7 02 2011

Last night, My Facebook beeped at me, indicating someone wanted a chat, alas I was just about to serve my sunday tea, so was in a bit of a rush, but you know me, I like a chat, so, I answered.

It was Boy George, or at least someone claiming to be him.

So I say, Hi George, Look, I’m just about to serve my tea, and I’d really love to chat but…

He was quite insistent and asked me to stay with him, which I kind of did, it’s funny to think that if Thomas Dolby, Freddy Mercury or The Queen phoned me, that I’d put them on hold, I asked George if he could contact me later, but apparently he had to go to work and write some music or clean the shower, still in his 80’s garb… I don’t know.

Yes I know Freddy is dead, a lot of my music heroes are, it happens when you get to my age, sometimes I think that singers are the embodiment of youth and must fall off the perch before they’re forty, Logan’s Run comes to mind, look it up if you don’t know what I’m on about.

A sixty year old Michael Jackson just wouldn’t have worked, I often feel the same about myself, and I’ve never been certain that perhaps I was supposed to fall off my perch at 39, as nature seemed to have intended… except I fought back, and won… I think.

I was doing a music quiz show on Second Life, and would write all my own questions. I have a lot of 80’s music trivia in my head, but would supplement my knowledge with Wikipedia, which I know isn’t always right, but would usually be used to confirm something I was a bit vague about… and it would bring me down, a lot of the Musos I really liked died, usually of AIDS, some of an overdose, Falco of “Rock me Amadeus” died in a car crash.

So The veggies weren’t cooked yet, so I continued the chat, I really wasn’t sure what to talk about, So I asked George if he had Dogs, He said he has two, A Bulldog and a Mastiff, I didn’t imagine George to be the doggie sort, but apparently (possibly) he is, He was quite interested in Katie, Who you might know is my own dear Malamute.

When I type, it’s with two fingers, and I look at the keyboard when I do it, glancing at the screen, usually after I hit return, which is a bad habit.

I told him about the lovely little french bulldog I saw wanking with his owner…

I almost died.

I have often almost typed “I’m going to wank the dog” so many times, but caught it before I’d hit the return button, this time I blew it… or perhaps I shouldn’t use that word at the moment.

Had I been a politician, My gaffe would have made news worldwide.

I hastily corrected myself, and the conversation went on, but George had to go, and I had food, so we parted ways.

I know that the guy was most likely fake, but the funny thing was that it left me feeling lovely all evening, I love my 80’s music, and to have potentially talked to a hero of the day, in such an awkward way, really appealed to my odd sense of humour, I may talk to him again, and if it happens, I don’t particularly care if he’s real or not, it was funny, weird, and was most therapeutic.

So thanks George, or whoever you are, I loved it.

And when I got into bed later, I remembered a fantasy I had about another band.

My first pop favourites were Abba, I had just got over kids records, and they were the first adult band which I went mad for, although I was very much aware of music, even in my youngest days. I knew who the Beatles were, The Carpenters, Sony and Cher, The Jacksons. I could identify them when they were on the radio and their songs when all my friends were still singing kindergarten stuff.

I had this fantasy, that one night, Abba would be driving past in their big car, which would break down in front of our place, and they’d have no alternative but to knock on our door, and ask for help.

Of course I would invite them in, and they’d all lay out their sleeping bags on my floor, Mum and Dad would have been happy with the arrangement and we’d all sleep or sing or tell jokes, anything but sleep.

Then later, Bjorn, Benny, Anna and Frida would all be snoring on the floor of my bedroom, while I was in bed!

I’m sure that most kids have had dreams of their pop idol sleeping over night at their place, the names would be different, but the feeling would be just the same, Of course some would want to do more than sleep… but for me, at my very young age, about ten I think, Sex simply didn’t come into it.

My feelings towards you who have provided the soundtrack of my life, whether you were around for years, or a one hit wonder who vanished back into the ether, Thankyou very much.


The Brick Wall

21 10 2010

Since being involved in social media, my perceptions have changed in many ways, and one of those things is my views on what makes a celebrity.

There was once a time when I couldn’t wait to see a movie, or to watch it at home on video or TV, I liked the people I saw on the screen, but they could never love or even simply, like, me back.

For much of my life I’ve felt like there’s this brick wall, and what I want is on the other side. Though surely we’ve all felt like that at some stage, the grass is always greener they say.

Sometimes the way I see it is that people who are in media are on that side of the wall and I’m on this side.

I find it very strange that there are people who I’ve “known” via what they do on TV or Movies for years, even decades, and yet they don’t know me from a bar of soap. a lot of people are comfortable with that idea… but I’m just a little uneasy about it.

