Thursday, 5 December 2013

Celebrating my ignorance: I turned 61 recently - and I haven’t the foggiest who anyone is any more

I follow Buzzfeed on Twitter. In case you don’t know it, Buzzfeed is an extremely entertaining website that specialises in amusing, blokeish trivia lists – e.g. “26 questions people from India are sick of answering”, “13 anchormen who are having a rough day at work”, “These are the movie quotes everyone gets wrong” etc. There’s very little actual writing, but plenty of pictures and video clips: entertainment for a distracted age.

The items I rarely bother clicking through to any more are the ones with “celebrity” in the title, because I know I’m going to be baffled by pictures of people I’ve never seen before sporting names I’ve never heard of.

I reckon I was just about keeping in touch by the time I turned 40. By 50, though, I was struggling, and now I am as ignorant of popular culture as any High Court judge. For instance, whenever I hear that an apparently famous, much-loved pop group is re-forming I can honestly say I never knew they were together in the first place. At least 90% of the contestants on Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Masterchef are utterly unknown to me. I’m not proud of myself, you understand – ignorance should never be a cause for self-congratulation – but there’s something oddly relaxing about no longer feeling any need whatsoever to keep up.

If you’d like to compare levels of popular culture ignorance, just read “25 celebrity couples who restored your faith in love in 2013” (here), and then, hand on heart, tell me that you’ve ever heard of any of the following:

Zayn Malik
Perrie Edwards
Professor Green
Mille Mackintosh
Michelle Keegan
Mark Wright
Kian Egan
Jodie Albert
Tom Fletcher
Giovanna Fletcher
John Legend
Chrissy Teigen
Harry Judd
Izzy Judd
Ariana Grande
Izzy Sykes
Rochelle Humes
Marvin Humes
Gerard Pique
Ashton Kutcher
Mila Kunis
James Righton
Adam Shulman
Aaron Paul
Lauren Parsekian
Adam Brody
Leighton Meester
Andrew Garfield
Emma Stone
Ben Whishaw
Mark Bradeshaw
Pixie Lott
Oliver Cheshire
Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley

Who are they all? 

I suppose I should be thankful that I’ve heard of the 15 others – but as these include the likes of the Beckhams, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, I’ll resist the temptation to pat myself on the back.


  1. At the age of 67 I spend increasing amounts of time hanging about in medical waiting rooms. I always arrive early so I can catch up on the back issues of "Heat" and "OK" [celebrity magazines to the unitiated] so I know a lot about many people on your list. Take out a subscription and enter a wonderful world of zany, wacky, talented people.

    1. Are you absolutely sure about "zany, wacky, talented"? On the rare occasions I hear these "celebrities" speak (usually if I turn over to "The One Show" by mistake) they invariably strike me as fantastically dull. Still, as I'm always up for a laugh, I will leaf through "Heat" and "OK" when I'm next in Smith's (at least, until the security guard moves me along). I'm afraid the local GP surgery is so posh it tends only to feature back issues of Country Life and Ideal Home, and our dentist provides copies of that day's Times.