I watched in shock recently as hardened hacks eagerly thrust paper towards Madonna hoping for an autograph. I hoped they were planning to sell it on ebay in an attempt to secure a pension. I doubt it, though.
I’ve never been star-struck. I did once ask Irish girl band Bewitched to sign a photo but that was for a young family member. Oh, and I asked Bobby Ball for his autograph but that was for a friend. Honestly.
I’ve done many celebrity interviews and not always been good at it. My former editors don’t know to this day that I put the phone down on Chris Eubank, was accused of depressing the Chuckle Brothers, was obviously irritated by Roland Orzabel more than I ever thought possible and annoyed the lead singer of James by asking if Sit Down wound him up as much as it did me.
I did get Pink to reveal her lust for Prince William though, and, when watching his wedding, wondered how much more fun it could’ve been had they got it together.
I made a complete fool of myself when I interviewed footballer Gary Pallister: I dropped my pen, then dropped my notepad, then dropped my pen again. He smiled at me as I kept kneeling down to pick things up then looked to his PA wondering who the loony was.
I reduced David Beckham to bitter fury by asking him questions about his night-time activities with Posh when they were first engaged. They weren’t rude questions, just a bit wink-wink which made him want to punch-punch.
I also made Alex Ferguson laugh once. Imagine that. It was in an old folk’s home, if I remember correctly. He wasn’t moving in, I think he was opening it or attending a Lunch Club for some reason. We stood next to each other, both equally bored by the event when he asked, “So what brought you here?”
“I was hoping Cantona would turn up,” I replied, before giving thought to my poor sense of humour.
Maybe I shouldn’t interview footballers.
Or write about telly characters. You see, I once wrote about a child in a drama and received many calls after my piece was published.
“He does not look like a Cabbage Patch Doll,” said his angry granny.
“I’m talking, of course about the character, not the actor in these pieces,” I replied, flushing red and wincing.
“He is more animated than Bill and Ben,” said the equally angry dad, about half an hour later.
“My comment is about the character, not the actor. I’m sure he’s a lovely boy and is intentionally … wooden,” I winced further.
“How you can talk about a child in this way is beyond me. You’re an adult. Grow up!” said who I think was an angry aunty, within second of my putting the receiver down on the furious father.
“Do you think he should be in the spotlight if minor criticism about the character he plays will upset everyone this much?” I admit I was losing patience by this point.
Perhaps one has to be a little star-struck to write about or interview celebrities. Perhaps you have to buy into the idea that their lives are better than yours … so they are better than you. I disagree and think it unhealthy. I might be sitting here in jogging bottoms, French mustard down my T-shirt front, eagerly awaiting Pointless as a highlight of my day, but would not accept anyone is better than me.
That said, I wonder where mass unemployment and the lack of self-confidence it brings will take us as avid consumers of all things celebrity. One would assume that being skint means one wouldn’t want to see photos of often talentless celebs sunning themselves by pools but this might not be the case.
During the Great Depression American cinema-goers filled theatres to watch the myth of meritocracy, the value of individualism, the importance of the family, the pretence of classlessness as an escape from their arduous lives … and now we have I don’t Know How She Does It rearing its ugly celluloid head.
I’ll watch the telly eagerly (pretending it is political research) to see how it changes as our image of modern life does. I’ll wait for the change from skinny women in silky frocks and strong-jawed men in tuxedos to be replaced with the grainy images of the poor, the unemployed and the desperate.
That is, of course, until I’m snatched from poverty and earning a decent living again … then I might get another chance to unintentionally insult a celebrity.
News that has disturbed me this week 1: A night-time cat curfew could save lives.
News that has disturbed me this week 2: Government don’t rule the world Goldman Sachs does.