JAN MOIR: Why Harry and Meg are the new Smashie and Nicey (shame it’s not all for charidee) 

0
5


They left the utter torment of royal life behind them, upsetting the Queen and falling out with Prince William in the process.

They moved across an entire continent to find freedom, which we read about in a liberty-locating book called Finding Freedom (£20) based on their freedom-finding expedition.

They spent months in different but lavishly appointed mansions before settling down in their own £11 million Californian enclave, complete with log fire in the master bedroom. And all for what? To make a podcast.

I know, I know. They have done so much more than that, including a Netflix deal and delivering gluten-free sandwiches in downtown LA. But what the world really doesn’t need right now is another podcast from another couple of thrusters convinced of their own delightfulness — although when has modesty ever stopped the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from doing exactly as they please? ‘Hi guys! I’m Harry.’ ‘And I’m Meghan,’ they burble after some godforsaken cheesy bantz to introduce their new Archewell Audio enterprise.

Harry and Meghan have reportedly been paid millions by Spotify to regularly air their bien pensees to a breathless world

It’s agony from the get-go. My toes have yet to uncurl. If the international wokerati are looking for the new Smashie and Nicey, let me tell you, they’ve found them.

Older readers will remember these spoof DJ characters created by Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse; a couple of self-important buffoons always talking pop-a-doodle-doo rubbish into their Radio Fab FM microphones.

In their radio double act, Smashie always let it be known that he did a ‘lodda work for charidee’ — but he didn’t want to talk about it, yeah right. Nicey had a troubled side to his nature but he didn’t want to talk about that either. Ring any Christmas bells?

Harry and Meghan have reportedly been paid millions by Spotify to regularly air their bien pensees to a breathless world. This must be hugely irritating for the recording stars who, on average, receive just £200 a year from music streaming services such as Spotify for regularly playing their songs.

Harry promises that Archewell Audio will ‘bring forward different perspectives and voices to find our common ground’.

I can think of some common ground that Mr Bachman, Mr Turner and Mr Overdrive — as Smashie and Nicey would say —might have with the couple right now, specifically about how much Spotify is paying them versus how much it’s paying the Sussexes.

I can think of some common ground that Mr Bachman, Mr Turner and Mr Overdrive — as Smashie and Nicey would say —might have with the couple right now, specifically about how much Spotify is paying them versus how much it’s paying the Sussexes

I can think of some common ground that Mr Bachman, Mr Turner and Mr Overdrive — as Smashie and Nicey would say —might have with the couple right now, specifically about how much Spotify is paying them versus how much it’s paying the Sussexes

However, don’t expect that to be on the agenda any time soon. In the meantime, H & M promise the usual guff; talking to ‘amazing people,’ sharing memories that have ‘helped shape’ 2020 and — says Harry — ‘connecting through the pain and endless acts of compassion and kindness’.

Wot? The poor little prince’s Californication seems almost complete. ‘It’s free, all you have to do is click right here, go ahead,’ he beseeches on the audio clip; this man who is the son of a royal house in Europe, now little better than a Malibu disc jockey urging you to book him for your next pool party. Altogether now, cringe.

But hold it right there. I don’t always want to sound like a great aunt screeching with horror and clutching my cultured pearls every time Harry and Meghan try something new. And Christmas is almost upon us, so please bear with me while I try to be positive instead. A podcast, you say? How marvellous! It is certainly something that will appeal to the Sussexes’ younger fan base, who still find the couple relatable and interesting, despite everything. And it is important to acknowledge that people cannot complain about the Sussexes taking money from the Sovereign Grant then continue to complain when they try to make money of their own. Or can they?

My problem — that was a short amnesty — is that very little Harry and Meghan do could be described as proper work or honest effort, something dependent on talent or skill. It’s all just preachy pie in the sententious sky.

Nothing is real. Everything is an opportunity to trade in on the royal connections they once found so onerous — but now realise that without them they would be nothing. Companies such as Spotify and Netflix would certainly not be recruiting the couple for roles they are neither experienced enough nor qualified for — and furthermore, haven’t earned the moral authority to undertake. Whoops! There I go again.

But it’s not just me. Will those who disagree with these views — or indeed anyone five years down the line — really want to tune in regularly to listen to the Sussexes and hear their latest freshly baked views? These empty words from privileged kids which, under closer examination, are almost entirely meaningless.

For example, Meghan says: ‘One of the things my husband and I have always talked about is my passion for meeting people and hearing their stories.’ A passion for meeting people? Very nice I am sure, even though it doesn’t seem to include her own father.

Anyway, what with this and the vegan superlatte coffee company investment made by Meghan —which her good friend Oprah then plugged online to her 19 million followers — we are entering new Sussex territory.

From now on, it will become increasingly hard to match up their ‘we were bullied out of the Royal Family’ rhetoric with the launching of these highly professional operations which ultimately profit from their royal fame and titles.

