Piers Morgan Calls for Accountability in Whitney Houston’s Death

One Moment in Time

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Piers Morgan has been interviewing people who were close to Whitney Houston over the past few days.  I think he was hoping they would agree with him that her close friends and the people responsible for her professionally should have protected her, and stopped her from going out to clubs and drinking.  He said the world knew she was an addict, so why didn’t anybody intervene?

He made the same point with Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse.  I understand what Piers was saying.  What kind of friend allows an addict to go to parties where suppliers of prescription drugs to celebrities hang out?  What kind of friend says to an alcoholic “here, hon, have another glass of champagne, it can’t hurt you”?

Everybody just went into total denial after Whitney’s death – she wasn’t out of it, she wasn’t drunk, she could handle the alcohol, she was just having a good time.  She wasn’t an addict, she wasn’t an alcoholic.  The same kind of drivel was trotted out when Michael Jackson died.  What is it about friends of superstars that makes them unwilling to intervene?

Do people have responsibility for others?  Ultimately I don’t think so, I think we all have to be responsible for ourselves.  But I also think that includes not enabling alcoholics and addicts.  And when you love and respect somebody is it okay to just abandon them because they’ve lost self control?  What happened to “he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”?


Resolutions for Success in 2012

Kelsey Grammer voices Sideshow Bob.

I hope 2012 doesn’t go as quickly as 2011 did.  It went by in the flash of an eye.  It was a good year in comparison to the ones preceding it.  I had hit the bottom of the pit the year before, and 2011 was the first part of coming out of it. I swear with all my heart and soul and by all the gods that I will never let myself go back there.

I feel optimistic and hopeful for this year and determined to hold onto and build on that hope, that faith, with as much audacity as I can muster.  I think that’s going to be one of my buzz-words for the year – audacity.  The other one is resilience.  They both create another word that I’m going to plaster all over the walls of my room and my mind – traction.

Everybody’s always debating what the secret of success is.  I don’t know what it is for anyone else but I do know what it’s going to be for me this year – getting stronger and stronger in my belief that my book is just fine, Jack, the way it is.  That’s where traction comes from, not letting the doubt in when I get rejected, no matter by whom.  For one thing doubt is a spoiler, it will ruin a perfectly good day, cast a blight on a perfectly good life, and annihilate prospect.

It’s not even the truth, so how ridiculous is that, to listen to it?  But also, it will stop me from acting, putting myself and my book in front of as many people in as many ways as I can think of, all over the world.  Frankly I don’t want to be stopped any more by a bully living in my head, or by somebody else’s opinion.  Especially since so many people who have achieved great things were told by self-styled authorities that they’d never get anywhere.

Our local TV is showing reruns of Piers Morgan at the moment, and the other night I watched an interview of Kelsey Grammar.  He talked about how getting onto the world stage needs massive resilience, inner strength and the willingness to take the risk of putting yourself, at your most vulnerable, right in the firing line.

It’s not hard to think that celebrities are flaky, because it looks as if their lives are so easy, and their private affairs are often such a mess.  But we don’t see their resilience, how much they have to draw from within themselves every time they get rejected. How often it happens.  We don’t see what a huge price they pay, or how they just don’t give up.  I’m very clear this year that wanting success means I to be willing to pay that price.

And I am.  Success comes to some because of the environment they were born into, or their incredible talent, or they got the “lucky break”.  But for many they just ploughed on through a lot of rejection, adversity and hardship, building traction within themselves.  I suppose we all long to have had the nurturing environment and the break, but if it hasn’t happened success is still possible.

Audacity.  Resilience.  Traction.

Inspiration from Piers Morgan Interviewing Beyonce and Josh Grobin

I’ve been watching Piers Morgan for quite a while now, whenever it’s flighted.  He’s such a different person to who I thought he was from America’s Got Talent.  I hated him on that show, he was so damn arrogant and brutal.  Sometimes I longed to see him make himself vulnerable and have people tear him to pieces in front of millions of viewers around the world.

And then he got this job and a completely different side of him came out, or maybe it was always there, he just didn’t show it.  Or maybe it’s an act.  Somehow I don’t think so, though.  He does let himself be vulnerable on his show, and he also encourages his guests to do the same, regardless of their gender.  When he doesn’t respect somebody, though, it’s usually for pretty good reasons, and he asks the kind of questions that will expose them.

In a way he’s drawing a little from Oprah’s style.  It’s people’s humanity he seems to be looking for.  The other night Beyonce was his guest.  I never had a clue what a beautiful person she is.  She’s not at all arrogant or egotistical, but she’s not self-effacing, she’s just so natural.  And she’s thoughtful, she cares about what she does with her life in a quality way.  She has a kind of quiet confidence.  She’s also so articulate she was a pleasure to watch and listen to.

