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Much Ado About Egging

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How do you lose 10 pounds in a week? Answer: throw an egg at a celebrity.

Your subsequent dealings with the tabloid press will be guaranteed to put you off your food. You will feel like you've spent a week hiking through hell; but you will go down a dress size.

Of course, you'll have to be ready to withstand a barrage of poultry puns, and are likely to be labelled as mad - an 'eggstremist' (The Sun) who is clearly 'two eggs short of an omelette' (The Mirror).

Within 10 hours of embarking on my own egg throwing diet, I was on the front cover of all of the tabloid newspapers. To my horror, a favourite photo seemed to be a skinny, bikini clad holiday snap from years ago, grabbed from Facebook. My phone was abuzz with calls from PR companies, agents and managers. Outside my door a growing pack of 'paps' had set up camp, some on the overnight shift. They weren't sleeping, and neither was I.

I just sat in my flat, scared to go out. I certainly hadn't planned on this, nor did I want it.

I'm a viola player and film composer, someone who usually works quietly in the background of things. It's not really in my nature to be out front. Perhaps naively, I'd thought I could protest then slink away into the shadows, like that unknown student who egged the Prime Minister in 2010.

Much to the tabloids' delight, it emerged that I had apparently entered Britain's Got Talent myself the year before. In fact, my string quartet were asked on by the producers of the show: "No need to audition as you have been 'talent spotted". A little taster of engineered BGT trickery. This should have been a warning signal.

My quartet deliberated long and hard. We've been practising our instruments since we were tiny, and playing together professionally for the last five years. Collectively we hated everything these type of shows stand for but like so many acts before us we were advised that being on such a show was increasingly the only way to reach a wider audience.

Like us, every contestant, from five to 90 years old, accepts the Faustian pact. They are publicly raised up and the successful ones forced to sign into contracts with Simon Cowell's entertainment company Syco. Very few artists blossom beyond the release of a first album. There is often a huge gap between the show and the album release so the label can cut their losses and bail out before they spent too much on an artist who isn't performing well in the charts. Cowell and ITV have already made millions of pounds from the phone lines, advertising and even the theme tune of X Factor which he and Ashley Tabor, group chief executive of Global Radio are apparently credited as composing. So there is little vested interest for the artists who come through this process to be genuinely successful.

In our case, we were deemed not right for the show and sent packing before we'd even played a note on television, but not before we were sworn to silence by signing a non-disclosure agreement. A risibly low moment in the whole experience was being asked by a producer how many of us there were in our quartet.

The glimpse behind the curtain only made me more convinced of my protest the following year when I was asked to mime playing the violin in the background for two singing brothers, sat like a decorative pot plant with a group of incredibly talented National Youth Orchestra children who were also miming, and unpaid. I accepted the gig, but would use the opportunity of the final of Britain's highest rated TV show for a symbolic eggy gesture aimed at the tip of the gladiatorial TV iceberg.

Things snowballed. In Norway and America, my extended family were questioned and my parents found themselves being followed around their jungly garden by an intrepid team of journalists. My intercom and phone were still buzzing incessantly from reporters still camped outside. One even told me they had confidential breaking news that Prince Philip had just died and that I needed to 'give their paper an exclusive interview sharpish, before the media's focus moves away'. A grubby lie, of course.

So, if you're trying the egg throwing diet, after a week you will have offers to launch a celebrity egging app, advertise eggs, model swimwear with your violin, and appear on daytime TV and radio shows around the world. If you wanted to, you could launch a spurious short-lived career as the 'egg girl'. If, however, you were merely using the moment as a joyful act of protest, then hopefully spurning any of these opportunities will demonstrate your total disinterest in those 15 minutes of fame.

By now, I had very low energy. I just sat in my bed, still not eating, and growing increasingly convinced that I had in fact ruined my life forever. At this point I think I may have stopped showering for a few days. My boyfriend informed me that I was making the room smell like sweaty fear.

The first time I felt able to tuck into a piece of toast was after seeing an audience laughing along with Charlie Brooker as they watched a replay of the incident on C4's satirical TV show 10 o' Clock Live. And realising that this year, in the week after BGT ended, a few people, rather than just trotting along to the next round of reality TV, debated, felt angry, or just had a laugh at Simon Cowell's expense. Maybe a few BGT fans even paused to consider the fate of previous contestants who weren't so lucky to achieve the dizzying career peaks of past winners George Sampson, who last year starred in a panto in Derby, or Jai McDowall (if you can't remember them, I rest my case).

So, two weeks later, do I recommend the 'celeb egging' diet? It's certainly not for the faint- hearted. But ultimately, as the funding for the music industry dwindles, and people find it harder to make a living, I thought it was important to make a stand against the ideology of these exploitative TV programs. If Britain, or indeed Hungary does have any talent, it isn't being nourished by this endless diet of reality junkfood.

So I made a protest. An organically certified, fair trade protest for music. And the personal upside? I now look slightly more like that picture of myself in the newspaper wearing my bikini on a beach when I was a skinny 25-year-old.

Around the Web

Britain's Got Talent - Home

Britain's Got Talent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Britain's Got Talent - YouTube

BBC News - Eggs thrown at Britain's Got Talent Final - BBC.com

Britain's Got Talent | Facebook