‘So what about Knut, the polar bear that became a media phenomenon for Berlin Zoo after it was abandoned by its mother, a former circus bear named Tosca? In 2007, more than three million visitors came to the zoo providing an estimated 5m euro fillip. The zoo swiftly registered the bear as a trademark and out rolled Knut fluffy toys, mugs, T-shirts and gummy bear sweets. There was even a Vanity Fair cover with celebrity ecologist Leonardo DiCaprio and BBDO Consulting briefly attached a brand value of 10m euro to the cub. Other German zoos, such as Stuttgart and Nuremberg, rushed to acquire photogenic versions of their own.

‘But Knut, like many child stars, seems to have become a victim of his own fame. German tabloids reported that Knut had become addicted to applause, “crying” when crowds disappeared. One German zoologist says that he has become a sociopath who will never mate.’ FT Weekend

Fame fucks with you. That much is clear from the frantic, strange behaviour that is now considered par for the course in movie-land: remember when Britney shaved her head; when Cruise got weird on Oprah; when Gary Busey attacked a Swedish film crew with a machete, when he talked about ‘Atlantis’ as if he might have actually been there; when Charlie Sheen –  deep, deep in a pharmaceutical binge – tried to persuade two girls to fuck his Real Doll©, when Charlie took a meat cleaver to that Real Doll©, wrapped it in a carpet and disposed of the ‘body’ mafia-style in a Hollywood dumpster. You name them, they’ve lost it.

All that weirdness, all those celebrity meltdowns, are so much a part of our expectations when it comes to the Hollywood experience that anything less than a full blown screaming, dribbling shit-fit feels like a bit of a letdown. The moment we take notice of a rising Star, we are, simultaneously, imagining that same Star’s feverish downfall – the crack pipes, the crazy talk, the dirty fingernails, the weird hair, the startled expression on their face as, inevitably, they’re snapped going down on a forty-stone hooker. In our enjoyment of other people’s fame, the falling down is just as intrinsic as the ascendancy.

So, given all the evidence, I feel it’s safe to draw the following equation:

an average human + notoriety + a culture of loony consumption = a speedy trip to the nearest nuthouse to munch down lithium by the fistful

We don’t need some learned symposium to work it out, just look between the pages of Grazia or the National Enquirer. It’s all there in the glossy, thirty-six colour double-page spreads.

Taking this irrefutable, unshakeable proof into consideration, let’s take a closer look at the fuckers who slip through the net. The ones who take it all in their stride. The ones we see sipping a Chai latte on Miami beach, splashing in the surf with a brood of happy children and a giggling spouse… Here we find the psychos, the crypto-Nazis, the glassy-eyed mental patients that wade through all that Chateau Marmant bullshit with a freaky sense of entitlement. They are the porn-dungeon-keeping wierdos. They are the dark heart of celebrity. They are where the rot begins, and where the buck stops.

I once sat next to syrup-brained, boy-actor Jude Law at some swanky dinner (no prizes for guessing that I wasn’t really invited, per se). He was pleasant enough, smiled a lot, and spent the better part of the evening talking about the sort of Heal The World drivel that comes so easily to those people. Nevertheless, beyond his obvious niceness, something about him made me nervous for my safety – as if, between courses, he might produce a live bird from his pocket and tear off it’s head with his teeth. By the time they served dessert I was in such a state of panicked exhaustion that I had shredded not just my own, but also his napkin into hamster-grade cage lining. I backed away in the end, sweating and apologising, making strange excuses.

They all terrify me: Gwyneth Paltrow (a Satanist, I’m sure); Bono Vox (this stack-heeled sicko has probably done violence to animals); Natalie Portman (something shifty behind those eyes); Matt Damon (there’s deep darkness, here – ten to one, he’s a fucking headhunter); Sting and Elton and all the rest. I just don’t trust them one bit.

Most of these fuckers would have you believe they were brought up in some misty, Hovis-advert approximation of the Industrial North, or a gentile, artsy household in Hampstead; that they spent their childhoods performing, alternately, virtuoso piano recitals and acts of gross generosity. But it only takes a mediocre intelligence to conjure up a picture of what life was really like in their formative years: the shouting, the manipulation, the terrified parents, the snarling betrayals and all that junior-league hooliganism. They were fucking dangerous.

If you ever see Paltrow, or any of these so-called ‘nice guys’, bearing down on you, have a can of Mace at the ready. If you don’t have the Mace, fashion a weapon out of whatever’s to hand – sharpen that teaspoon, slip a pool ball into a sock, knuckle some keys – because given half a chance these freaks will get weird and rip you a new pussy. I mean, trust me… I’m speculating.