I have a friend who once worked as a (very special) agent to many of the world’s top celebrities. His specialisation was clearing up celebrity screw-ups. As such he lived in fairly dark, amoral world but it made him powerful and extremely rich. At some stage, though, he grew tired and disillusioned, gave up his agency and tried to create a new life for himself:
“Celebrity is vapid, shallow, a world of fakes and freaks, deviants, liars and cheats.” (Andrew Manning).
Last year I ghost-wrote a book for him (“I Really, Really Want It”); Andrew wanted to give something back to the world in the form of a “mea culpa” for some of the dreadful things he’d done over the years in his work for celebrities. That book has recently gone back on sale after some fairly lengthy legal battles with some very angry celebs (they shall remain nameless..) who wanted it banned and banned for ever.
As a kind of “celebration” of Andrew’s successful legal struggle to have his book seen, below is a little piece he has written himself for my blog which I believe gives an interesting insight into what really, really goes on the seemingly golden world of celebrity. Sadly, getting his book seen does not represent the end of Andrew’s legal struggles. Andrew sent the article beneath from the dubious comfort of a prison cell, he being currently serving time at Her Majesty’s pleasure on a a whole series of fabricated and entirely fictitious charges. Stay strong, Andrew, the truth will prevail, the monsters will be unmasked.
“I spent 20 years of my life prostituting myself at the altar of celebrity: I was the “go to” man for celebrities who, as a consequence of their own bad behaviour, had screwed up their careers. They came to me because I was rich, powerful and influential, a holder of secrets, a man who knew where all the bodies were buried (and that sometimes literally), a man who would break the rules and the law to restore sheen to tarnished celebrity. I worked for A-list celebs, AA-list celebs and Z-list wannabes and hasbeens: I wasn’t fussy, I’d work for anyone who was graspingly desperate enough to keep their place in the spotlight that they’d pay my ridiculously exorbitant fees.
Eventually I grew tired of celebrity and celebrities. Celebrity is vapid, shallow, a world of fakes and freaks, deviants, liars and cheats.
As a kind of penance for some of the dreadful things I did during my celebrity agent period and to try and explain to people how grossly, causally immoral, spiritually corrosive and awful celebrity is as a concept, I asked a friend to ghost-write a book for me which I would call “I Really, Really Want It.” As far as I’m aware, it’s the only book ever written that tells the truth about celebrity, that lifts the lid on a very, very disturbed world. It describes real events, real people, real nightmares: only the names have been changed to protect the…guilty.
Not long after the book came out (before the ban) it was reviewed by one of Britain’s biggest celebrity magazines. The review was awful, it said the book was a “horribly offensive attack on the cherished institution of celebrity, do not buy this book.” Of course, this particular magazine is an intrinsic part of the whole machinery that props up the weird and not wonderful world of celebrity, so I shouldn’t really have expected anything else.
Nevertheless I thought, as much for old times sake as anything else, that I’d call up the editor of the magazine and put the fear of God into the chiseling little git.
So, I call the mag and, using my real name, I get put through to the editor like that. Bish bosh. No messing around, straight away, without delay or hindrance. That’s the power of my name. These people still know who I am, what I know and what I’m capable of.
Mister Editor is nervous and defensive, he knows I’m calling about the review of my book, tries to justify it, comes out with crap about journalistic integrity and independence. Now that makes me laugh. Journalistic “integrity,” “independence.” Bollocks. As a rule, most journalists are the idiot children of the upper classes who wouldn’t get a job anywhere else so they carve out a career in the world of “journalism” which consists of unthinkingly repeating press releases word for word and calling it news. Journalists are propaganda-peddlers for the Plutocrats, working to make sure you don’t think too deeply so that everything can remain the same. Scum.
Anyway, Mr Editor’s bleating is totally doing my head in so I tell the idiot to shut right up. I remind him who I am and remind him of a few things he’s done in the past, starting from when he used to get done up the bum in the dorms of his expensive public school, to his perverse present day proclivities. I suggest he might like to speak to his fellow celeb mag editors, that it would be best they steer clear of mentioning my book.
By the end of the conversation Mr Editor agrees with me completely. He couldn’t be nicer, of course he’ll talk to fellow editors, he thought the book was wonderful, by the way, such a pleasure to hear from me. He simultaneously has his tongue up my arse and is hating my guts.
Like I said, celebrity is full of fakes and freaks.
I want you to understand that. That’s why I worked hard to get this book out there and keep it out there.
Celebrity serves two functions in this world. Its superficial glamour distracts the eye, blinds you to what’s really going on. In a world where the political system has been corrupted to the needs of the very wealthy and serves only them, an increasingly unequal world, it serves as a form of opium for the masses. It’s bright glitzy, loud…who cares that the world economy is on the brink of collapse when you “I’ve Got Ebola, Get Me Out of Here” is on the tele. Even better, look how stupid most celebs are. I mean, if they can become rich and famous, you can too, right…fuck it, I’ll just quote from my own book here…
“Somewhere along the line the bankers and the corporate classes and, well, people like me, reversed up the arses of the politicians and started pulling all the strings. We rolled back unionisation, we destroyed the working class by exporting their jobs and insourcing cheap labour and we undermined what social mobility there was by utterly devaluing the education system. We kept you lot quiet by stuffing your mouths with benefits or easy credit and by feeding you the dream of celebrity. You can be famous, you can be wealthy, you can escape your shitty, dull, drab life, and you don’t even have to work for it, you just have to want it enough. To really, really want it. And just to reinforce that point, every now and then we select some barely talented but viciously ambitious non-entity like Shelley Bright and use every trick in the marketer’s handbook to speed them up the ladder of fame. And all the time you’re distracted by the glitz of celebrity we’re siphoning more and more power and wealth upwards to ourselves slamming shut the windows of opportunity in your life one after the other. Don’t you see…people like you should be dragging people like me out into the streets and kicking us to death, people like you should be invading the City of London and dragging the bankers and traders out of their plush offices and stringing them up from lamp-posts. Believe me. Don’t believe me. But if you don’t believe me, you are so, so fucked.”
And of course, there’s celebrity’s second function: a refuge for the deviant, the fraudulent, the dishonest, the sociopathic and the downright abusive and dangerous. It’s here that the world of celebrity merges with the world of politics in that both attract the same kind of people for the same reasons. Celebrities and politicians pursue their respective careers with the aim of gaining power, respectability and influence. Both fields are ideal for sociopaths, providing both cover and opportunity for criminal behaviour. How do you think Jimmy Savile got away with abusing children for so long? People (who should have known better) were awed into silence by his wealth and fame. And the inquiry into abuse (and even possible murder) of children at the Elm Lodge Guest House and Dolphin Square flat by politicians, establishment figures and celebs? You really, really think that’s going to happen. Jog on, feller. Maybe when all the guilty parties are dead and gone something might happen…until then, no chance.
So, you see, celebrity is not a a “cherished institution.” It’s a stinking dungheap of shit, a dark-eyed golem staring back at you with dead, soulless eyes ,reflecting back your own dreams of fame and wealth but promising nothing and taking everything.” (c.2015 Andrew Manning)