Well, it's life Tom, but just not as the rest of us know it
THE relationship between a columnist and a Hollywood celebrity is usually that between a long wooden stick and a piñata. We do tend to beat them for fun in the hope that a few sweets will pop out for the entertainment of the public.
Yet, dear reader, I must say it is with a heavy heart that I pick up my cudgel and begin to rap it in the palm of my hand while advancing menacingly towards the trussed-up form of Mr Tom Cruise.
Let me explain, I've always had a soft spot for Mr Cruise. He is, after all, the star of my favourite trash movie, Days of Thunder - a mesmeric car-crash of a flick that, regardless of how many times I've seen it, continues to draw me in. It should also be celebrated for bestowing upon Mr Cruise the most ridiculous character name in cinematic history - Cole Trickle.
Anyway, while others mock his messianic positivity I do tend to find it quite refreshing. When some jumped-up sub-Dennis Pennis prankster from Channel 4 was interviewing him at a premiere in Leicester Square and squirted water in his face, it was Mr Cruise who came off best with his demand for an explanation as to why his courtesy at giving an interview should be so rudely abused.
Unfortunately my respect has been dented slightly by a recent interview he gave to a German magazine in which he attempted to highlight his simple life and how normal he is, saying: "I wear jeans, socks, shirt and a belt - all totally normal. I get my hair cut on the set. I have no iPhone, no mobile, no e-mail address, no watch, no jewellery, no wallet."
Granted, wearing jeans, socks, shirt and a belt are perhaps the only things that unite Tom Cruise and myself. But I can't remember the last time I had my hair cut on a movie set. How about you?
Now, since the iPhone only went on sale in Scotland at 6:02pm last night, we'll let him pass on that one too. Unfortunately lacking a mobile or an e-mail address may unite him with most of the population of sub-Saharan Africa, but it does rather distance him from the western world. No watch, fair enough. I, too, went many years without a watch on the grounds that it instantly gave the rest of the population a purpose. No jewellery, a point to be applauded.
It's the "no wallet" idea we have to examine more closely. Are we to believe that Mr Cruise is a Buddha-like figure, bereft of possessions, with no need for cash, content to wander Beverly Hills with nothing but a simple ceramic food bowl into which passers-by drop off the occasional Subway sandwich?
The reason he can afford to be so "normal" is his extreme abnormality. The reason he can exist without a mobile phone, an e-mail address, or a wallet is because he has staff, personal assistants and flunkies who carry such objects for him. He could easily have given the interview in a different way in which he pointed out not what he lacked, which is, let's be honest, the ordinary objects of everyday life, but what he actually owns, which includes his own personal jet, a multi-million dollar Hollywood mansion, a vast ranch in Colorado. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge Mr Cruise the fruits of his labour in the salt mines of Tinseltown, I would just prefer if he didn't try and pretend he was just like you or me. It's time to lay my cudgel down, I've suddenly remembered him weeping over his father's deathbed in Magnolia, his twinkly-eyed Oirishman stealing the heart of the fair Nicole Kidman in Far and Away and his penitent sports agent in Jerry Maquire. Forgive me, Tom. You do complete me.
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