Moments before this photo was taken I was jumping about like a loon, clapping my hands with excitement and making “squee” noises. I may have even accosted the person next to me in the queue.
Carrie Fisher, ever the consummate professional borne from Hollywood royalty, didn’t bat an eyelid although no doubt was thinking nutter! And she was quite right.
But I’m not the only person who goes to pieces when they meet a personal icon in the flesh. And I won’t be the last. Why do we make idiots of ourselves?
I’m supposed to be a seasoned media professional. I’ve met countless politicians, celebrities and VIPs during my career and managed (mostly) to conduct the conversations as a fairly intelligent and sensible being. But put one of my heroes in front of me and I lose the plot.
My problem – and if you know me you’ll find this unbelievable – is that my ability to talk or communicate in any form suddenly evades me. Poor Patrick Stewart experienced this when I stood dumbly before him, in one of the few occasions I went mute at work – just gaping at him, mouth wide open. After a few moments looking bemused he took charge and started spouting the answer to a question I could have asked; a rundown of the theatre and movies projects he was about to start. And still I didn’t move or speak. I would have happily stood there all day mesmerised by his voice.
Madonna I ‘stalked’ after she came out of a Shepperton sound stage in front of me with the aim of catching up with her, to what end I still have no idea. This was going well until she turned and glared at me. So I bottled it, and shot down the nearest alley.
‘Stalking’ appears to be a theme. I followed Steve Martin in a New York bookshop, peering at him round and through bookshelves, before queuing up behind him at the till (even though I didn’t really want my purchase). Again, not a word uttered, with him shuffling forward away from me as fast as he could. Richard E Grant also adopted this uncomfortable foot dance when stood behind him waiting to board a plane. I’m not sure it helped when my daughter aged nine at the time, stood between us shouting, “Where mummy? Richard who, mummy?”
David Bowie was another failure of mouth and mind. When he spoke I replied “wibble” in the vein of Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder character pretending to be mad with two pencils stuck up his nose. We all know that in times of stress the brain blurs the memory to make it easier for the victim to cope. My recall thankfully glosses over Bowie’s reaction. To this day I don’t think I could bear that memory.
With Russell Crowe, husband and I peered at him through the smokers’ crowd outside a West End pub. I was powerless when I ramped up the decibels and cackled even louder than my usual annoying laugh. His raised right eyebrow, and alarmed glance my way, says it all.
But back to Carrie. (Notice Gary her dog had me well and truly pegged. No pretence at politeness there.) Ironically I did manage to utter a complete and coherent sentence, saying I was looking forward to reading her new book. There were two whole seconds when she smiled and was about to answer, before her security hustled me out of the door…