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Created on 28/6/2008

Entertainment takes many forms and the entertainers are a group as diverse and intriguing as the rest of the world’s population.

One woman in entertainment has proven herself to be the female giant of the entertainment business over the last decades, and she is Madonna. Her story is one of determination, genius and focus. She comes armed with a limited set of natural gifts. Not conventionally beautiful or even pretty to many tastes, she doesn’t have a great voice, and is a limited songwriter. Her origins as a dancer have blessed her with an ability to move very well on stage, and her enormously punishing exercise routine and natural strength give her endurance and stamina. Above all, Madonna exudes sex. This is a sexiness that other women envy and consciously or otherwise mimic, and that men find arousing. However the balance of her gifts is measured the results have been sustained success. Like David Bowie she has constantly reinvented herself, always managing to appear at the cutting edge of modernity and it is this currency and her sheer vibrancy that keeps her selling.

Madonna has her personal problems right now, according to reports that her marriage to Guy Ritchie is about to break up. I hope that they can find happiness and fulfillment because no one enjoys a situation like this.

Many people told me that they’d seen the Coldplay concert at the BBC. I have written before about this band, and this concert. However the raves were so wild and the adulation of this British band so intense, that I viewed it yet again on the BBC iPlayer. I am forced to repeat that Coldplay are very limited. Their lead singer, Chris Martin, is not great, not even very good. On the plus side the band is tight and they seem affable and fun, but where’s the beef? I suppose it’s their catchy pop tunes, which you can recognize almost instantly. We all like a tune we can hum.

An even more important consequence for me is the BBC iPlayer on which I view some BBC shows. This has to be the best internet resource rolled out by the BBC or anyone else in the world recently. Try it if you haven’t done so already, it’s great.

This weekend the annual gargantuan Glastonbury festival has been taking place in the British countryside. Last night Marge Simpson, or was it Amy Winehouse, appeared and gave her usual, unusual performance. Veering between the brilliant and bizarre with no pause for normal in between. Apparently Amy was taken straight back to hospital after her performance so we all wish her well. It’s like watching the reincarnation of Janis Joplin in fast forward. Let’s hope that history doesn’t repeat itself, because Ms. Winehouse, despite, or maybe because of her problems, writes and sings with genius. There was an informal review of Amy’s performance on a Sunday morning chat show today, in which Andrew Marr said that he and a friend agreed that although the singer was terrific they hadn’t enjoyed her because it was so uncomfortable as she appeared, piece by piece, to be dying on stage.

Martha Stewart, the ultimate American lifestyle guru was just refused entry into the UK, this decision was based on her criminal conviction in the US. This bit of petty law supposedly makes it difficult for foreign citizens previously convicted from traveling to the other’s country. It is small minded and venal for countries to make life hard for someone who has already served their sentence. It doesn’t belittle Martha Stewart in this instance, but it does make the bureaucracy in Britain appear ridiculous. Remember her crime, for which she served a five-month sentence was obstructing justice. What’s the threat that Martha brings to this country?

At the same time Britain has allowed nice chaps like Abu Qatada, from Jordan, to remain with us. This is the man who, in his native Jordan, was sentenced to life for terrorism and who, a British court said was “at the centre in the UK of terrorism activity.” By the way, lest you forget, he settled in the UK on a fake passport with a fake identity.

Perhaps that example might be too political for the politically correct readers amongst you. Here’s another. Mike Tyson, former World Heavyweight Boxing champion has been allowed into the UK several times. Mike’s most recent tribulations included possession of cocaine and driving under the influence of drugs for which he was charged with two felony counts of drug possession and two misdemeanor driving under the influence charges.

Tyson also has a 1992 conviction for rape and a 1998 no contest plea to misdemeanor assault charges in Maryland and has served more than one prison term.

Who do you think this country should be more concerned about, Martha or Mike or Abu Qatada?

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