Reporting From The Inside:
A Collection Of Covert Operations
by Urs Trulee, CBE MA 1/2 a PHD
SIMON, SHARON, LOUIS & ME.
Date: 11th Dec 2016
Assignment: Infiltrate The XFactor Final After Party
Louis: “Sharon I beg you, they’re Italian for fecks sake”
Sharon: “Oh f**k off you Irish b*****d. You laaaav it.”
And with that Sharon Osborne shimmies down her frilly French knickers (surely reserved for those under 40) and shits on Louis Walsh’s brand new Italian loafers (definitely appropriate for a man pushing 80).
It’s 2am on the night of the XFactor Final and I’m crouched under a food trolley in Simon Cowell’s living room and/or snug. The smell of poppers (party, not the homosexual kind) fill the air and there’s sick on my back neck. That’s right reader, Urs Trulee, Covert Investigative Journo and part time Estate Agent, is in the middle of cracking another major scoop.
In order for you, the reader, to fully grapple with the unbelievably dangerous situation I’ve put myself in, I might first take sometime to put into context the nature of the “XFACTOR”. Once popular for about four seconds, the XFactor was at best a good television talent show being watched by some people. It’s important to consider aspects like the global recession, changing tastes, government cuts when assessing the decline of a television show, but unfortunately for the XFactor there’s simply no need. This Victorian freak show style programme has been in need of a change of tack since the first commercial break of its very first transmission in 2000 and something, but still it stagnates for the pleasure and benefit of those who, 50 years ago (also known as the days of the “good old”), would have been sectioned, imprisoned, disowned or banished. Still, the show, thought by many to be a form of mind control, continues to churn out “artist” after “artist” (I wonder what an artist would say about that) in order for Mr COWell and his band of rich Calfs to make a quick buck. Well Mr Cowell – your luck just ran out!
Cut back (not literally) to 11pm and I’m knocking at the door of Cowell’s penthouse apartment; I’m yet to be heard as the sound of good cheer, the XFactor winner’s new single and producers counting money is deafening and it takes the opening of the letterbox and a loud “Oi” to grab one of ‘Girls Aloud’ attention to let me in.*1 Incidentally and perhaps predictably, Cowell’s penthouse is bloody impressive. With five bedrooms, it’s own salon and a room that runs solely on Eastern Time there’s no end to the decadence, and wait, did I mention its in a tower of similar habitations, situated next to a rather famous building which looks like a shard? It’s The Shard. I’d heard about his XFactor after-parties from a friend of mine who was Paula Abdul’s bag carrier (or as he preferred to be known – “assistant”). The parties always started around 12am and were well frequented; so as long as you knew the location, you were bound to gain entry due to Cowell’s anxiety over turning away potential money. Sure enough, I knock at the door and just like that, an hour later, I’m in.*2
This party is much like all the others I’d heard tell about; Cowell’s laid on Mediterranean food and South American wine for a gathering of millionaires (multi) and competition winners, although neither are ever in the same room as the other unless they are part of both groups; sound weird? Inspect Cowell’s floor plan which all guests receive on arrival and you’ll see it cuts a fine Venn diagram, its impressive, even in Royal Purple Crayola Crayon.
Aside from the privilege apartheid segregating many of the party goers, (and some of these fillys certainly look like goers if you know what I mean*3), the place is in full swing. All the major players are here, One Direction, Sam Bailey, Alexandra Burke, Kevin Keegan; not to mention a handful of Cowell’s favourite half of some seriously famous duos – as Ginger Spice from Girls Aloud finally lets me in, I spy across the room a certain Dec from Ant & Dec, Janette Cranky from The Crankies, the taller one from the Chuckle Brothers and Ronnie Corbett’s wife, representing the now deceased Corbett, from the famous comedy duo “Corbett & Barker”.*4
Entry to the party is strictly prohibited to Press and so i’ve been forced once again to use my MA in Disguise & Deception to pass through the party without detection, hoping to finally catch a glimpse of the real Cowell either by overhearing him reveal something particularly damning or catching him removing his human mask. So as to draw as little attention to myself as possible, I’ve come as Ashley Cole, Cheryl’s Cole’s ex-husband, footballer and philanderer. A heavy spray tan administered by Narinda (my British born but Indian looking girlfriend) forms the base of the disguise, while a Chelsea Football kit including shorts, tshirt, long socks, studded boots and a knuckle duster complete the look. I had thought of dressing more casually and less occupationally but then Narinda said I looked “hot” in the kit and I’m a sucker for a compliment. Shoot me guys!*5
Disaster strikes as I stride into the room to find John Terry in the exact same kit as me. “Tom, you’ve got me the wrong number shirt!” I seer and text. Before Sharon Osborne can call another guest a c**t, I dive headfirst into what I assume to be a toilet. It turns out to be the airing cupboard, although the stench and stain of Janette Cranky is everywhere, suggesting she also made the same wrong assumption as me. My landing is soft but pissy and I curse Cranky for the sixth time in my life – qualifying her for my “Vengeance List”. *6 Then, an idea. And what an idea! Within the hour and using the least wet towels, I slide out of the cupboard the very picture of an Egyptian Sheik. I take a deep breath (necessary from holding my breath for so long in the cupboard – Janette, if you’re reading this, for gods sake, take on more fluids!) and proceed through to the main room, ready to expose Cowell.
