To download a podcast about Tessa Mayes's experiences with the celebrity Scientologists, click here. ‘A culture is only as great as its dreams and its dreams are dreamed by artists,’ wrote L. Ron Hubbard, who founded the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre in 1969, 15 years after he formed the church itself. So, in a sense, the Scientologists have only been true to their founder’s intentions in the ever greater emphasis they now put on the famous.
Richard Sanders recalls the exploits of Bartholomew Roberts, a swashbuckling 18th-century buccaneer to match Johnny Depp — except that he drank tea, and was probably gayThe Pirates of the Caribbean films, the third of which has just been released, have revived the age-old interest in all things piratical. But the average Victorian schoolboy would probably have choked on his porridge if he’d known the real nature of the men whose adventures he so avidly devoured.
At last an issue to unite all of us — right, left, Muslim, Christian and Hindu, liberal and conservative. The decision to knight the author Salman Rushdie has brought together, in angry concordat, almost the entire world. There are those who, even now, may be strapping on the semtex to deliver to Rushdie the righteous vengeance of the prophet Mohammed (PBUH). And there are others who will merely write nasty stuff about him for the Guardian and the Evening Standard and maybe cheer quietly if he is, in the end, blown to smithereens by an altogether more proactive and engaged opponent.