It was the same with Josh Grobin.  I’ve always thought he was a bit too clean and nice, but I saw a man with a great sense of humor about himself and, like Beyonce, an absence of distorted ego.  He was just a regular guy.  There’s nothing flashy about him, but he’s not dull, he kind of shines on the inside, it’s beautiful.  He said his favorite thing is when he meets a woman who doesn’t know who he is, so he gets a chance to be viewed as somebody normal.  How about that.

I wonder what it’s like to be on that side of the fence.  Well, I don’t have a voice that’s anything like either Josh Grobin’s or Beyonce’s, and I’m not starting young.  In fact, every time I’ve started I’ve stopped not long after.  Not this time, though.  I’ve got something to prepare for, and three months to do it.  Vocal exercises, learn to sight read for voice, listen to lots of jazz, download backing tracks and practice three audition songs.

And, even though it might seem from a certain perspective that I haven’t got a chance of going anywhere with this, I’m not even going to entertain that idea.  What’s the point?  I can’t look into the future and predicting the worst for myself will make me shut down again.  I don’t know where my voice will take me, but at least I can make sure I begin the journey.  I’ve been on the journey of my writing for a while, and I’ve at least got a book written now.  I’ve started looking for publishers.

I want to do both these things, so I’m at least going to try.  And just as I hope with my writing to get Oprah’s blessing one day, maybe one day Piers will be interviewing me and saying “nobody would have believed you could get this far”.

Reality TV – The Dark Face to Civilization

Life seems so complicated some times, especially when I really pay attention to what’s going on around me.  Being virtually bed-bound still I can’t see much of what’s in the world except what’s reflected on TV and it’s generally not a very pretty sight.  I can hardly bear to watch the news much, it’s just all war and fighting and killing and murder and mayhem.  And it’s all so normal now.

I can only watch it in fiction if the person suffering is given the love they need so the suffering can stop.   And the good guys win and life is portrayed as being essentially good, with most people having the integrity to at least wrestle with fairness and justice.   And when it comes to reality on TV, I long to see more of that, too.

I watched CNN’s coverage of William and Kate in Canada.  It was absolutely divine to see all the excitement and the love.  No hatred, violence, anger or ugliness.  No overblown celebrityship either.  A young couple who have such humanity and dignity, know how to connect, how to have fun, how to be real.

But obviously not enough people want to see that.  If they did, wouldn’t we see more of it in the news?  And in the papers.  This civilization we have has blood-lust running through its veins.  It’s weird, even reality shows apparently created for entertainment are becoming more and more about making people suffer as much as possible.   Who can enjoy watching that?   More to the point, why?

Piers Morgan interviewed various journalists over the Casey Anthony trial and made the point that trials like this are a media shark feeding frenzy.  He seemed astonished that people would get off on the spectacle which had really been created by so much suffering.

But honestly, Piers, what’s new?  People have been gathering en masse since Medieval days to watch hangings and public executions.  What about the Romans, throwing Christians to the lions?  I guess it was the earliest form of reality entertainment.  It seems we’re not far from that again.  Scary.  I hope it’s a phase the world is going through, one which will pass.  Maybe we’re living in a kind of dark ages even though we think we’re civilized.

Maybe we’re heading towards an age of respect, of kindness and gentleness towards ourselves and each other, absence of greed, healthy self esteem.   An age where real sanity prevails and violence of every kind is seen as revolting, disgusting, the ultimate in everything that’s unattractive in every way.  An age where nobody gets off on suffering for the sake of being a martyr, or on watching others suffer.

An age where beauty is more valued than ugliness, and life is a softer, happier thing all round.  A true Renaissance.


Piers Morgan Talks to Simon Cowell; & did Moussa Koussa try to con the West?

Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell

Piers Morgan interviewed Simon Cowell the other night.  I’ve never been a fan of either men – I hated how arrogant and rude Piers was on America’s Got Talent – or was he on Idols?   He seemed to take pleasure in being as rude and cutting as possible, and destroying people.  Simon Cowell has always just seemed like an empty-headed egotist to me.  No personality.

Sigh.  Prejudices always say much more about you than they do about your target, don’t they?    Well, I’ve seen a different side of Morgan since he’s taken over from Larry King.  He’s not afraid to ask straightforward questions, but he’s showing a different, more humane side of himself, more personally vulnerable.

