‘Do you think we’re getting old?’ I asked my friend recently. ‘A bit,’ She replied thoughtfully. ‘It’s not good, is it?’ I said. ‘I think we may be falling behind.’ My friend stared at me in confusion. ‘Well,’ I explained helpfully. ‘I saw the Katy Perry movie.’ The Katy Perry movie, whose title I have forgotten entirely, but whose scenes flash before my eyes daily, is one of the most engrossing and thought-provoking things I have ever seen.
It’s about Katy Perry, who is an extremely famous singer, and was filmed while she was on her very first world tour.
At its worst, the Katy Perry movie is an ear-assaulting manifesto on Katy’s continued ‘love for her fans’ and ‘ability to hug unwell children’. At its best, it is an astonishingly complex narrative on the choices we make, the consequences of our decisions, and the curious powerlessness that comes alongside the power of celebrity.
We see Katy weeping as she is woken up before a ‘meet-and-greet’, begging her handlers for ‘5 more minutes’ in a way that recalled being forced to go to school so strongly that I later dreamt I was in assembly. We wait as the voice over tells us breathily ‘Katy loves to have a good time’, only for the camera to follow her to a theme park with her sister. (And, I am sure, various members of her entourage- though perhaps they did not sign their releases, as they are rarely featured).
Apart from all the on-stage showing off, Katy’s life seems to be equally divided between sleeping, getting to work and making small talk with strangers.
‘Ah,’ I said happily to my friend. ‘It’s OK. We’re right on track. We have pretty much the same lives as a world famous multimillionaire.’ ‘I’m not sure that’s true,’ My friend replied. ‘You’re right,’ I said. ‘We should do much more showing off.’