How many stars are really out there?
Impossible to count, of course. Even when referring to showbiz stars and not the infinite celestial variety.
Millions of us will take a crack at stardom and in all manner of pursuits; acting, comedy, writing, singing, dancing - but the odds are against us and most of us quickly perish and we join the throng of admiring onlookers (or resentful) – gawping at the lucky few who make it.
And this ratio – whatever it is – the 10 million to one shot – qualifies the ‘star’; lifts them out of the ordinary and in some cases to even immortality – Elvis, Monroe, Einstein…
So few in number then, greatly admired and gigantically (over) successful. These people are omnipotent – with the world and its people, literally at their feet!
This all occurred to me when I heard a radio interview with Chris Martin of Coldplay stardom and worldwide acclaim.
That ratio again…
Of all the millions of bands founded out of high schools and colleges the world over, how many super groups are there? U2, The Killers, Foo Fighters, Maroon Five… and I would reason, Coldplay.
The interview was to promote the band’s latest album, Everyday Life, launched with a very different approach to publicity. Using only classified ads in local and oblique newspapers and two live concerts but not in LA, Rio or London – but Jordan – and live streamed on YouTube.
All very cool – very new – very hip and with the net result of enormous media coverage – but no doubt the greatest PR coup being a blog post dedicated to them by me!
And I think that this coverage is fair enough. Coldplay are a great band. They are different. Unabashed, they write anthems, modern-day hymns almost. Yellow alone, might even be enough. A band loved by millions. One of my greatest friends (a super fan) took me to see them once; an abiding memory for me since he passed away 20 months ago which creates a further connection for me and a degree of affection also.
And risking an album launch to such low-key media outlets is itself cool and only adds to their cache (and success).
This is the self-perpetuating power of stardom.
And fleetingly, I compared this to the launch of my latest novel I,Gabriel...
...airing similarly on only low rent channels – but out of necessity and not some cunning strategy - and with very different outcomes.
I, Gabriel featured prominently on Blog posts (my own!), Instagram (again, my own only) and to-date, two local radio interviews – and as yet, without viral pickup and traction that Coldplay’s album has enjoyed – and with ultimate sales of novel and album being commensurate I am sure.
Oh, to be Chris Martin, I mused. To live in and occupy such a lofty world of mega-success.
But then something happened. The interview took an unexpected turn – a slap in my face, anyway – it ended my woe is me indulgence and endeared me to CM and his band even more.
Let me explain…
The interviewer – gleeful at his exclusive (and no doubt his being flown from the cold UK to the beautiful and warm Jordan – he put to Chris Martin, “…you’re a big fixture and part of Glastonbury… where you’ve headlined before and last year, you made an impromptu appearance during Stomzy’s set – will we be seeing you again next year.”
An affectionate question but rebuffed with a firm and resolute, NO – followed by an awkward beat and some gentle nudging by the interviewer.
Chris Martin recalled crashing the gig and singing along – no doubt, to the raptures of the 150,000 watching. And again I thought, how cool to be Chris Martin.
Anyone of us managing to get access to such a stage could expect not a welcome but a damn good kicking.
But Chris Martin then explained…
It was great – but afterwards I saw a tweet…
“you can always rely on him to appear in a tracksuit and ruin things.”
He then added and I’m paraphrasing…
‘And so I thought, I shouldn’t be online and I won’t be doing that again.’
Coldplay have over 20 million followers on twitter. No doubt, 100’s of millions followers elsewhere. Chris Martin is one of the most heralded singers of one of the world’s most successful bands. A squillionaire (if there is such a thing). A man living the life, millions aspire to.
So to hear him laid-so-low by a solitary tweet… albeit a cruel comment from clearly an unhappy soul – that it could reach and then penetrate someone who I see as impregnable - really stopped me in my tracks.
Chris Martin then summed it up perfectly – when asked somewhat incredulously, ‘Did that affect you then?’
‘We are all human, right.’
And there we have it. And thank you Chris Martin.
No matter our success. Our achievements and our place in the world. Or what we project on to people who seemingly have it all.
Fundamentally we are all the same. We are human. We are fallible and vulnerable in equal measure. Fumbling through life as best we can. And understanding this is a good thing. It is a fundamental piece in our armoury against the crisis of mental health issues that we are told is enveloping us all.
Onwards people, I say...
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