Fifteen Minutes Of Fame

January 14, 2008 at 10:20 am Leave a comment

Fifteen Minutes of Fame 


Andy Warhol once declared that: “The day will come when everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes.” Well, I am not sure if we are all supposed to become famous on the SAME day, or, we all have our own day in the glare of paparazzi flashes. And, clearly, there are some people like David Beckham, the Queen, Kylie, and Nicholas Parsons who have had much more than fifteen minutes. So, how does it work? If someone takes half an hour of fame does that mean that someone else has to do without? Is it like carbon emissions? Can I sell my fifteen minutes to some wannabe Big Brother contestant or someone in the auditions queue at the next X-Factor? 

Actually, if I think about it, I might have already used my own fifteen minutes up. Except in my case, it is probably more a case of a quarter of an hour of infamy…. 

It started at an early age. In fact, at birth. I was declared to be a “Miracle Baby”. No, nothing to do with a donkey, a carpenter, a manger and three stargazing hippies high on frankincense. No immaculate conception for my momma. No divine inheritance for yours truly. No, apparently, it was a miracle that I survived. I decided to come out upside down, the wrong way round, attempting to snuff myself out before I had even begun by strangling myself with my own umbilical cord. My mom lost a lot of blood.  

Fortunately, however, such suicidal tendencies have largely been absent in the years that have followed – if you discount me glugging from a bottle of Domestos bleach while potty training, setting fire to the frayed landing carpet when a toddler, and, whacking Leroy Hunter around the head with a cricket bat at Junior School. He was hard. And, not just in the head. 

I made it into the internal magazine at my dad’s work (Fort Dunlop Tyre Factory in Birmingham) when I was about six or seven. This was because I had won an art competition by painting “My dad at work”. I think I probably won because my dad’s job was a little different to most who worked in the tyre factory. My dad was the company chauffeur. While others were no doubt sketching pictures of men in overalls and tyres, I was able to push out a passing representation of a man in a peaked cap holding open the door of a big posh car. 

I made it into the Birmingham Saturday pink Sports Argos newspaper. Twice. Once when it was recorded that I had been sent off in a school cricket match. I know. I can’t think of anyone else who was sent off at a cricket match. I was sent off for ungentlemanly conduct because I punched the wicket keeper. I hit the wicket keeper because he was taking the p*ss. But, at least I was decent enough to drop my bat and remove my gloves before decking him. The second time in the Sports Argos was when our team photo was included when we lost (yes lost) the national schoolboys’ cricket final at Edgbaston in 1982. We lost by a whisker. Five minutes in fact (it was a timed game). If only we had dawdled over our sandwiches during the tea interval…… 

I even made it onto the Nine O’clock News. Well, not THE 9 O’clock News. Not on the BBC. No this was the Irish version. I was filmed, together with my mates from University, coming ashore in Ballinskellig, County Kerry, Ireland. We were on a cycling and camping holiday there during our first summer holidays. It was June 23rd 1985 and we had been on a boat trip to visit the early Christian beehive monastery and the puffins on the Island of Skellig Michael.  On the way back to the mainland we found more than we had been looking for. We found ourselves amongst the floating wreckage of Air India Flight 182, which had been blown up by a terrorist bomb while en route from Canada to Heathrow. 329 people died. It was an eerie scene. Fortunately we did not see any bodies but we did find bits of wreckage floating on the surface. A galley door. A bit of wing. An unused safety vest. The boat’s captain radioed ahead. Apparently we were the first people to find the wreckage and the news reporters were waiting on the beach for us when we returned.

eddieBut, it has been down hill since then on the fame front, I’m afraid. I made it into my college gossip mag “Queenie” (Queen’s College) a couple of times. But, that was hardly surprising as I was the editor and I am not known for being self-effacing. And, I have made it into my company’s internal magazine at least twice – once in the basket of big truck-shaped balloon (don’t ask) and once when photographed with Eddie the Eagle (really, don’t ask). I have even made it into Sweden’s leading industry publication on plastic card production. I am not entirely sure why I was in it because I don’t speak Swedish, but hopefully it was something to do with combating card fraud, as that was my job at the time.

So, I guess it is time I pulled my finger out and did something else noteworthy. Unfortunately, inspiration forsakes me at the mo……….




Entry filed under: childhood memories, middleman. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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