April 17, 2013

Ollie Locke

Ollie Locke

The author, Ollie Locke, is a witty and charming young man with the bizarrely marketable talent of being good at being himself. However, he is also the sort of person that had to have explained to him for an hour why the girl to whom he lost his virginity might not like that event written up and published.

Locke may have the sexual ethics of an alley cat, but the reason I cannot watch Made in Chelsea, despite having grown up there and knowing some of the cast, is that no one on it ever does, or has ever done, anything noteworthy. It is a parade of moderately good-looking people having stilted conversations about one another’s utterly irrelevant and pedestrian personal lives. I know these people and find it unspeakably dull; God knows what anyone else sees in it. Fiction was invented to get away from exactly this sort of tedium.

However, when people use that oxymoronic and false phrase “reality television,” it is not Made in Chelsea, or Big Brother, or any of those other monstrosities that spring to my mind. It is the television footage of Cayetano’s father being tossed by that bull in 1984 and then the footage afterwards of him in the hospital, fully conscious, reassuring and calming the panicking surgeons as they struggle in vain to stop his life from hemorrhaging out onto the bedsheets. That was how Paquirri justified his salary and his celebrity: by paying the ultimate price and facing it with a courage and grace that beggars belief.

That his son”€”both sons in fact”€”should follow in his shoes makes him deserving of having his life told as a story, on film and in print. Ernest Hemingway felt similarly when he wrote the articles about Cayetano’s grandfather Antonio Ordóñez that were posthumously published as the book The Dangerous Summer and when he fictionalized his 1924 encounter with Cayetano’s great grandfather in Pamplona as The Sun Also Rises. Some people are deserving of recognition and others are not. The British and American inability to distinguish between them is at the heart of our ethical and aesthetic decline.



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