Henry Kissinger said, ‘The nice thing about being a celebrity is that if you bore people, they think its their fault.’ No word on the nice thing about being a celebrity’s friend. But like anyone as deep as a puddle, I was mad keen to make a celebrity friend. If any of my friends had hit the big time, I could have counted them. But none of them have. And if they had, they would probably have dumped me to make way for new famous friends anyway. So the only option was to make a brand new celebrity friend. But this proved difficult. Actually, to be honest, impossible.
I once met an A list movie star, in fact the A list movie star. He chatted to me for ten minutes. Immediately afterwards I couldn’t remember one single word he said and I still can’t. This is quite a common response. Ruby Wax interviewed George Clooney on the red carpet and said afterwards she had no recollection at all of what he’d said. And at the Baftas, Mark Kermode was part of the live broadcast from the red carpet (ie ‘Well, I think best foreign short is a thrilling…’ ‘I’m sorry I’ll have to stop you there, Brad Pitt’s arrived…. oh no he hasn’t, what were you saying…no…here he is after all’.) As George Clooney charmed his way up the red carpet, Mark Kermode said afterwards, ‘The classic George Clooney experience, I didn’t hear what he said but he looked pretty good.’
There are two schools of thought when meeting a celebrity. Acknowledge their fame and count the ways that you love them. Then observe their train of thought from ‘Sweet’, to ‘Stalker’ and finally ‘Security’. Or don’t acknowledge their fame at all and continue as if they are another nobody. Then observe their train of thought from ‘Not recognised’ to ‘Not appreciated’ to ‘Not on’.
I’ve tried both approaches; actors, authors, chefs, stars and celebs have all crossed my path but never twice. A rubbish record, so I asked a PR supremo where I’ve been going wrong. One of the first things is putting them all in the same category. He says, ‘Jimmy Page is an artist and not a celebrity, although he obviously has celebrity appeal. Artists usually want to talk about their work whether in a personal or general sense.’
I think the fact I’m not at all famous has been holding me back. Famous people all seem to know each other. Fame is the currency and I haven’t got it. My PR guru says, ‘To be fair, groups of like minded people tend to stick together. Footballers often go to Marbella and play golf. Human nature really. So in a way we should expect celebrities to hang out with other celebrities.’
My other problem has been that celebs think, rightly, that you want something from them. I don’t want cash, but I do want the opportunity to start all future conversations with ‘When I was having dinner with my friend Julia Roberts…’ My PR expert concurs, saying ‘Wealthy famous people often congregate at places like Sandy Lane Barbados. Makes sense as they’re not going to be surrounded by people trying to relieve them of their hard earned capital as everyone around them also has a decent amount of money.’
So my attempt has been futile; celebs don’t want civilian friends anyway. Or do they? Mr PR says, ‘Celebrities often seek people from regular walks of life in an attempt to keep touch with reality and keep their feet on the ground. It’s hard though, and often the”regular”people start to change without realising it to keep pace with the celebrities lifestyle. Celebrities don’t usually set out to become big headed and leave their original friends behind but you can see how and why it happens!’. So even if I had bagged an A-list friend, when I inevitably started abusing their fame by freeloading and showing off, they’d dump me.
Massive fail. Still, George Clooney, you know where to find me.