There have been moments when I’ve been online where I felt as though I had managed to put a few small holes in that wall and manage to tell someone on the other side that I am here.

I find that these days, I don’t care about someones show unless I have had some sort of contact with them online.

Actual conversation, that’s what I’m after, it means more to me if someone has sent me a few tweets to ask how Katie is today or if I’m feeling well, or to ask my opinion, or if I could help with something as opposed to “My big new show is on Ten in five minutes”.

I have always felt that I was on the wrong side of things, a frustrated audience member, I want to be up there with those other people, I want to produce something that makes people think or wonder or just laugh for a while.

You know, for a while when I was on radio, I got very upset with myself. “What use am I?” I asked myself. I wasn’t a doctor, who does serious work like heal the sick and injured, I was just a dag who turns up to a radio studio twice a week and says silly things between records.

Well, years later, I found myself in hospital, looking at stark walls, feeling worried, not feeling well enough to do anything, or even read. The constantly beeping drips really get to you after a while, and you hear the nurses talking about patients in the other ward who died during the night, I found the whole experience pretty tough going.

Then one day my wonderful Mum bought in my old Walkman, and I managed to find one station which wasn’t blotted out by all the radio interference that a big emergency hospital generates.

I still remember the first thing I heard was Duran Duran, it was bliss.

For a while I could escape.

And then I realised that to some people, hearing a friendly voice can be vital, working in radio was definitely not a useless occupation afterall, in fact doing any sort of work that makes people smile, be it radio, TV, theatre, film, writing or anything else, is definitely well worth the effort.

But I’m getting off track a bit.

If I can feel included in some way, if I feel I’m not just listener 20,345, if the person speaking into that mic knows I’m there, then it means a lot.

OK. so if you’re someone like Justin Bieber for example, you may really want to reach out to your fans on a personal level, but with thousands of keen followers, is it even possible to form a friendly relationship with any of them?

I do follow a few people who I adored as a teenager, and have tried numerous times to get a little conversation up, but have failed.

Earlier in the week @ThomasDolby followed me, he asked me a question, I answered… I was overjoyed, could it be that he and I could have a nice conversation, I would love that. I thanked him for following me, but warned that I’m a bit chatty, anyone who follows me on twitter knows that I practically write a small novel each day in tweets.

He unfollowed me.

I felt “jilted”, like the guy who was dropped by his favourite girl via SMS.

So I took my frustration out in a torrent of humourous tweets…

I thought I’d do a Vicar of Dibley and scoff all the crunchy bars in the house.
(I do store a lot of chocolate here, so if you should ever feel emotional, drive over, I have lots to share)

Well I didn’t do that, but I did down two bags of crisps instead, besides, chocolate is bad for my kind.

I thought that perhaps I had whacked a bloody huge hole out of the wall that day, only to watch aghast as it sealed itself up again in front of me again.

People do chat back to me, that’s wonderful, I appreciate it so much. If all you do is tell your followers when your concert is on, or when your book comes out, then people begin to care less about you and even wonder if you’re really you.

I follow @petshopboys, but their tweets are pretty useless, sometimes they tour and take happy snaps, but they come across as though tweeting is a business they’d rather not do, and they don’t seem particularly interested in the possibility that anyone might be reading… I find that I don’t feel any warmth towards them much anymore.

Though @StephenFry and @MrsStephenFry are really funny, and I suspect that Stephen Fry is a gent who would probably want to have a conversation with us if he didn’t have twenty million followers.

The ideal twitter celebrity is someone who will tweet back to you, has an air of kindness about them, has a few jokes with you, tweet about personal things and the things they’re working on, adds the odd passing thought, likes to stand up for the occasional issue, asks their twitter friends for technical or even personal help, and remembers to say thank you now and then… I’m happy to support this person.

I thought of Ringo Starr, do I even need to say he was with The Beatles?
Anyway, he believed in answering every letter from his fans, most just wanted his autograph, He had a damn good crack at it, he was at it for years. it wasn’t long ago that he finally told his fans he just couldn’t do it any longer, I wonder if he’s moved onto Twitter?

I have been labeled a celebrity myself by some, and I wore that label partially with tongue firmly in cheek, and partially because a part of me desires to be on that other side of the fence.

I’m forty-five this November, and am hoping to have completely smashed that wall by the time I’m 70, Perhaps that’s when Thomas Dolby will ask me if I’m free for coffee today.

And yes, should I make it to the other side, I will do my darnedest to keep in touch with you.