back to article Starlust: love, hate and celebrity fantasies

I first noticed Girls Aloud in my local Sainsbury’s. Lingering at the newsstand to scan the papers I registered their sustained PR campaign focused on crotch and upskirt shots. Fred Vermorel No accident that. Not day after day, week after week. More like a set-up between paparazzi and popstars. That’s showbiz! And I support …


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  1. dreadful scathe

    obscene law...literally

    great article - for people with wildly depraved, morbid, nasty, perverted or whatever fantasies - is it better for them to bottle it up or express it in stories, art and poetry ?

    and anyway, someone being arrested for an "obscene publication" when there are hollywood films with similar material ? seems obscene to me.

  2. Master Baker
    Paris Hilton

    very true

    It's the same when Celebs make a living from being in the public eye, then cry (boo-hoo) about privacy. They like to milk the media as long as it suits them.

    Girls Aloud come across in all of their media attention as slags. They're not the first group and they won't be the last. They're not exactly classy... they all dress like bicycles and they do twist and pout their fannys onto the lens of the camera. Whereas Posh Spice suffers from facial pout, they do indeed suffer from Fanny Pout (like Lesley Ash - they really do have Trout Pout lol).

    If they don't want people to create lurid fantasies about them then perhaps they should rein-in their sluttiness?

    I have a fantasy about all the girls. Except the ginger one. She's not as pretty as the rest.

    Paris, 'cause she doesn't have to flaunt her Flossy to be special.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good article

    Fan -> fanatic I'm never sure why this surprises people.

    While I'm on an etymological bent, you're use of quaint ('cunt' via Chaucer) amuses me given the context.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Yeah right

    You say these fans are not pathological. Have you any evidence for that? Most male fans would just wank over the upskirts kindly provided by Kimberley et al. Fans who write stories about raping their idols before cutting them up would seem to me to be showing some kind of pathology.

    Also, de Sade et al wrote about fictional characters. This "work" is different in that it refers to real people. No chance of "the characters in this work are fictional and no reference to actual persons, living or dead, is implied" here.

    It's *not* just the same thing multiplied by the internet. There are marked differences. De Sade is considered a genius today. Do you really think people will say the same of this nutjob in 100 years?

    I'm also confused in that you seem to think celebrity is a good thing (we give them so much? wtf?) You're obviously suffering from celebrity envy.

    How would you like a rape / mutilation / murder story written about you? Or your mother / daughter / granddaughter? Would it suddenly become OK if they were famous somehow?

    I guess you thought the Sachs phonecall was hilarious then. After all, the fucker was famous so he deserved whatever he got.

    If people want to write grotesque sexual horror stories that's their lookout. Just base them on fictional characters and no-one will be worried that you're a loony stalker. (You've heard of "stalkers", right?)

    To paraphase a Girls Aloud song, I don't speak Psycho.

  5. Dave
    Dead Vulture


    Rated: Orgasmic

    What else could I choose?

    I wonder what the ratio of AC's to named users will be in this comments section?

    <- Death of El Reg, 'cos this stuff won't make many friends in NuLab, or their close cousins "the Tories who haven't even found a new name yet"

  6. Dave

    somewhat hyperbolic

    Prof Vermorel writes: "And even more sinisterly: to your brain and my brain."

    I do not understand why the author perceives the ridiculous attempt to revive this misbegotten piece of legislation is now more targetted to brain function than it was in 1960, in re Lady Chatterley. Indeed, as the author reminds us, the legislation specifically invites the courts to define what material is likely to deprave and corrupt (brain function / perception / morality).

    This minor cavil aside, I agree wholeheartedly with the conclusion: "It's the absence of a written constitution that creates a sense that in the UK we have liberties on sufferance – as "subjects" rather than citizens. "

  7. Paula
    Thumb Up


    Fascinating article... have you read The Harry Potter and LOTR sections are a scary education (but it was the Blackadder fanfic that really made me gag).

    Interesting point about the British constitution, wispy little thing that it is.

  8. Random Noise
    Thumb Up

    How you tease

    Sounds like a fascinating book, shame the only way to pick up a copy is by buying an old print for somewhere in the region of £150.

