How many stars are really out there?
Impossible to count, of course. Even when referring to showbiz stars and not the infinite celestial variety.
Millions of us will take a crack at stardom and in all manner of pursuits; acting, comedy, writing, singing, dancing – but the odds are against us and most of us quickly perish and we join the throng of admiring onlookers (or resentful) – gawping at the lucky few who make it.
And this ratio – whatever it is – the 10 million to one shot – qualifies the ‘star’; lifts them out of the ordinary and in some cases to even immortality – Elvis, Monroe, Einstein…
So few in number then, greatly admired and gigantically (over) successful. These people are omnipotent – with the world and its people, literally at their feet!
This all occurred to me when I heard a radio interview with Chris Martin of Coldplay stardom and worldwide acclaim.
That ratio again…
Of all the millions of bands founded out of high schools and colleges the world over, how many super groups are there? U2, The Killers, Foo Fighters, Maroon Five… and I would reason, Coldplay.
The interview was to promote the band’s latest album, Everyday Life, launched with a very different approach to publicity. Using only classified ads in local and oblique newspapers and two live concerts but not in LA, Rio or London – but Jordan – and live streamed on YouTube.
All very cool – very new – very hip and with the net result of enormous media coverage – but no doubt the greatest PR coup being a blog post dedicated to them by me!
And I think that this coverage is fair enough. Coldplay are a great band. They are different. Unabashed, they write anthems, modern-day hymns almost. Yellow alone, might even be enough. A band loved by millions. One of my greatest friends (a super fan) took me to see them once; an abiding memory for me since he passed away 20 months ago which creates a further connection for me and a degree of affection also.
And risking an album launch to such low-key media outlets is itself cool and only adds to their cache (and success).
This is the self-perpetuating power of stardom.
And fleetingly, I compared this to the launch of my latest novel I,Gabriel…
…airing similarly on only low rent channels – but out of necessity and not some cunning strategy – and with very different outcomes.
I, Gabriel featured prominently on Blog posts (my own!), Instagram (again, my own only) and to-date, two local radio interviews – and as yet, without viral pickup and traction that Coldplay’s album has enjoyed – and with ultimate sales of novel and album being commensurate I am sure.
Oh, to be Chris Martin, I mused. To live in and occupy such a lofty world of mega-success.
But then something happened. The interview took an unexpected turn – a slap in my face, anyway – it ended my woe is me indulgence and endeared me to CM and his band even more.
Let me explain…
The interviewer – gleeful at his exclusive (and no doubt his being flown from the cold UK to the beautiful and warm Jordan – he put to Chris Martin, “…you’re a big fixture and part of Glastonbury… where you’ve headlined before and last year, you made an impromptu appearance during Stomzy’s set – will we be seeing you again next year.”
An affectionate question but rebuffed with a firm and resolute, NO – followed by an awkward beat and some gentle nudging by the interviewer.
Chris Martin recalled crashing the gig and singing along – no doubt, to the raptures of the 150,000 watching. And again I thought, how cool to be Chris Martin.
Anyone of us managing to get access to such a stage could expect not a welcome but a damn good kicking.
But Chris Martin then explained…
It was great – but afterwards I saw a tweet…
“you can always rely on him to appear in a tracksuit and ruin things.”
He then added and I’m paraphrasing…
‘And so I thought, I shouldn’t be online and I won’t be doing that again.’
Coldplay have over 20 million followers on twitter. No doubt, 100’s of millions followers elsewhere. Chris Martin is one of the most heralded singers of one of the world’s most successful bands. A squillionaire (if there is such a thing). A man living the life, millions aspire to.
So to hear him laid-so-low by a solitary tweet… albeit a cruel comment from clearly an unhappy soul – that it could reach and then penetrate someone who I see as impregnable – really stopped me in my tracks.
Chris Martin then summed it up perfectly – when asked somewhat incredulously, ‘Did that affect you then?’
‘We are all human, right.’
And there we have it. And thank you Chris Martin.
No matter our success. Our achievements and our place in the world. Or what we project on to people who seemingly have it all.
Fundamentally we are all the same. We are human. We are fallible and vulnerable in equal measure. Fumbling through life as best we can. And understanding this is a good thing. It is a fundamental piece in our armoury against the crisis of mental health issues that we are told is enveloping us all.
Onwards people, I say…
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27 thoughts on “We can all get cold…”
Love this blog. Quite nice to read, thank you
Has Google reinstated your account/ability to earn money?
no ive cancelled them – BOOM!
Shame about it though
I also watched that interview and my thoughts were exactly the same.
I love the band, they are brilliant, and I was actually hoping that they would play at Glastonbury next year.
It just breaks my heart that some bitter envious people hiding behind computers can post abusive and insulting comments on social media (and twitter being the worst with mean comments) and then newspapers will proudly publish the articles citing a single mean tweet, as if it was a general public opinion.
“We are all humans”, wow that went straight through the heart!
I don’t like it when people relate actors and singers etc with the word famous. I don’t think anyone in that industry is famous, but only known. Known for their work, for their job. It doesn’t make them different to us in any ways.
Love the sentiment. We’re all human. It’s always refreshing to see people that we tend to look at as larger than life, be humble.
I never understood the concept of celebrity worship or the crave for fame. I found fame to be only for validation from complete strangers. It’s just judgement from outsiders who truly don’t know who you are. If you do a good deed, you’re worshipped like god and if you do a bad action, you’re the worst person in existence.
I remember Brie Larson once said that the one reason she didn’t want to sign on to be Captain Marvel was for the fame. She said she wished to “never be judged or worshipped and for people to see me only as a human being, just like you.”
human = fallible = vulnerable = fumbling. You name it, you’ve experience it.. Nobody can deny it.
Fumbling through life – what’s the alternative – taking a dive off Tower Bridge? (since London Bridge is only 29 feet – yes, I checked)
Never considered myself and admiring onlooker from behind the velvet rope or a person who ‘gawps’ (thanks for the new Brit term). I’d prefer to hold people with respect for their achievements (political, music/entertainment, artistic endeavors, parenting, etc.). Just trying to be the best human they/we/I can.
I’m not sure that I could ever have the strength to be a celebrity in this age of social media, where people can say horrible things without any repercussions. Words hurt. To put yourself out there with the hopes of entertaining and bringing joy to others only to have it torn to shreds would be soul-crushing for me! We are all entitled to opinions but people seem to have forgotten about basic kindness! Good for Mr. Martin for reminding people that celebrities are humans too. Thank you Mr Holland for continuing to share your lovely words!
pleasure. Thank you.
Very thought provoking blog this evening Dom. Fame is a very bright star and a fickle one at that. People are very quick to throw comments about without thinking of their consequences. Stars have feelings same as the rest of us mere mortals as shown by Chris. Most use their fame to carry out good work without making a big deal – your own wonderful family included. It should be remembered that they have feelings too and when the door closes at the end of the day, they too are just like us – mere mortals.
indeed. well said
I had the unique opportunity in the years 2000 through 2006 to work for an accounting firm in Los Angeles. I was an account manager that allowed me to work with celebrity clients. Essentially, all their money made came to me and I took care of it, paying their bills (which also came to my desk), paying their percentages to agents, personal managers, investing, taxes, mortgages and whatever else money was owed. My job provided them with security and privacy knowing that every single thing that had to do with them financially came to our office and not their homes. Doing such a personal thing for these celebrities also allowed me to become close to them because, for example, I saw every single thing they bought (think credit card bills) as well as I was always in touch, letting them know that financially all was well in their life (I should say, I signed a confidentiality agreement which I will always respect, so names will not be given).
The reason for my rambling is this…I learned this same lesson during my time working with this firm. The celebrities I worked with were and are still well known. When I would talk with them on the phone or during office visits they were not any different than me. One had a very serious drug problem and I would spend hours on the phone with said person simply talking about life. Celebrity had led this person to forget that they were human which caused a great deal of pain for them. We talked and talked about it and I remember thinking how desperately this person needed someone they could trust and be honest with them.
Another would call every couple of months in tears because they were so certain that they were on their way to spending all the money they had because they were, again, absolutely (insecurely) certain that after the final episode of their show aired, they would never work again.
I have many more examples.
I came to realize that being a successful celebrity isn’t all that it’s made out to be. There’s a huge amount of pressure to continue to be that successful and always be wary that your every move could be scrutinized. I was fortunate to be a part of the human side of celebrity life and for all the “fortune and glory” that comes with that type of success the loss of identity of who they truly are is the largest payment I’ve seen them make. I think society in general has an unfortunate expectation that in order to be successful one must be famous or a CEO with millions of dollars (I’m from the US) rolling in and their face plastered everywhere for the world to see. The idea to be human, practice kindness, help others, be tolerant and compassionate is an idea of success that seems to be forgotten. I’m grateful to have seen what celebrity success can do to a person and it’s always a pleasure to see a celebrity that is in touch with their human side and never loses sight of it, no matter how “successful” they become.
this is great reading, thanks
And forgot to say
loved your books and love your blogs…
I think you are an amazing writer …
Like you said at the end of the day we are all the same. We want the best for ourselves and our family. It is quite sad how some can find pleasure in bringing down others no matter who they are!! They have feelings that can be hurt just like the rest of us! Thank you for your words! I thoroughly enjoy reading them!!
My motto – and the one I am constantly boring my children with – is, “if you can’t be kind, be quiet”. I only wish more people knew it and lived by it!!
Wise words as always Dom. Also it was lovely to see you on telly this week on Apprentice You’re Fired. Very entertaining.
This is such a powerful writing, especially for the “viral” generation where being popular becomes more important than being a great artist or in my case, a great athlete. Art or sport is meant to be personal, how it makes YOU feel to write or paint or land that quad, and then the aftermath can be observers appreciate the work and applaud and acknowledge and the artist becomes a star.
Most “stars” start off like everyone. They struggle and work hard at their craft. If they become famous it can be a blessing and a curse because now they aren’t allowed to be human, make mistakes, they are expected to be perfect. Too much pressure.
Tough being a young star these days. Guard your boys well!
Thanks for this blog as always. Hope you enjoyed writing it because we enjoyed reading it.
Ta Audrey – I always enjoy writing the blog – as long as I have something worth reading
I know it’s not related to your post, but I’m truly hoping you were not around the bridge today and you’re all fine and unharmed?
i was not and i am well, thank you.
Good to hear that
This really resonated with me, particularly with a teenage daughter who is a keen social media user. I echo the comments above guard your boys well. Tom seems grounded despite his success and attributes that to his family – be proud of your parenting!