Clara Amfo Artsnight

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She meets John Niven, author of the music business satire


Kill Your Friends, and the rapper 50 Cent - and this episode does contain


some strong language. In my job I regularly meet people whose lives


are splashed all over the Internet and newspapers. One day you are


heart and the next, well... Fame is a bizarre and fascinating thing. For


my edition of Artsnight I will get behind the machine of celebrity and


find out why people won fame and how to get famous and most importantly


how to stay famous. The fame game is a multi-million pound industry and


it is not just faces that change from month to month and year to year


but the game itself. Welcome to my Artsnight.


# I don't know what you heard about me... One guy who knows what it is


to have everyone know his name is 50 cents or Fiddy. He is still one of


the bestselling wrappers of all time. -- is 50 Cent. The fame game


was not always easy for Fiddy, he is in the UK for a series of gigs and


he is staying just over the road from Radio 1. I will pop over to


have a chat with him. The facts of his life could not be more dramatic.


Born Curtis Jackson in Queens, New York, he was bought up by his


grandmother after his mother was killed. By the time he was 12 he was


already dealing drugs. In 2000 he nearly died after being shot nine


times at close range. Three years later he released his debut album


Get Rich or Die Tryin' which was also the title of his 2005


semi-biographical film in which he starred as himself. The difference


between 50 Cent and Curtis Jackson, is there much of one?


You know, I have grown up with both of them.


The 50 cent piece is what it would take to get by in


I didn't swear in the house, I didn't say anything that would


indicate any of my activities that were going on outside.


My grandmother, every time they said I did something, she was like...


Curtis in the house and 50 on the street.


# I was innocent then, I didn't do no wrong... #.


You know, your life has changed drastically from your beginnings,


did you always know that you were going to do something to get out of


your situation? I have addictive behaviours and I know that getting


high is not the thing for me. I will get really high. In the house I grew


up in, the alcohol abuse was always present. I grew up bright in the


middle of that and I was like, kind of dodging that. You are quite


secure in the fact you have not changed since becoming successful or


would you say you have changed? You become exposed to different things


with travelling and seeing different people. It makes you a broader


person. I kind of look at people who have it, like guys from my early


life, they just came home from jail and it's amazing because they are


exactly who they were before they went away, they did not grow up.


They stayed exactly the same, maybe ten years. You have held onto your


original crew from where you grew up but obviously with success, suddenly


I think other people would like to hang out with you. Did you find out


about actresses wanting to date you or athletes hanging out with you at


a party, how did you approach that? At first you keep your distance from


everybody else. But you need to have people around you with their own


success and have similar problems. You are a world famous name, so how


does that affect your day-to-day life like going to the gym running


to get a coffee? What a shot interaction with the public alike?


-- what is your interaction like? You try to keep away from the


general public because when you are successful, you become a target.


# It's your birthday, we are going to party like it's your


birthday,... # Would the young Curtis be more


hesitant to enter the industry now? You find that a lot of young


artists, whether they are musical artists or painters or whatever, do


you find that young people now pay more attention to the celebrity


aspect of success as opposed to the work? Well, celebrities don't have


do have talent to be a celebrity. An attractive woman taking pictures for


Instagram can get a million followers, and she does not have


talent outside her genetics or maybe she has a great Doctor! Has there


ever been a point when you go, I actually don't feel like being 50


Cent today. 50 Cent is the superstar. He is the portion that


the world embraced. What's interesting is that when you first


come into music culture, you become your idea. So if you did not write


things that really relate to your upbringing or who you are, then you


will kind of be stuck there. You have an extremely public facing job


and people assuming that they know you. How do you not care what people


think? Well, you know that they will hate you whatever you do. If you go


left, there will be people saying, why did you not go right? It is just


because it is their perception of who you are and what you could do.


People feel like they are in a great space and they could do anything. I


have people becoming angry with me because they feel I could have just


made them a star. Can I call you Curtis? Whatever you like. It was


lovely to meet the man behind 50. I appreciate your time. Never before


has the world been so saturated in images of fame and celebrity.


Everywhere we look we are assaulted visually by photographs of pouting


or perhaps perfect figures. Brand-new magazines every day and


new gossip every day and new columns and with that demand comes at a need


for a lot of photos and I mean a lot. I wonder exactly what lengths a


photographer will go to to get the perfect celebrity shot. To find out


more I'm going to the Getty images gallery to meet Dave Bennett, I like


to call him the mobile Mario test Eno. He is a master of photography


and if anyone understands the changing face of fame it is him.


It's nice to see you. Without a camera! That makes a change. Just


surrounded by photos instead. These are incredible photos, moments in


pop culture that no one can forget. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman where


the power couple. This was taken in London coming out of a restaurant in


Mayfair. This is basically Tom Cruise telling the world that he had


left Mimi Rodgers and was now dating Nicole Kidman. It has been used now


ever since then all the time and everybody does it. They just go out


and take the new girl to a popular haunt. And that will be that. I'm


sure you can tell and you must know when you see people pretending that


they don't know they are being photographed, have you managed to


get a bit of an indicator? Anyone who is anywhere near us, they know


that we know that they know. We have been on the red carpet. Liz Hurley


was photographed by 40 photographers all evening. Then we came to the


party, and I knew that there was something missing, something that


she wanted to give. At the in and out club I got there ahead of her. I


just went, Liz, and Hugh does not even know the photo is being taken.


She was totally ready. Would you say you did not need any particular


tricks to get people to let their guard down? We were not long lens


guys, we were not in bushes. It was quieter then. The paparazzi would


have been ten guys, normally only three or four. The availability of


Camrys and digital -- cameras increased the amount of


photographers. 30 or 40 guys might be outside a party. There is no way


you can get a good picture. It is going to be a ruck. From the moment


that the star comes out the door. The face of fame has changed a lot


since Dave began his career and what it means to be a celebrity has


transformed beyond belief. The interest in celebrity has become a


professional activity involving thousands of pounds, millions of


pounds. Like all professional activities involving people you have


to keep turning the wheel and bringing in new episodes to try to


gain audience attraction. You have various celebrity stunts being


performed in order to get us interested. Part of the celebrities


don't issue is that the paparazzi create situations where stunts can


occur and they organise scandalous situations, situations which may


lead to a breakdown in ordinary interaction in order to generate


news. It is not just talented actors or royals that are the subject of


relentless paparazzi attention today, we increasingly see the lives


of previously ordinary people gaining more scrutiny from one


lenses. I'm about to have a conversation with Rob Cooper who is


a celebrity manager and he is known for making sure that his clients get


in the paper. Some of his clients are a bit vulnerable and I'm


apprehensive about that which is why I want him to see what his methods


are and what lengths he will go to to sure that his name is get kept in


the paper. -- to make sure. You need to tweet. We should put in a


spelling mistake because people might take the piss out of you. In


this unnerving documentary we see Rob working with Josie Cunningham


who has been in the headlines but the wrong reasons. Rob got in touch


when she first came to prominence after a story about her NHS funded


breast enlargement. People like to feel better about their own life,


they like to read about her life and then say... Did you read this? They


want to think they are above this person. We are picking up the


Czechs, that's fine. -- cheques. All of these are tactics to maximise


interest in her story. When it comes to your job do you ever your ethics?


I might feel a little bit guilty. If I met someone and tried to put them


out there without insight, I might feel guilty. But if I'm telling them


what might happen, there is only so much I can do and I should not how


to take responsibility, if they are switched on, that is their choice.


Every day when we walk to work and we are going about our daily


business, we are assaulted with thousands if not hundreds of


thousands of images of people from the public eye whether it is on


blogs or magazines or TV, it is everywhere and you can't escape it.


What do you do to make sure you get your clients out there?


If there are too many photos of someone out there, we will change


their hair or something like that. You might have somebody wearing the


same track suit every when they do the school run, because no paparazzi


is going to turn up outside your house every day to get the same


shot. You do that and the paparazzi do not hound you too much. We will


only do it on a certain situation, with a badge or a hat, so that


picture is pretty much just for one story and can't be used again after.


When it comes to your clients, would you say that any of them are decent


role models. Let's take a look at Josie for example, would you say she


is a role model? I'm not going to lie, it is a Perin's responsibility


to raid their children and teach them right from wrong. You don't


pass the buck to someone in the limelight, do your job as a parent


and your children will be fine. Josie Cunningham ten years ago,


would she have been as notorious as she is now? I would say ten years


ago she probably would not have been famous and in ten years time she


wouldn't be famous. It's purely about the time of the transition


from print to online. It's all how much she wants it. At the moment I


would say she is happy with what she's done. Meeting Rob was


certainly an education. Even though I work in this industry and I'm


quite aware of media manipulation, I was enlightened by Rob. I didn't


realise just how much goes into those tiny little pictures you might


see in the corner of a blog or a magazine, a lot goes into them and I


think it's safe to say that with people like Rob around, the industry


of celebrity isn't going bust any time soon.


Camden Town. In the 90s, this was the spiritual home of Britpop, a


music scene that gave rise to a scandalous book about the industry.


Kill Your Friends was written by disenchanted PR man Jonathan. This


is what I do, I listen to music, singers and songwriters, is decide


which ones stand a good chance of commercial success. Sound easy? Get


fucked. You wouldn't last ten minutes.


I met John... Do your member your first job in the music industry? I


have this image of you wide-eyed, OK music industry, I'm ready for you. I


would like to think there was a time when I was wide-eyed and innocent,


but I felt a bit like the vegetarian working in the slaughterhouse.


Beneath your feet you can see sharks circling. These are your colleagues,


your friends. Welcome to the music industry. Kill Your Friends is now a


film as the sociopathic star... I wrote the book from the point of


view of the young naive guy who gets seduced and then disgusted by this


system. When I came back to it I wrote it from the point of view of


the guy who is in the belly of the beast but absolutely loved it and


was completely is unapologetic about his desires. How do you want to play


this? You be the enthusiastic music lover and bang on about the guitar


solos and I will tell them about the label. Why do people like him so


much? His character is pretty awful, he is a terrible human being, but


people seem to really like him. I think what happens


is that he will see some really outrageous things but now and again


he says something that is really right on the money about the nature


of fame and the ego of musicians. We enter into an uncomfortable


collusion with him because we think, I agree with that. As you know, we


will manufacture your records and get them in the shops, and that's


about it. We will interfere in every conceivable step of the artistic


process. We will force you to appear an degrading kids television


programmes when you are hung over in the morning. We will under account


you and charge you for everything up to the stables used to knock your


horrendous contracts together. Was there a fear about translating the


story from print to scream? It was always strange seeing something you


have written realised as a movie, a very odd experience.


You've seen the evolution of the industry since the 90s.


Would you say that that much has changed, really,


when it comes to people's attitudes towards what they want out


Maybe something that has changed in the past 20 years,


and it's a by-product of all of these reality shows, possibly...


If you want to be a writer, a musician, an artist,


then ideally you want to do the work all this stuff


like the red carpets and premieres, that is the effluent, the by-product


You then have to do that sort of stuff.


Whereas I do think that there is a subculture now


of kids who think that the red carpet stuff and getting


your photograph taken and doing interviews and pouting in front of


Anybody who does this will tell you that that is the worst aspect of it.


It's an interesting thing, that a lot of people genuinely seem


to want the waste products of fame without any of the good stuff.


Thank you very much, John Niven. I thoroughly enjoyed your commentary.


Now, if there is one thing that this entire self obsessive moneymaking


fame machine can't do without, it's the fans. Fans are at the heart of


the industry. After all it is their money that keeps the whole celebrity


shebang on the road. I am absolutely fascinated by the relationship


between the super famous and their fans and definitely how their


relationship has shifted over the years. Before, when it came to our


favourites, there was an element of mystery. But now we know everything


from their last dentist appointment to even what they had for breakfast.


And all change is due to one woman. -- come to the Madonna fan party.


Since 2003 the parties have provided an opportunity for fans to meet each


other face-to-face and pay homage to the Queen of pop. She was sexy and


fun. Because her music has crossed so many genres, it feels like she


has soundtrack our lives. I always think when I'm doing things, what


would Madonna do? If you think about what Madonna was doing in the late


80s and early 90s when she released In Bed With Madonna, the film, she


was attempting to portray herself in a slightly different light as how


she was seen on TV. Stripping us back to who she really was and what


she was really like, warts and all, that was kind of how she sold that


film. From that day, celebrities are now very happy to let us into their


homes, their bodies, let us see everything that goes on and it's no


longer scandalous in the way that it was then. But despite giving fans


unprecedented access to her world, Madonna really has remained fiercely


protective of her position as a cultural icon. She is still a bit of


an enigma, which I like. Do you feel like you know Madonna? No, I feel


like I know her as an artist but not as a person, which is how it should


be. But in the new world of social media, the staff and relationship


has entered a dramatic


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