Intersquawk by Pat Black
Fanny Batter; agony aunt, friend to the stars and celebrity in her own right. Now that her best advice has been compiled in the form of a new book, Celebrity Agony Aunt, Booksquawk sits down to an interview with the lady herself...
Booksquawk: You're now one of the world's best-known agony aunts. How did you get started in the business of sorting people's problems out for them?
Fanny: It came naturally to me. I was forever offering advice and opinions to anyone, whether they were listening or not. I would bang on about promiscuity, fairness, the environment, sexual politics, greed, gluttony, success, fame and fortune and anything else you could care to mention.
My rantings and essays on the morality of our glorious nation were as abundant as the fleas on an unwashed tramp’s clothes. In the end, I thought: there must be a purpose to my spouting; I need an outlet.
So, I started my blog and soon I even had celebrity endorsements, and we all know what that means; it matters not how crap something is if it has the all-important celebrity factor. My blog took off and I found myself answering queries from the great and the good... As well as the loons and the losers of course. It is the bane of an agony aunt's existence that mentally ill people persist in asking us for help, even when there is little or no hope for them. Words of comfort are all I can offer them on the slippery slope to total mental breakdown.
Booksquawk: You seem to have a lot of celebrity admirers. How do you cope with the constant attention and distractions?
Fanny: Once I've finished taking advantage of them, getting invites to parties, skimming off freebies and trying to sleep with them, I get on with the serious business of sorting their heads out. I usually advise a period of intense therapy where I confiscate all their drugs and alcohol and send them into rehab. Then I get my mates round and we have a great big party. These parties are legendary, but to be honest I have very little recollection of them afterwards.
I'm sorry, what was the question again?
Booksquawk: It's clear that you're a very sensitive person who is attuned to the needs of today's modern young person. How important is it to instil old-fashioned values into children living in a new media-dominated world, with Twitter, YouTube, citizen journalism and lashings of free porn?
Fanny: How dare you say I instil old-fashioned values!!! My values are of the moment, always have been and always will be. Just because a value has been recognised in the past and admired in years gone by doesn't mean it isn't relevant today.
It's like saying, 'Do you enjoy eating old-fashioned cheese on toast?' My cheese on toast is fresh and lovely and melty and delicious. Just because people have eaten cheese on toast in the past doesn't mean they shouldn't eat it today, tomorrow and the day after. Although, in the interests of a balanced diet, maybe they shouldn't eat cheese on toast every day, unless they are on Statins in which case they can eat what the hell they like as the Statins will take care of it.
The values I promote are universal and, I hope, long-lasting. Respect, honesty, love, peace, working at relationships, not stabbing anyone and so forth, tend to be good ideas even today.
As for the new media, Twitter shouldn't be used to disrespect people, but to share the love. YouTube can be used to show the 'Dude you have no Koran' man stealing the Koran from the man who was about to burn it; i.e. to promote peace.
Citizen Journalism can provide honest information, quickly, to the world, without propaganda. Admittedly the Internet has got a lot of porn on it, probably a little too much, as nobody has got time to watch it all. The tools at our disposal today can be used for good or for evil, it is up to us to exercise our moral judgement and 'old-fashioned' values to do the right thing.
If the children don't get it, a swift clip round the ear-hole should make them see sense.
Booksquawk: Do you think Barack Obama had the right solution for the Osama bin Laden problem?
Fanny: Yes and No. Yes if you are an American, and No if you are anyone who might want to put a fatwa on me for saying Yes.
Booksquawk: The whole world watched last week as William and Kate finally tied the knot. What advice would you give to this high-profile couple as they begin a life of married bliss?
Fanny: I won’t beat about the bush - I'll just come right out with it: copious amounts of Oral Sex is the answer.
Any marriage has its ups and downs and anyone in their shoes must be terrified of the responsibilities and expectations heaped upon them. Our future King and his beautiful wife were scrutinised around the world as they exchanged vows and I didn't know whether to envy or pity them. She must have her doubts; yes, she may be getting Wales or Cornwall or something, but look at what happened to her mother-in-law. If she steps out of line the machinery of state will crush her; full of vengeance and wrath. As the Eagles once said: 'Welcome to the Hotel California, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave'.
He must see there is a slim possibility that she's after him for his huge amounts of loot and sh*t loads of royal titles. As Kanye West said 'I ain't sayin' she's a Gold Digga, but she ain't messin' with no broke Prince'; or something like that.
