11 February 2004

Celebrity is a strange concept, isn't it?

I tend to think of myself as generally unimpressed by the fact that someone's been on the telly. After all, I have been myself don't you know. Ahhhh.... that was a great day which I got to spend in the company of Gary Lineker sporting a pair of grey tracksuit bottoms in proper Simon Cowell style. Yes, when I was 13 I was on the great We Are The Champions. And my team won. It's quite entertaining to watch that back now, as I realise that during my school years, I did at some point get off with a significant number of the male contestants on that show. Over compensation and insecurity perhaps? Or was I just always a slapper?

I once even sat next to someone quite famous on the tube and didn't even notice until he tapped me on the arm and said "Excuse me. Sorry, did you know your pocket was undone?"

I often think of the celebrity/pleb divide as being quite similar to the student/teacher divide. They're slightly cooler than you, they're not going to want to hear from you on the weekends, and their importance is overhyped. Minor celebrities are more like Learning Support Assistants... there might be one or two that you can get on well with as equals and even maybe swap phone numbers (I'd left school before there was such a thing as Email). But you will still look up to them occasionally slightly in awe about how much cooler and more successful they are than you. Though you don't have to worry about someone that's been on the telly catching you having a fag behind the gym or bollocking you for throwing up on the school bus when you're 13 because you're so hungover from the night before. Or was that just me?

I rarely get starstruck. In fact, under normal circumstances the only person that can elicit the adrenalin pumping induced reaction of "Oh my god, celebrity! Celebrity! Celebrity!" is the one and only Sharleen Spiteri, because she is just a goddess. People who are 'famous' but I don't regard highly don't even register, and those that I do like I don't tend to talk to any differently than "normal people" that I think are cool. So, with a tremendous amount of social awkwardness then...

Yesterday morning however, I found myself suffering from a minor case of starstruckness before I'd even got in to work.

I got on the second of the two buses I catch on my way to work. Two stops after I got on, the bus stopped again to allow more people to board. I just glanced out of the window and amongst the about-to-be bus passengers, I noticed someone that I personally think is rather cool standing at the bus stop. To my surprise, she boarded the bus I was on.

I'm not going to name names, but she's a comedian turned author, and I found some irony in running into her the morning after another series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here had ended. I think you probably know who I mean.

I've met this lady on several occasions in the past, we once even had a conversation which lasted about 45 minutes. However, yesterday morning, I'm ashamed to admit, I did feel slightly starstruck. And I don't quite understand why, upon meeting her to speak to for the (I think it was the) sixth time, that a feeling of "oh my god!" came over me.

When she boarded the bus, I turned around and said "Hello," with surprise in my voice, as she was about to ascend the stairs to the upper deck.

She looked slightly shocked in a less pleased way. As if she thought I might of taken to stalking her. "Hello. I didn't know you lived around here..." was her opening line. Nevertheless, she came and stood next to me, leaning against the partition separating the "space reserved for a wheelchair user" from the "normal seats". It was at this point that adrenalin started to pump through my body in abundance and I started to feel starstruck.

We chatted for about five minutes. Well, I say "we chatted", I nervously answered questions about where I live now, where I was going, and accessibility on public transport with such speed that I probably sounded like I was a tape playing on a machine that had broken and was playing at double speed. She was telling me what she was up to, both career wise and where she was off to that morning, and all I could think of to say was "oh, cool" repeatedly.

I think eventually my nervous grinning and not speaking scared her, and she went to sit upstairs. But still, as she alighted the bus she gently squeezed my arm and said "see ya."

I feel like a fool, for being overcome with starstruckness, on a bus of all places. And I can't believe I'm sharing my "I'm such an uncool fan" tendencies so publically. Maybe it'll prove to be a cathartic exercise, and I'll never be starstruck again.

I should console myself with the fact that I'm a star in my own right. OK, I'm not a performer, I'm not famous, and no-one knows who I am. But I'm doing a photo shoot tomorrow. They're even sending a car for me. How is that for cool? I could claim to be a model (admittedly only to people that have never seen how hideously unattractive I am). Autographs are available on request, and hopefully I can induce a feeling of starstruckness in someone else.

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