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I never thought I could mention Simon Cowell and my hero, Morrissey, in the same sentence, much less claim they share a sensibility. In an exclusive interview with the 3am girls, Simon takes rehab celebs like Robbie Williams and Britney Spears to task for their public meltdowns, especially when millions of people around the world are facing far worse suffering:

“I went to a deprived part of the world recently and saw a set of conditions that people live in that are beyond belief.

“It really opened my eyes. You can feel sorry for yourself over the smallest things but then you look at the world and you think, you know what, I’ve got nothing to complain about.

“So when I hear about the Robbies and the Britneys going into rehab I think, ‘I’ll tell you what rehab is. Go to where I just went, where people really are suffering and then you’ll see just how good your life is.’

“I would make it compulsory that they have to go and live in a developing country for a couple of weeks. And then when you get home, as your butler is opening your curtains and making sure your bath water is the right temperature, you’ll realise everything is fine.”

Yes, Simon’s right in that it’s hard to feel empathy for pampered celebs who have gone off the rails. However, I’ve been a little ticked at the pleasure some people have taken in Britney and Robbie’s downfalls. It’s an understandable pleasure – after all, doesn’t it just kill our fantasies to know that life and all of its disappointments still happen to the rich and famous? Our loved ones will still die, we’ll still face illness (with better doctors, but it may not make a difference), and our spouses will still divorce us. It’s difficult to know that winning the lottery won’t solve life. When celebs fail to confirm our fantasies, we ridicule them. How dare they be human?!

But, whether we make $15,000 a year or $15 million, we all bitch too much about our poor, pathetic lives, and this is an insight Morrissey reveals in his great song, “Do Your Best and Don’t Worry”. Moz doesn’t just point the finger at celebrities; he points it at all of us because there’s always someone who has it worse in some way. Here are some of his lyrics:

Compare the best of their days
With the worst of your days
You won’t win
With your standards so high
And your spirits so low
At least remember …
This is you on a bad day, you on a pale day

Just do your best and don’t …
Don’t worry, oh
The way you hang yourself is oh, so unfair

In contrast, Simon Cowell is speaking from a Hollywood-insider perspective, slumming in Third World countries to make himself feel powerful, bragging about his butler, whom I’m sure he treats abominably. Run your own damn bath water, Cowell.

Yeah, and if you didn’t know, all roads do lead to Morrissey. BTW, tickets for Moz’s North American tour go on sale March 17th, folks!

Boy band Take That has hit a major milestone in their career, scoring their 10th No. 1 song this weekend with “Shine.” Also of note in this week’s top 10: The Gossip have finally cracked the upper reaches of the chart with their anti-Bush song, “Standing in the Way of Control.”

1. Take That – Shine
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2. Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
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3. Gwen Stefani Ft Akon – The Sweet Escape
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4. Mika – GraceKelly
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5. The Fray – How To Save A Life
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6. Kelis Ft Cee Lo -Lil Star
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7. The Gossip -Standing in the Way of Control
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8. Cascada – Miracle
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9. Akon Ft Snoop Doggy Dogg – I Wanna Love You
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10. Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around…Comes Around
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In other news:

  • David Beckham could be sidelined for two months after an injury during a Spanish match.

  • Pete Doherty has asked Carl Barat to be his best man, Carl has revealed to The Mirror, suggesting the two Libertines are mates once more.
  • eBay alert: You too can own (but likely not wear) the tracksuit worn by Kate Moss in the Little Britain stage show. (Mirror)
  • Following in the footsteps of Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Independent praises the new breed of female pop stars, mostly British. “[N]o longer do you have to don a pair of golden hot pants, do five-hundred sit-ups a day, pretend to be a virgin (like Britney) or a whore (like Christina), and/or bump’n’grind against a superstar rapper to score that elusive No 1 hit. No, you can drink yourself silly, fall over, cover yourself in tattoos, be fat (like Beth Ditto) or a self-confessed anorexic/bullimic (like Amy Winehouse), laugh about how many drugs you took as a teenager, sleep with women, sleep with men, swear like a trooper – and then you can write funny, candid songs about doing all these things, and people will buy it.”
  • Bryan Ferry, who just released that Dylan covers album, opens up to The Daily Telegraph‘s Neil McCormick and talks about his initial resistance to Dylan as an artist. “Oh, I didn’t like Dylan at all when I first heard him. I was a Northern soul boy, into mohair suits, electric guitars, horn sections, Otis Redding and Stax. Dylan was too, dare I say, white for my taste.”
  • Anne Hathaway skipped the London premiere of her own starring vehicle, the Jane Austen biopic Becoming Jane. Co-star James McAvoy showed up and ably took the spotlight. Look out, Anne, this is your second film in a row in which your up-and-coming British co-star steals your thunder.(BBC)
  • Major British hottie Rupert Penry-Jones (MI5, Cambridge Spies) will tackle Austen in Persuasion, which airs on ITV in the UK next month. He sits down with the Telegraph to talk about – sigh – his wife. “One night I went to bed with a beautiful woman and the next morning I woke up with two children and a mortgage. It’s extraordinary. But I suppose she has always known how to play me.”
  • Celebrity Bigot Brother (as it was wittily termed) is up for the BAFTA TV award voted on by the public. The other nominees for the Audience award are BBC’s Planet Earth, Dragons’ Den, The Royle Family, The Vicar of Dibley Christmas Special, and, yes, our own Life on Mars.(BBC)
  • Somebody stop her: in today’s Sun, Sienna Miller explains away her recent slips of the tongue by saying she has “mild Tourette’s.” Yes, this woman thinks damage control equals publicly diagnosing herself with a serious neurological disorder. For the love of all that’s sacred, fire your PR reps like yesterday, Si.
  • Is Billie Piper having a Britney-like breakdown, or is The Daily Mail full of sh–? Maybe the girl just doesn’t want to show her tits in her new stage show.
  • Dame Helen Mirren needed to throw some junk in the royal trunk to play Queen Elizabeth II, and instead of scarfing down Big Macs, she was fitted with a prosthetic arse. One commenter over at The Sun remarked, “I wonder if Mirren had the decency to wear drawers whilst filming [The] Queen.”
  • It seems like they were talking about it for so long that I didn’t think it would actually happen: Liz Hurley wed Arun Nayar over the weekend.According to Daily Mail, they are touring India. Wonder if they’ll run into Jade Goody along the way. More coverage from Mumbai from the BBC.
  • She was dressin’ like a flapper, but was lookin’ like a slapper, and you see it’s a pimp and his crack whore. Sorry about that, but couldn’t resist invoking Lily Allen‘s “LDN” to help describe Guy and Madonna’s night of Kabbalah dress-up. And to be honest, and this is difficult for an ardent Madonna hater like myself, Madge looks good actually in ’20s garb.
  • Speaking of celebrity extravagance, Kanye West has spent nearly $4,000 on Welsh curry takeout. The BBC reports that West is planning a particularly expensive dinner party and is “jetting a chef and his ingredients all the way from South Wales to New York.” Sorry, I had a bad curry experience recently, and let’s just hope expenses include a good gastroenterologist.
  • Jamelia talks about the finer points of Brillo pads, gossip rags, and Marmite in her Guardian “Everyday Objects” video interview. She’s gorgeous.
  • Stylus Magazine has a guide to “sophisti-pop,” which includes songs from ABC, Aztec Camera, Bryan Ferry, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Sade (of course), and my own personal fave, The Style Council‘s “My Ever Changing Moods.” Ha-ha-HAH! (That’s my imitation of Paul Weller‘s falsetto.)
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By Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks is the founding editor of Anglophenia.