Sunday, 21 June 2015

Star-struck

I'm far too easily intimidated. There are so many things that instantly demolish my fragile self-confidence. Like people who're wealthy/ hyper intelligent/ posh/ famous/ naturally chatty/ beautiful.

Why oh why, you might ask. Why do all these things matter so much to you? Just be yourself and people will like you or not like you and that's it. And it won't matter a damn if they're wealthy or posh or whatever.

Easy to say but not so easy to do. And don't tell me you never feel the same way yourself. Don't tell me you're never unravelled by someone whose talents and abilities make you feel like the village idiot. Someone who makes you wish the ground would swallow you up.

I mean, most people are thrown by celebs. Someone meets their revered actor or footballer or guru and what happens? They're struck dumb. They've no idea what to say. They're paralysed by the aura that surrounds this household name. And they stand there, their mouth opening and shutting like a goldfish, and then the star moves on and they're kicking themselves for being so gormless.

If I ever came face to face with (say) Sarah Silverman, the conversation would probably go something like this:

Me: Wow, you're Sarah Silverman.
SS: That's correct. Well spotted.
Me: Wow, I just have to say, your stuff is brilliant. Totally brilliant. Really, it's so fucking brilliant. And did I say it was brilliant?
SS: Thank you so much. Now if you'll excuse me....
Me (mouth opening and shutting like a goldfish): Of course. Oh my God - Sarah Silverman. Jeez.

So don't anyone try and tell me you had this witty, scintillating, 30-minute convo with (say) Tina Fey. I won't believe you. I won't.

Admit it. You would be intimidated. You would feel like the village idiot. You would want the ground to swallow you up.

The trouble is, it never does.

25 comments:

Dave Martin said...

I know exactly what you mean Nick. No matter how thick-skinned you think you are there's always someone who's able to reduce you to the level of a frightened and clueless child on his first day of school, leaving you the task of rebuilding yourself to your previous state. Sometimes it takes while, sometimes you shrug it off pretty quick.
A couple of years ago at work a TV company came in to shoot some footage, along with the presenter Rory McGrath. Even though I'm not exactly a fan of his apart from when he did 'Chelmsford 123', I still found it difficult to have a conversation with him - and he was pretty chilled and didn't seem to be someone who's up himself.
God knows what I'd be like if I met someone I have huge respect for like Kevin Spacey or Peter Gabriel.

Bijoux said...

But isn't it hard to say how you would ACTUALLY react, never having met someone famous? I've never really thought about, since I don't care all that much about celebrities. I can't even think of one I'd want to meet and talk with, because what are they but strangers I have nothing in common with?

Not that I wouldn't get a kick out of seeing a celebrity do a menial task, like pump gas or buy some milk at the store.

Nick said...

Dave: Exactly. There's an off-putting sort of aura around someone famous, especially if they're accompanied by a fawning entourage. It's hard to just "be yourself", even if you're normally quite self-confident.

Bijoux: I've met people I have a lot in common with, like Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone, but it was still hard to overcome the "celeb effect" and act naturally.

Wisewebwoman said...

I've met a few and a few are my FB friends as they are far flung or travelling and we exchange commonalities. I don't think I'm intimidated by any of them as I find their quirks and downright humanity are engaging.

BUT, and it' a big BUT, if I met Liam Neeson in the flesh I think I would fall apart completely.

XO
WWW

Liz Hinds said...

I would be completely intimidated. On the odd occasions when I've met someone who is just slightly well known I lose everything, become a mute idiot.

Nick said...

www: True, if you know they have the same human quirks as all the rest of us, that makes it easier to relax and open up. The ones who appear to be on some super-human pedestal are terrifying.

Liz: Glad to know you can go into meltdown as easily as I can! Why is it so hard to keep one's cool?

Secret Agent Woman said...

Hm. I don't think so - I'm really just not interested in celebrities so I don't think I'd be dumbstruck. I wouldn't likely approach someone but if I happened to sit on a plane next to, say, Jon Stewart, I'd be happy to chat with him. And have no reason to think I wouldn't be able to have a normal discussion. At first, he'd just be another stranger, after all. And I have to talk to strangers about personal things for a living, People are just people - being famous doesn't make you inherently a better conversationalist or intimidating.

Nick said...

