Saturday, September 30, 2006

Celebrityspotting

One of the interesting things about living in London is that you tend to bump into celebrities going about their daily business when you least expect to.

I spent most of the first two decades of my life in the wilds of West Tyrone, where such occurrences were a very rare thing. Times have changed since then of course. On a good day in Omagh's high street you could be lucky enough to spot top GAA personalities like Mickey Harte or Brian Dooher pushing loaded trolleys around Tescos. You might see the comic performer Kevin McAleer weighing tomatoes at the fruit and veg counter or the actor Gerard McSorley (the con-artist priest in the Father Ted Christmas special - the one where they get lost in the lingerie section of the department store - and I think also had a part in Braveheart)lugging shopping bags through the car park. Musician Juliet Turner could be tuning her guitar somewhere nearby. Local crooner Dominic Kirwan might be buying a loaf of bread or if you're very lucky you may even spot Tom off Big Brother.



In the early 1990s I moved east to Belfast to further my education. The sight of popular bearded sports commentator Jim Neilly in Marks & Spencers or BBC NI newsreader Donna Traynor (not sure if she still reads the news on Inside Ulster, but perhaps one of my Northern Ireland-based readers can confirm this?)in Burger King on the Dublin Road or desperately unfunny Patrick Kielty desperately trying to be funny somewhere became quite commonplace. By the way, Paddy, in the unlikely event that you're reading this, you still owe me £30 for those jokes I sent you that you used on that now defunct crappy chat show of yours in 1995.

Anyway, this afternoon I was returning from a bicycle ride in that mysterious twilight zone where the North London suburbs of Barnet borough merge into rural Hertfordshire. I had chained my bike to a signpost in North Finchley's main street and was just about to go into the cafe for a much-needed shot of caffeine when who should step out of Waterstones bookshop, but TV japester extraordinaire Jeremy Beadle. I came face-to-face with the bearded prankster for a split second as our paths crossed and couldn't help making eye-contact. The washed-up hasbeen ex-celebrity fixed me with one of those "what-the-fuck-are-you-looking-at?" stares before ambling off into Boots next door. I glanced around for any hidden cameras but didn't see any, except for the ubiquitous CCTV cameras that seem to pervade every street corner these days. About 15 minutes later when I came out of the cafe having replenished my blood-sugar levels, I half expected to find a whoopee cushion on the seat of my bike or for it to fall apart as soon as I unlocked it. But alas, neither of these things happened. So the moral of that story is that Beadle's still about, but is now a mere shadow of his former self. And he looks bigger in real life.

9 comments:

Parnell said...

Cairan: Omagh is changing out of all porportion. Modern Buildings are or have already replaced the older delapidated and derelict eyesores. The mini-celebs still made an occasional appearance.

Omagh High Street remains as it was, the major retail attraction for all of West and Mid-Tyrone but the Hospital battle id almost certainly lost. As for Donna Traynor, Donna is part of our provincial infrastructure, she's a mini BBC institution on her own - a pure Norn Iron ledgend.

Cybez said...

I always remember...
The Mrs was singing, doing a caberet spot, @ Royal Portrush. Paddy K, who was then unknown, kept the backing band going about who this fella Paddy Kielty was. I found that more amusing than his comedy routine.

You could start some sort of celebspot meme to find out what celebs bloggers have met.

CW said...

Parnell, every time I go back I notice the changes. It's certainly become a lot more cosmpolitan within a short space of time and the new retail area with M&S, Next, etc where the showgrounds used to be seems to be doing well. And there's the big new tech they're building and I believe a brand new theatre on the riverbank. Love the new stands at Healy Park too. So changes for the better are certainly afoot. Shame about the hospital though - we've now got the ridiculous situation of no maternity facilities anywhere in the whole of Tyrone.
BTW, is there any chance of Omagh Town re-forming?

Cyberscribe - good idea. The folks at Slugger would love that.

Lorainne said...

I always found Jeremy Beadle mildly irritating with his stupid boring pranks and his idiot-like grin reminding me of an overgrown schoolboy. On a more glamorous note, quite recently I saw the actor Sean Bean in Waitrose in Whetstone, North London. We did cross in the aisle and he glanced in my direction but I didn't know what to say. I really liked him in the 'Sharpe' series based on the Bernard Cornwell novels. He played an army recruit from a deprived background who rose to be an officer through a lot of daring exploits and managed to seduce quite a number of women along the way - there were also some very good fight scenes. I also really enjoyed his performance in Lady Chatterly's Lover, Goldeneye and Patriot Games. He even made a guest appearance on the comedy show The Vicar of Dibley. So I was a bit starstruck so unusually for me was lost for words!!!

CW said...

Lorainne, as a man of sophisticated tastes (even though he's a Sheffield Utd supporter) Sean Bean would typically shop at Waitrose. Unlike his brother Mr Bean.

Gerry O'Sullivan said...

The mention of Sean Bean and 'Lady Chatterly's Lover' reminded me of probably the wierdest celeb encounter I ever had.

Back in the early 90s, I was running an off-licence in west London, and we used to get a fair few celebs and luvvies buying their booze and fags in the shop. Martin Amis, Nigella Lawson, Rik Mayall, Topper Headon from the Clash, were all regulars.

One night off, I was at home and was watching the TV adaptation of 'Lady Chatterly's Lover'. In this particular episode, Joely Richardson was prancing around buck naked for most of the time. The next day, who should walk in to the shop but the delightful Ms Richardson herself. It was really odd serving someone I had just seen on the telly in the buff, the night before.

CW said...

Priceless Gerry, absolutely pricleless!

Lorainne said...

Excellent Gerry - did you say anything to her about Lady C and did you keep your eyes strictly on her face.....????

Gerry O'Sullivan said...

No, Lorainne, I decided that I should my mouth shut on that subject, lest I started babbling and said something I shouldn't.

Deciding where to focus my eyes was very difficult, I admit :-)