Monday, 16 March 2009

Max Clifford - a death fantasy

My train got stuck outside Marble Arch, apparently they need to check smouldering on the tracks. Victorian notion; perhaps a steam train passing along the central line dropped a hot coal. Reading and re-reading one page of the metro, in the polyglot crush I can't turn the page. Jade Goody is dying, eliciting automatic sympathy, only a monster would not feel bad for the woman. She told her children she will soon be a star in heaven: apotheosis by media. Speaking of monsters, Max Clifford is our ringmaster for the final act of the Jade show. Insidious, personification of the malignancy killing his client.

I saw him on the news the other day, press eddying in his wake. He deftly deflects questions about Jade's final media appearances, “her choice”, “I asked her if she was sure” and so on. He's as insincere as the press who follow, gripped by the story but feigning moral approbation at the same time. They tell themselves “It's all right, its only a job”; the media and Max united in the drive to make some money - “but no, that's not fair, there'll be money for Jade's kids, our motives are pure ... now excuse me while I find a shower to wash the grease away”.

I can imagine Max now, sitting at Jade's bedside, Blackberry on silent. Master manipulator, sliding his practised fingers into the darkening recesses of a cancerous mind. “Remember your public Jade, they'll remember you. I can offer salvation. Immortality in print. Call me Max Christos Jade, if they read about it death will be overcome.” Max himself the great spider at the centre of his web. Poor Jade, she can't see the void behind that rubbery face, she cannot see this man for what he is. A monster for our times, a demagogue of celebrity, corrupt and corrupting.

I wonder if he fears death? A man so addicted to control must find the thought disconcerting, after all, once the spider's dead of what value is the web? I hope when his end comes he suffers. I hope he sits estranged, reading of his impending death in the rags he spent a lifetime filling. I hope he gets that moment of clarity, the realization of the poison his life was. At that moment, in the agony of being, the adrenal rush of the organism with nowhere left to run, he'll rip out his eyes, swallow his tongue; then the dogs of justice will come and tear his rotten flesh from the bone filling the air with the stink of decay. And so to darkness, lost but not missed. A tomb stone will read: “hear lies Max Clifford / maker of idols / keeper of secrets / he saw the worst in us and gave it voice”; and that will be it, he will depart with a whimper, no more will he darken our lives.