You’d be forgiven for having missed this week’s biggest celebrity story, but Lost in Showbiz is now pleased to offer some time in the spotlight to the tale heatworld.com headlined thusly: “Simon Cowell protects Squiddly and Diddly from seagulls with miniature helmets”.
Squiddly and Diddly are Cowell’s two dogs – you know which is which because Squiddly always stands on the left – and anyone who has seen photos of Cowell confidently flaunting his curves as he takes Squiddly and Diddly for a walk can well imagine the dampener a seagull attack might put on a beachside stroll. “I am getting a crash helmet designed for my dogs,” are words Cowell is reported to have said. “There is a seagull problem in this country right now.”
In years ahead, when seagulls are more integrated into society, Cowell’s words may come to be regarded as dangerously inflammatory. But for now let it suffice for Lost in Showbiz to simply say that Cowell’s penchant for canine company is well-documented.
Britain’s Got Talent winner Pudsey even got his own film, which is more than X Factor series four winner Leon Jackson ever managed. Indeed, the mind does wander towards the question of how the cultural landscape might now look if Cowell applied the care he takes of his dogs to the countless strays left wandering on celebrity’s highroads and byroads during his career as a fame-facilitating pop and TV mogul.
Some associates already seem to have received golden helmets: mononymous stars such as Sinitta, Cheryl and Walsh all seem safe from figurative seagull attacks. It’s also true that beyond that handful of entities who are, one cannot help but speculate, in the possession of the GPS coordinates of where the bodies are buried, there are other survivors.
There’s Joe McElderry, who was dropped by Syco but went on to win both Popstar to Operastar and The Jump. There is Jedward, the media entity whose fame vessel has been running on empty for six years, powered by nothing more than celebrity vapour and the kinetic energy generated by running around, shouting and, only this week, appearing in Sharknado 3. Then there’s Alexandra Burke. This week, Burke informed the Telegraph’s financial pages that the Hertfordshire home she bought on her 23rd birthday had been on the market at £2.5m, until she got the seller down to £1.7m. “Am I a savvy negotiator?” she pondered. “I don’t muck about, babe.”
But there are hundreds of unfortunates to whom Cowell offered no protective helmet. At least 150 of those are members of Stereo Kicks, the sprawling boyband formed of spookily identical young men during last year’s X Factor, whoannounced their split last weekend. This is an act with so many members that their release into the wild will prompt a visible blip on national unemployment statistics. And what of Christopher Maloney, who just two months ago admitted he had spent £60,000 on surgery to look like a Photoshopped version of Christopher Maloney? Was nobody looking after Maloney’s wellbeing? Where was Christopher Maloney’s helmet?
LiS has an idea. The proposition is this: instead of being thrown under a bus, these individuals are instead given a place on one. The words of Jedward’s current single Oh Hell No will be used as both a warning and an invitation: “Pack your bags or get smashed to pieces; don’t even try to be a ignoramus.” Through the countryside they’ll go; Frankie Cocozza dominating the coveted back seat, Sam Bailey gazing wistfully from the window. Eventually, they will arrive at a mansion. Cut off from the outside world, they will never truly know if they have expired and arrived in heaven. But this Cowellvalescent home, if you will, is where they will learn to be human again.
Stereo Kicks will share a dorm room. The members of Addictiv Ladies who didn’t become Fleur East will sleep in bunks. In the dungeon, for his own protection, you’ll find James Arthur. Perhaps there will be a trailer park round the back for those who have fared badly in Cowell’s less celebrated shows: an underwhelming quiche creator from Food Glorious Food, the floor manager from Red or Black, everyone from US X Factor.
Cowell’s retreat is a place for reflection and personal growth. One afternoon, perched atop a hillock, Steve Brookstein experiences his Don Draper moment, and a wry smile crosses his face. There is serenity and acceptance as he hears the opening bars of I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing. To be fair, that’s due to Wagner standing on the roof bashing out the song in a mashup stylee with Love Shack and Black Lace’s Superman, but for a moment Brookstein is at peace.
On Tuesday, it was also reported that Cowell – who has already claimed he wants to be cryogenically frozen when he dies – is determined to clone Squiddly and Diddly. For this he has done what any dog lover would do, and approached a biotech firm in South Korea. “Money is not an issue,” declares a curiously well-placed source. “Simon is determined to make it happen.”
Could LiS’s proposed star sanctuary collide with Cowell’s regeneration plan and create a future nobody considered possible? Many years from now, could Cowell’s retreat be the home of countless identical versions of Ray Quinn? Or, given the existence of Stereo Kicks, has this experiment already been attempted, with disastrous consequences? This would, perhaps, be the ultimate Cowell move: test it out on humans until it’s safe to try on dogs.