Kerry Katona: Cat Owner

I’ve met Kerry Katona, albeit briefly, and she was very sweet. It was back in 2000, I was doing a temp stewarding job at an exhibition in Olympia and was manning one of the large hall’s back doors. Some of the celebrities that were doing short visits that weekend included then England goalkeeper David James and the soon to be genuinely famous, instead of just hyper and passably good looking, Atomic Kitten. My role was to make sure nobody came in or out of that door unless authorised. A team of three of us were on rotation at the back of the hall that day so I didn’t see the Kittens coming in, but I held the door open for them as they exited into a waiting car. Katona was the last to leave and as she bounded towards the open door she winked at me and said ‘thanks darling’. In that most monotonous of jobs, moments like that were an absolute blessing and a source of embellished boasting come home time.

Jump forward a few years and Katona had departed Atomic Kitten, leaving with a legacy of four top 10 hits, including a number one with ‘Whole Again’. She had left on account of being pregnant with Brian McFadden’s child. From Dublin, McFadden had played gaelic football with my cousin and was a promising left half back before fully investing in his music career. The two had remained friends and as a result I was privy to some of the mad stories from his early Westlife days, including some of his escapades with Katona.

For example there is the story about her being shown a promotional video from the Animal Liberation Front and going to a pet store in Dublin and buying as many kittens and puppies as possible to ‘set them free’. After about an hour of this brood of cuteness pissing and shitting all over her management’s Range Rover, she smuggled them all into Dunnes Stores and dumped them there before doing a runner. The writing was on the wall back then.

I needn’t expand on what’s happened to her career since then. The highs and extreme lows have been fully expounded by the tittle tattle press. She is z-list gold and I needed to at least have a crack at luring her into some madness. I knew the cat angle was my best way in, appealing to her Atomic Kitten glory days. I sent this over (with no mention of the moment we shared in 2000):

Hi Alex,
 
Im enquiring about the availability of Ms Kerry Katona for a charity show I’m hoping to put together for Channel 4 for the early quarter of next year. The show I have in mind is called ‘Kerry Katona: Cat Owner’ and will see Ms Katona trained under the tutelage of Oleksiy Pinko the renowned lion tamer and circus showman. She will learn all about controlling big cats and getting them to perform, as well as all the required elements of ring showmanship.
 
Six weeks of training would culminate in a final charity performance during which a variety of celebrities will be showcasing the skills they have learned. For example I am also currently in talks with Peter Andre about learning the bag pipes for a performance with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
 
I would be most grateful if you could let me know Ms Katona’s availability and potential interest.
 
Kind regards

Here is a picture of Oleksiy getting off with a lion. This obviously isn’t an opportunity to be sniffed at and I was vaguely optimistic they might go for it. In record time I heard back though:

Dear Patrick,
 
Thanks you for your email which I read with interest.
 
Sadly this is not something that we can consider at this time but the very best of luck with the show.

Best regards
 
Alex

I took solace in ‘sadly’. I know ultimately she wanted this gig. I have visions of Katona going ballistic at this Alex character saying ‘I wanna join the f**kin circus you c**t, make. this. happen!! You know I love animals’, and him putting the blockers on it as it’s not in line with his ‘vision’ for her. Some day I’m gonna get direct access to a celebrity and then they’ll be dancing to my tune.

 
Advertisements

Rylan in the Highlands

Unlike Las Vegas, Ibiza is not bound by the same entrenched codes of secrecy and thus, invariably, what happens in Ibiza does not stay on the once quiet, idyllic island. Some of the stories that stream back to me from the Med would make your eyes water. If you follow this blog you will be aware that I have an uncanny knack of knowing people who know people. From barmen and bouncers to maids, shopkeepers and cabbies I get my reliable info on the secret goings on of celebrities from sources far and wide. I myself seem to be somewhat of a beacon for forgotten celebs, be it buying a gold Blue Peter badge from a dishevelled Tim Vincent in my local shop or beating Marc Bannerman at air hockey in Trocadero. As a result I was unsurprised as I watched the rise of Ross Richard Clark, who some of you may know better as Rylan (seen here doing a quick breath check before the results in judges house’s on X-Factor).

I don’t only keep an eye on established celebs or ones whose careers have slumped. I also scout for upcoming talent, keeping ahead of the masses about which new vacuous goon will grace our screens. So when the stories started filtering back from friends who had met Rylan (then Ross) in Ibiza, I sat up and took notice. My friend was working as a promotions guy out there and had heard about ‘some fella in a Take That tribute band who is proper debauched’. He went to have a look and relayed the following story to me in an email which i’ve edited to only include the relevant parts:

Alright mate…yeah so we ended up in Charlie’s last night and they had this take that tribute guys on I was joking about before. There’s only four of them though (they’re called 4Bidden) as apparently the one who was Howard got accepted in the fire brigade so went back home. Anyway, Dazzler knows one of them and said we should hang about cos there might be some girls around and maybe a couple of free shots or something. They were actually alright singers, but fucking hell the gay one is an absolute loon mate. Said he once swallowed a condom and his dad had to do to the heimlich manoeuvre on him and he coughed it up on the couch, while his boyfriend looked on crying. FUCKIN RANK. I was cracking up to be fair but still. That’s not the worst of it though. Some one asked him ‘whats the weirdest place you’ve had sex?’ He goes, ‘in a skip, with a tramp’. Me and Biggles fucking burst out laughing and he screams, ‘WHAT?!!?…Don’t you dare fucking judge me’. He was offering Biggles out as well. Nutcase I swear.

