diamond geezer

 Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I saw a celebrity on Saturday night. A celebrity on the tube. Imagine my excitement. An actual celebrity on the actual tube. There I was minding my own business on the Central line when I looked up and there he was. Jack Whitehall, the actual Jack Whitehall, sitting there on the opposite side of the carriage. You know Jack, he's in that sitcom on Channel 4, the one with the flat-sharing students. And he's in that sitcom on BBC3, the one with the unprofessional teachers. And he does stand-up.

"Blimey it's the actual Jack Whitehall," I thought, "unless it's some bloke who looks incredibly like him but in fact isn't." I tried not to stare, because it's only polite, but I did keep looking up surreptitiously from my newspaper every so often to confirm it really was him. By the fifth glance I was pretty sure, and by the tenth almost certain. I don't think he noticed. "How exciting," I thought. "I can't wait to tell everybody about this, the actual Jack Whitehall!" But when I did get round to telling my friends, later that evening, all they said was "Jack Who?" I was almost heartbroken by their ignorance, so I'm delighted to be able to tell you lot instead. Jack got on at Holborn, probably, I didn't register precisely at the time. And he stayed on until Liverpool Street, at which point he nipped off to visit whatever exciting social venue it is that proper celebs attend on Saturday night. I bet it was Shoreditch, unless it wasn't.

You'll be interested I'm sure to hear what he was wearing. It's good to get sartorial tips from an actual style icon, I reckon, and close-up too. Jack was in sort-of trendy clothes, more hip and happening than mine, which if I'd been more fashion aware I could have described to you at length. Some sort of blue top, probably a jacket - I couldn't tell you what label. Trousers, not jeans, but nothing obviously special. And brown leather shoes, definitely lighter rather than darker, looking well-worn and comfy. Jack looked about the same age as he does on the telly, which was reassuring, and he had all the same facial hair I might have expected.

And he was with a woman! She was shorter than him, same sort of age, with a big smile and longish hair. Sorry, I really can't describe her either, I was too busy looking at Jack to pay her due attention. I shall never make it as a gossip columnist, for which I apologise. But I'm pretty sure this woman wasn't his girlfriend, or at least not the last girlfriend the Daily Mail saw him with. And there was another bloke with them too, sat to Jack's right! He had the look of sidekick about him, I'd say, for what it's worth. He was still on the young side - shorter, thickset, a mere acquaintance. This bloke's attempts at growing a beard were all but non-existent, so he definitely wasn't a relation. But wow, here was my very own celebrity threesome, on the Central line, in full view!

I was so pleased I'd walked all the way up to the front carriage, otherwise I might have missed out on the sheer coincidental brilliance of it all. Me and an actual celebrity, on the tube, in close proximity! It was a tabloid showbiz editor's dream. As the owner of a long-established media presence, I knew it was my duty to whip out a camera and take a photo of Jack to share with you. Everybody loves a picture of a celebrity incognito on the tube, it's one of the best things ever. But I didn't feel comfortable taking one, nor in getting out my phone and slyly pointing the lens in his general direction. It would have felt wrong, and highly uncomfortable, so all my photographic devices stayed firmly in my pocket. I believe that everyone deserves a bit of privacy on the tube, even Putney-based celebrities, rather than some starstruck blogger snapping away and then gleefully posting blurry pictures of them online. Sorry, you must be so terribly disappointed this morning.
 I saw a celebrity on Saturday night. A proper celebrity in a chocolate factory, and only a few feet away from me. Imagine my excitement. An actual celebrity in the actual flesh. There I was minding my own business in a darkened room when I looked up and there she was. Jane Asher, the actual Jane Asher, standing there on the opposite side of the floor. You know Jane, she used to be in films in the Sixties, She's the party cake queen with her own business and a sugarcraft fixation. And she did Crossroads.

"Blimey it's the actual Jane Asher," I thought, "unless it's my auntie in make-up, because she does look incredibly like her but in fact isn't." I tried not to stare, but it was dark so I assumed she wouldn't mind, not least because I'd paid good money to be here. "How exciting," I thought. "The actual Jane Asher. I can't wait to tell everybody about this." But there was no point telling my friends, later that evening, because they were sitting next to me so they already knew. Jane had wandered in through some classical façade made up to look like an Oxbridge college, I forget precisely which one. And then she hung around for about an hour, on and off, before bowing sweetly and disappearing forever through some patio doors.

You'll be interested I'm sure to hear what she was wearing. It's good to get vintage sartorial tips from an actual style icon, I reckon, and close-up too. Jane was dressed as if for a long voyage, in what would once have been fashionable clothes, but no longer. Some sort of blue dress, with pleated sleeves and a scalloped bodice. Probably a crinoline underneath, unless I've got that very wrong, which I might well have done. A lace blouse, like you'd wear every day if you were an 1890s heiress, adorned with a silver brooch. And a hat too, a huge broad-brimmed hat topped with flowers and a few feathers, utterly completely over the top. Jane looked about the same age as she does on the telly, which was impressive given that she hasn't been on the telly for a while.

And she was with a man! He was younger than her, with a beaky nose and mischievous smile. It was that Mathew Horne, the Gavin off Gavin and Stacey, dressed in a black dress and pretending to a woman. He was masquerading as Charley's Aunt, and upstaging Jane who actually was Charley's Aunt, due to some convoluted but convenient plot twist. I shall never make it as a stage reviewer, for which I apologise. And there was another bloke with them too, red and puffy in a top hat, storming around. He used to be either Hale or Pace, one or the other, I never could remember which was which. And several more thespians too, including one bloke who was Tarrant in Blake's Seven, although I had to have that pointed out to me afterwards because he's changed a bit. But wow, my very own celebrity ensemble, on Southwark Street, in full view!

I was so pleased I'd taken up the last minute offer of a theatre ticket, otherwise I might have missed out on the sheer brilliance of it all. Me and some actual proper celebrities, in the same room, acting out some revived Victorian crowdpleaser. The plot was a bit light, and simultaneously contrived, but that was OK because the whole thing was meant to be a farce anyway. Tightly performed by the entire cast, I thought, rattling thick and fast throughout the entire three act session. And whilst Mathew was notionally the star, the other actors excelled in their performances. Even Jane. Especially Jane. The actual Jane who does the cakes, performing to 150 of us squashed into the back room of a converted chocolate factory. I wonder sometimes whether London theatre would survive if we didn't come flocking to watch our favourite celebrities in "Never Mind What The Play Is, I'm Here to See Jane." And Mathew, obviously.

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