Saturday 10 January 2009

Nearly famous

On many an occasion I've wondered what it says about us (and in all probability nothing at all) that we often seem to brush close to the famous, without ever quite achieving it for ourselves.

The thought crossed my mind again this evening when The boy and I were watching a new ITV programme called Demons. It's complete nonsense about supernatura; goings on in London, and no less enjoyable for that. But for me the highlight is that the hero lives in a building that I instantly recognised as somewhere that I own a's very art-deco and designed by the same architects as the rather more famous Hoover Building. The Alaska's history is rather less illustrious though, as it was constructed to process seal fur:

"Another fascinating ex-industrial building is the former Alaska Factory. This opened in 1869 for working seal fur. Only the brick entrance gates with the carving of an Alaskan seal on its façade remain of the old factory. Behind the gate stands a clean white art deco building made by the Architect Wallis Gilbert, who also designed the Hoover buildings in London. Originally the workmen would work endless shifts with barrels of beer instead of canteens and play spontaneous games of football. As working techniques and demands changed, the factory was continuously added to or rebuilt. It was bombed twice in WWll. In the fifties it had its first canteen, organised sports teams and new regulations about working hours, all of which seem to be reflected in the clean white scientific new building."

When The Boy and I lived in Borough High St we were just spitting distance from Borough Market, which has featured in numerous films, TV programmes and ads, so there's always much excitement whenever it's seen as we chime in tandem "We used to live there"

And in Brighton too, a film (the name of which passes me by at the moment) was made at the bottom of our Square.

But it's not just our residential location to the famous, our brushes have included me being directed in amateur dramatics by Chris known for playing James Herriot and I believe regular appearances in Casualty. Plus I've lunched with Prince Edward (the stripogram who materialised was less than welcome), partied with Ulrika Johnson and had lots of other contacts with A listers, B listers and even Z listers. Evidently I was at school with Alan Davies, though I can't say I remember him, and I gather he hated the place.

So fame has never rubbed off on me, and I wonder if it will on the boy. Or if he wuld want it to. We'll see.


  1. Funnily enough I stumbled upon Borough Market for the first time this week and was struck by what an amazing place it was.

    I get terribly starstruck, particularly on the two occasions I met Nathanial Parker, aka Inspector Lynley, among many other roles, and embarrassed myself horribly confusing him with Nathanial Hawthorne (dead Victorian writer). Luckily I bumped into him again and was able to apologise. I'm sure it happens to him all the time, but he was terribly nice.

    How exciting to have your very own locations used like that! I think you should demand a royalty or two re the flat - I love art deco, though I would've thought a 19th C building would be more Art Nouveau.

  2. I used to meet famous musicians and (less often) actors when I was a concert sound engineer and musical director in the theatre. I could never see what the whole celebrity fascination was. They were just the product of their backgrounds and/or fate and had the same fears and aspirations as anyone else - except money worries - although many were hiding self confidence issues.

    Or perhaps I have been missing something?

  3. I love watching programmes set in Glasgow or Edinburgh to see what bits I recognize.

    I went to the same school as Ally McErlaine, the guitarist from the band Texas, Ross King the TV presenter ( my ex h used to date his sister Elaine) and John Gordon Sinclair, didn't know any of them although JGS's mum was the receptionist in my dentist's.

    I know, I can't understand whey no one's comissioning me to write my memoirs either !

  4. My hubbie, or Mr H, as French Fancy referred to him the other day, has met quite a few bigwigs, celebrities and otherwise, he used to be General Manager (or some such at The Barbican). He tells some great stories about these encounters but he has sworn me to secrecy so, sadly, I cannot divulge!

  5. Hadriana..I think Mr H is duty bound to reveal all to us...

    Dotterel...Nearly took that

    AG..your blog is your memoirs which we all love

    Robert - that fits with my experience too. Celebs often deeply unsecure and lacking in self-confidence, making up for it by appearing to be very extrovert

    Laura - I fail the test here...Inspector Lynley?


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