Tuesday, October 09, 2007

x365: 11 of 365: celebrities

Like a book that's been talked about in my presence so often that eventually I have a half-certainty - backed up by a half-memory - that I've read the damn thing, I sometimes feel convinced that I've met you, celebrities. But when I press myself for a name, nothing comes: just a composite of cheekbones, hair extensions, fake tits and costly jeans. Haven't we met, celebrities? Aren't I marginally pretty and charismatic enough to have somehow slid into your sphere? Or do we just meet in daydreams and quasi-nightmares, the kind that you wake up from with a strange sense of dislocation, as if you've lived an entire separate life in your sleep, a life so vivid and satisfying that it must be true?

I worked for seven years in television, and even though it was documentary/lifestyle television, and even though it was Canadian television, that's still an incorporated canton of Entertainment Land, which is where you freaks actually live. I traveled throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, to places so backwater that the closest thing to a celebrity was me, but I never ran across one of you. Once I spent an afternoon with an Austrian farmer who had survived an avalanche, and it turned out that he was a politician of some renown who had halted parliament over the right of farmers to sell unpasteurised milk. Then there was that camera hog in Florida who wrestled alligators for a living. And the sword swallower in north Vegas with horrible long teeth who pops up occasionally on Monster Garage. It turns out that I can't watch a sword swallower without gagging.

Most often I missed you by minutes. I would walk into a bar and find out that Judd Nelson had just finished playing Golden Tee and picked up a skanky blonde with sun-scorched cheeks before sauntering out. Or that Sting had been window shopping in the very mall that I passed through every day on the way home from school. You saw me coming and melted away, leaving behind knots of excited fans twirling in your wake.

And just for the record, John Corbett, you don't count. You were running around shaking hands and waving at everyone in the bar, to the bemusement of Bo Derek. You were so abnormally tall and gawky that I'm pretty sure you live on the tender leafy fronds that only grow on very tops of trees. That and single-malt scotch.


sgazzetti said...

I grew up in the same small northern city as Judd Nelson -- he was in my sister's class, in fact. After Judd became 'famous' he'd come home now and again to remember his roots. One of his roots was in a brew-pub that had a 'mug club' -- lease a special pottery mug and get free pints in that mug for a year. Well, when Judd's mug came up for renewal, ol' Judd was back in Hollywood, so my friend Scott snagged it. Yup, Scott got the Judd Mug all right.

Judd didn't like that.

Indigo Bunting said...

The weird thing about seeing celebrities is the initial out-of-contextness of it. About a dozen years ago, after I'd first moved to Vermont and had been meeting lots of people, I stopped at a country store to get lunch. There were three people there. Me, the cashier (dressed for Halloween), and this big guy with a bunch of earrings. I knew I knew him from somewhere, and it was killing me. Which party? I was getting nervous that I wouldn't come up with his name if I needed to. Then I realized it was Dom DeLuise, and we had never met.

palinode said...

Sgazzetti - I'm glad your friend angered ol' nostrils. Judd spent an entire two weeks at my favourite bar, playing Golden Tee and picking up skanky chicks. A lot of Breakfast Club-related dreams died for us over that fortnight.

Indigo - It really is weird, I agree. I remember once I was sitting on the patio of my local bar (the same one where Judd Nelson left his palm prints on the Golden Tee trackball) when a guy showed up with a jaw so well-defined that he looked cut out of the background and pasted onto the surface of things. I knew he was a celebrity, and the sight of him made the world feel less substantial for a few seconds. And it was only Dylan McDermott, after all.

I didn't get that same sense of vertigo when Vinnie Jones was drinking there. I just felt pure mortal fear.

ozma said...

It's strange but I'm realizing that I did not meet the celebrities. I was sure I met them because ???

I had already decided they were ordinary, basically so then I didn't need to meet them to meet them.

Someday I will post about my various brushes with greatness. I've seen a few famous people way up close though.

Theresa Bakker said...

Wow. Well said. I have that same feeling - that I've met the celebrities and invited them back home for a drink. The closest I've actually come is renting a cabin from Jewel's grandfather. She visited once, before she was famous, but not before she was a poet. Did you ever wonder which came first?

palinode said...

I once read an article on Jewel in Rolling Stone. I must have been reading an interesting article and then fallen victim to inertia. When I started this comment I thought I had something to say about her, but I absolutely don't.