Thursday, April 24, 2008

In Praise of Gail Porter

She's a wee baldie pixie who used to be a glamorous TV presenter/model but is now what exactly?
Well, she made me cry this morning while on the Matthew Wright Five TV phone in show, The Wright Stuff, not because she was being sad at losing her hair, or maudlin or morose, but quite the opposite. Gail Porter's irrepressible joy at being alive is just about the most indomitable spirit I've witnessed in a long time. There she was, being quizzed on a show about baldness among women (2m in Britain apparently suffer from alopecia or have some kind of hair problem) surrounded by models displaying glamorous wigs, people phoning in because they're having chemotherapy and need to know what shampoo to use on their nylon barnets, and a hairdresser who does everyone's hair from Robbie Williams to the Queen who now wants to cut wigs because "women losing their hair is the most devastating thing" and wee baldie Gail's sitting in the midst of it all laughing!

And what's she laughing at? Well, at one point she said that because she had no nose hairs the snot just runs out her nose "It's like having a wee tap stuck on the front of your face" and then she was describing the panic at actually losing her hair (she really couldn't stop laughing at that) and then the worry about what her daughter would say ("I went to America with long blonde hair and came back a wee baldie") and she kind of laughed at that. She explained that she "used to be good looking" (she's as cute as a button) and is lucky because she's got a "nice-shaped head". At which point she laughed again. Probably at the prospect of having a not-nice-shaped head.

In fact, Gail Porter kind of laughed at everything all morning and made me laugh too. And cry.

I read her book recently, which starts with a suicide attempt, goes through self-harming, divorce, humilation, hair loss, deceit, and yup, you guessed it, you end up laughing (at all the other bits). She loves her wee daughter, she loves her mum, and she loves probably everyone (except her ex, some failed popstar called Dan Hipgrave) (but in fact because he's her wee daughter's dad, she probably doesn't mind him all that much).

Yeah, yeah, go on, analyse it, make out she's just a nervous wreck. Well I watched her this morning live on TV for over an hour, and she's not. She's a perky wee soul, who at whatever age she is, has had the lot thrown at her, and she's come out the other end laughing, laughing, laughing.

Gail Porter, I salute you. You're a laugh.