Customer Review

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rambling..., 20 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Fame (Hardcover)
I can only second the other reviewer's impatience with this book.

Across 278 pages, classicist Tom Payne litters examples of celebrities and rather tenuously links them with the events and traditions from the Bronze Age and classical literature. Frustratingly a coherent argument isn't developed (as far as I can see) and the reader is often left adrift by sudden changes of direction and emphasis. Take for example this: Having related how Mitch Winehouse believed that a boycott of his daughter's music would "send a message" to Amy, Payne's switches his commentary to Roman times without a clear logical bridge: "It's not such an original idea. In Rome, when an emperor died, he either became a god or else was given the memory punishment, the damnatio memoriae...". There follow tasteless comparisons of the execution of Saddam Hussein with the eviction of Jackiey Budden from Celebrity Big Brother as well as some quite embarrassing attempts to get down amongst the kids (e.g. when imitating American hip-hop speech or when he suggests that another word for aubergine - eggplant - isn't really English because the Americans and Australasians use it).

Payne is - as the British media once was - fond of quoting Jade Goody. But it is ultimately Goody who proves to be the clearer commentator on the second reality that the entertainment press and wider media create in these celebrity-saturated times:

"Orlando Bloom was sitting there in a black jumper...he smiled at me...I found myself stood in the queue with Kate Moss. She started chatting to me, asking how my boys were and stuff. I couldn't believe it - it was like I was in a parallel universe."
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Location: Berlin, Germany

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