Leslie Ann Horgan: 'Cheryl - how utterly ridiculous, even by the standards of a woman who named her child Bear Payne'
This week sees the surprising re-emergence of a female pop sensation from the past… and, no, it's not the Spice Girls. Today, Cheryl Cole releases - or 'drops' as it's termed in the Spotify age, which must mean that 'the cloud' somehow cushions the fall - her new single, 'Love Made Me Do It'.
She's arguably the Victoria Beckham of Girls Aloud (remember when VB took her under her bandage dress-wearing wing during the 2006 World Cup?), but unlike the fashion designer who has politely declined the offer to rejoin Spice World, it seems that Cheryl can't resist the lure of the charts.
'Love Made Me Do It' is 35-year-old Cheryl's first musical venture since 2014, and she revealed on a recent podcast that the lyrics of the song include: "Oh my god, I'm such a sucker, I fall in love with every f**ker." The teaser clip of the video for the track, meanwhile, shows her sticking up her fingers on both hands. So it's reasonable to assume the song is a 'revenge single' about former toyboy Liam Payne, with whom she split in July, right?
"It's something that anyone who's been in love will be able to relate to in some way or another," Cheryl (below) said, insisting that the song was not about anyone in particular. "It's catchy and it's fun. It's not about one specific person or relationship, it's more about me being the lover of love that I am. I just love love!"
Excuse me? The lover of love who just loves love? How deep, how poetic, how utterly ridiculous, even by the standards of a woman who named her child Bear Payne. Granted, there are few among us who haven't blurted out something completely nonsensical at some point in our lives, wishing the ground would swallow us up while we continue to talk gibberish.
But we're just normal Joe soaps. You know, the kind of people with surnames. (Having been Tweedy and Cole and Fernandez-Versini, these days Cheryl is just 'Cheryl'. Is she globally famous enough to go by just a single moniker? With apologies to Curb Your Enthusiasm star Cheryl Hines, the former X Factor judge has probably got the best claim to the name. I can't see a Kylie Minogue versus Kylie Jenner-style trademark battle in the offing. But Madonna, Rihanna or Beyoncé our Cheryl most certainly ain't… )
Celebrities, on the other hand, get paid to talk about themselves all day. It's their job to expand on their thoughts on things like love and heartbreak, to illuminate their exercise regimens and political preferences, and, most importantly, to rhapsodise about their favourite shampoo/airline/fashion designer.
With a little media training, polish and a dash of subtle scripting, their ruminations can bring enlightenment to the not-as fair-of-face masses - and even appear as motivational quotes on Instagram. No subject is off limits to the sage wisdom of pop stars and actors. And, whether for insight, enlightenment, or pure entertainment, the rest of us eat it up. We live in the age of the celebrity philosopher and, boy, has it gifted us some gems:
"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life." - Brooke Shields.
"We're definitely going to get Brooklyn christened, but we don't know into which religion." - David Beckham.
"I'd rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a can." - Gwyneth Paltrow.
"I'm proud to be the first ever plus-sized girl to be the star of a romantic comedy." - Rebel Wilson (causing a backlash last week).
"I'm throwing a punch, and the fist belongs to people who can't be in the room, whose rage, whose anger, whose hurt I represent." - Bono
"The political apocalypse was going on in Europe and in America, and it found a perfect rhyme with what was going on in my own life." - Bono (again)
"I read the Psalms of David all the time. They are amazing. He is the first bluesman, shouting at God: 'Why did this happen to me?' And of course, he looked like Elvis." - Still Bono
Of course, when the ultimate spouter of claptrap, the master of balderdash and monarch of guff is currently sitting in the White House, it puts a less amusing spin on vacuous celebrity musings. When we're so used to being fed a diet of inanity, will we really be able to spot the difference between the lover of love who just loves love, and the hater of love who just loves hate?