Agent: Ah, I have a feeling I'd be able to chat to Jon Stewart quite easily. He doesn't seem like your typical celeb, he seems like a regular guy with a similar outlook on life to my own. But I'm impressed by your matter-of-fact attitude to celebs.

kylie said...

I had an interview to doula for a well known musician. It wasnt at all intimidating but thats probably because there was a specific purpose in the meeting.
I didnt get the gig and she seemed very nervous about saying so

Nick said...

Kylie: As you say, you were probably quite at ease because you had a specific subject to discuss. So she was more nervous of the doula than you were of her!

CheerfulMonk said...

Who is Sarah Silverman? I'm not star-struck because I haven't the foggiest notion who most of the current stars are. And gurus? If I met the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh I would probably just smile and nod. Why would one need to say anything?

Grannymar said...

Okay,I have a question: Who are Sarah Silverman and Tina Fey?

I have found that if I ask the person a question about themselves, they usually answer and that can lead to the next one. If they snubb you, then they are not worth your time.

Nick said...

Jean: Sarah Silverman is a well-known American comedian (though obviously not well-known enough!) So yes, if you met her, you would have no idea who she was and presumably wouldn't be at all intimidated.

Smiling and nodding is a useful option....

Grannymar: Tina Fey is also a well-known (ish) American comedian. So the next time I meet a celeb, I'll ask them a question about themselves and see what happens....

Helen Devries said...

I think it depends on how the 'celeb' is....Tony Benn was a great one for putting people at ease, for example...but people who are full of themselves - whether 'celebs' or not - are always offputting as they don't want interaction.

Nick said...

Helen: Yes, Tony Benn obviously enjoyed chatting with all and sundry, but his politically astuteness and phenomenal memory were quite enough to make me tongue-tied!

CheerfulMonk said...

I Googled Tony Benn to see who he was. :)

Nick said...

Jean: Obviously my famous names weren't quite famous enough - at least not on the other side of the pond. I should have chosen Sarah Jessica Parker or Allison Janney.

(Wait for it - who's Allison Janney?)

Ms Scarlet said...

I have had to deal with someone famous within my own industry... she has featured in broadsheet papers... and I was a gibbering wreck on the phone. High pitched squeaky voice. I was so embarrassed that I had to go and lay down in a darkened room afterwards because it gave me a migraine... plus of course I had to produce work for her. She was/is a normal person and was lovely... bet she thought I was an idiot though. I'd better stop writing this because it the recollection is making me curl up with embarrassment again.
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet: Well, I won't prolong your deja-vu embarrassment. I'll leave you to forget about it as speedily as possible.

CheerfulMonk said...

You're right, of course. Who's Allison Janney? I just looked her up. I had actually seen her in The West Wing. And I have watched Sex in the City, so Sarah Jessica Parker was no problem.

Nick said...

Jean: Glad to know I'm keeping you up to speed on assorted American sub-cultures, ha ha.

Rummuser said...

My problem is different Nick. I am the celebrity!

Nick said...

Ramana: Of course you are. And do you find your visitors are tongue-tied with nerves on account of your dazzling charisma?

Jay, Sparking Synapse said...

I don't know about witty and scintillating, but I did have a fifteen minute conversation with Johnny Depp a few years back. And I can honestly say that he is one of those people who make his fans feel so at ease that you feel he's just an ordinary bloke at heart - which I think he is. OK, I shared the fifteen minutes with a handful of other people (I'd gone to Pinewood with some friends) but he made sure to give us each our personal time, which was lovely.

So no, I wasn't struck dumb. In fact when he approached us, I was the one who stuck out my hand and said 'Hi, how are you?'. Not sure what got into me, but I did, and I'm glad I did, and the encounter confirmed my gut feeling that celebrities are really just like the rest of us; either nice, generous people, or shitty, selfish people, or (most often) somewhere in between. They don't phase me.

The only one I've personally seen who was rude/arrogant was Jonathon Ross. I'm sure there are others, but I am firmly of the opinion that most of them are sick to death of 'star treatment' and tongue-tied fans and would appreciate being treated as the human beings that they are. Terry Pratchett was lovely, too, God bless him.

Nick said...

Jay: I'm sure you're right that celebrities are just like any other human being in that they run the spectrum from horrible to charming. I've always had the impression that Johnny Depp was one of the nicer ones.