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Are you not entertained?

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With the Welsh Varsity been and gone, Rachel Moloney talks about rivalry in showbusiness

You can’t beat a bit of healthy competition. So as the Swansea team journey eastwards to take on Cardiff in this year’s Varsity, let’s cast our eyes over some of showbiz’s bitterest rivalries. There’s the battle of the abbreviated reality shows (TOWIE vs. MIC), the battle of the boy-bands (as Union J aim to kick One Direction off their perch) and the battle of the Beyoncé’s, as the diva has a dance-off against herself in a rather odd Coke commercial which has got absolutely nothing to do with the fizzy drink itself. That’s adverts for you.

However even though these showbiz rivalries are fun to watch, the stars increasingly seem to be finding ways of avoiding confrontation rather than facing it head on. Scared of facing its arch-enemy Britain’s Got TalentThe Voice recently moved to a later time-slot so as not to clash with Simon Cowell’s brainchild. As I find both shows a bit of nonentity anyway, full of over-excitable judges and crying contestants, I really couldn’t care less. But there are some times when tactical changes really throw me back.

Take Christmas for instance: my cinema trips had been planned out way in advance and I was beyond excited to see not just The Hobbit, but Les Miserables and The Great Gatsby too. Oh my giddy days. But then some inconsiderate fool decided to move Gatsby back until May 15th. As someone who’s writing her dissertation on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic, I was relying on the sight of Leonardo diCaprio to inspire me over the holidays. This didn’t happen; so I’m now blaming Baz Luhrmann and his producers for degree failure.

But although The Great Gatsby avoided a December box-office clash, it’s now ironically about to open one of the most prestigious events in the film calendar: Cannes Film Festival. That serves you right for trying to escape in the first place. However, with his love of wild parties and fashionable suits, Gatsby would surely have approved of the move to the Riviera and it looks like the film has stayed true to his equally grand visions. Wasting no time in showing off their glittering and sequin-filled designs, Gatsby’s costume department has already lent some of its prized Prada gowns to feature on the cover of Vogue Australia. Yet whilst these magazines are enticing us with their decadent and glossy front pages, others are doing something far more worthwhile by telling us to shed some pounds.

Vogue’s rival Elle is inspiring us to run 10km round a London park in its ‘We Own the Night’ event on the 18th May, which enables women to jog under the cover of darkness with additional strobe lights and energetic music to get those legs pumping. Although this does sound a bit like a disco- just longer and without the alcohol- the event simply goes to show how it’s incredibly fashionable these days not just to be strong and healthy, but to compete against our fellow man and woman as well.

But for those of us who don’t want to run a mini-marathon, do not fear: Gwyneth Paltrow is here. She’s just stolen McCain’s slogan ‘It’s all Good’ and used it as the title of her new book, in which she champions healthy eating. Gwynnie had a health scare a few years ago and was consequently told to go on an ‘elimination diet’ which demanded no coffee, alcohol, dairy, eggs, sugar, potatoes, tomatoes, wheat or meat. So practically my entire diet then. Despite no longer on this ridiculously strict routine, she still tries to eat as healthily as possible and shares her recipe ideas by telling us to use spinach and tatsoi for risotto, as well as flour, xanthan gum and roasted almond butter for cupcakes. Sounds like It’s all Good may make you slim, but it may also make you bankrupt. Great.

Having read excerpts from her book, I can understand why Paltrow has come under such heavy criticism for her ideas, as she seems to have forgotten that most people are not millionaire film-stars but strapped-for-cash workers who just fancy a couple of ready meals. However, putting all this agro behind her and stocking up on the tatsoi (it’s spinach mustard by the way), Gwynnie is currently whizzing around the world on the promotional tour for Iron Man 3, which hits cinemas on the 26th April. In a highly original plot, the film will see Tony Stark don a very unsubtle suit of armour as he comes up against a terrible terrorist known as The Mandarin. I’ve never seen any of the Iron Man films (I know, shameful), yet I think that Mandarin, played by Sir Ben Kingsley, is going to need much more than just a knighthood if he is to beat Robert Downey Jr. Fighting some giant metallic robot? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So perhaps an Iron Man suit is what we all need as we go up against our fellow rivals. It would surely help our Varsity teams out of a tight spot; albeit cheating. But when we have forgotten to pack that nifty set of armour, what we really need to rely on is a healthy diet, a lot of money and a sneaky run away in the opposite direction. Technically speaking that’s also cheating, but it makes sense.

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Rachel Moloney

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