Monday, November 14, 2005
..."these people are fascinated by TV and only happy being filmed - but even sadder is the fact that television is fascinated by them and people like them, which is why it keeps returning to them year after year."
Run don't walk to your nearest DVD store. The remarkable documentary Little Lady Fauntleroy is finally available to buy. There's too much back-story to this to do it justice. But I will try. In the 1980s, the country was shocked by James Harries, a child prodigy who looked and talked like an (adult) Dickens character, and was an antiques "expert". He had mad curly hair and was precociously annoying. Then a few years ago, James turned up on tv again, but under much changed circumstances. James was now Lauren - having recently had a sex-change.
The documentary Little Lady Fauntleroy has Keith Allen at his most cynical and jaded, turning up at Lauren's South Wales family home, to spend a few days with them. It quickly transpires that all is not what it seems and that Lauren's family are a Modern Day Adams Family. The father went to jail after apparently burning down his fancy dress shop (but not before trying to sue the government unsuccessfully for a million pounds). The whole family have dozens of degrees, which they apparently bought off the internet. They have set up their own college (their own house) awarded themselves more degrees and engage in counselling/private detective work for the hapless of Cardiff. Lauren apparently has degrees in "dramaturgy" and "metaphysics" and holds scary drama classes which usually end in her screaming and throwing her shoes at people. The family live on the edge of a council estate and are regularly harrassed and abused . Indeed, in July their home was broken into and Lauren was attacked (the family were accused of turning the attack into a media circus, milking the publicity for all they could get).
According to a recent programme on The Curse of Child Stars, the Harries family have created their own reality tv show (like the Osbournes), but it has yet to be picked up. Such a shame. Until then, we have this DVD to get our Lauren fixes. And the documentary contains dozens of classic moments - from mother mis-pronouncing "vagina", the weird freeze-frames which show contorted facial expressions, Lauren's unusual karaoke in a Cardiff pub, her terrifying acting class and best of all, Keith Allen's denoument, when he attempts to expose the families many lies - and then storms out of this own show in a huff.
I'm sure that the Harries family trawl the internet looking for references to themselves. So if you're reading this, - and looking for a biographer - I'm your man.
And it looks like Lauren's recently had more surgery, this time on her face. The result is oddly eerie, a bit Lord of the Rings don't you think?