Spare a thought for those troubled stars

Spare a thought for those troubled stars

Some people seem to really relish seeing stars in the gutter, down on their luck - it seems to be a reflection on the sicker side of British society.

People love buying the papers to see Britney Spears or Kerry Katona sprawling around on a lairy night out. Me? I just feel really, really sorry for them.

As everyone's knocking back the booze in the run-up to Christmas it's totally timely to take a moment and see just how easily it can all go pear-shaped ... or Pete-shaped.

Babyshambles frontman Pete 'Tweety Pie' Docherty is the undisputed King of bedgraggled debauchery, and he just carries on and on. How long have we been picking up Heat magazine to see him in and out of court, lumbering around in filthy clothes, with glassy eyes and spotty skin?

And poor Amy Winehouse is the Queen of the scene. She came to our attention as a strangely bouffanted retro soul diva, now despite being iTunes' most downloaded artist this year she's more famous for wandering around in her bra, loudly lamenting her unsuitable husband's incarceration.

The other thing is, no-one really understands what Blake actually did to end up in chokey. Well, do you?
The sickest thing is that the notioriety of stars like these seems to go hand in hand with their public profile. Everyone loves a rebel without a corset and Amy certainly fulfils that role.

There's another brilliant young soul songstress on the scene, Candie Payne, whose stunning album I Wish I Could Have Loved You More, is a lush soundscape of Dusty Springfield-esque chiming anthems ... but you don't seem to see her on anything other than serious music shows like Later With Jools Holland. She works hard, behaves herself and sings sweetly but she just hasn't the same currency as Amy.

You wonder just how much of all the druggy shambling is for real, and how much is put on for the paps. And then you actually think, "Um, not much." She seems genuinely out of control.

Things must be bad if your mum has to write an open letter to the News Of The World, trying to get you to come home for a warm blanket, a bowl of soup and some serious cold turkey.

"We want to help you, but we know that unless you want to be helped - unless you come to us - anything we tried would be in vain," wrote Janis Winehouse.

"I pile hope upon hope that your strong will can bend for just a moment to make that decision and come home to me. We were terrified after we saw those pictures of you earlier this week, wandering the freezing streets of London at dawn in your underwear. All I wanted to do was rush into those pictures and wrap you up in a big, warm blanket."

Feeling less Christmassy now? I am! It's easy for me to preach the evils of drink and drugs, being tee-total. One upside of our paparazzi culture is that we regularly see the celebs really in the raw without any old-fashioned airbrushing or stage management.

Could these images put young people off nasty substances? Well, they're scarier than the 'Heroin screws you up' adverts that freaked us all out in the 80s!

To pile on more doom and gloom, struggling with the demon drink and drugs is not necessarily a young person's domain - it's not just the enfant terribles who're having trouble.

One of my heroes, David Hasselhoff, has reportedly been in hospital with alcohol poisoning - I never even knew he had problems, he looked a picture of suntanned health when I met him last year.

So, moderation - that's the key, we might all love Amy but it seems like she doesn't really love herself at the moment.

My book's now on sale

Remember I told you all about a coffee table book of photos of the Leeds Rhinos I was putting together? Well, it's finally gone on sale today - £12.99 from the club's website if you're interested.

That's not a shameless money-making plug because all the proceeds are going to the Rugby Foundation, who do good work in schools to promote the sport.

The title of the book is Access All Areas and it's a bit saucy, there's a bare bum or two in there - I bet there'll be a few ladies whooping with delight if Santa brings them a copy ...

It was great fun to do, following the club all season. I made some new friends, learned a lot and it's been a brilliant experience.

Boy George's woes continue

Boy George is still in all sorts of bother, being sued in the civil courts for breach of contract with regard to personal appearances ... I went with a friend, a nightclub promoter, to serve him a writ - I didn't want to, I've known George for years and I didn't want him to think I was gloating - but my friend wanted some support so I was torn.

As you might have read in the papers, it was in the early hours at a club when we took the legal documents to George. All he saw, in the throng, was a bit of paper waved at him, which he signed, thinking it was someone wanting his autograph.

You couldn't make it up! When I saw George in Budapest a few weeks ago he was breezily making light of people wanting money from him. Let's hope he can pay off his debts and turn over a new leaf in 2008.

Verity and Lee call it a day

I was sad about my friends Verity Rushworth, the Emmerdale actress, and her Leeds Rhino boyfriend Lee Smith splitting up - a fact that's been documented in the papers.

They were touted as the Posh and Becks of West Yorkshire and cut a real dash out on the town together, attending the best events in the greatest clothes!

Having seen them both socially, they seem to be pining for each other but when you've got to go your separate ways and do your own thing, there's nothing else for it but to put a brave face on.

Lee's a rising star and Verity has ambitions to star on stage in the West End so good luck to them both.