As for Simon Cowell, I saw a man who didn’t fit at all into my prejudice box.  He didn’t seem like a huge egotist after all, just a man who knew what he couldn’t do, and what he could.  He certainly isn’t empty-headed!  He admitted he has absolutely no performing talent, but that his forte is recognizing people who do – or who have that star quality.  People like Lady Gaga, I guess.

He said it isn’t necessarily phenomenal talent that makes a person a star, it’s the individuality and the desire and ability to express it.  I like that.  My favorite part of the interview, though, was when he talked about how Elton John had allegedly criticized him for single-handedly destroying the music industry, because unless somebody makes it in his show now, they don’t have a chance.  Cowell’s reply was that Elton John has enough money and resources to help as many people to become stars as he wants, so why doesn’t he do it?

I think he has a point.  Elton John has so much clout, and is so well-respected, a man of real stature in the industry, for good reason.  Imagine if he got a few of his buddies together and created a kind of scholarship program, where they helped people achieve their dreams and aspirations.  And imagine if it became cool for celebrity performers to participate, so the program just grew and grew all around the world.

One more: imagine if they didn’t make it about age, but just about a person being ready to learn how to express themselves richly and fully.  Think how that would change the music industry and create a completely new kind of balance and perspective.  Maybe I should write to Elton John.  It must be possible to find a contact address somewhere, at least for his agent.

Libya – Did Moussa Koussa Try to Con the West?

When Moussa Koussa first came to Britain, this time round, something just didn’t seem right.  Gaddafi wasn’t bothered, and put out the word that Koussa was there with his blessing because he was a sick old man.  I don’t know what he was really doing in England, but when I heard the other day that he was saying Libya must unite, that civil war would turn it into another Somalia, and then that he wanted to be part of a new government, my hackles rose.

And now he’s gone, and probably won’t come back to face that questioning that was going to happen over Lockerbie etc.  Clever guy.  What was he really doing?  Trying to con the West into letting him play a major role in a new government, after which he could just bring his ol’ pal Gaddafi back into power and everything would be hunky dory.   Don’t trust a person who won’t say I’m responsible and I’m sorry for what I did.

Building a Dream and Taking advice from Sharon Osbourne, David Hasselhoff, Piers Morgan

Still got the image of that wretched piano player leaning against the wall looking cool, saying “don’t get angry with me, I took the trouble to come and apologize.   I’m only human”.   GRRRR.   Well, I’m going ahead today with checking out home recording options, but I still want a piano player, just one who keeps his / her word.   Someone who’s having fun with it.

Anyway.   Time management not as effective as it could be.   Every day I do vocal exercises and sing along, blog, Searchwarp and friends, whatever work I can, so that’s in place.   Also sometimes eat, sleep, exercise and watch educational TV.   But script, piano, crime novel and bio are languishing.   Plus have started e-book which is potential best seller, and I need to get it finished.   It’s all a bit of a mess in my head.   Frankly.

I know what’s needed.   Long-term, interim and daily plans.   Have to spend time figuring out plan.   Damn, time already at a – what’s that word when there’s not enough of something?  Premium.   Calm, don’t need to conquer Rome in a day.   Right, so there are two sections: music and writing.

1)    exercises and vocal development;
2)    sing along with great vocalists;
3)    pick 30 songs from 100 that I’ve written music written out for in my key and work on them;
4)    already have rudimentary jazz piano, so need to build on it, plus practice classical more;
5)    watch movies, dvd’s etc. of musicians;
6)    check out home recording equipment;
7)    read about musicians and history of early jazz and jazz standards (library);
8)    find out about stage dancing (for fun, for stage presence etc.);
9)    put notice in library “looking for piano player”;
10)  make broader appeal for help?  (use blog, contact radio stations round world, journalists).

CRASH!   What, what?   What if they think I can’t sing?   What if they laugh at me?

Ackshally, I have an answer for that.   On America’s Got Talent semi-final the other night, some country singer made it through, and all three judges – yes, even Piers Morgan – said it wasn’t because he sang fantastically, because he didn’t, but he still deserved to win.   Sharon Osbourne said a lot of the greats didn’t/don’t have great voices.   It’s not about how good you are, it’s how much you want it, how much your heart is in it.   So how much do I want it?

More than I have words for.   So, I’ll make out a plan for this week for music, and a broad outline for writing.   And now I’m getting on with the action part of my day.   Thanks, Sharon Ozzy Osbourne, Piers Morgan, David Hasselhoff.   Obviously, I want my voice to be as good as it can be, and I’m always going to revere truly stunning voices, but whatever I’ve got, it has to be enough.

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