Celebrity Spotting Part 1
Business travel, and Sainsburys in Wilmslow have been a great source of rendezvous with minor celebrities.Perhaps most enjoyable have been train journeys. You feel closer to the celebs in some sort of strange way. Journeys on Virgin trains between the North West and London and back have been most fruitful.
On one occasion I sat opposite Sarah Lancashire, star of a “wealth” of Sunday night family viewing such as “Where the Heart Is” and, most notably “Coronation Street”. She once starred as Raquel Watts, ditsy barmaid who married (and divorced) Curly Watts. She was/is a bit of a babe. Especially in the flesh, so to speak. The kind of homely, northern lass that your mom would approve of. And, as her recent spell in Chicago (the West End musical) has demonstrated, she still looks great in a corset and stockings. And she is only two years older than I am. Sarah asked me the time. An innocent thing you might think. But, it was the way she asked. You know. The tone that she used which implied “do you want to come to the toilet and get to know each other intimately?”. Sex. I did want to. I didn’t. I couldn’t be quite sure that I was reading the signals correctly. Another opportunity lost.
My other notable “train claim”, in a very different way, was Pete Waterman, of Stock, Aitkin, and Waterman fame. He who discovered Kylie. For which, I shall be eternally grateful. Pete sat opposite me on a journey from London to Crewe. He was on his way home to Stockton Heath. I was on my way home to Bradwall. At first I was dead cool and did not let on that I recognised him. I surreptitiously texted C and colleagues at work who I thought would be impressed. C sent a simple text back “Don’t sing!”. Good advice. I am tone death (and I mean death!) and toneless. J, whose uncle is the keyboard and song writer in Tears for Fears replied, “My uncle says he’s a tw*t!”. Not quite the reaction I was looking for.
When I subsequently told my best mates about the encounter, they were similarly suitably underwhelmed. None of them have quite the same affinity with Kylie Minogue as I have. I still remember her climbing through that window in Neighbours. Most comments ranged from “Tosser”, “W*nker” (they meant Pete, not me of course), or “big deal”. But, they don’t know Pete like I do. Most likely they were trying to deflect me from one of my usual waffling, rambling stories of great adventures starring the Middle Man. They know me too well. But, they’re very forgiving.
We chatted quite freely for a good hour. He told me about his home in London – a disused warehouse (3500 square feet) in Borough which he bought for fifteen thousand pound in 1983 (presumably on the back of Kylie……now there’s a thought). He employed interior designers for thirty five thousand. They painted the walls white and the floors black. He has one bedroom, a dining room (Chinese red, “very warm and welcoming in winter”) with a table and four chairs, a huge lounge with two fourteen foot long sofas, and a “f*ck off bathroom” (his words). The latter was his main stipulation. He has no shower, but, apparently a palatial bathroom. He explained, “I didn’t live anywhere with a bath until I was 17.”
I asked him for Kylie’s telephone number. He declined. When I explained I only wanted to wish her the best after her recent cancer he said he would pass on my regards. So close. So far. We talked of Pop Idol and X Factor. Allegedly, Simon Cowell’s banter is scripted and the US version of the game is fixed. But, enough of that…..let’s talk about Kylie. Sigh……