So when he appeared on Signed By Katie Price and later on the X-Factor, I knew all about him. Dangerous man. In a skip? In a skip with a homeless guy. F**kin’ hell. Anyway, I wanted to get in touch with him with a show idea and see if I could lure him in on account of his palpable sense of desperation to be famous:

I’m hoping for some information on the availability of Mr Rylan Clark. I’m pitching an idea for a show to a variety of production companies and believe I will have a far greater chance of success if Mr Clark has already expressed his willingness to be involved. 
 
The show is to be titled Rylan in the Highlands. It would be a two episode special, the premise is that Rylan will train with Gregor Edmunds (former Highland Games World Champion 2007) with a view to entering a 2014 Highland Games events in Scotland. I am pitching the show on the weight of Rylan’s personality. His witty banter and no-nonsense style would work really well on screen with Gregor, I think. Rylan has really impressed me, whenever i’ve seen him on shows and though I know this is branching away from his musical focus, I would love to have him involved.

Again I think i’ve suffered from a timing issue as I’ve heard nothing back. The guy has 880,000 followers on Twitter, really what was I thinking? His career, good luck to him, is hardly on the decline and he’s presenting the Big Brother spin off and what not. His time will come though. But for now I watch with fondness as he blossoms.

Dane Bowers: Do You Want To Be Famous Or Not?

Sometimes you just know when enough is enough. Pop Idol’s Rik Waller gets it, and apparently now works as an exam invigilator. Michelle McManus gets it too, and after a brief period as a lollypop lady, she now has a very successful dog walking business. In celebrityville there isn’t anybody with a stop watch counting the seconds on your 15 minutes of fame, so occasionally a strong element of self-regulation is required. Sometimes they get it wrong and 15 minutes becomes half an hour. What I’m doing here is giving celebrities cause to think that maybe, just maybe, the clock has been reset for them. However, quite often I don’t hear back from a celebrity at all. Not a rejection, just nothing. Emailing multiple addresses and nothing happens. What’s going on here? If you have a management team, or an agent, they should be chasing up and at least trying to verify all possible leads, right? Dane Bowers is obviously an exception. I have tried and tried with this guy but I get nothing back. Perhaps he has seen the clock hit 15 and walked away. Is this the case? Does he want to be famous or not?

I had genuinely forgotten about Dane. I was never that knowledgeable about Another Level, and had merely a passing annoyance at the song he did with Posh Spice. I knew he had made it to the final of Celebrity Big Brother with harmonica wielding Alex Reid but that was three years ago. What had been going on since then?

About three months ago I stumbled on this: ‘Dane Bowers had to be physically restrained and handcuffed following an incident at family holiday centre Butlins last week.’ Lord preserve me. After headlining at a 90s night in Bognor Regis he had apparently taken umbrage to a drunken reveller continually calling him Brian Harvey, despite repeat warnings that he was his own man, his own 90s star. I know he had trained in muay Thai with Jack Osborne so I assume he handed out a bit of a beating but the trial isn’t until 29th October. Along with two associates, who were also charged with having a few grams of snort about their person, he saw the inside of a nick and I have it on good authority that his first call was to Lee Latchford-Evans, formerly of Steps, who has now trained as a solicitor.

Did Dane now simply prefer these smaller, more intimate gigs? Was he tired of the fame game or was this just the work he was being offered these days? I had to find out so I came up with a show idea to see if he or his team would bite.

Dear ASM Damage,

 
I’m hoping for some information on the availability in the coming months of Mr Dane Bowers. I’m working on a few TV show ideas and given the recent success of the Big Reunion, and I guess the general re-interest in all things 90s/early 2000s I thought it would be brilliant to get one of the key figures of that time back in focus.
 
The show I have in mind for Mr Bowers is to be titled Bowers vs. The Towers. The premise is much like the Amazing Race, but will only involve Dane and its key point is that he would be limited to a budget of £10 a day. This would mean he will have to barter, beg and charm his way to each of the towers. The show will start with him at the Tower of London and then take in the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Svanetian Towers (in Georgia) and finishing with the Minaret of Jam in Western Afghanistan (which I can assure you is much safer than it might sound). Of course we would be flexible with the course. Conceivably we could head west and take in the CN Tower and maybe one or two in Japan, China or Australia. The details are all fluid and reworkable. But as an opening idea, do you think it would be something Dane might be interested in. We will be pitching it to several production companies and channels, along with other shows such as Beefcakes vs. Cupcakes and a special take on David vs. Goliath, as part of a Versus season.
 
