Friday, February 17, 2012

The Joke

The Joke

On the very night after one of music’s most gifted voices was found forever silenced in a Beverly Hills hotel room, a remarkable performance pulled the jaded corporate audience up out of their seats in a whooping, hollering ovation at the Grammy awards across town. It was a performance that needed no desperate theatrics to obscure a paper-thin talent. No tumblers nor levitators, no marching gladiators, no fire. The singer did not wear a dress made of meat, nor did she swing from a rope in a cowboy hat. She simply stood on the stage in a fetching black dress and a swath of red lipstick, and sang. Such is the powerhouse talent of the British songstress, Adele. The world is now at her feet. May God protect her.

It was especially difficult not to consider the comparison between this fresh faced, naturally charming girl and the one whose meteoric rise and tragic descent hung like a blue mist over the festivities of that night. The lusciousness of the smiling Adele contrasted painfully with the memory of the ravaged Whitney Houston of latter days. Both had been blessed with an undeniable gift; a gift that, despite all the hoopla and hype of the music business, comes along only rarely. I sat watching Adele drink in the well-deserved adulation of the audience on Sunday, saw her grinning with glee at it all, and I prayed fervently that she has people around her now who will tell her the truth, people who will help her get the joke. For make no mistake, fame is nothing more than a joke. A cruel joke usually played on the very young when they are so certain it’s the one thing in life they desire above all others. Little do they realize, it is a bell that cannot be unrung, a present that cannot be returned when the recipient finds it frighteningly unwelcome. It is incredibly meaningless, yet it has the power to change people in ways they would never have dreamed possible prior to its arrival at their door.
Only the most self-aware amongst us dare shake its hand.

Due to The Songwriter’s occupation, I have seen a bit of fame up close. I have stood beside heart throbs who are oddly shorter that their photographs suggest. I have taken note of the ones who look you in the eye when they speak to you and the ones whose eyes roam the room in search of someone more important. I have learned how to spot those who get the joke of fame, and sadly, those who do not.
I myself have never wished to be famous. When I went to the movies as a little girl, I wanted to be Guinevere, not Vanessa Redgrave - Mary Poppins, not Julie Andrews. It was the characters the actors portrayed that caught my imagination, not the actors themselves. I adored The Beatles, still do, but I would never wish to be one of them. The notion of being hit with flashbulbs on exiting a restaurant fills me with absolute horror and I loathe being photographed the way some loathe a trip to the dentist. However I fear I’m in the minority, for so often today it seems being famous is the ultimate goal. Famous for what? No matter... that doesn’t seem to figure into the fantasy. As long as one can score magazine covers and a few paparazzi, one has hold of the brass ring. Modern television has shown us that merely by sacrificing one’s dignity and grace, fame is actually quite easy to attain and it seems there are many willing to try. Fame doesn’t care if one merits its attention or not, it is more than capable of damaging the one with true talent as it is the one famous for nothing.

There is every reason in the world to be hopeful for Adele, despite her newly colossal fame. She is one of the rare ones who appear to own both a witty intelligence and the ability to revel in the happy ridiculousness of this media comet she is now astride. Her interviews are delightfully self-deprecating and candid, and she seems to know her own mind which can only help her stand firm when she needs to. And she will need to. She has just announced that she intends to take five years off to concentrate on enjoying her life, a decision that will seriously displease some suits in the industry. As much as I love her music, this delights me no end.
Give her a good thought, and wish her well.
I am.

“Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.”
Erma Bombeck

“I won’t be happy till I’m as famous as God”.


  1. A very perceptive and eloquently expressed post, I wish her well also. I am trying to think of examples of people who handle fame well, nobody springs to mind. Maybe The Dutchess of Devonshire, I am sure she would see the joke.

  2. Great words here today. Thank You.

  3. And yet, sometimes I wonder if the genesis of bloggers bloggging, was fame and fortune; tv shows and book deals. I agree, it would be terrible to be famous, especially for those of us who are basically shy, but had Walter Mittyesque dreams anyway.

  4. Spoken with the wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages and a firm grasp of human nature!! Well done!

  5. An intelligent reminder of just what kind of self knowledge and perspective is necessary for survival is refreshing, even comforting. Thanks for this.

  6. Great post, Pamela! I have experienced the "fame" thing first hand with some of the work I do... someone I met at a gig couldn't believe that I had a "day job' and was floored to find out that I get up and go to work in the morning. She must have thought I lived in the cave she saw me perform in... ? It was a strange reminder of how we make up stories and how we transform others into archetypal characters on a quest... or some such thing!
    Anyway, its particularly brave of Adele to take time off... good for her! And thanks for the thoughtful post!

  7. Bravo Pamela... you are not only lovely but wise... I hope Adele's career is without the pain and suffering that many of her peers endure... xv

  8. Great post..thank you very much...I live in a world with "famous" people and know its very lonely out there..

    Hugs from all of us..T.D and Company.

  9. I could not have add anything, you, as so often round up, what has been on my mind as well, the joke, the tragedy of illusions so craved by many.
    Love the idea of looking up at the role, not the actor. For it is the performance which makes people, not the limelight afterwards. To be is good, to do is better!
    Thank you for your eloquent words!

  10. Interesting juxtaposition, Pamela; I hate to see a talent like Whitney leave this world the way she proud of Adele!

  11. Your thoughts ring so true, it is terribly difficult for most to handle exorbitant fame and fortune. Whitney's passing is sad indeed.

    Adele is so gifted, seems to be a real genuine woman. I wish her all the best, however also peace.

    Art by Karena

  12. Thanks so much for your wise words. Fame has ruined too many lives to count. Having worked in the entertainment industry for 18 years I've seen it too many times. Thanks again for bringing this subject into focus.

  13. Hello Pamela

    "Fame is nothing more than a cruel joke" so very well said Pamela.
    Adele is a delight and so refreshing and may God bless her.

    Thank you.

    Helen xx

  14. I don't watch the Grammy award show but DO adore Adele. She's the freshest thing in decades...I wish her the best and hope she treats her vocal cords properly. The forced voices of today's singers are risky...

  15. Extremely well said Pamela!
    Like you, I adore Adele's music. And, although "I wish nothing but the best for youooooo", I have no need to know or adore her...(unless she chooses to move next door and become my neighbour, but that's a whole other kettle of fish).
    It's a tough industry and a tough life. I hope her decision to take the next five years off works out for her and that she will be back in 2017 with some wonderful music for us all to share.

  16. Yes, I heard Elvis at the hairdresser's today, used to work with a relative of Amy Winehouse, and have pondered the sadness of Whitney Houston's death. Makes one wonder if beauty, talent, wealth and fame are anything at all to pursue. Perhaps it is the fame that is the evil witch amongst the well wishers. I would so hate to lose my privacy (not that I'm in any danger!). Great post.

  17. I posted Adele as well, just her performance at the Grammys. I am a great fan.

  18. Pamela,
    you must be reading my mind.
    That last quote is so true.
    Adele is a true talent.


  19. Let's hope that she stays true to herself Pamela...based on everything I have read, she seems to have the will and the spirit. So sad to hear about Whitney and even more so to think of how the press has treated her in recent years. Now that she is gone, they seem to adore her. She probably would have like to have heard that one more time before she passed.

    Very thoughtful post always. :)

    Jeanne xx

  20. Hi Pamela

    I forwarded your post to my husband (who is unaware of all that goes on in blogtopia) He praised your insightful writing. For some reason you were not in my blog roll, you now are. Wishing you a delightful weekend

  21. Such an eloquent post Pamela, isn't it amazing how difficult it seems to be to balance great talent with level headedness.
    Please tell me that Madonna didn't really say that!

  22. Oh Pamela, well said, well done! Excellent post.

  23. So beautifully expressed! Thank you, Pamela!

  24. A thoughtful post, Pamela.
    I am in awe of Adele's powerful voice.

  25. This is a wise and thoughtful commentary on the drawbacks of fame. I couldn't agree with you more and I hope along with you that this stunning new talent and obvious star Adele will be able to withstand the negative side of fame. Her performance at the Grammy's was the highlight of the show for me. What a talent she has!

  26. Very well said. I'm hoping that Adele will reign over the music industry for many years to come. She's beautiful, talented and yes.....a success. Again, well said you.

  27. Really well written Pamela! You've perfectly captured my recent thoughts about Adele and how different she comes across. She seems to have a very good and mature head upon her shoulders and I have the highest hope that she won't succumb to the downward spiral of fame that so many have, *plus* she has a little sausage dog, Louie...Miss. Ginger and I believe that means she's got it all together in spades!
    Have a wonderful weekend...looking forward to Downton's grand finale tomorrow (went by so quickly)!
    xo J~

  28. Such a lovely post Pamela. I said Amen more than once while reading it and almost let out a halleluja in the end!:-) So so true. And you are not alone Pamela - I also like very much to stay non-famous.

    I also agree with you Jeanne. Better to tell people while they are here:-(

  29. We've been watching Adele in Ireland and the UK for a few years now, as she made her original big splash here. Her talent is undeniable, and so far she has a good head on her shoulders. I think most people want to see others succeed with their incredible talents without succumbing to the all too predictable ravages that Whitney Houston did. She was a true gem, and didn't deserve her fate. God bless them both, and thank you for the thoughtful post.

  30. *** CONGRATS on hitting the proverbial "nail on the head" here, Pamela...

    Your thoughts/keen observations are QUITE eloquently stated, as well as factually insightful, IMHO ...

    As one who was born n' raised close to the beach in So Cal (in MY family, we laughingly call it "the land of fruits n' nuts"...), and a very short distance from HOLLYWOOD, left me (& my husband too) thinking (as young newlyweds... maaaany years ago), that it was, by FAR, simply NOT the place to raise the most "well adjusted children"...

    Is So Cal undeniably beautiful? Yes!!! (But ooooooh, the PRICE that one often PAYS for it!!!)...

    This was SO well-written & on-target, that I'm signing up to receive your future blogs by E-mail. Soooo, MANY THANKS for a "case" superby thought out, sincere and clearly presented!!!

    Linda in AZ *

  31. Just found your gorgeous blog,I really enjoyed your post so eloquently put...I notice you love the highlands,I love visiting there It's so beautiful.
    XX Manda XX

  32. Great post..thank you very much...I live in a world with "famous" people and know its very lonely out there.. Hugs from all of us..T.D and Company.


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