Much like the 7/7 bombers, Natalie Holt remained calm while she was purchasing the ingredients for her attack on the fabric of our society. She entered Marks & Spencer calmly. She went to the eggs aisle calmly. There, she bought six eggs. Organic, free range eggs, at that. Retail price: £2.15. She knew what she was doing – these chickens had led a happy life. The press certainly wouldn’t be able to smear her over the morality of her eggs. As to her broader motivations… well, that was to be another matter.
Much like the Kennedy assassination, it took only hours for the Britain's Got Talent egg saga to become shrouded in its own mythology of conspiracy. “In that sort of a role, they normally only let you take a small purse on the show,” a "source" told the Mail. “So God knows how she managed to get something as bulky as a box of eggs in there.” How, indeed? Was there some Philby-style mole on the staff who was actively aiding her? Proper anti-Cowellist saboteurs working inside prime-time ITV? The truth remains opaque. No one has truly been able to say why this tragedy happened, either.Nevertheless, within hours the Mirror was in full blaring Pravda mode: “Simon Cowell was pelted with eggs by a former contestant who has a bitter vendetta against him for not putting her through the auditions in a previous series,” they roared, slobber already drenching their cheeks. “A young girl sitting behind the judges' table had to change her clothes,” they wept, for full shocking effect.According to Holt, revenge wasn't her motive – she says her premeditated attack was actually inspired by Cowell's filling off primetime TV and the pop charts with shit music. On the face of it, this seems to stand up – we've since learned that Holt was a viola player, part of an all-female string quartet called Raven (“Similar to: The Israeli Bach Soloists, Fuse, Moscow Virtuosi” – thanks, Last.fm). They seem to have enjoyed success to a certain level, if by "success" you mean "traipsing around playing posh gigs at bankers’ AGMs". More than anything, they just look like the sort of people who would still rail against miming and pop fakery in 2013, when even your nan finds it difficult to get worked up about chart music's reliance upon smoke and mirrors.
Shockingly, the truth may now never emerge, as Holt appears to have been firmly nobbled by Cowell’s PR goons. There are two-hour self-denunciation films in the USSR state archives that are less terrifying than the statement she put out afterwards, asking to be forgiven for her crimes. “I want to apologise to Richard and Adam for overshadowing their performance,” she roboted, “I’ve never done anything like this before and in hindsight I have realised it was silly.”This word "silly" seems to have been a key one for whoever drafted Holt's apology. Perhaps it was the deep throat figure dubbed "one of Cowell's aides" as he was quoted as saying: “As soon as he heard that Natalie was admitting she’d been ‘silly’ and it was a ‘stupid joke’ [Cowell] sent the police away. She was grateful to hear this and offered to forgo her payment for the night’s work. She’s shot herself in the foot. She was a successful musician, but who will hire her now?” Thankfully, they bumlicked on from the press release they'd been handed, the great televisual Oz of our time emerged from the incident unscathed: “When he walked back on he was given a round of applause and David Walliams gave him a standing ovation … Natalie was so grateful when she heard that Simon wasn't going to press charges.”Yes. Lucky for her, Natalie wasn’t about to be charged under Britain’s notoriously harsh egg statutes, and who wouldn't be glad of that? After all, as we know, there’s nothing more terrifying than sharing a cell in Holloway when you’re a convicted egg-thrower. And really, you just don’t wanna know what they do to you in there once they find out you’ve interfered with a media mogul.
So the police arrived. Then the police were sent home again. All thanks to the grace of Cowell. He, his half-dozen producers and his pack of lawyers had merely bullied this woman with the full legal blitzkrieg they were capable of conjuring, and then this magnificent man had given this silly daft cow her freedom. Like a latter-day Christ, he had turned the other cheek… over to where his lawyers were sitting, and given them a little nod and made a throat-slittling gesture. But still, some people weren’t satisfied. Within hours, the message-boards were clogged with truthers, who believed that Cowell had invented the whole diversion. That she was his stooge, and that Cowell had paid her to throw eggs at him, in order to add a frisson of excitement to a TV show no one with a functioning brain still cares about. The facts all lined up, they said. One: He is Simon Cowell. Two: Simon Cowell plans everything meticulously – how could anyone get through with eggs? (This was the "CIA must’ve been in on it" bit.) Three: His shows are in a funk, and he needs to get people to talk about them. (This was the "it’s all about oil" bit.) Four: Cowell was largely unharmed. (This was the "Tower 7" bit.) Five: Cowell was quoted as saying: “I thought it was part of the act, I thought they were throwing sandwiches” – surely the most disingenous counter-bluff in history. Soon enough, it emerged that Holt had once lived with a former X Factor contestant. This equated to the bit in most conspiracy theories in which a lump of data suggests a correlation between two things but no one can actually put any kind of causality into it, so they just keep on repeating it ad nauseam.Even more dispiriting than the conspiracy theorists was the general sense of humour failure that spread across the land. Yes, there were the egg puns. But there was also a lot of inane waffle about how she’d "embarrased herself", "ruined Richard and Adam’s performance", "really let the school down" and other guff reeled off in the style of provincial headmasters. The idea that someone interrupting two bland cipher-men parping out Sinatra to throw eggs at a billionaire should be treated like a funeral for British dignity is absurd. Even Philip Schofield was taking the disciplinarian line: “Oh dear, what a total pillock. No matter what she was doing, she only made herself look a fool, hope she enjoyed her moment of infamy…” Well, that might be true, Philip, if you or I knew exactly what she was doing. But given how she was clearly silenced by Cowell, will we ever truly know? Perhaps, regardless of the truth, Holt’s actions would make most sense if we simply all assume our own motives for her attack. Whether she was trying to suggest that the British part in extraordinary rendition was a stain on the nation. Or merely trying to protest Schofield’s failure to get a BAFTA for his PM-paedo interview. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. She is The Unknown Egg-Chucker now: a universal votive candle of protest, a symbol of man’s yearning for freedom as bright as the body of little Hector Petersen, or the anonymous bloke with the shopping bags with the tanks in China. Or, you know, just another Trenton Oldfield, sacrificing himself for yesterday's causes.Follow Gavin and Marta on Twitter: @hurtgavinhaynes / @MartaParszeniewIllustration by Marta Parszeniew. Collage photographs via.Previously – Getting to Grips with the Tulisa Cocaine Sting