Friday, April 21, 2006

How Mr and Mrs Macca took on a bloody battle with the fur trade

Perhaps we ought to start trying to picture Sir Paul McCartney in a dress - after all, it now seems pretty clear who wears the trousers in his various houses.This is not intended as a slight against the relatively retiring ex-Beatle, more a tribute to his second wife, the forceful, formidable, feisty and, sometimes, even frightening Lady Heather Mills-McCartney.Both hubby and missus, we know, are passionate and powerful campaigners against animal cruelty, including that involved in keeping a thriving fur trade going - both here in Europe and across the Atlantic.But while their aims are the same, their approaches couldn't be more different, as you'll find out in tonight's special edition of Real Story on BBC1: The McCartneys Versus The Fur Trade. In Heather and Paul's case, it's Tough Versus Timid."I'm not very confrontational," says Sir Macca."I do find it difficult going up to someone in the street about the fur they are wearing. It's just my personality. If it's someone I know it's easier."Heather? Confrontation and In Your Face are probably her middle names. Which means she has a very unwieldly name, indeed: Lady Heather Confrontation In Your Face Mills-McCartney.Viewers will see her badgering her better half to personalise her letters to A list celebs - some of which are known to him: "We will look at it later," he says,, looking a little uncomfortable."Don't bottle out!" Heather tells him. And later, you will be able to eavesdrop on a 'phone conversation between the pair. She is in Brussels preparing for one of her impassioned, no-holds-barred performances at a press conference at the European Parliament, while Paul is reporting a brief 'phone chat he had with EU commissioner Peter Mandelson - and carefully explaining to Heather how he didn't want to harass him.Heather replies: "I'll do the harassing, you can be the nice boy."True to form, she harasses shoppers while stalking the streets of London, beseeching them - especially those wearing fur - to take a leaflet about the trade in dog and cat fur. And if they refuse to take one, she says sarcastically: "No? Don't you care about them?"Although her tone soon softens when she confesses: "I can't say I haven't walked past a leaflet-deliverer in my time."She makes much more of an impact on the streets of New York, where she gatecrashes the offices of Jennifer Lopez's Sweetface fashion company --and poses for Press pictures in front of a giant image of the fur-loving superstar.The next day's headlines - including Heather v J-Lo: A Day In The Strife - proof that Mrs Macca's tactics do pay off. Next up is a protest outside (and, until she's chucked out, inside, where she puts leaflets in fur coats) a J. Crew store, which she urges shoppers to boycott. And at the end of the programme, it is revealed that three months after this protest, J. Crew removed fur from its American stores.But the relentless campaigning wasn't easy. At one point, Heather says: "It's so hot, my leg is starting to come off."Many have found it easy to mock the Maccas (I can feel my own hands starting to go up here) and sometimes, to be fair, they do make it easy for their critics.For his part, all Paul probably has to do to win more street cred is stop giving his much-ridiculed thumbs-up salute, while his Lady - who,, likeYoko Ono, knows only too well the pitfalls in being with a former mop top - has been advised to tone down her alleged self-righteous shrillness and shrieking.Her critics will probably believe she has given them more ammunition here but, given the disturbing subject matter and her obvious sincerity, determination and strength of purpose, it seems churlish to indulge in petty, personal attacks.And even if people did, you'd just expect her to pull a face and ask: "Am I bovvered?"
Of the Press's possible reaction to her anti-fur trade campaign, she says: "They slate me all the time anyway for doing my charity work, so who cares?"She undoubtedly does care, however - as will millions of viewers - about the trade in fur, not least cat and dog fur (you might wish to cover your eyes when undercover footage from Chinese fur farms is shown).And yet I was left feeling uneasy regarding her boast about the ease with which she - or,, rather, Paul - can access the likes of Tony Blair: "Paul can ring up and get through and he will call back in 10 minutes if he's in the country - and within hours if he's not in the country."As Paul says, no one is Beatleproof."But is this really the way democracy and the lobbying of our politicians and Prime Ministers should work? As in: "Ordinary do-gooders needn't bother calling, but don't hesitate if your name is Macca or Bono.The PM will drop everything for pop stars." And while we hear Heather's manifesto together with opposing views from supporters of the fur trade, what is missing from the film is a face-to-face debate between the two sides.Perhaps no one was brave enough to sit in the same room as Lady Heather Confrontation In Your Face Mills-McCartney ...


At 12:23 PM, Blogger Table Mountains said...

we found thousands of dead seals on our beaches in newfoundland this spring.we now suspect it was STD'S from this porn queen that killed them when she came here. : )


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