My head is mush. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent 11 days inebriated by a pool in Cyprus cooking my skin off, three days back at work, one night getting smashed and eating too much barbecued food in a brilliant south London meat smokery – Bodean’s… if you live in London, go, it’s ace – and two days in bed after being struck down with a bizarre incapacitating brain-ache (migraine?) that put me to sleep for something like 28 hours.
I feel like someone’s chopped out my brain, chucked it in a blender with a pint of milk and then piped it back into my head through my ear. Plus I’ve been so off my face on Lucozade over the past couple of days that I think I might be going a bit orange. And I should probably shave.
All of this might explain why I had no reaction when someone at work called me Simon Cowell. This obviously means my trousers were riding too high up my waist, and, as any right-thinking man knows, that is unacceptable. And yet, as I said, I had no reaction. I just let the words go in to my head, nonchalantly mumbled something incomprehensible back, and walked off.
Now, I don’t know how this happened. I don’t dress like Simon Cowell. Fuck off, I don’t. More likely is that my quipping colleague was at a weird vantage point when he delivered his wisecrack, and perspective was messing everything up. That’s just plain, old-fashioned science, my friends. But I’m still worried about why this comment didn’t really bother me until, well, now.
The more I’ve thought about this, the more I’ve come to think maybe it’s not the head full of mush. Maybe it’s just part of a national desensitization to Cowell and his never-ending TV odyssey (sorry Homer!) X-Factor, which starts another gargantuan TV run on Saturday night.
I should hate this programme. I should really fucking hate it. But over the years, I think I’ve been a little bit sucked in. Funny to laugh at all those people who work in chicken factories by day and sing Dolly Parton songs into a comb in front of a mirror at night make fools of themselves. Emotional to witness someone’s heartbreaking rags-to-riches (and usually back to rags, but don’t concern yourselves with little complications like that) story while Simon Cowell nips out to buy some new (even-higher-waisted) trousers with even bigger pockets to line. Joyful to see someone crap who’s music you’d never even dream of listening to otherwise finally win after 8,000 rounds of doing some gruelling (mainly for the viewer) singing at a little table of punchable judges. Apart from Cheryl, of course. She’d probably punch you back.
It all just becomes too easy. You switch on the TV, pictures come into your house and you look at them with your eyes while you slide triangles of pizza into your mouth. And I get it; there’s a time and a place for The Counterfeiters and six o’clock on the sofa on a Saturday night is not that time or place. But shouldn’t we all want something else by now? Fuck, even that show called Hole In The Wall, where a wall with a shape cut out of it hurtles towards a cowering contender in a crash hat and threatens to flatten them if they don’t contort their body into that exact shape in time and slip through to safety, was less formulaic. Actually, I think that one’s probably genius.
The most inexcusable, inexplicable thing about the X-Factor, though, the thing that everyone on earth just seems to have accepted, like it’s the most normal thing in the world – which it isn’t, by the way – is Simon Cowell’s ridiculous hair. What the fuck is that hair? He’s a multi, multimillionaire. He could have any hair that he wants. Which means that IS the hair that he wants. Six-year-old boys who get 50p pocket money a week don’t have that hair. Monkeys don’t have that hair. Even out-of-fashion horses don’t have that hair.
Just look at it next time you let him beam his stupid, smackable little face into your front room – it doesn’t make a shred of sense. It’s too fucking short to have a centre parting. You cannot physically centre-part hair that short. Which makes me think he’s spent millions developing a way of chemically centre-parting it.
It is just the clearest evidence that he’s inappropriately spending all that money we give him by watching the crap that he peddles. Let’s stop it, eh? Before he starts making everyone else think they want that hair, too.
For the record, I categorically do not dress like Simon Cowell. But I am just going to check my hair quickly in the mirror.