Once you’ve been slated on national TV by a self-imposed treasure, you know you’ll survive anything. And you’ll survive anything. Except, maybe, the final, because no-one survives that; the winners are multipack bags of generic flavour crisps, not infinite, but eaten by Gary Lineker in adverts which last less time than music videos.
The long contract’s an easy sign and even your story, you agree to it being sellable and don’t care what kind of package it is they put you in as long as it’s not taffeta or green, and someone prepared what you’d say and each judge purposefully willed failure, willing you to win, encouraged TV confidence which you had in the mirror when you were 13, but the millennia’s an estimation which never worked mathematically, because the impact factors are complex, and potential’s stayed the same level since 2004 and it’s easy for millionaires to say, “You need a little confidence,” and, “We all want you to win,” with no actual comprehension, and I promise you, scene-stealer, there are movies about the skin on your ribs, elasticine is, and if I could contort I’d understand the flatness of each eyeball and straighten your toes out and tell you this once-a-year charade is a sickness and people coming twice are a zombie start-up and you’re better than that. You’ve bested it.
I’m sure, at home, you’re the nicest of men, and you meet responsibilities straight on in the stickiest of fashions, like jammed bread on a linoleum floor. I could bet that you do. I lose almost all bets though, betting which characters die or who wins singing competitions, like I have impeccable tact, could pick a girl by her shampoo out of a crowd and make her Blake Lively. Actually, my knowledge base makes for a mediocre CV and I could blame Isle of Wight careers’ advisers or the religious persuasion of schools I went to when I didn’t know who George Clooney was, but I made each decision, and the only problem was impressing, in the people I tried to impress with each application.
So, against you, in a bathroom, or close the way contestants are, lit un-make-upped, in your category, houses or on tour, I wouldn’t want approval, because I have fathers for that and ex-boyfriends who keep in touch with up-to-date moral codes and thin disguises, but I know when a book’s not a book but a prerogative. And you, you nice home man, are diabolic.
And when you find yourself saying, “Confidence is your only problem,” wonder if you ever knew how not to be confident, if you ever felt how it is to hold convictions lighter than plastic bags in movies which won awards but actually, commented on time as it passed, and now, its trademarked stars are good for reunions and sequels and album titles, but not quite the singularity once anticipated of them. And you, also, stand example of a time in which we wanted only the forgiveness of a person completely inept at giving it, in public.
I’m going to teach my daughter, if I’m one of those women who has daughters and not just cutlery on which to polish and dote, not to get hair extensions. I won’t be a dictator but some things are important to pass on, like who not to fuck, and who to fuck, and who to really consider fucking, but don’t feel bad if it’s like a no.
I’m going to teach her about the word no and all the uses of it and that a panel of people saying no to her might be a distinct career point which changes minds and makes weight loss crucial and haircuts climacteric, but it could be a verge of has-beens, a gene pool distilling of four. I don’t know who’ll judge those shows, which rely on minimum-wage desperation, which is plentiful here, in 2016, and I don’t know who’ll live then, or if an apocalypse comes ready to gut-fuck us, and in wait of a prevention/cure, we sip-blow Lemsip which will scorch but not quite wash down. If we don’t die, and she doesn’t, I’ll say, “Kid. I embarrassed myself on television. It’s a passage rite so rehearse your fucking lines. Go impress Gary Barlow. Kiss Tulisa Contosatvlos.”