruise holidays. His biographer Tom Bower described how a “harem” of girlfriends and ex-lovers travels with him, and how Cowell’s “greatest comfort was lying on a couch between [two of them], watching a film and grazing on simple food suitable for kids in a nursery.”

The equilibrium of Cowell’s micro-managed life has now, however, been upset by media reports alleging that his friend Lauren Silverman, estranged wife of a close friend Andrew Silverman, is expecting his child. Reports from the harem suggest a general astonishment that a man who exerts such iron control over his life could “make this kind of mistake”. So – would he be happy to be a father? Has the iron self-discipline mellowed? Or is this alleged major development in his life a grotesque blunder?

A look at Cowell’s family background helps to make sense of it. The family name Cowell is an English version of the Irish patronymic “MacCathmhaoil” meaning “son of the Battle Chief.” Simon Cowell is the chieftain’s son who eclipsed his father (Eric, a music company executive) to become Chief. His life has for years been that of a Roman emperor, whose reign is all-powerful and whose judgemental thumb can mean life or death to ordinary mortals. Did you notice how, lately, in talent shows, he never says “I think you’re a talented singer”, he merely says “Y’know - I like you”? That’s the imperial note, right there - capricious, solipsistic, pitiless. To me the harem strikes a similar note, along with arpeggios of Sultanic self-indulgence

And now, if there’s another Cowell, and (if it’s a boy) another “son of the Battle Chief” on the way, to eclipse the chief in his turn, steal his thunder and acquire his riches, it’s no wonder – with all this fuss – that the potentate of pop must, temporarily, be getting the blues.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

 

In Sickness and in Health: 'I'm really happy to be alive and to see Rebecca'

Rebecca Armstrong
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine