Sunday, 2 June 2013

Ignorance is bliss

If you asked me which was best, anonymity or celebrity, I wouldn't hesitate. I much prefer to be anonymous. Celebrity is such a burden, I can't imagine how people endure it without going completely crazy.

I love being anonymous. I love being able to walk the streets and go about my daily business without attracting any undue attention. I love not having to worry too much about what I look like or other people's expectations.

Celebrity on the other hand must be a daily nightmare. You can't even amble to the corner store without people staring at you or complimenting you or taking photos. The slightest imperfection in your appearance or clothing will be noted and remarked on endlessly in the media.

If you're interviewed, you have to field sneaky questions designed to winkle out something embarrassing. You're constantly pursued by a false public image that defies any amount of trying to explain the real you. And if you flee all the attention by avoiding public exposure, then you're accused of being a loner, a recluse, a camera-shy eccentric.

I'm not just saying that because I'm not a celeb, because my life happens not to attract any widespread interest. The idea of being a relentlessly-scrutinised celeb makes me shudder with horror. It must be like living in the proverbial goldfish bowl, unable to escape the gawping faces and asinine remarks.

I much prefer an existence in which I can stroll around my very beautiful neighbourhood with most passers-by knowing nothing whatever about me - not even my name or occupation or who I live with. I'm very happy just to be the tall guy with glasses who sometimes strokes cats and mutters to himself. I don't want every detail of my life to be promiscuously chewed-over by strangers. I'll keep myself to myself, thanks.

27 comments:

Rummuser said...

Regretably, I cannot be anonymous in my neighbourhood as I am a kind of pioneer who settled here in the early stages of its development. I had to be part of the local citizens' group to get things properly organised and thus became rather well known, though not quite a celebrity. My car which was a souped up and converted for rallying beaut further made me well known! I sold that car off five years ago and now have an anonymous garden variety common vehicle that helps in keeping out of the limelight.


It has its advantages and disadvantages more the former though. I would however very much prefer to be anonymous, which I am when I am in the city and out of our suburb.

Grannymar called me anonymouse once!

Leah said...

I know all about this, and it is a very weird, not entirely welcome experience.

Leah said...

p.s. the fallout from this phenomenon extends to those non-celebrities who accompany celebrity.

Nick said...

Ramana: I'm a bit confused. So you think being well-known has more advantages than disadvantages, but you'd prefer to be anonymous?

Leah: I think I know who you're referring to! Yes, as you say, being in the company of a celeb can be just as weird as being the actual celeb, as I've also experienced from time to time.

Roses said...

I'm with you on that one.

Can't be doing with all that which goes with celebrity.

Wisewebwoman said...

Perhaps you have to be at each side of this argument to have a valid opinion?

I observe a lot of them courting publicity (part of the job, promoting themselves, ie Michael Douglas in the Guardian today, cunningulus, seriously) but I know a few that walk about quite freely depending on where they are (here for one, West Cork for another).

so a lot of the attention getting is deliberate.

they need to sell.

XO
WWW

Leah said...

Okay, you are in the company of a celeb from time to time? let's here it! name-drop please! :-)

Secret Agent Woman said...

Since I haven't been famous, I don't really feel like I can make any intelligent assessment of which is better. I imagine there is good and bad to celebrity as there is good and bad to anonymity. I can say easily, though, that I am unimpressed with fame and get bored when people start talking about celebrities.

Nick said...

Roses: I hear you!

www: I think in some places celebs are given huge attention, in other places like Ireland, less so, they're treated more like ordinary people. Though as you say a lot of them deliberately court publicity as well.

Nick said...

Leah: Oh, if you're really interested, I've mingled with the likes of Martin McGuinness, Ken Livingstone, Tony Benn, Diane Abbott. I've seen the extraordinary attention they get, simply because they're famous.

Agent: Me too. I'm mystified by those people who follow the daily minutiae of celebrity lives.

Grannymar said...

