Thursday, 24 September 2009

Me, Camilla and the Archbishop of Canterbury

Don't think about buses. I know, they too come along all at once after long and unexplained periods of absence.

The thing is, I've had a rather successful bout of celebrity spotting recently. And given that it was my first in 10 years in London - I found it rather exciting in a small child at DisneyLand kind of way.

Now, I have to come clean about a little quirk of mine. I struggle with facial recognition. I get people's faces mixed up because they look the same to me, even if no other person can see the resemblance. For example, for many years I thought Chicago Hope and ER were the same show (for the record, I never followed either particularly assiduously). I thought George Clooney and Adam Arkin were the same person - just that in some episodes Clooney looked a little more tired and rough around the edges... Perversely, I've never found Madame Tussaud's waxworks particularly lifelike nor do I find look-a-likes particular "like." There you have it.

However, on the same day that I saw the A of C at The Garrick, I also saw Camilla Parker-Bowles!

I was about to cross Cornhill in the City when a motorcade descended upon the scene and swiftly blocked all pedestrian and vehicular traffic. This prompted dark mutterings on my part about England aping the worst of the post-Independence excesses of the African continent. Don't know why but motorcades always bring out the little French Republican in me. You know, La Victoire, one tit exposed, Le Tricolore flag in one hand, and the Cocarde perched on my head at a jaunty angle leading the Sans-Culotte over the Barricades. (Don't be alarmed, or worse titillated: it's just a little visual in my head, I don't actually act it out on the streets. )

Back to my mutterings of dictatorial excesses of the governing classes. As the first of the two official cars drew up to my level, I couldn't resist peering in - like a complete peasant! - and lo and behold there was Camilla looking rather glum and serious with another lady sitting beside her. My mood lifted immediately. I'd just seen Camilla! I didn't even mind the motorcade so much - besides, they'd now departed and I had the road all to myself again.

My latest celebrity spotting was Dexter Fletcher (the curly haired one in Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels and more recently playing the Concierge in Hotel Babylon) at Borough Market last Saturday - buying olives. Verified by a third party. (The conversation went like this. Me: Is this the guy from Lock Stock and Hotel Babylon or does he just look like him or does this person not even remotely look like him? Him: It's him. Definitely. Me: He look so different from his part. His hair is longer and almost white! Him: Yes, but it's definitely him:well spotted!)

Now there's a celebrity spotter extraordinaire. I think he's seen more celebrities than a paparazzi. It's partly due to working in Soho (sees Mike Leigh on a regular basis, cheered up Macy Gray) and partly due to his habit of lunching in posh places. He once sat next to Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson at Claridges. He also has the knack for being in the right place at the right time. He once sa George Bush Sr. drive past him in his motorcade during a presidential visit. And the thing is Bush actually waived to him...

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