    Is there going to be a reprint of the book? Put me down on the list if there is (before the firemen come round to burn all my books & me along with them).

    When will the new book be out? Can you include a pdf or something of the original along with it?

  9. Richard

    Rincewind was right

    "What the hell???? my hands CANNOT be on top of Taylor Hanson's ASS right now!!!!! I can't believe this!!!!"

    Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.

  10. Graham Marsden

    "A written constitution"?

    We have Rights in this country as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights which the UK Government encoded into our laws with the Human Rights Act.

    Unfortunately those Rights are shot through with "weakening clauses" (or should that be "weasel clauses"?) such as Article 8's "RIght to Privacy" which says:

    "There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

    The "protection of health and morals" was the way the Government managed to justify their prosecution of the Operation Spanner defendants (a bunch of gay man engaged in somewhat extreme BDSM acts) and their conviction for such "crimes" as "aiding and abetting assaults on themselves".

    It's also an excuse they give for their law making it a crime to possess so-called "Extreme Pornography" because it will "protect others" (they don't, of course, explain how...).

    Unfortunately it's very unlikely that any modern politician would not include exactly the same sort of weasel wording in a written constitution were such a thing to be introduced into this country.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actual creation is more frightening

    It's a natural enough thought to wonder if the person doing the writing is safe.

    I suspect that, pre-Internet, the porn business in the UK was pretty closely associated with the Police. Not necessarily in any untoward ways, but people knew each other. There was an informal understanding of the limits.

    The Internet broke that.

    And everything the polticians have done since has assumed that the cosy understanding still exists. This story goes too far for many people. But, on an Internet with artists such as "Dolcett", how can anyone tell that a limit exists? Yet the politicians write vagueness into law, as if the whole world is a single culture which has the same understanding.

    (I would advise extreme caution in looking up "Dolcett")

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would prefer entertainers

    none of this mega stardom, just wandering bands of minstrels and actors, in quaint little caravans. Setting up in a glade somewhere, and parading down the high street announcing the show will be on tonight.

    But, we have screwed it all up, we are over crowded, over media'd, and quite a lot of us want to be over there.

    Personally I blame all the added restriction, over breeding and mega corporations, slowly we have all just given up on our liberties, to the point where I think most of us don't know what Liberty is, well not unless you put an X at the end. It is all crap really, nastily packaged crap with a ribbon tied round it, a polished turd passing itself of as art.

    And I blame the fans, get a sodding life, stop admiring at the expense of your own abilities, innovate don't copy, deride not pedestal.

  13. Alan Fisher

    While indeed depraved, read by few

    it is sad that all this is going on....I, personally would see the title and, wisely I feel, choose not to read said work of fantasy. Folk enjoy it, fair enough. Plenty of people do things I disapprove of; other cyclists who flaunt both safety and the Highway Code, Politicians passing laws I do not like, silly oiks who read The Sun and Mail saying things about ethnic minorities and moslems especially but I seek to ban them not. In the words of EVelyn Beatrice Hall

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," or, as Bill Bryson puts it

    "What you say is utter trash but I will defend unto death your right to be a total asshole"

    That's democracy, it's shining glory and dankest vileness - it's chock full of people you won't like and don't agree with but they are able to exist and do their things to their heart's content AS LONG AS they do no harm to any person who does not consent and do not break the laws of the land. Many people consider the private activities of gay men or women to be wrong and obscene (they tend to dwell upon them too much I find) but such acts as carried out by consenting adults are completely the choice and right of selfsame adults. No-one else can dictate what they can and cannot do as long as it isn't illegal. However the danger is here; in the UK more and more is becoming illegal too fast and where will it stop? Will I have to have a license to make love to my wife? If my dog takes it into his mind to escape and shag on the street will he become thus a criminal? The mind, quite literally boggles!

