Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Mr Smith Goes To.A Starf*ck. (the Arts)

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Mr Smith Goes To.A Starf*ck. (the Arts)

Article excerpt

The starf*ck: behind the spangled G-string of its asterisk lurks an expression that takes us back to the shameless priapism of the Eighties. It described what happened when stars -- we didn't call them celebrities in those days -- left the impregnable Winnebago of fame for an orgy of interviews designed to promote their latest film/record/rehab.

You don't hear the term much today, perhaps because the starf*ck is so ubiquitous in some circles that nobody involved notices any more. In all my years in front of the mast of the Channel 4 News boom-mike, I had never experienced this phenomenon in the flesh, until the release of a film featuring a knight of the British performing arts. His starf*ck was arranged for a weekday afternoon in a hotel on Park Lane. This address is to journalistic gangbangs what the nearby Shepherd Market is to the real thing.

At 4.30pm, a bellhop was approaching the star's suite propelling a Caesar salad on a linen-draped gurney. It looked like a wreath on a bier. Following the bellhop through the actor's door seemed the thing to do. But this was vetoed by a young woman, a brunette, who directed me to the other entrance to the suite. The titled thesp and party were put up in rooms that occupied an entire corner of the hotel. Sure enough, I was welcomed at a matching door, by an almost identical brunette. The two women were like figures in a weather vane.

Across the threshold, the outlook was unsettled. Sir himself was on top form, but a few naughty people had taken advantage of his good nature, so Channel 4 News would be rationed to three minutes. …

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