‘Chalex’ And The Rise Of The Flea List Celebrity

With ‘hackgate’ seriously denting the media’s access to the A-listers, will the press-hungry z-list now prevail?
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Jordan has a lot to answer for. Ridiculous eyelashes, plastic chests, frilly clothes, pink cars, self tans, trash novels, long fingernails, kids in make-up, Playboy pencil tins, ITV 2, even pole-dancing tots seem to be intrinsically linked to the sickly emptiness that Jordan has puked up over modern Britain in an all-consuming tidal wave of gaudy, candy-covered bile. A woman with no discernible talent other than to remove a bra – which she no longer does – it would seem fitting and just, in these times of austerity, if Jordan would finally shuffle off in her white Stetson and frilly cowboy boots (her millions banked) to while away her retirement painting the eyelashes of Shetland Ponies.

To some degree, Jordan’s achievements have been astounding. No media expert on Earth could have revived the tiny failing budgie heart that was Peter Andre’s career. But Jordan did. Her books bankroll hundreds of loss-making novels and her TV shows kept an entire channel afloat. She even made a household name of a fairly average, cross-dressing cage fighter with a face like a punched cake. Quite incredible. However, it’s with characters such as Mr Alex Reid that the next wave of Jordan-inspired crud comes bubbling up from the sewers. Crud that sees any sort of publicity as precious nectar…

Sat in front of Eamonn Holmes and his wife Ruth Langsford, Alex Reid and his new partner Chantelle Houghton announced their newfound love on This Morning. Two human beings who would bore you to the point of murder in a broken lift, taking up more electricity, oxygen and more importantly air time, as they declared how they had finally found happiness through their shared experiences of doomed celebrity love. All cuddles and smiles.

“I always call him the hurricane,” Chantelle explained, giggling. Not ‘Hurricane’ because he’s a drunk with a snooker cue, but because he… “walks into a room and he’s literally like a hurricane. He walks in and lights up the room.” Ignoring the fact that hurricanes emit no light and tend to form in conditions of low visibility, should Alex Reid’s personality be described as any climactic condition, it would surely be ‘drizzle’. Here is a man who renders Peter Andre a virtual Orson Wells figure by comparison.

It was the spawning of a new mutant strain of sub-celebrity ‘showmance’. Not so much c-list, as ‘flea list’.

But this wasn’t an innocuous, love-will-find-a-way tale. No sir. This was a carefully timed, high-profile coupling that even Max Clifford might have turned his nose up at, and it signified something darker. Something trashier. OK, so they might genuinely be in love, but this was on camera. This was being taped. It was the spawning of a new mutant strain of sub-celebrity ‘showmance’. Not so much c-list, as ‘flea list’. The fleas in the fake fur of the faintly famous. Fleas who would have gladly handed over their mobile numbers to Mr Mulcaire et al.

It was, in a spray-tanned nutshell, a hideous act of parasitical desperation. Their tiny mouths sucking in the studio lights and the audience figures, while media experts in red spectacles speculated on fragrance lines and underwear, these two microscopic hand-clasped pests sucked from the phantom, plastic teat of the elephant in the room: Jordan. Jordan whom Reid referred to at one point as “You know…”

Yes, we know who ‘You know’ is Mr Reid. Jordan is the cash cow from which you feed your transparent abdomen and its many legs. You are one of Jordan’s diffusion line dullards – he probably wears an untucked shirt and shoes to a football match – grabbing hold of a woman famous for appearing in a celebrity reality TV show as a ‘non celebrity’. A woman who had a failed marriage to a bloke in a band we’ve all forgotten about. Whatever way you looked at it, popular culture in this crystalised prime-time moment had (and not for the last time) eaten itself. And ‘Chalex’ represented the vanilla-infused excreta. There was precisely no ‘fame’ on the couch. Just hints and whiffs.

Should Chalex produce a child, Son of Chalex will be three strains away from even Jordan’s mongrel celebrity chromosomes. It will be the faintly famous child, of two borderline z-list wannabes – irony upon irony they met at the Fame Awards – who once associated with a stripper and a nobody. If they can’t make it with talent, then they’ll make it as a couple. They will trade off of their love. Just like Katie and Peter, they will be the show.

The timing is perfect. Post ‘hackgate’ with the claws of the press being constantly clipped, Chalex represents easy pickings. They will fall in love, marry (the wedding will be sponsored by a cereal bar), get fat, diet, cheat, spawn and divorce to order. It’s a ready-made story all too happy to unfold before our eyes. So, can we all pitch in for a giant can of Raid to get rid of the Reidonator and his plus one before it gets too fat? Raid… Reidonator… How about Raidenator? Wait a minute, that’s a great branding opportunity. Where’s the phone?

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