Friday, 18 March 2011
Friday - Fame?
I don't have a great desire for fame. Now, I know that every actor who hasn't become famous says that and you think, "Bloody liar! That's why you started doing it!", and that may well be true? Who doesn't wish for the money and general adoration that fame would seem to offer?
I always, as a younger man, thought I was doing pretty well. I didn't expect to be world famous, just on the tele a bit. And that's what I was. Plus, our radio show was doing really well, I was working all the time, I'd had a number one hit, all my Aunts and Uncles thought I was doing well and people in the pub used to say, "Oi, you were in Only Fools and Horses, weren't you?" which I was, admittedly, only the one episode, but it seemed to be enough for them and me. I suppose I believed that one day I would be given a part in something and it would just make me a bit more famous and then I could use that fame to get really nice parts in the theatre. I wasn't the most ambitious person I knew.
Around me, lots of my friends were becoming famous - and rich! Bloody hell, they were coining it in. I still never felt poor; in fact, I wasn't. I always had what I wanted. And it was clear that fame was not what it seemed. My friends became scared of 'the public' as they called them. They would go to great lengths to avoid them. I could never really understand this as I have always enjoyed chatting to strangers and have always found it funny, rather than an inconvenience, that people seem to recognise me but don't know who I am. Maybe that's why I like Twitter so much?
Most of my mates hated being recognised and would gather together in groups of famous people for safety. Clearly, real fame was not as cosy as the occassional 'man in the street' saying 'Hi!'? It was a lot more disruptive, destructive and intrusive. Perhaps I was lucky not to have become famous?
I saw how short lived fame was, as well. Famous today, 'didn't you used to be' tomorrow, surely the worst element of fame for people who really like it? That's what drives them to do anything to recapture it and why Ant and Dec are so rich.
Nowadays, I don't really mind that I never became famous. I think I would have been one of the people who'd really enjoy it? Not the money or the perks and after show parties (not that they wouldn't have been nice), but the 'make someone's day by just signing a piece of paper' side of it. Then again, I know that would have led to me doing many things that would have sorely tested my wife's patience. I have a very high embarrassment threshold which I am bound to demonstrate in future blogs and, even without the fame, will do things in public that would make most people die of shame. When the announcement is played on the Underground that all lines have 'a good service' I can never resist saying, in a very loud voice, "That's your opinion! You don't say it's 'bad' when there are delays, do you?", without batting an eyelid; so it's a good thing that I can't abuse fame to get away with more. I'm a tiny bit of a celebrity, like most other people who've been on the box. And I don't mind.
Except on Comic Relief day.
Every time Red Nose Day comes around I want to be the most famous person in the world. I want to be the one who's involvement in the whole thing would get everybody watching. Possibly this is vanity? But imagine being able to change thousands of lives just by going on the tele and sitting in a bath of custard, or dressing up in a silly costume, or kissing Dawn French.
I have famous friends with vast fortunes, villas abroad, large London homes and country retreats, expensive cars and very complicated lives. I wouldn't swap their life for mine, not in a million years. Fame, generally, costs more than it gives. Except today.
Then again, we non-famous people may not be able to change thousands of lives, but we can certainly change one. Text the word 'Yes' to 70005 to donate £5 to Comic Relief via your phone. Cheers!