Wednesday, March 01, 2006
If you're of a Catholic bent - and we realise that those two things tend to go together like talent and Chico - then today marks the start of Lent a time in which people give up something which means a lot to them for 40 days to commemorate the time Jesus spent in the desert trying to give up smoking. Something like that, anyway. But to celelebrate, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about what popstars get up to during this time of self denial:-
- Kylie Minogue is addicted to the idea of Lent and even continues with her sacrifice well after Good Friday. She just can't stop giving it up.
- The Catholic Church discourages people from listening to S Club 7 records during Lent as they feel they're a bad influence. A top cardinal lashed out at Bring it All Back, saying "How dare these 7 perky youngsters tell our children to 'Don't Stop' and 'Never give up'. This clearly goes against all the teachings of the Church", before going on to claim that the "Let the world see what you have got" line condoned walking the streets naked.
- Followers of the Catholic Church generally use Lent to give up things which are considered as vices: alcohol, smoking, chocolate, etc. Followers of the Charlotte Church instead prefer to give up anything which could be in any way considered healthy: fruit, vegetables, vitamins, sunlight, etc.
- Many hosts and MC's encourage you take part in Lent for their own benefit, rather than Jesus' as they cry "Give it up for..." when they introduce the act.
- Many female popstars are so keen on Lent that they happily give up eating for long periods at various points throughout the year, only stopping when physically forced to by highly trained medical staff at the nearest eating disorder clinic.
- Pete Doherty will be giving up the drugs for Lent and... Ah, never mind.
- Michael Jackson loves Lent as well, but he always makes sure that he binges on whatever he's chosen to give up on before Ash Wednesday arrives. He won't stop 'til he gets enough.
- Ash firmly believe that the fact that Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, providing inspiration for people searching around for something to give up, is the reason for their sales not being as high as they used to be and that it has nothing at all to do with the fact their last album was all rubbish and rocky and that Charlotte was keeping all her good songs for herself.
- Meatloaf refuses to take part in Lent. He would do anything for Jesus, but he won't do that.
- Despite It's a Sin giving off the impression that Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant isn't overly fond of the Catholic religion, in actual fact Lent is always on his mind, with Ash Wednesday being marked on his calendar as a red letter day and he always puts his heart into it, although he wouldn't normally do that kind of thing, he finds it a real liberation. He had a bad time in 1986 when, left to his own devices, he nearly found himself buying an apiary despite promising to give up bee-keeping for Lent. "It was so hard", he later explained, "But I saw the opportunity to make lots of honey and I couldn't resist". Fortunately for Neil's eternal soul, his then boyfriend had already phoned up the Bee's Needs Equipment Emporium and had told the proprietor not to sell a single thing to Neil until Easter was well and truly over, leading Neil to be met with an apologetic shop assistant telling him "I know what you want but I can't give it any more". Neil was angry at first, but the next day, when he was no longer mad, he released what a beautiful thing his partner had done for him and so wrote a song in his honour, with the chorus "I love you, you saved my Lent". Once it was all over and he was home and dry, realising that it was a miracle he'd gotten through it, he wondered whether it was worth it, whether a month of being boring had done him any good whatsoever. In the end he decided that yes, yes it was, as he felt absolutely fabulous by the end of it.