Down the years, I have rubbed shoulders with the great and the good of this country; I have met lords, ladies, knights, dames and stars of stage, screen and sports fields. I have steadily grown more and more fascinated by how these people deal with fame and how fame affects them. For example, one of Britain’s most successful and recognisable people jogs past my house on his daily run. Always polite and happy to chat, it was he who told me to get writing this blog. His personality is very natural and unaffected; what you see on the screen is very much what you get in the flesh. In turn, he rarely gets bothered as he goes about his daily life. Others can be more guarded, building a protective bubble around themselves, but once you are “in”, they relax. Then there are those that are famous, who don’t want people anywhere near them, but always want to remind everyone just how famous they are. For example, driving a fluorescent Italian sports car with a noisy exhaust and number plate betraying their identity, but hiding behind a pair of shades as some sort of disguise. Or maybe you might see them looking glum in some trendy nightclub, shielded from the proles by their hired entourage.
Most interesting are the “has beens”, those that had their fifteen minutes of fame some time ago, yet refuse to acknowledge that their time has come and gone. No matter how fleeting or tenuous that moment was, they continue to act as though still in the spotlight or some target for paparazzi. Typically, these types were maybe once in a tv soap, wiggling their hips as part of some long-gone pop act or in a team that played top flight sport before they were relegated into oblivion many moons ago. I saw evidence of this while watching my daughter play u13s netball at her school.
Stood away from the gaggle of chattering parents was a shady figure dressed head to toe in black with the hood of his parka pulled low over his face which was already obscured by a hoodie, a beanie hat and a baseball cap. A scarf pulled high over his chin completed the “incognito” look. Of course, this had the exact opposite effect as everyone else nudged each other, whispering, “It’s not THAT cold!”. At full time, he rushed past us on his way to the car park, gaze averted to avoid any possible eye contact, but not before I had recognised him as someone vaguely well-down back in the 90s. Amused by his bizarre behaviour and finally realising just who this character was, I decided to be polite and bid him a cheery good morning. He spun in horror at being recognised and wheeled away after a rather dismissive hand gesture, much to the amusement of those that witnessed it. Last seen jumping into his old Mercedes and wheel spinning off down the road, I looked round for any chasing photographers, camera crews or screaming fans, but, alas, there were none.