“I bet you’ve got a little dick… show us your dick… show us your little Irish dick”, screams Sharon as she makes for Louis across the room. It’s some of the most outrageous partying going I’ve ever seen and I went to a Polytechnic, but nobody bats an eyelid – monsters! It’s now 1.30am and I’m damn frustrated at having been cornered by Dermot O’ Leary for the past hour discussing his latest business venture – an app where he and a past winner of Big Brother discuss their favourite elements of the Periodic Table. I’ve explained my concerns about the idea again and again by now, but O’ Leary won’t have it and we go round and round in circles. Eventually, I’m made to bite the bullet for the sake of time and finish the conversation by asserting that “while the idea is tricky, yes Dermot, it’s got legs”. He seems placated and moves on to Cat Deeley who gives me the eye for my sly unloading; I’m unmoved though and slide along the wall toward the corner settee where Cowell and Susan Boyle are arguing over who knows more about Scotland. “This is my chance”, I think and I slip on to the settee as cool as a Cat made of Cucumbers.
Within ten minutes Simon, Sharon, Louis and Me are sat shoulder to shoulder on the sofa like the very judging line up of the show we were here to celebrate. Instead of judging talent though, we’re watching Cowell’s own VHS compilation of the worst auditions ever recorded. Up until now he’s been completely silent like a hedgehog in a box and regardless of my bragging about all the money I have (“I made my money in oil… Simon… Simon I said money… *silence*…unbelievable”) Cowell is unmoved. Suddenly, I feel a nudge against my foot under the coffee table. I move my foot, embarrassed that I might have inadvertantly hit Sharon but the rogue foot is spurred on by my lack of reply and once more moves toward mine. It’s a dainty little foot but it packs a punch (metaphorically) and is masterfully controlled as it smooths its way up and down my right ankle. “I’m getting another Whiskey White Wine”, exclaims Sharon, but as she leaves the settee her foot doesn’t… or rather I realise that the amorous foot belongs to the old Irishman with the wide grin, Louis Walsh. Anticipating tomorrow’s Daily Mail headline, I jump up and offer to get Sharon’s drink for her, my voice two tones higher than it normally is from the shock – seriously guys, I sounded like an effing girl. “Oh look Louis, another one who talks like you, looks like your lucks in! Is everyone here a gayer Si?!” cackles Sharon, and I begin to blush and sweat and shake. She takes my offer and I scuttle to the bar in the knowledge it’s make or break time, but there’s further complications when the profuse sweating begins to un-tan me. Cate Deeley seems to notice the tan lava which edges down my face as if my cheeks were TOWIE volcanoes but, lucky for this kid, O’ Leary has the ex-SMTV LIVE presenter well and truly cornered. “Come on Cat, you know it’s a winner” presses O’ Leary, but even the unveiling of a mole in the room isn’t enough to make Deeley say the concept of the ‘Brother Dermot App’ is a good one. I, meanwhile, press on… “there has to be a way to get Cowell to admit who he really is“.
