It was either the further ascent of Peaches Geldof up the spiral staircase of tabloid notoriety, or much more probably, a ‘documentary’ so constricted by MTV’s desultory, manufactured script that every last iota of humanity was squeezed out of it leaving the flotsam and jetsam of London media bordellos floundering in a cesspit of their own making.
What was good about it?
• Peaches Geldof. After three-quarters of this documentary about the efforts of Sir Bob’s daughter to set up a style magazine, she was indelibly tattooed as a repugnant harpy, senselessly disparaging her team, sneering at her staff in the voice over and undermining and upbraiding her frail PA with directionless insults provoking her to leave the meeting in tears.
• But then it became apparent that Peaches was as much a victim as anyone of her team she mocked, because that’s the methodology of an MTV documentary, where all individuality and innovation are suppressed in favour of the staged emotional point-scoring with such brazen, maladroit insensitivity it made X-Factor resemble Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
• Peaches hates The Kooks, for this sentiment alone we can forgive her almost anything.
What was bad about it?
• The fraudulent scenario. Peaches has the laudable aim of editing a magazine that desires to step away from “commercial” bands, fashion etc, and in this documentary is lumbered with a team of ‘writers’ (everybody seems to be a writer – the business manager, the art director, Peaches’ PA, and it’s one of the designated writers who apparently “can’t write”) to compose a dummy copy to pitch to publishers in London in the hope that they will publish the magazine.
• Anyone who has worked in the media industry knows that even with a team with decades of combined experience it takes much longer than six weeks to produce a magazine that publishers won’t toss in the bin upon receiving it. So how was Disappear Here meant to succeed when the ‘art director’ has very little or no knowledge of magazine design, the ‘writers’ came up with ideas that in the real world are usually palmed off to work experience schoolkids, and that Peaches made no mention of sub-editors to shape the articles she commissioned into a coherent style?
• It was impossible to make your own judgement about the quality of the magazine as the cover was only glimpsed – a fanzine at best – and on the articles we only heard her muddled, subjective feedback to the writers, which seemed to be as much to paint writer Sean as the ‘office monkey’ with the purpose of redeeming him later in the programme to fulfil one of those odious narrative arcs that are the trademark of these pettily contrived artifices that MTV is so expert at flushing into the eyes of its naïve audience.
• Peaches also has a very adolescent view of the media world – for instance she called a style guide ‘a manifesto’ – but as the target audience for the magazine were her age, this may be understandable. “It’s about an escape from commercialisation,” she said of Disappear Here, before using her contacts to set up a cover photo shoot with the now thankfully defunct and very commercial Dirty Pretty Things, who are hardly Bark Psychosis.
• The Disappear Here team seem to have been hired on the basis of their haircuts than any apparent journalistic talent. Sean was Peaches’ scapegoat, as she cruelly mocked him as an ‘Abercromby model’, which, although perhaps part of the MTV-style script, was rich coming from a young woman who only has a TV programme because of her famous parents.
• But given Sean’s efforts, Peaches initial suspicions over his talent were probably well-founded. He did an ‘interview’ with a spokesperson from the BNP and, we were led to believe by his over-enthusiastic anecdote, Sean wrapped the evil racist in the sticky entrails of his visceral wit making him “hang up in nine questions”. However, the only purpose of ‘exposing’ the bigotry and hypocrisy of the BNP with such a trite interrogation is to make the interviewer feel good about themselves.
• Damian, the other ‘writer’ was little better, coming up with a killer question for The Charlatans. “Why The Charlatans as a name?” That’s The Charlatans who have been going for nearly 20 years.
• Sarah moaned that “Sean is the most commercial out of everyone”, oblivious to the irony of a fashion director affecting a notion of personal idiosyncrasy.
• Of course, all of our criticism of the team is based on the assumption that it was their own independent incompetence and they weren’t stooges in an MTV orientated scene.
• Such scenes blighted the veracity of the whole documentary. Sean and Dan sat at a café table discussing Peaches while wearing sunglasses and talking in rich clichés, while there just happened to be a camera set up next to them, and we imagine, a bloated, toad-like director prompting them as to when to speak and what to say to make the ‘best television’. And Dan and Camilla shared a ‘date’ in a pub, and you won’t see a more stilted interaction between two people if they were corpses chucked in a grave together.
• Former editor of Loaded James Brown looked as bored as a clock, and was perhaps waiting for a new series on Bravo.
• When exactly was this programme made? We ask as Peaches was still talking about her ‘boyfriend’ from The Horrors who, after a little research, we learned she dumped before getting married to an American musician in August.