Laurie Axtens - Call of the Loon

Isnt it always the way? You let slip that you spent a few days under the protection of Her Majestys government in one of her fine galvanised iron prison sheds and all of a sudden everyone wants you back under lock and key. Truly, the first letter I opened when I got to work on Monday was a request from a charity to join local identities Russell Eldridge and Thomas George behind bars in some kind of celebrity prison. All I could think was Dont drop the soap.

But seriously, what kind of universe had I woken up into?

Sure, I can understand why it would be good to lock up Mel Gibson or Shane Warne (and hey, while youre at it, recycle the key) but The Loon? Hardly someone from the whos who list.

Dont get me wrong, Im flattered and a great believer in charity, but perhaps this organisation needs to have a bit of a think about what the word celebrity actually means.

Perhaps even more absurd than the accusation of celebrity is the notion of a celebrity prison itself. (Chopper Read has a lot to answer for.) Obviously, none of the brains trust who came up with concept has any idea what prison is like and how demeaning and dispiriting even the shortest time in the big house might be. I know some very decent folks who have ended up in the slammer for victimless crimes and I dont think we should make light of imprisonment at all.

However, as the public health, education and transport systems are systematically deconstructed by Howardism and we move towards the American social system, the battle for charity dollars inevitable becomes more and more intense. And the charity events get ever more bizarre.

I can foresee a time when we will be watching Celebrity Hostages, where the would-be famous are filmed having their appendages severed until the viewing public send in the required ransom. Following that on Aunty theres Celebrity Monks, where the viewing public direct debit from their account for every year our celebs go without sex. Lord, I could be worth a fortune for that particularly beneficiary.

So anyway, lets say I do don the arrow painted apparel and chow down on some celebrity porridge with Big Russ and Thommo. Those two might get out eventually, but whos gonna cough up for this unknown, semi-literate, self-righteous, uninteresting, not-very-good-looking sports writer? No-one, thats who.

What the Red Cross needs are medieval stocks so the punters could pelt me with a bit of rotten fruit. At least my fellow colleagues would pay for that.

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