Ben Delicious writes from Johannesburg: Spare a thought for Nelson Mandela, a living legend with a fan base a thousand times bigger than Lady Gaga’s.
The thing is that it was the great man’s birthday yesterday. He turned 94 and all the usual suspects have been terrorising him as they always do on that day, sending him postcards with silly wishes and leaving messages on his answering machine, blubbering bollocks, overcome with excitement. Like: ‘Dear Mr Mandela, ‘I hope you to live another 90 years’ or ‘Please, please when you die can I have a piece of you.’
And I bet a shudder already goes down Mr Mandela’s spine at the thought that next year he’ll be 95. Considering the suffering he had to endure when he turned 90, with the sick and twisted PC brigade turning the occasion into some hideous ritual of insincere praise, the great man might even be contemplating a quick exit, if you know what I mean.
Last time the adoring fans even dragged him to London and forced him to sit through a shitty 3-hour concert, supposedly in his honour, but in reality to mark the 20th anniversary of the Free Nelson Mandela gig in London. And, naturally, all the usual suspects, including that annoying chick, Madonna, were telling him how great it would be to hold another concert in his honour, so that they could plug their CDs for free. (By the way, Madonna probably sold more albums on the back of tribute and charity gigs that she took part in than any other pop star.)
The list of people, who were falling over each other to shake Mr Mandela’s hand that time he was in London, read like Who’s Who Of The Biggest Creeps Ever. There was Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea, and Cherie Blair was there as well, mercifully without her Tony, and Bob Geldof and that President Obama look-alike, actor Will Smith, and lots of other socially aware actors and models and pop stars. There was a lot of kissing and hugging and screaming around poor Mr Mandela then and he often seemed close to tears.
Anyway, Mr Mandela survived his extended 90th birthday party that lasted like for six months, but would he be able to withstand the onslaught when he turns 95? It probably pains him to imagine a possible gig in his honour, with all the usual suspects using it to plug their albums again.
I bet Mr Mandela probably never reckoned when he was still fighting apartheid in South Africa that one day he’d be forced to mingle with celebs and pretend that he actually knows their names and is a great fan of theirs. I wonder if he ever thinks warmly of his prison cell where he had spent so many years and where no celebs could get to him. Because I doubt very much that he could be excited by the likes of Naomi Campbell or some brain dead pop stars. What sacrifices he has to make as an icon of the politically correct mob.
And you know what’s even worse? The way hacks all over the world are waiting for Mr Mandela to die. Every bloody news station and every newspaper across the world has everything ready to unleash endless tributes on the world if, God forbid, something happens to Mr Mandela. You think the Chilean miners rescue was over the top? Just you wait till the sad day comes and Mr Mandela leaves us. It’ll be wall-to-wall tribute coverage and it’ll last for months. Maybe even longer.
And, of course, there’ll be a film made about Mr Mandela’s life and I bet Will Smith will play him. And the film will be just as bad as the one about Mohammed Ali, because Smith is to acting what impotence is to a loving relationship. For his The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air he should have been banned from acting for good.
Mr Mandela obviously knows about it. And many other things. And it hurts him to realise that just like his birthdays and anniversaries his death would be turned into a farce by others. But that’s the price you pay for being a living legend.