    This must be stopped and stopped hard and fast. The disenfrachised, the sad, the lonely, the slightly wierd, all recourse to this sort of thing and, except in rare, rare cases, do harm to no-one but if a government chooses to repress such harmless (unless read..why do Z List "Celebrities" always seem to take more exception to this kind of fluff than those with a discernable talent?) material which would, by any sensible reader/visitor/viewer be disregarded and ignored as the tat it surely is? If the goverment pushes this kind of idiocy through then they will push these people underground and the harmless may, through percieved necessity, become less so. Let them play and get their lonely thrills why don't you? Ban them and who knows who will be next?

    Excellent article, good author, you are right indeed, it seems, that Thought Policing is just around the corner if anything comes (haha) of this foolishness....V for Vendetta anyone? The Moral Fibre and Decency of the Nazis, Stasi and government of the particular movie (Norse Fire wasn't it?) are pretty close to the furore in the UK at them moment. The BBC could be just the beginning, this could be the final nail in Lady Liberty's coffin...another group to "protect" us from...I laugh at their lies!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    oh fucking brilliant

    naked bloke walks down the street - bloke arrested for flashing

    naked babe walks down the street - bloke arrested for drooling.

  15. Chris Thorpe

    Clear boundaries

    If a fan writes a morbid fantasy about a star, that's pathology. If a writer quotes the fan's morbid fantasy, that's journalism. If a novelist invents a fan, and puts fantasy words in the saddo's mouth, that's literature. And if a politician exploits the whole muddled scenario for votes, that's business as usual.

  16. Mark

    "like that guy that got JFK.”

    Who was therefore so well know that even the person emulating them doesn't know their name.

    If it weren't so stupid, it would be hilarious.

    But seriously, as the opening paragraphs put it, this is as much or more the fault of the PR machine for these "stars" as it is the fans themselves.

    What are you supposed to think when they're waggling danglies on stage or only staying in their clothes because of judicious use of Super Glue (probably)?

    Never understood why the stars hate the attention when they demand it.

  17. Scott
    Thumb Down

    @Yer right

    So just chnge the names and its fine by you ? what if the names are changed to Britney, Kyle does that make it better, nope cause your still being the thought police.

    Just because someone writes there thoughts onto papeer does not make it illegal?

  18. James Anderson


    The laers who routinly drop cases against muggers causght with handbags and bruised knuckles for lack of evidence.

    The lawers who cant be bothered to take the fuy who broke into your house to court.

    They are wasting your ta payers money on this. I am truly glad that the UK is the "Old Country" and not my current residence.

  19. Luther Blissett

    Fantasy, reality and celebrities - case in point?

    Is there a lampost in YOUR street with Whacky Jacqui's name on it? Gordo's? Hazel's? Harriet's? No? Are you sure?

    If not, is it because you consider that (a) one needs to be professionally organized, (b) be able to collect monies from someone (like the public teat), to do it. Or (c) you've never seen a dog piss that far up.

    Happy creativity, folks.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    I fear that...

    Again it's another case of putting a stop to a "cause" of something, where when what happens in reality is most of the sick writings by the real sicko's are kept private until they are discovered in their hideout, along with a stew of human and vegs. But, becuase there are soooo many sickos, thousands per million apparently (situations like this require immediate statistics! Even if they are made up, it's all part of proving a point), since there are sooo many sickos then they need to arrest someone, otherwise it will be business as usual (usual as in it's ALWAYS been this way), they'll find the sicko when he/she messes up and gets caught, mostly becuase insanity is almost always careless, and most of the famous genius sickos only exist in dramatizations in film and in the "NEWS". And like most witch hunts, the people arrested, though not legitimate sickos on a sociopolitical level, will make the Gov look as though they are accomplishing something, kind of like a good number of "law breakers" today.

    Now, back to reality, assuming that the Great Overmind exists that connects humanity to all life and inter-dimensional beings, then I would say yes, depraved thoughts may be disruptive to the overall health of the Overmind, and in response, it would be in the interest of those who share the mind to take out the sick minded. Lucky for us, the higher life forms seem to understand simple social changes can fix it all, otherwise I think a world wide Sodom-Gomorrah action would have taken place by now. Not to mention, the sick minded tend to be self destructive and take themselves out all the time either on purpose or thought slipping up and getting caught.

