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

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Critics of Fiona Woolf say she should step down amid accusations of an establishment cover-up  

Fiona Woolf resignation: As soon as she became the story, she had to leave

James Ashton
 

Letters: Electorate should be given choice on drugs policy

Independent Voices
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes