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There is no end to Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof’s talents. Writer, fashionista, TV personality, icon, idol, visionary; she is like our generation’s Patti Smith. Not really, I’m being sarcastic. But then you probably already realised that.
I’m not going to bore you with my thoughts on Peaches’ journalistic qualities. They can all be found on a previous piece we did, here at Fort Shouting at Cows (for a pithy summary; she makes my brain hurt). After the outstanding success of her last foray into television, she has been brought back on our screen by those masochists over at ITV2. Her latest presenting role is on ‘OMG! With Peaches Geldof’. The show is essentially a group of TopShop mannequin conversing in a warehouse and talking about edgy shit, because, they’re so fucking edgy. I mean, it’s all there. She’s got a nose piercing. People in the crowd are wearing trilbies. If this lot were any more ahead of their time, us old fogies would be watching an empty aircraft hangar.
As far as I can tell, this is a stealth version of the FeMail column in the Daily Mail. It’s an unsightly collage of intolerance, homophobia, narcissism and shock value. I wouldn’t be surprised if Paul Dacre himself commissioned this. The Mail, due to its deplorably offensive content, has become a ‘get left-wing for free’ card for any brain dead-hipster. Phrases like “Yah, I hate the Daily Fail. And the f-ing Tories. They’re all such racists, yah know?” commonly occurs in the patois of myopic hipsters nationwide, usually before they sulk into TopShop and spend £50 on a boho-chic skirt, giving £50 to every socialist’s best mate, Phillip Green. You know; the guy that doesn’t pay tax and is on the payroll of ‘the f-ing Tories’. Anyway, this social group contains some of most vacuous and self-centred people on the planet, and you can market the most offensive, most discriminatory shit to them. As long as it’s packaged up properly, this lot will lap it up in spades.
The show is so artificially hip it’s painful. Peaches Geldof – the edgy one, dad swears, caught doing drugs once, got married in Vegas (got divorced once she realised no-one cared) – hosts, in a show which is sold as a sort of celebrity scandal/sociological study/Social Media Exploration set-up. I don’t really get what its remit is.
The main focus is on so called real life Vampires. They roll out Allison, who is a REAL LIFE VAMPIRE! She has teeth and everything! So what is it like living as a Vampire? Well Allison can’t tell you, all she does is put on a contrived dress and some artificial fangs. She’s essentially a goth. With false teeth. Allison – with her voice sounding like Joe Pasquale on helium – has SOMEHOW managed to be more annoying than Peaches. She’s interminable. Now, I don’t know if you know this, but Peaches is very edgy. So naturally all she wants to talk about is sex;
‘Do you have sex with the fangs on?’
‘It’s more of a foreplay thing.’
Brilliant. That’s the age old fang-in-bed-yes-or-no debate put to bed. Peaches and her co-hosts’ knowledge on Vampires extends to ‘goff gear’ and Twilight. That’s it. That’s the extent of her research. Peaches asks Alison if she likes Twilight. Alison says she likes Vampire Diaries; in a scene reminiscent of Frost/Nixon. So what is Allison going to do when her favourite Show becomes Madmen? Wear a suit everywhere and try and flog Lucky Strike cigarettes to people? Allison has some male chums who also claim to be vampires, despite the fact that these guys’ involvement in vampire culture extends to wearing ill-fitting suits and a cape. Peaches ask if they are into blood-drinking, but they say they find it a bit weird. They just do the dressing up. So in summary, you’re not fucking ‘vampires’ then! It’s the equivalent of me putting on a full Chelsea kit and claiming to be a professional footballer.
Friend: Like the outfit Nick, do you ever kick a ball about?
Me: Nah, I find that all a bit weird. I just like the clothes.
Friend: Oh right, cool. Wow, I’ve never met a professional footballer before.
I mean, the whole set-up is contrived and utterly pitiful. Never one to miss the opportunity to be centre of attention, Peaches and her chums go off to a gothic dress makers to ‘become vampires’. This is merely an excuse for Peaches to play dress up. The whole skit is a collective wankathon over how zany and edgy Peaches and her chums are; ‘We’re dressing up as goffs! Isn’t this such a great laugh and not remotely patronising!’. They have a competition to see who can have the best outfit. Co-presenter Aled Haydn-Jones wins with his outfit of – yes, you guessed it – an ill-fitting suit and a cape. Well stone me dead, what a fucking transformation. The only point of the skit is for Pearches to show off her latest non-descript, Morrissey-lite, male model boyfriend. She bursts into his house, to which he shoots her a blasé, despondent stare, or as I call it; ‘The international sign for ‘Christ alive, I’m dating Peaches Geldof. How did it come to this?’’. AHJ tells Peaches that ‘You just can’t shock your boyfriend now!’ You know, because of how ‘outlandish’ her behaviour is. She does mental stuff, like drinks and smokes jazz cigarettes. Edgy doesn’t quite cut it. How about Peaches and him have a 5 minute conversation about a semi-important subject? I don’t know about him, but hearing her talk about politics or society would scare the life out of me.
Now one could go on for ages about how awful the content the show is. I know I could. There’s the mind numbing ‘we ended our relationship on Facebook’ section that I haven’t even touched on yet. But for me, there is a deeper darker problem at its heart. The show is rotten all the way to the core. What stuck out to me during the whole production was ‘Fuck me, marketing people have discovered a way to legitimize and promote discrimination’.
The first thing that sticks out is rank homophobia. Co-host number 1, Aled Haydn-Jones, is introduced as being on the show because ‘everyone needs a gay best friend’. Because all gays are the same, after all. As long as he likes boys, get him on. Imagine if she said ‘because everyone needs a black best friend’. It would have gone down like a fart at a funeral. The stall is set out straight away that gays are to be represented as nymphomaniacs. Peaches goads AHJ into confessing his deepest secret, that of him having a 3-some with a set of twins. His only involvement with the audience is to probe sexual questions to them about vampires and dreams, and the only other gay men shown in the audience are so overtly camp and talk with such forced sexual undertones that it feels like a pastiche. AHJ’s one feature piece is where he does an expose on Grindr. Grindr is essentially a mobile app version of a dating website for gay men. According to their website;
Whether you’re looking to chat, go on a date, or find a buddy to grab a drink with, Grindr makes it happen.
You know, like a dating website. However, the application is represented on OMG! like cottaging for the iPhone generation. Peaches and her co-host talk about the dangers of meeting random people through this service and sleeping with them. Because you know, gays can’t just meet up and have a drink like straight people. No, they have to start fucking each other in the street, don’t they. During the feature, the background song contains the lyric ‘Don’t want no short dicked man’, while AHJ claims that someone on Grindr told him he ‘wanted to fuck his dog’. Which must have been awful for him, I mean you never get any sexual deviants on lovely hetero websites like Facebook do you? It is so Daily Mail it’s painful.
The real kicker for this program comes in the form of Emma Kenny, who plays the role of ‘least tolerant woman in Britian’. A segment of the show is devoted to a genuine sanguine vampire (someone that bites and drinks blood). So finally, the show has an interesting person, who IS edgy and can convey a different culture. So what do the too cool for school presenters do? Well, they ridicule her incessantly, of course. She has some genuine interesting insights into the culture. She claims that she ‘Came on the show to readdress people’s conceptions of blood drinking’. Though Peaches and her cronies have no interest in this, instead they want to her ask her sexually charged questions and to do weird shit.
Peaches ‘Anyone in the audience that you’d like to suck on?’
Vamp Girl: ‘It’s personal.’
It becomes a farcical Victorian freak show-esq display. Peaches asks her about whether the culture replicates Twilight or The Vampire Diaries, she claims ‘I think you just read too much into films’. But it’s Emma Kenny that really excels here, displaying all the tact of the bastard love child between Melanie Phillips and Richard Littlejohn.
Kennedy: ‘I think it’s too much like self-harming’
Vamp girl: ‘Different from self-harming. Same risk as sex’.
Kenny: ‘But what about the dangers of diseases in the blood?’
Vamp girl: ‘Everyone I drink from is HIV tested, or it’s my own blood.’
She actually has smart stuff to say on the subject. But instead it’s back to ‘OOH LETS GET THE WEIRDO TO DO ODD SHIT’. They get her to drink blood, which she drinks out of a red vile. Peaches has a fucking fit when this happened shouting ‘uurr, yuck’. Behave, Peaches, could be cherryade in there.
AHJ, who is now fully playing the role of ‘token deviant’, asks;
AHJ: Is it a sexual thing?
Vamp Girl: ‘No, it’s just like something you enjoy. Like alcohol or chocolate’.
But this isn’t enough for Kenny, who states that ‘It crosses a boundary and it’s not okay. I love how you dress, think that’s great. But not the blood drinking. It’s weird.’ in that horribly patronising way that a pushy parent would tell her 16 year old child that they should do maths instead of photography (‘I love your little photos, they’re very nice. But you should do proper subjects, yes?’). She also tells coprophagans (people who enjoy eating faeces) that they ‘need to seek help’. Now I’m not one to fly the flag for the scat-munching community, but so far on OMG! Kenny has claimed all gay men looking to meet others are sexually depraved, sanguine vampires are ‘not okay’ and coprophagans ‘need to seek help’. Sorry, I thought this was the forward thinking place where everyone can come clean about their secrets? You know, and not face ridicule? It’s like dinner round Nick Griffin’s house, this.
And that’s how the whole show comes across. It is stereotypes and intolerance in trendy clothing. You write out the TV show as an editorial under the header ‘unsettling hobbies and homosexual sex; the state of modern Britain’ and stick in the Daily Mail, and you’ve got the latest item to cause uproar in the blogging community. At least the Mail are honest with what prerogative they’re pushing. With this, you have the same deplorable discourse and themes, but under the veil of an attractive audience, rebellious looking hosts and lots of sex talk.
The show itself clearly has endemic problems from a content standpoint. Uninteresting people talking about uninteresting events. But the wider issue is that it conveys through its production that content no longer matters. It is constructed by people with no semblance of individual thought or self-reflection. They are totally reticent to what they say and present, and as long as they get to wear cool outfits and piss around with their mates to an audience of similarly thoughtless drones, they couldn’t care less. It sets the example that the important crux of a show is not discourse or content, but how your presenters look and who they’re dating.
Other than those issues, it was alright.