Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Rehab? No, no no...
I am healed! Now I know that my stalking days are over! For I have, for the first time in my albeit short but incredibly staple-filled life, I have showed remarkable strength in the face of adversity and preternatural restraint in the face of a celebrity. Yes, I did NOT approach a celebrity in the street, point at them, and say: you're off the telly.
My brush with celebrities began when I was in my early twenties and the series The Office was being shown for the first time on TV. One evening I got on the tube home at Warren Street and, leaping onto the train, I bumped into TIM FROM THE OFFICE, otherwise known as Martin Freeman. Instead of tipping him the nod to let him casually know that I had clocked him, but was mature enough not to approach him, I went right up to him, pointed at him, and said: "You're Tim from The Office or some other such banality. Not to be put off by his non=committal yes, thanks and the fact his body language was saying something else, probably with four letters and ending with something that rhymes with duck, I continued: "I really love The Office. It's brilliant" (How I CRINGE now)
I was unstoppable. Someone should have, for the love of all that is good and true in this world, stopped me, before I asked: "So, what are you doing now?"
Tim-from-The-Office looked terrified. His voice went a little trembly and squeaky as his balls crept back up inside. "Er... I'm just going out with friends."
In my defence, I was actually asking him what project he was going to be working on now the first series had finished, but I was by then (alas! too late) too self conscious to try to explain. I sat down and contented myself with occasionally nudging whoever sat next to me and saying: "Look, that's Tim from The Office".
Since then I have met several celebrities and behaved most inappropriately. I have told Dermot McMurnaghan (the fit news reader with the static eyebrow) that I didn't realise he had to wear so much make up when he went on TV. Gyles Brandreth made me laugh so much that I ended up snorting tea out of my nose in front of him when I was interviewing him.
I have captain-saluted Richard Gere while he was surrounded by heavies and beauties and some heavy beauties). To his credit, he did salute me back, before he realised he didn't know who the hell I was.
This was at the same after-show party where I decided to drag a Canadian friend of mine called Helen around in search of celebrities to accost/rob/find out where they live so I could go home first and shave their cats. Poor Helen had to endure me becoming extremely pompous and pointing out our English stars in the room ("Look! That's the shit one from Steps, called H"). We walked past Vanessa Feltz who was talking to someone. As we passed, I became pompous again in the style of, as Gorilla Bananas has suggested, Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder. "Hey, lookin' good, 'Nessa", I said, pointing at her and nodding.
"Thanks" she smiled, before she realised she had no idea who the heck I was. But that was not the worst thing in the world. That came later, when I poured urine all over 50 years of British Film Making History.
We were standing around watching some boring dancing lesson from some overpaid wussbags Gloria Gaylord and Sebastian Schlong-Slinger Latin duo. I noticed an elderly lady next to me trying to stand on a chair so she could see. There was an even more frighteningly ancient mariner, with grey beard and weeping rheumy eye, trying to hoist her up.
"May I help?" I asked.
"No thank you my dear," she said, turning to me and beaming sweetly. That smile! Those eyes! It was...
"Honor Blackman!" I breathed in awe.
She smiled again, beatifically, Diana-like. I know I should have just bowed graciously, and remembered Santa Honoria as the one celebrity that did not request me to remain at least 100 meters away from her or any member of her family.
Sadly, I did not.
I said: "You recently won an award, didn t you? I read it in the paper."
Her eyes turned to steel, her Bond Girl smile froze into a sneer.
"Yes. Sexiest Over Seventy." She hissed venomously.
I shrank. I felt small, insignificant, unworthy. Rejected by Honor! What a disgrace. I think at least she could have been more kind to me, after all, I had initially offered to assist her...
I have often thought how different things would be now that I am an internationally-known (ahem) award-winning investment writer, venerated throughout the world and a favourite show-up at the opening of an industry envelope. Oh yes, if Honor and I should chance upon each other, probably at one of Elton John's tea parties, how different it would be now.
"Mermaid? Of Moorgate? I saw you in Oceans 25."
My eyes would narrow to mere slits as I gazed past her royal oldness. Perhaps I would brush my sleeves down nonchalantly.
"I love your work..."
"Do you now, Honor. DO you?" I would ask, licking the very tip of my finger and sneeringly smoothing it over my ever-so-slightly-raised eyebrow. "Not so proud now, are we, you scraggy-necked, crack-snorting, TV-sitcom rabid whore?"
"Please forgive me - I was wrong to have snubbed you. I did not know - how stupid I was..."
"You disgust me, you aged, drop-breasted harpy. You foul, death-dodging animated cadaver. You smell like the suppurating pus-filled passage of a dead armadillo. Begone!"
"Please - I didn't mean..."
"Dmitri? Luigi? Take this scrawny hag outside. If she should happen to meet with an accident, then it s not your fault. And bring her respirator drip back as a trophy."
And I would laugh the laugh of one who laughs the last laugh.
Perhaps, though, I should thank her rather than seek her not timely enough demise. In fact, it was probably Honor who set me on the path to recovery, although Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman and Jeremy Paxman have obviously conspired against me by deliberately putting pictures of themselves in my hard drive in unnatural poses with kittens and gardening gloves just to be cruel. But I know where you all live, oh yes I do, and I can see your bathroom from my van, Gary. Oh yes. Those staples in your sink, where do you thin they came from Gary, eh? Eh? Mua ha. Mua ha ha ha. Mua ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
But I have fought againt this natural propensity and I have won. For yesterday I came face to face with Ross Kemp, aka Grant Mitchell from Eastenders. And I let him pass. I did not even salute or throw a stapler at him.
I just looked straight ahead and went on my way. I swear that, as I walked down Oxford Street, the theme tune to Chariots of Fire began to play softly in the background. I was a conqueror.
Should that Gary come looking for me, offering me fine office stationery, I know I can gently, but firmly, turn him down. Not this time, Gary, not this time. And you know you re not allowed near me or a member of my cats. Please leave..." And I would smile, beatifically, saintly, as I waved Gary Oldman on his way to rehabilitation.
Saint Mermaid of Moorgate, patron saint of stalkers and weird religious nuts everywhere.