‘But we literally are the world’s most caring celebrities, so tune in to our humongously megatastic holiday special coming soon,’ said the couple. Meghan and Harry or Smashie and Nicey? Already it is hard to tell.

Good to hear that Simon Cowell is on the mend.

The music mogul broke his back in a horror electric bike accident, and was almost paralysed.

Now he is back on a jetski in Barbados, enjoying the sunshine and thinking of suing the bike company, so clearly he is on the mend.

Meanwhile, I loved the cheery, comfy, big pants bikini his partner Lauren Silverman (left) was sporting this week.

Those big wide shoulder straps! That thick and steadfast fabric!

If only Simon had been wearing something similar when he was on his bike.

He would have bounced straight back up again.

Lockdowns take their toll on even the happiest relationships. And it’s the little things that drag you down, isn’t it? Pretending to listen when they are not, bringing back unripe avocados, using the last of the milk and not saying. Don’t get me started.

Denise Van Outen’s pet peeves about her partner, commodities trader Eddie Boxshall, are that he leaves wet towels lying around even though they have a heated towel rail (I hear you, sister), he takes forever to tell a story and leaves little piles of his beard trimmings in the sink, scream.

For his part, he hates that she only makes tea for herself and won’t take golf advice from him — but will from a complete stranger on the course.

This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby says that her husband drives her mad working from home because he types too loudly on his computer keyboard, while Ruth Langsford regularly has to chide husband Eamonn Holmes about his loud chewing.

Jamie Oliver says wife Jools drives him mad in lockdown because she is always cleaning. Of course she is — they’ve got five children for heaven’s sake. I am on the side of the long-suffering women in all these domestic disputes — aren’t you?

Rules are rules — but the way they are enforced depends on who you are rather than what you do. For it seems very unfair that Covid rule breakers Dominic Cummings and Kay Burley remain at liberty, while the romeo from Scotland who jet-skied to the Isle of Man to see his girlfriend has been sentenced to four weeks in jail.

Dale McLaughlan, 28, was banged up for making a four-and-a-half hour journey to visit his girlfriend — despite having never driven a water scooter before and being unable to swim. No one approves of rule breakers, but it is hard not to be swayed by the salty, drenching romance of it all.

Dale shouldn’t be in jail — he should be auditioning for the next James Bond film. Or delivering Christmas boxes of Milk Tray at the very least.

Worst of all, his wee Scottish mum didn’t even know he had gone.

‘He could have killed himself,’ she said. Now he’s really for it.

It seems unfair to compare royal couples, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Take the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s recent low-key tour of the UK, which found them shivering on railway station platforms and being sneered at by Nicola Sturgeon for making the effort to visit Scotland. 

They made a little podcast, too — but theirs was about raising £400,000 to buy toys for poor children at Christmas. Something real. Something that helped, something constructive — instead of that vapid, self-aggrandising nonsense pumped out from California.

It seems unfair to compare royal couples, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Take the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s recent low-key tour of the UK, which found them shivering on railway station platforms and being sneered at by Nicola Sturgeon for making the effort to visit Scotland. 

They made a little podcast, too — but theirs was about raising £400,000 to buy toys for poor children at Christmas. Something real. Something that helped, something constructive — instead of that vapid, self-aggrandising nonsense pumped out from California.

Can we pause for a moment to salute the genius of Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield, whose television shows are much missed. 

Smashie and Nicey were my favourite characters on the Radio Fab roster, but shout outs to Noel Tidybeard, BLT The Hairy Sandwich and the world’s youngest man, David Kid Pension. Great times, great guys, as they would say themselves.

How I miss them, for there is nothing nearly so funny on television at the moment — nothing even in the same league! The reason is obvious, for Paul and Harry would not pass the woke censorship of today.

And there is nothing funny about that.

Jesy Nelson is leaving Little Mix, the pop group which won X Factor in 2011.

‘The truth is, recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health. I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard,’ she said in a statement.

I’m sure it is — but who ever said that fame, fortune and being in a pop group were going to be easy?

Yes, it is particularly difficult for stars today, who must deal with the online onslaught as well as with the more traditional pressures of fame. Yet with great rewards come great hardships — that is always the way it has been.

After selling more than 85 million records, Shania Twain went into early retirement because she just couldn’t cope with the business any more. Karen Carpenter and Janis Joplin had their own demons which made their lives very difficult. And male celebrities suffer, too. This is not an easy path to choose, for either sex.

Staying at the top, being under constant scrutiny? Not everyone can shoulder the burden. Jesy also said this week: ‘I need to spend some time with the people I love, doing things that make me happy.’

I wish her all the best. But the Little Mix star has had a terrific nine-year run in showbusiness, which is longer than most pop careers.

And there is a distinct strain of victimhood running through everything she has said and done recently.

Fair enough that she feels bad, but it makes me feel uncomfortable because it encourages young women to think of themselves as the victims, rather than the heroines, of their own lives.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here