“How’s about a game of truth or dare?” I shout in a hushed tone, slamming my clenched hands or fists down on the table. The room falls mostly silent and Sharon jumps up and squeals “yes turkish man!” with delight; Louis, nodding in agreement, puts down his Mint Baileys and starts to unbutton his shirt; Cowell? well, he just sits silently staring with his trademark glasses, jeans and white tee. I stare right back, “Come on you mother, take the bait“. “I’ll go first… Louis… kiss the Turkish Sheikh” demands Sharon; I’m stunned, is she having a laugh? “There’s no need for that, surely?” I quiver. “Fine… I’m shitting on his shoes then.” The entire room stands motionless, powerless and mystified as Sharon squats and takes a nasty dump on Louis’ shoes. He protests meekly but something tells me he secretly likes it – naughty leprechaun! Cowell still doesn’t flinch. What in God’s cock is going on?! Has this man got any sense of self-respect? A beautiful penthouse, desecrated by a cockney turd. Finally, I lose my cool and leap at Cowell my arms extended, fingers crooked, going for the neck. I smash into him, BANG! but the whole episode upends me and I finish in a heap on the floor having cut him in two. “FUCKING CHRIST I’ve killed the bastard”, I think. “Wait… there’s no blood… just paper… no not paper… cardboard…” and as the dust settles I realise it’s not really Cowell at all but a life-size cardboard cut out of him. CHECKMATE! According to my cowardly assistant Tom, when I turned my back to hide my sweating face Cowell had clocked me and realised his number was up – in the intervening time between Deeley’s stares and Sharon’s obscene scenes, Cowell had given me the slip (not sexually) and replaced himself with the cut out.
I rise quickly and, swinging unnecessarily on the chandelier, jettison to the main window which is newly ajar. I lean out to see Cowell scaling down the building head first – this man cannot be human! “You’ve won this round Cowell”, I bellow, “but there’s always next year… remember this… remember this… oh and by the way… you’ve just made the list.” He lands on the ground (he must have scaled about fifteen floors), turns back and hisses before sliding into either the drains or a limousine I can’t recall. I turn dejected but safe in the knowledge I did my best, and as the closing moments of Cowell’s VHS play out and Sharon finishes on Louis’ shoes, I walk out with my head held high from pride (and my neck). I stop briefly to catch a glance of myself in the full length mirror on the bedroom ceiling – “Well, well, I guess now I know what mine and Narinda’s son will look like.” And with that lovely thought I exit the penthouse smiling, slamming the door behind me. BAM!
*1 I tell you now, I don’t care what anyone says, Girls Aloud? Yes, to kiss my face. Wowza.
*2 I’ll take this opportunity to apologise to my unpaid internal assistant Tom if I may. Both he and I know that in the line of duty an assistant maybe called on to do all kids of questionable things (and I have), but I hold my hands up in agreement that the notion he absolutely HAD to scale the penthouse and enter through a small, rodent infested shaft toward the rear of the drains themselves, to gain entry, was an exaggerated one. Things happen Tom and I’ll apologise and admit you could have simply entered by knocking on the front door like me. I won’t, however, apologise for forgetting your change of clothes. You asked me if I could take your bag with spare clothes to the meeting point, that much is correct. But I’d happily blind cats rather than entertain the idea I ever said I would definitely pick them up for you. My exact words were, “I should be able to”. It turns out I didn’t Tom, for that you have only yourself to blame and I think the Police agreed with me to.
*3 My attitude to “casual misogyny”, as my mother calls it (she’s a real idiot guys), is much like my attitude towards a Baybel – I really can take it or leave it. I thought I was a feminist for a long time until I realised you had to be a lesbian to be one, and though I myself do like to sleep with women, I am not one, which prohibits me from calling myself a lesbian (it’s complicated but just trust me on this). Don’t get me wrong though, I’m a passionate believer in women’s rights and often buy women’s magazines to support the cause; though I still maintain, that in a world of such excess waste, the burning of a bra is tantamount to spitting in the face of a starving African.
*4 The duo invitees were impressive but I couldn’t help wondering what the other halves would be doing. Would Ant be practising his presenting in the mirror? Making those written lines seem off the cuff? Would the short one from the Chuckle Brothers be mercilessly trying to take that ladder upstairs ON HIS OWN? Would the other Crankie be sitting, staring into space, contemplating the strength of the banister beam and the telephone cord? Whatever they were doing, by splitting them up Cowell was proving how much of a master he is at psychological warfare. Game On!
*5 If you think I look “fit in the kit” imagine what Narinda looks like in the kit. Now imagine she’s only wearing the Studded Boots and the Knuckle Duster… you get the idea.
*6 People get six chances with me and then it’s the “Vengeance List”. It’s a list which will lay dormant until I have some indication of my own demise. On that day, when I realise I’m not long for this world, I will come for the following people: Janette Cranky, Donald Trump, The Pet Shop Boys, Gordon Ramsey, Phillip Schofield (he knows why so he can stop protesting his innocence), Andrew Lloyd Webber and the 1997 revival cast of CATS (with the exception of the lovely man who played Grizabella), Lily Allen, Lily Cole, Alan Shearer, Alan Cumming & Graham Norton (sorry Graham but I can no longer turn a blind eye).