Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Fame

When I had dinner with Tony Blair a few months ago, I got talking to Charlotte Church about the terrible habit that minor celebrities have of name dropping. Lorraine Kelly was sitting on my other side and she told us a wonderful anecdote about the time the interviewed Prince Charles and he told her how he regretted not having got to know Gandhi better than he did. We all agreed that dropping Gandhi’s name into a conversation is about as good a name-drop as you can get and then but we questioned whether this made Charles a minor celebrity. That’s when Tony chipped in and explained that Nelson Mandala always told him that Gandhi was one of his heroes too. That’s when Cherie came in with the pudding and George Michael nipped out to the bathroom.

The point I’m trying to make here is that when you mix with the stars, it’s inevitable that you get to know some of them socially. Judy and I try to live a normal life and refuse to live by the conventions of the celebrity lifestyle. Just today, for instance, Judy is busy in the garden building a new rockery with just Kim Wilde and Katie Melua to help her. Having friends over is a good anecdote to glamour. It helps you keep real. When you get up in the morning and find the lovely Clare Balding brewing a cup of tea in your kitchen and you notice that she’s got dirty nails, you tend to realise that we’re all really the same and there’s no such thing as being a star.

Today is a grey Wednesday so I think we need some celebrity facts to inspire us. Did you know that Des O’Connor has a stoat farm in Norfolk? Not only that, he is considered the father of the UK stoat industry. He’s not the only celebrity to have an odd hobby. Billy Connolly drives tractors for fun and Adrian Chiles is a Latin American dance champion. Not all celebrities spend the hobby time in selfish fun. You can only admire the work Jo Brand does for many UK charities and still finds time to spend her weekends helping to restore the spire on Lincoln Cathedral.

14 comments:

Flowerpot said...

Good for Judy - if she has any luck getting rid of the sodding snails and slugs please pass on her tips. My first claim to fame (other than writing a comment on your famous blog, of course, Richard) was chatting Michael Heseltine up at an office party in 1976. I was 18 and he looked as left out as I was. I didn't realise till I was told later that he owned the company...

Dick Madeley said...

I've banned Judy from touching the snails, now that the Keeper of the Snails is a visitor. I'd encourage you to help them breed in the hope they can take up the slack left by the death of all the bees this summer.

I also once chatted up Michael Heseltine but that was in Liverpool in 1985... Such wonderful wonderful times...

Swearing Mother said...

I have only ever nearly met one celebrity and that was Derek Nimmo, who was bimbling around Dartmouth in a Panama hat.

I avoided him.

If it helps, I really look like Barbra Streisand. Honestly, I really do.

Glamourpuss said...

I think you'll find it's weasels that Des is fond of, although you wouldn't be the first to make that mistake. He's a close personal friend of a friend of a friend and I have it on some authority.

Puss

Graf von Straf Hindenburg said...

Richard, I can't help feeling that "Des O’Connor has a stoat farm in Norfolk?" would appear better if centre aligned. Try it. It might open new vistas.

Big Chip Dale said...

Prune juice.

Mopsa said...

I worked for a while at the RSC in Stratford. It cracked me up that one of the character actors was such an inveterate name dropper - bonkers considering the megatronic amounts of fame having breakfast every day of the week in the Green Room. When I laughed and called a spade a spade he was FURIOUS! I will not, of course, drop his. Oh, and Prune Juice.

Richard Havers said...

Absolutely brilliant! But clearly you have a way to go in the celeb stakes - no mention of Nicholas Parsons.

Keeper of the Snails said...

Thank you for sticking up for the molluscs, Richard. Frankly we need all the help we can get.

Clicking onto the link for the 'lovely Clare' (aren't we all) Balding I notice that in the list of programmes where she has made appearances she has forgotten to mention the Richard and Judy Show! Surely this would be anyone's crowning achievement - so rather puzzling. Any explanation, Richard?

Dick Madeley said...

Mopsa, oh please drop his name. It was Larry, wasn't it? (And I warn you to choose your juices carefully).

Richard, I forgot all about dear old Nicholas. You're right, of course. I should drop his name more often. Perhaps I'll write about him tomorrow. I have so many stories about that darling man who introduced me to the pleasures of the Dutch throat violin.

Dick Madeley said...

Keeper, the less that's said about that the better. We have a bit of a falling out (now happily resolved) when I blurted something out about her boyfriend. I'll say no more about the matter...

The thinker said...

Lo Madeley! Interesting to read of name dropping. My big claim to fame? I was a Cardiac Technician back in the late 60s early 70s when I tested Ralph Reader's heart. There - that's a real conversation stopper isn't it. I think it would only be boy scouts who may rememebrhim - he used to have some kind of jamboree of scout show annually.
I've only come close to seeing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall go out of West bay harbour in his boat.
I move in more cerebral circles than 'fame'.

Mopsa said...

Dickie - I am FAR too young for it to have been Larry....look forward a few generations. But my lips are sealed.

Jez Bell said...

doesnt the 'lovely Claire' look like that very personal assistant that John Prescott once had?? I have in the past worked for David Blunkett - and thankful he never did offer me the kind of bonuses she got.