    To real-reality, what has caused the widespread nature of the less than appropriate writings/fantasies/rages has a lot to do with extremely poor marketing strategies used by the media giants where money is more important than social consequences and precedents that they create. Back in the 80's a lot of the big US stars were always playing their TV persona's when they are in public (remember Pee-Wee Herman and what happened to him when people found out he was a human?), or even today with so many who are now adults STILL believe "professional wrestling" is real and not a huge extremely violent-like Cirque du Soleil. Seeing the face of some who sees the facts with digital rewind and slomo, from having seen it personally, it's like watching a kid find out Santa is not real (I used to have fun with that as a kid, but as I grew up I stopped resenting the kids for their stupidity and started resenting the parents instead, I could have been a professional sociopath, but thankfully I learned empathy early enough :P So now I'm just a sarcastic pretend-sociopath, Do unto others, blah blah and all that).

    Honestly I think their should be an insane law against witch hunts, and the fanatics that stoke them, so that they would know what it is like to be a criminal for something as simple as a thought, idea, or belief.

    Most of the sociopaths I know, or have read about, have been spoiled brats (not monetarily), who have been allowed to get away with anything they want becuase their doting parents are too stupid to see the signs of their kids careless actions. If they aren't spoiled, then usually they are left so isolated and alone socially they will decide on their insane ideas all on their own because of the lack of consequences. Consequences that, with the right amount of empathy, should be doled out by the perpetrators onto themselves, which shows another way in which society fails "us" (life forms that don't develop their own sense of empathy are usually killed by their fellow life forms, or banished form the pack). They have no respect at all for their fellow stupid humans, enjoy inflicting pain on others becuase they feel the person deserves it (usually it's mental pain), and they love playing with people's heads becuase they think they are the only ones that know how easy it is to do so (everybody is stupid, right? and yes, that does mean you too), and they have the advantage becuase in the fight against wrong thinking, the rest of us are not allowed to know how easy we are to fool. Hence, laws like this one leads to the prosecution of the innocent, and a free reign for the real psychopaths because they know that this is happening and probably can't believe their luck, becuase it keeps people looking away from trouble becuase they can't recognize it when they see it, becuase they are told to see it everywhere. Sounds almost like the stories from DR Congo and the Sudan, the angels who are sent in to save the innocent are really the demons, and the "demons" they are fighting are just trying to not die or be raped anymore. This kind of thing is happening all over the world in one way or another to most of us, and just shows that those who create the laws to protect us form the sickos are doing a horrible job becuase a lot of them ARE the worst of the sickos.

    WELCOME TO FEAR WORLD!! (queue horror movie carnival music and maniacal clown laughter)

  21. Anonymous Coward


    This constant need to neatly package everything up over the last 20-30 years, get it out there, sell it fast, got it out there before the bubble burst. As the world grows smaller the rate of commodification needs to grow faster to keep up, to the point that as soon as the infant it ripped from the womb it is subjected to a barrage of advertised abuse. It's no wonder lots of people grow up having obtained their morals from the twisted media. The harder the ad-men blast the less likely the sheeple are, to want to think for themselves.

    The hardest battle in my life so far is trying to try keep my kids mind's open to independent thought, not be bludgeoned into submission by the media, a battle I fear I will lose.

    Listen, I hear the "firemen" coming to purify with flame...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not sure...

    I'm reading Naked Lunch at the moment, and it is indeed fucked up, lots of what can basically only be described as gay porn, with a chapter of neck snapping snuff, very heavy going and quite disturbing in parts (plus very hard to read, but you'd kind of expect that of a junkie who shuffled his book once finished!).

    The thing with this Girls Aloud story (I haven't read it) is that is specifically about people who really exist, does this cross a line? While I agree that the Girls Aloud put themselfs out there with risque advertising shots, there must be some sort of line that shouldn't be crossed, I think that most would agree that this line is stalking/physical action, you can't really argue that they brought stalkers upon themselfs.


  23. Steve Kay

    The more things change....

    Plus ca change... legislation is enacted - as this rather good author identifies - in and around both thought-crime, and criminalising the many to resolve the few.

