In my lifetime, I’m scheduled to take around 672,768,000 breaths, make about 68,985,000 steps and spend near enough to £1,500,000. It’s an intimidating prospect, but it’s also inspiring. There’s a lingering doubt though; despite all the brilliant and terrible experiences I’m yet to have, as far as anyone who remembers me during my short lived time on the telly is concerned, I will be just that – someone who was on the telly once... The Ex Factor.
In the spring of 2012 I wanted to be famous, I can’t deny that. I turned up for auditions for a good handful of reality shows, I met producers, researchers, psychologists and psychiatrists (still don’t know the difference) during various auditions until I got lucky with probably the biggest show of the lot, X Factor. Unfortunately, a small hurdle I stubbornly refused to consider was that I couldn’t really sing yet. I’ll always credit myself with guitar playing ability (I’ve got ruddy certificates!), and I’ve always been able to knock up a half decent song relatively painlessly, but my singing was always my Achilles’ heel; I could blag it when I was playing Brighton pubs with rubbish PA systems and loud, overpowering guitar amps, but alone on huge stages in front of thousands it was a bit trickier. Nevertheless, I persevered and through a cocktail of cheek, cockiness and the “rockstar” look probably made it further than I deserved, but was it all worth it?
Having your 15 minutes of fame at 18 is the best worst idea anyone could ever have. It’s the perfect time for fun & indulgence; it’s also the worst time to be given an ego boost before being taken down about 27 pegs in one go. I’ll always remember walking down the street for the first time, having people take their eyes off the road to eye up the man of the moment with the big hair & the leather jacket. I’ll always remember seeing myself on page 3 of Heat, reading back the indulgent nonsense I’d spouted at journalists the week before and thinking “did I really say that?” But I’ll also remember the vitriol that would greet me wherever I’d go, to this day it eludes me how people can have so much hatred for someone who’s just giving something a go. I’m no Justin Bieber fan, I think he’s possibly the dullest “icon” the world has ever seen, but I wouldn’t want to wish bad fortune upon him as a person, he’s been given an opportunity (admittedly a much more lucrative and long lasting one than I) and he’s taken it, why wouldn’t he?
My short time in the spotlight was a mish mash of emotions, but the one that stuck out the most was always frustration - frustration that I couldn’t find an agent, frustration that I knew I was probably only ever going to get less famous, frustration that I couldn’t show these bloomin’ naysayers that I was good at something other than poncing about a stage barely singing, but mainly frustration that all these things were linked. You see, fame is literally going nowhere if you don’t have a means to maintain it; you will simply fade into obscurity no matter how much you might want it to explode into eternity. It’s been said before, but for every Jade Goody there are a hundred Big Brother contestants you never heard from again. Unfortunately, reality TV makes victims of dimwits like myself who reckon they’re special, but even if you are special, you have to be lucky to go anywhere once the cameras stop rolling, very lucky.
This article probably comes across as a bit vain and self-indulgent, but I think I’d be missing the point if it wasn’t. My 2012 revolved around people’s perceptions of me, and ever since I’ve felt a need to remedy those perceptions with something purer and more inventive. I’m a great believer in turning negative energy into something positive; I don’t think there’s a better way of showing someone two fingers. So I’ve thrown myself into a rigid singing lesson program and I’m working night and day on my band, Naughty Step. I’d love to end this article with something along the lines of “I’m doing fine now with my new band, you can listen to us or ignore us, we don’t care either way” but it’d be a blatant lie - I really do care, if not more than before. But at least I go to bed now, knowing I’m doing my best to climb the ladder the authentic way; with a band onstage with me, covering up those little out of key bits I’m sure I still do a few of every show.