Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday, 16 May 2011

Bruce Dickinson, you tart!

Bruce Dickinson surely qualifies for the status of Rock God: expert fencer, qualified airline pilot and lead singer of Iron Maiden - the band that has been combining heavy metal with the A-level Humanities syllabus for the past 36 years.

As if that were not enough, he also made what my 14-year-old self would have called the best TV programme ever - 'Bruce Dickinson Investigates Spontaneous Human Combustion'.

Dickinson has been in the news a lot recently - yesterday's Sunday Times carried a behind-the-scenes magazine article following the band on a recent tour and a piece in the main newspaper on one of the other strings to his bow.

He has been backing a British aeronautical firm who have just secured a contract to supply airships for the aerial surveillance of Taliban activity in Afghanistan - something he describes as a prelude to energy-efficient mass air transportation.

Oh, and a plane from the airline that employs him - with Bruce at the helm - is to be leased for commercial flights to Iceland and Denmark this Summer*, according to several recent reports including one in NME.

I have no doubt that all this is newsworthy stuff but why now? The answer is in a link in the NME article, and it's a depressing one. It seems Bruce, like almost any other celebrity suddenly thrust into the limelight, has something to sell - a 'Greatest Hits' compilation - their fourth - out next week.

I have to admit I'm puzzled; after all, it's not the sort of thing Auntie Margaret's going to pick up on a whim. The market for it will consist almost entirely of existing Iron Maiden fans who would surely spot the thing as soon as it came out anyway.

But these days the Juggernaut has gone well beyond reason. Any celebrity with something to sell is trotted through the hoops of chat show, magazine interview and the inevitable incongruous TV appearance - given the timing, my money's on Dickinson appearing on the BBC's coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show.

It's all part of the Faustian pact that is PR - agencies will do anything to get their clients in the public eye and these days, for the cynical at least, the question that springs to mind whenever a celebrity appears is "What have they got to sell?"

*Mind you, given the Scandinavian passion for heavy metal, I doubt he'll be announcing the fact - unless they are prepared for the cockpit to be besieged by hordes of fans demanding to sit on the captain's knee.


  1. I he the one that sometimes partnered Deanna Durbin?

  2. A man of many talents he may be, but I don't think that time travel is one of them.

    Although I could be wrong...

  3. "Bruce Dickinson surely qualifies for the status of Rock God: expert fencer..."

    My brother used to fence, and has met him at tournaments. Nice chap, apparently.