I would hate to live in a goldfish bowl. As I was typing I was thinking.... Each time we blog or comment are we actually courting attention?

Never mind, I have made friends and met some wonderful people through blogging, so it stays part of my life right now.

Nick said...

Grannymar: Oh yes, we're courting attention by blogging, but we're only talking about a small handful of people, not thousands or millions!

kylie said...

in my mind, i blog because i enjoy writing and i want to connect with people. it's not about the attention per se, if thats not too fine a difference

Nick said...

Kylie: I totally agree. It's not the attention I'm after, it's trying to clarify my thoughts about something, and then enjoying other people clarifying them some more - or else telling me I'm talking utter bollocks!

Z said...

I love to be greeted as a friend, but I know that's not what you mean - and yes, I completely agree with you.

e said...

So, is that why you've not been around to mine, you're not courting attention...well, your celeb enough in my book, though I'll keep your true identity to myself. for a fee, of course...

Nick said...

Z: Oh sure, I love to see friends too. But if the "friends" were starry-eyed, besotted admirers, I wouldn't be so keen.

e: Oops, have I been neglecting you? I must put that right straightaway. Oh no, my true identity is about to burst out - what sort of fee did you have in mind?

Eryl said...

There are aspects of celebrity I know I'd like: an apartment in New York; a beach house somewhere; my favourite brands giving me free clothes, that kind of thing. But I'm pretty sure I'd really dislike having my cellulite pored over by the Daily Mail.

Nick said...

Eryl: Of course the NY apartment and beach house only require money rather than celebrity, but I take your point! I'd certainly like an apartment in Vancouver or Sydney!

Indeed, if you're famous, every little detail is front page news from cellulite to hairy armpits.

Bijoux said...

I'm disturbed by the self-disclosure of celebrities. I don't need to know or care how Michael Douglas thinks he got throat cancer. These people think the public cares about their personal lives way more than we do.

Nick said...

Bijoux: Well, I think most of the self-disclosure is designed to keep them in the public eye. And oddly enough, there ARE people who seem to care about a celeb's throat cancer, even if they've never met him and he's just a tabloid image. Weird.

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

I think being a real-life celebrity is totally different to courting attention by blogging. I get stage fright if people turn and look at me in Sainsbury's, and yet I love getting comments on The Depp Effect and it pleases me that people read it.

Celebrity is a weird, weird thing. The paradox of it makes me sad - they are loved and adored (and sometimes hated) to the nth degree and yet they can't allow people to get to know them in an ordinary way, chatting in the aforesaid supermarket, for instance, or popping into a local and propping up the bar. If they do, it has to be a special zone like Hollywood, or a special pub/club/restaurant where other celebrities hang out or they're likely to get mobbed.

I did hear one lovely bit of news today though. A guy manning the desk in a small gym in Cambridge (UK) was startled to look up and find Matt Damon and George Clooney there, asking to use the basketball court with a few of their film crew for a knockabout game. They are apparently filming something at nearby Duxford and just thought they'd pop in!

Nick said...

Jay: Of course if their fans really loved them, they'd leave them alone to get on with their private lives, but this form of "love" is more like an unstoppable obsession. I'd hate to be that high-profile 24/7.

Yes, I bet that guy on the desk was pretty flabbergasted!

bonsaimum said...

Drives me mad when people do all they can to become a celebrity then complain they have no privacy and want to be left alone...oh pleeeeease!

Nick said...

Bonsaimum: Yes, if they've deliberately set out to become famous, then they can't really complain (too much) about all the non-stop attention! But if they never asked for celebrity in the first place, then the endless media frenzy must be quite mortifying.

Liz said...

I don't want to be a celebrity either, thank you, however I do want to be a published author and would love it if my books became best-sellers. That said most authors can walk down the street quite easily without being recognised.

Nick said...

Liz: That's true, most authors have a more considerate fan-base than your high-profile showbiz celebs. I don't suppose J K Rowling gets mobbed in the supermarket, or lambasted for her cellulite.