    However - y'know what? Sod it. Who cares. If this is what the peon masses vote for, let them have it.

    I discussed this fellow with some friends and half of them agreed that he should be prosecuted and that such things shouldn't be published (or as one referred to internet publication on - 'broadcast'). I could have mentioned American Psycho, or the Saw films, or any number of other 'culturally acceptable' works in counter-argument, but in all honesty, I couldn't be bothered. Why? Because there's no point. The majority of folk can't make the logical connection between criminalising the many to resolve the few, and even less realise that they're - in effect - turning themselves into criminals.

    If this is what they want, let them have it. If it makes them feel better to unwittingly join the groupthink (a la Ross/Brand, or the Brasseye special) then good on them. I wish them well. I'll emigrate somewhere, sit back with my popcorn and watch it happen. I wouldn't want to be un-democratic.

  24. Steen Hive

    Girls Aloud?

    I dunno about rape, murder, dismemberment and post-mortem limb auctions, but hanging's definitely too good for 'em.

    <<<---- Joke Alert in case that moron Jaqui Smith wants to put me on a one of her lists. Hanging's too good for her, too.

  25. Bruno de Florence

    Clarifications on Freud

    "Freud called it “ambivalence: love bordering on hatred".

    For Freud, ambivalence is the experiencing of two contradictory feelings at the same time (or in rapid succession.) Love does not border on hatred, they both are different sides of the same coin. When narcissism is frustrated in its aim (I can't have him), hatred immediately succeeds love (I hate him). Hatred can also be unconscious. You are not aware of it, while it still motivates your conscious thoughts and actions. Sheakspeare's Romeo & Juliet is a good exemple of the unconscious hatred which always accompanies love.

    The legislator can regulate all he wants, it will not stop unconscious thoughst to exist. A great deal of unconscious thoughts are "criminal", as anyone who has been in analysis can testify.

    With the positivist slant to govening inherited from his nip Mr Blair Tony, I would not be surprised if the current attempts at regulating the psychonalytic profession made a provision for psychoanalysts being obliged to report any such "criminal" thoughts as expressed on the analytic couch!

    The will for governements to regulate even more each and every aspect of citizens behaviour can be seen as the outpouring of the Death drive (Thanatos), in its inscription on the social body. The predicted disasters by the climate change lobby are nothing compared to what such a large outpouring of hatred (disguised at law) can do to our psychological and physical survival. Freud's imagery for such a phenomenon was that of a tyranic father who'd reserved for himself all the pleasures, the sons being strictly forbidden any kind of gratification.

    As for "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it", that's Voltaire.

  26. Big Dave

    The majority protect the minority... unless they are 'sickos'!

    "Honestly I think their should be an insane law against witch hunts, and the fanatics that stoke them, so that they would know what it is like to be a criminal for something as simple as a thought, idea, or belief."

    A very good point which lead me to think this issue is just another modern principle deformed by politics.

    Society. Normal. Good. What do these words really mean? I always thought that laws were there to protect 'us', but who are 'we'? There is an obvious, but happily ignored contradiction in law: if laws are there for the good of all, why are there more and more that protect minorities? Surely, these minorities should be rooted out and eradicated for the good of all? If we are going to make laws that persecute those that like to publicise their dark fantasies, why do we also make laws that specifically protect others' beliefs?

    Should those that do not think/believe/feel as we do should be protected by law or not? Who is deciding which minorities should be protected at all costs and which should be arrested?

  27. Alan Fisher

    To answer a question

    I have, during a previous incarnation of online chatland life (now happily buried long in the past) been the target of insults and lies and so on and so forth, a fictional persona created by my 'enemies' (oh dear) and have even been cyberstalked (hahahahaha)...but it sails over my head....if someone were to publish such a thing about me and it became 'public domain' I'd give it exactly the degree of attention it needs, absolutely none....I'd be disgusted, appalled and slightly soiled feeling but I'd get on with life and correctly classify said person (unless it was someone I knew, then I'd deal different with it) as a nutter...just like these 'famous' people should have done...just like the majority of Non-Z-Listers appear to do

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