Monday, March 17, 2008


"The boring list: 20 titans of tedium" from Friday's Independent
Bores do not all live in the public eye. Full many a stiff was born to bore unseen and waste his dullness on the desert air. But bores on the airwaves are special cases, because they grate on the spirit as well as fatigue the ear and brain. Among the current ranks of soi-disant celebrities are many colossal drones...
A lovely list, indeed. It gives another meaning to the term "show stoppers." I adore the acid tone piercing through John Walsh's commentary. You might need to have a smattering of knowledge about contemporary or recent past British movers and shakers, but here are my favourites on the list, which will be familiar to the hip, celebrity-watching American readers of BI.

Victoria Beckham
Nobody knows exactly how, with little talent for singing, dancing, acting or anything else, Vicky Adams came from nowhere to world stardom, via the millions-spinning Spice Girls and marriage to a god-like footballer, but her number should surely be up by now. She's become a pose without any suggestion of a real person behind it, a walking retail-opportunity, a painfully skinny-legged, black-leather-clad, damson-bosomed freakshow. Whether attempting to "conquer" America by showing that British girls can go shopping just as frantically as Paris Hilton, or flying to G8 summits for the paparazzi attention, she's become globally ubiquitous. Can you really stand to see that pout and those shades one more time?
The Duke of York
Many of the royals are terrible bores – it goes with the genetic disposition – but Andrew is a special case. While other princes display a passion for their hobbies and interests (Charles for organic farming, Edward for showbiz, Harry for cocktails, chicks and guns), Andrew seems content just to visit agreeable golf courses in sunny lands. His flighty wife, Sarah, divorced him for wanting to spend every night in, watching TV. His pronouncements are, without exception, leaden. Visiting the US last month, as our special representative for international trade, when asked if he thought the situation in Iraq was getting better, he said, "That's almost a university PhD question." There is no such thing, Andrew, as a PhD question.
The Archbishop of Canterbury
A real hoo-hah engulfed the nation last month when the Archbishop appeared to suggest that sharia should be used in the British legal system. Bishops queued to denounce the idea. Politicians from left and right swooned with horror at "British values" being stretched to take in stoning to death and chopping hands off thieves. The press went ballistic. Even British Muslims were appalled. Then the truth emerged: Dr Williams had merely tried to "tease out" the idea, in a 7,000-word speech. All that fuss, because listeners were so bored by the prolix intellectual's words, that they seized on the one concrete suggestion in a howling gale of academic persiflage.
Delia Smith
It had all been going so well. She was Saint Delia, patron saint of not-very-good cooks everywhere. Devoutly Catholic, she offered succour, Virgin Mary-style, to kitchen-bound women and men who could hardly boil an egg. Celebrity chefs came and went, but her faithful stayed faithful. Delia was a mousy church-committee little woman, but by God she could lay out ingredients in little plates and make you understand how a boeuf bourgignon worked. Then, after an eight-year layoff, she returned last month with a reprinted book telling you How to Cheat at Cooking and recommending factory-farmed chicken. Abruptly, the scales fell from millions of eyes. She'd been a plain, suburban, Sainsbury's-loving fake all along!
Paul Burrell
Well on the way to becoming one of the nation's most disliked figures, Burrell has forged a career out of telling people very small things about his life as Princess Diana's butler. A career of standing behind famous people uttering discreet coughs has left him flogging his tiny expertise to ever-less-interested audiences. Most recently he was seen in Memphis, Tennessee, trying to interest an audience of elderly ladies in his own range of furniture. It's not the opportunism that makes him such a bore, though – it's that bumptiously oily delivery. "I tell it as it is," he told the Sun. "I tell it straight – that's who I am, I can't change who I am. I tell it as it is, and some people don't like that, but I am telling the truth." Oh do go away.
Bob Geldof
Permanently belligerent, hectoring pricker of British consciences and wearer of Ruritanian decorations.
And lastly,

Vanessa Redgrave
Veteran actress of Medea-like gravitas with leadenly boring, outspoken political views.
Posh Spice seems to be winning the poll of on-line Independent readers.

So, now I challenge you to make a list of your own fave American yawners...

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