Flaming the fans


I can’t remember if we’ve covered this – because I can’t remember anything any more – but I’m useless around famous people. Shyness isn’t a thing for me as a rule, but put me in the same room as someone whose face I’ve seen often but never addressed, and I’m as shuffle-footed and stare-at-the-floory as a seven-year-old. Not that this is a particular dent-maker in the rest of my life as I don’t know any famous people, but – and this is REALLY weird – I even got jittery about a bloke who used to smoke outside the building opposite. He was a heavy fagman and he used to appear so often that my team and I made up stories about him. We called him Smoking Boy – we were in a creative industry and we burned bright in those days – and speculated about his fun at work. Oh, we chuckled, it’s like watching the telly. Then after about a year of this I saw him in the pub, like, stood right next to him, and yes, it WAS like he was on the telly. I got so nervous and fluttery I had to go back downstairs. That’s how pathetic I am around famous people.

A couple of weekends ago I scooted up to Lincolnshire to stay with Absurdly Generous Cousin and a bunch of the erstwhile Ibiza crew. James Morrison was playing a gig after the races at Market Rasen on the Saturday night and wouldn’t it be fun to have the whole weekend etc. Yup, it would, so off we went. The racing started in the late afternoon and then, because many of the Ibiza crew are Connected, we had a lovely dinner and then tootled out to watch the gig. Great. Until the beckoning started, and the elbow tugs and the hisses ‘Come on! This way! Backstage!’ Wtf? Backstage? Butbutbut no! There might be famous people there!

Too late, I was towed down to the front and hooshed into the pit in front of the fans – basically at James Morrison’s feet. I was wearing a pale trenchcoat, black trousers, a nice cashmere V-neck I’d picked up only that day at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, and some sensible shoes because after all it can get parky outdoors at night. In short, I looked as rock’n’roll as an Ofsted inspector.

James Morrison looked down at us in surprise, so I smiled back brightly and, feeling the occasion needed a bit more oomph, gave him a little cheeky-chappie wink and a nod. I’d say a small piece of his soul died right then. We were given the chance to meet him afterwards but I was so mortified – both at his fame and my weird ticky wink (what did I think I was doing?) – that I simply ignored him and kept talking to someone reassuringly unrecognised. And that was just rude and unkind. I am ashamed of my behaviour.

But it’s his own fault! The other thing that didn’t help was that he is so unbelievably adorably curly-headedly cute. Anything could have happened. I might have rubbed my cheek on his shoulder, which God knows would have been bad enough. But actually it’s far more likely that I’d have gone full Monty nutsaroo and honked at him like a ferry docking. No, really, all in all, much better that I simply turned my face to the wall until it had all gone away.


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