Monday, 20 May 2013

He met me once y’know?

OK, back to everything being all about me.

Celebrity's a funny old thing isn't it?  You see someone on the TV or in a newspaper (For everyone under the age of 16, a Newspaper is something a bit like someone else's Facebook, but with the security settings that your Mum would use, and printed out) And they immediately become, oh... I don't know... Something 'more' than us normos.

(Actually, let me qualify... I'm not talking about A-List Hollywood Stars - They're a whole different species - Of which I have no first hand knowledge... Well, there was that time with Cheryl Tiegs in 1975, but I'm still under a gagging order on that one.)

You wander through London for instance and suddenly you're all 'Isn't that that fellah what played that bloke in that thing?' and then immediately walk into a lamp-post when you crane your neck to make sure it's actually them.

It doesn't matter if these people are complete buttocks, Blackguards of the highest order or proved to be kiddie fiddlers many years later.  At the time, these people exist on a higher plane - They're famous, and by noticing them, we can be briefly famous by association.  You can tell your friends that you saw that bloke, from that TV thing.  Then you become slightly famous yourself, so your friend who can say 'I've got a friend who bumped into that bloke what played Hitler in that thing, with the flying saucers, that was on BBC3.'

I guess, for those of you who live in the 21st. Century, it's the same as having something ReTweeted or Favourited by someone famous - It's not the same as someone replying to one of your tweets of course, that's actually like having intimate, possibly carnal knowledge of them (Did I mention Nick Knowles once replied to one of my tweets? - Great bloke, face like a badly looked after leather bag, but nonetheless, great bloke.)

Thing is, when you actually meet on of these people at an event, or in an enclosed public space and they're not 'on the clock' - The chances are, you're going to be disappointed.  Your disappointment, if you're lucky, will be because they're normal human beings.  You know, eat food when they're hungry, sit down to have a poop, that sort of thing.

If you're unlucky, it's because they believe their own hype and have started the long, hard slog up their own sphychters.

One such gentleman has interacted with the Dandy Clan on a couple of occasions.  Firstly with my dearly departed Mother, and then some time later with myself - One of Ironopolis' finest (Which doesn't bode particularly well for anyone else from Middlesbrough, but there you go.)

One Mr. Brian Howard Clough OBE


In the early 70's, my Mother was a bit of an 'organiser'.  She used to do a lot of work for the local schools and was always around where there was a cake stall to be managed or a coconut shy to attract customers to.  And on this particular occasion, they had enlisted the assistance of a local celebrity to open a school fete.

Yes, you guessed it, the quiet, understated, ex Hartlepool, Derby, Brighton, Leeds and Notts manager himself.

All went well, he did his five minutes and earned his... However much he charged for a personal appearance .. And then had a wander around the field, commenting on the shoddy amateurish nature of the stalls and how we could be making a lot more money if we employed cheap foreign labour.

Then, seemingly, my Mum started noticing kids wandering about with tears streaming down their faces -

When she finally managed to find one that could string a cogent sentence together without dissolving into inconsolable tears, she realised a confrontation was in order.

That Nice Mr Clough was sat with a line of shiney faced kids in front of him who were all waving scrappy bits of paper at him,  one by one they would get to the head of the line, walk sheepishly up to him and then start crying and run away.

She walked to the front of the line just in time to hear Le Clough say '£1 for an autograph Kid, take it or leave it.'

Now, forty years ago £1 was a decent amount of money, especially for a seven year old kid - It was probably all the money they had to spend for the whole fete.

Mother asked him what he thought he was doing, extorting money from children.  He asked her if she knew who he was and even if she didn't, could she go and get him a decent mug of tea.

Seemingly his language when she dragged him off his stool by the scruff of his neck was a joy for the sensitive ears of his young audience.  It didn't get any sweeter as she dragged him, bent almost double, to the main entrance - Pushed him through and aimed a kick that Billy Bremner would have been proud of at his retreating rear end.  And finally it faded to silence as he walked down the road to his car.


Loyal readers may remember the summer I spent building a bowling alley and chicken coup at my local pub.

One day, I was sat at the bar, on my usual stool, enjoying payment for my day's labours.  A pint of mild and a plate of tinned salmon & salad cream sandwiches.  The landlord came in and asked if I wanted another beer.  Of course, I answered in the positive, and he said that there was some stuff in the car-park paddock that needed moving into the garage.

Now, this paddock was the daytime home of Napoleon, the homicidal goose.  He and I enjoyed a somewhat laconic friendship, he left me alone and I didn't run around waving my arms in the air and squealing like a girl whilst he chased me.  But he sometimes had this look... As if he was judging your entire life, past and present, and found it wanting.

I went out of the front door, past these two guys sat on one of the benches, and walked towards the paddock.  As I got there, Napoleon started to hiss and flap his wings.  This got louder until he realised it was me, and he quietened down and went and sat in his water bowl, because he was a bit thick.

'Don't let that bloody goose out will you lad?' One of the Northern chaps shouted, as the other laughed nervously.

I looked and realised exactly who it was... The above story about my Mother immediately came to mind.  I collected the bits that needed taking to the garages, exited the paddock and left the gate open just enough so that it looked like it was still closed, but could be easily opened by a goose with a solid forehead and an attitude problem.

I waited inside the garage until, what the landlord later described as 'The bloody uproar' started.  there was frenzied honking, yells, expletives and all manner of shooing noises.

Giving myself a few minutes to regain my composure, I walked back into the carpark to see a Sociopathic goose, neck and wings stretched to their zenith, and two professional football types who looked as if they were about to play that game where you chase each other around a table.

Mr Clough shouted, with rather more panic in his voice than you'd expect from such a scary gentleman 'Lad! Put your goose away!'

To which I replied, 'Sorry mate, not my goose...' and walked back into the pub to claim my free pint.

The landlord pulled my pint and asked me what was going on outside, I said that it was just some pillock winding Napoleon up - Until they finally managed to get past him and make a break for their car and he saw them running across the carpark.

'Isn't that... Cloughie?' he said, somewhat incredulously.

'Yeah, think so... Does that mean the other one's Peter Taylor?' I asked, knowing full well that it was...

Which is funny - Because I didn't think they were supposed to be talking in 1986...

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