Famous for fifteen minutes
Gamu Nhengu AKA Gamu of Gamugate | Reign of fame 2nd-16th Oct
Who? 18-year-old ‘X Factor’ auditionee who made it through to the ‘Judges’ Houses’ round.
The story: Gamu sparks controversy when she isn’t chosen by girls’ mentor Cheryl Cole for the live finals of ‘The X Factor’ (μ Dec 12th). It then looks as though she will face deportation after it is revealed that her mother Nokuthula Ngazana’s visa has expired: the family solicitor claims this was due to an administrative error. Following pleas from the Earl of Clancarty, Usher and a lot of Facebookers, the UK Border Agency eventually agrees to reconsider her case. Its verdict is still pending. Gamu goes to the MOBO awards and releases a single aimed at pipping the ‘X Factor’ winner Matt Cardle to number one: Cardle gets the Christmas number one, while Gamu gets the Christmas number 122.
Rupesh Shingadia AKA Cigar guy | Reign of fame 2nd-11th Oct
Who? Golf fan who was photographed wearing a ginger wig and Groucho Marx-esque moustache and smoking a cigar (a tribute to Miguel Angel Jiménez) at the Ryder Cup.
The story: Shingadia’s smiling face – which is snapped in the background as Tiger Woods fluffs a chip – is then Photoshopped into the backdrop of a number of historic images, becoming an internet sensation en route. He acquires his own fan club and receives (probably not all that serious) marriage proposals. A web-wide campaign to identify the man culminates in the Daily Mail “outing” the 30-year-old investment analyst. “I am embarrassed,” he tells the Mail. “If I had known the incredible reaction it would produce, I would probably never have put on my costume.”
Juan James Rodriguez AKA Naked Obama guy | Reign of fame 10th-20th Oct
Who? 24-year-old Staten Island resident who streaked at a rally for US President Barack Obama.
The story: Rodriguez’s naked ambition is to win a $1m reward from Battlecam.com by streaking President Obama while shouting the website’s name. Rodriguez attempts to do so and is arrested by local authorities and charged for indecent exposure and open lewdness, along with disorderly conduct. Alki David, the British billionaire who offered the million-dollar prize, reviews footage of Rodriguez’s display to see whether he met the criteria needed to win the prize: to have Battlecam.com written on his chest, to shout the name of the site six times and to get the attention of the President and remain within his earshot and eyesight. Having failed on the final point, he doesn’t scoop the prize (although he does get some compensation cash). Rodriguez’s trial is scheduled for 28th Jan 2011.
Alan Barr AKA The Foundation X Guy | Reign of fame 1st-22nd Nov
Who? 62-year-old ex-haulier who claimed to front a secret organisation that offered the government £22 billion to help build schools, hospitals and London’s Crossrail scheme.
The story: The FSA asks Lord James of Blackheath, an expert in the laundering of terrorist finance, to investigate an offer of £22 billion made by a mysterious organisation – Foundation X. The foundation says the money is a gift, but wants to discuss the disbursement of its funds with a head of state or one of the “top six people in the world”. Lord James comes to the conclusion that “Foundation X is completely genuine and sincere”. Commercial Secretary Lord Sassoon decides not to take the foundation up on its offer. Talking to the Daily Mirror, Barr said, “I have devoted 26 years to altruistic work. I’ve met many heads of state”. However he said his girlfriend knew nothing of the offer: “I don’t want her thinking I’m going crazy, do I?”
Ashley Kerekes AKA @theashes | Reign of fame 25th Nov-31st Dec
Who? 22-year-old American babysitter, whose nickname – and Twitter account – is The Ashes.
The story: Ashley Kerekes, a resident of Massachusetts, finds followers of her Twitter account, @theashes, swell from 300 to 13,500 after the beginning of the cricket test series of the same name. Kerekes – who claims to have never heard of the England vs Australia matches – is bombarded with messages demanding to know “what the score was” and if there had been any wickets. Attempting to avoid the confusion Kerekes tweets “I AM NOT A FREAKING CRICKET MATCH!!!”: but her existential crisis only adds to her fame. A campaign starts to “get theashes to the Ashes” and results in Ashley being flown to Australia for the final test in Sydney. Kerekes also launches her own clothing range based around her most famous tweet.
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