The Royal Couple must find ways of distracting themselves from their worries, and what better way could there be than participating in recreational Oral Sex at every opportunity?
Booksquawk: Eraser/rubber, john/toilet, prostitute/client, tomato/tomato.... all of these are potential linguistic banana skins for Brits seeking to export their talents to the United States. Have you ever encountered a problem with translating your unique problem-solving style for a US audience?
Fanny: Well, if I start worrying about people not understanding what I'm talking about, where will it get me? I don't understand why Americans can’t even say Yogurt properly. Yo-gert. And whatever you do, don't offer one a Fag; I got in so much trouble for it in LA. They reckoned I was soliciting or procuring rent boys or something. I was in cuffs in the police car within seconds and it took hours getting released from the police station. I meant a cigarette, of course, not a bloody teenage boy prostitute. What made it worse was they thought I was pimping my own kids out.
Booksquawk: Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan. What's the solution?
Fanny: These people are not content causing problems in their own country, so they seek to export their 'brand of terror' across the world. It's time the world fought back and stopped them in their tracks.
The American Special Forces seem to be most effective in dealing with megalomaniac public nuisances. Perhaps Obama should give them some new targets?
Booksquawk: Charlie Sheen has gained a large cult following in the wake of his recent public meltdowns. What would your advice be for this troubled soul?
Fanny: Charlie is full of love. He has so much love to give he has two lovely ladies. He likes winning and I've got a sneaking suspicion that he might be taking some drugs.
I'd have a good old talk to him about drugs and see if I could get him into rehab; I know this might be a tall order, even for me. I think his problems started when he was in Wall Street (the film) but he took his character too much to heart and the winning and cocaine took over his life.
He should seek out the simple pleasures in life, go to a quiet and spiritual place, meditate, practise Yoga, fast, give up the excesses in his life. Perhaps India would help him; he could see a different way of life, see real suffering and poverty, and realise how lucky he is. With his eyes opened to this spiritual world he could become a true winner: a person who understands the importance of life and meaning of existence.
Or, he could carry on destroying himself until he perishes in a terrible drunken drug-fuelled orgy of death.
Booksquawk: Your approach to ending flatulence/global warming will have struck a chord with many environmental commentators. How does Fanny Batter propose to help people lead more environmental lives?
Fanny: A worldwide sprout ban would reduce flatulence enormously - and, I've calculated reduce Global Warming - by 0.1%.
Then I'd get rid of old planes and stuff and only have nice new ones. There could be a plane scrappage scheme, like the car one but better funded. This would reduce Global Warming by 2%.
People would only be allowed to fly once a year. Unless they were diplomats or politicians or pilots or air hostesses, or anyone else that convinced me they must fly more than once per year. Or, if they were coming back from their first flight.
I'd stop recycling toilet paper - I don't agree with using it twice. I'd ban meat because of the cows farting. And I'd replace nuclear power stations with methane power stations and wind farms. If we covered 87% of the country with wind turbines we could produce 18% of the required electricity this way; that’s enough power to fuel an entire city such as Liverpool.
Booksquawk: And finally, what would your advice be to plucky writers seeking agency representation?
Fanny: Oh God, I've no idea. If you don't know one personally you haven't got a chance. Writers are ten-a-penny, talented writers are numerous, and good agents are scarce. Imagine you are on a magnificent cruise ship with thousands of wonderful writers, and only one life boat. The life boat can only hold ten people. The ship starts sinking. The writers all run for the lifeboat, screaming 'me, me, me' but only ten of them can be plucked from the sinking ship and saved from watery obscurity. As you fight your way towards the lifeboat, trampling on the fallen, gouging out the eyes of any who get in your way, you realise the lifeboat is already full. In fact it is overloaded and it too is starting to capsize. The writers on the lifeboat fight for their lives and try to throw others overboard.
Water laps at your feet and as you start to sink into the cold sea you try to make out the name painted on the side of the lifeboat. In faded, old, paint you can just about read the word: 'Rejection'.
Above, in a state-of-the-art helicopter a multi-millionaire successful author watches the scene below thinking what a bunch of f*ckwits. She turns to her Agent and says: “Shall we throw them a Lifeline?”
Celebrity Agony Aunt by Fanny Batter is available now.