I look forward to hearing from you soon,
 
 

I waited and waited. I guess I timed it wrong. With court appearances looming, it’s highly likely a global trek on a small stipend is not top of his list. Perhaps, if he is found not guilty at trial his management team will be straight back to me to see if this is still a valid lead. And it will be. My leads never die.

By The Rivers of Gloucester Road

I have a friend who works at the bar in the Holiday Inn in Gloucester Road. Whenever I see him he regales me with stories of some of the formerly famous guests that come to enjoy one of his sumptuous and creative cocktails. One such tale that absolutely captivated me involved Liz Mitchell, who was the lead female vocalist in Boney M. Apparently, she loves a bit of the strong stuff and at least twice a month is to be found in the hotel bar singing some of her group’s classics. One evening as she was just starting an a cappella rendition of By the Rivers of Babylon, Alex Reid stood up from a previously obscured position and provided musical accompaniment with a harmonica. It was about 1.30am and i’ll have to quote my friend verbatim here and apologise for his propensity for foul language: ‘Mate, there were about 7 people in the bar and they all fucking lost it. I swear, they were up on the tables, speaking in tongues, getting their fucking lils [breasts] out and everything. It was quality. Reidy absolutely smashed it.’ Who is this man? This mysterious musical man?

Alex Reid, former sex slave, bisexual transvestite, MMA fighter, Celebrity Big Brother winner and prodigious harmonica player. A complete blend of the most fascinating contradictions. I am favourably inclined towards Alex. His face, bent out of shape by a negatively slanted MMA win/loss record, reminds me of The Head from Art Attack. A great show with great memories. Resultantly, he wasn’t even on the radar until my creatively inspired cousin Rachael Walshe sent me a message asking that I pitch a show called Beefcakes and Cupcakes, mentioning that it might involve Alex Reid. I took her idea and knocked up an email, before sending it over to Alex Reid’s agent:

Hi,

I’m enquiring about the availability of Mr Reid for a show I am hoping to put together called Beefcakes vs. Cupcakes. I’m already in contact with Mary Berry’s management, who have expressed their interest in the show and Alex was first on my list of ‘beefcakes’.

Taking a Masterchef style format, the show will involve some of TVs well-known hard men, as they battle each other in the ultimate arena; the kitchen!!

I would be very grateful if you could let me know if this would be something Alex would consider. I look forward to hearing from you.

An hour later, I got this back:

Thank you for you thinking of Alex!

It’s a yes from this end – please send on details!

Best Wishes,

Kirsty

It’s hard to describe the feelings that come with getting a reply from a celebrity’s agent. It’s like you’re visiting an old manor house and are on a guided tour. Lingering at the back of the group, paused by some pictures as the guide explains their significance, you try the handle on one of the side doors leading off the corridor and it opens. That’s the feeling. Something you thought was probably off limits, is shown to no longer be. So when you hear back from one of these agents, especially when taking the piss, you’ve just gotten a small bit of access to a world that is generally presented to the public as being off limits; accessible only through the TV screen or the pages of a glossy magazine. It’s curiously exciting.I left it for almost a month before replying, mainly because I didn’t know where to go with it next. Eventually I put this response together:

Hi Kirsty,

That’s brilliant. Sorry have taken so long to get back to you, I’ve actually been in Lesotho for the last three weeks working on something, and had a nightmare of a time getting internet access.

Regarding the show, I’m still waiting to hear back from Geoff Capes and Mike Lewis (Saracen from Gladiators), but have had a positive response from Steve McFadden and Ricky Grover. I have a meeting next week with an associate at Firecracker and want to pitch this full on. What I’ve asked from the other guys is for each of them to come up with a name for a cake or dessert. So, for example, Ricky sent over ‘Bulla’s Bang On Battenberg’. I want to do a presentation that has a Stats slide. Name, Hometown, Age, Favourite Cake etc. If Alex could come up with anything, that would be ideal, e.g. Alex’s Muscly Meringues.

And bless her, she responded quickly with:

I will be back to you Monday with Reidinator’s Raspberry Roulade and more!

Best wishes,

Kirsty

Ps- Mike is a dear old friend of mine!

‘Mike is a dear old friend of mine’. Errr what?? Would you Adam and Eve it? I purposely picked what I thought was one of the more obscure Gladiators and they were old friends. This twisted celebrity world never fails to surprise me. Kirsty never got back to me and I haven’t chased her up any further. Perhaps Geoff Capes was never destined to bake-off against Phil Mitchell, and who am I to mess with fate?