Writing this Metro column has given me a level of fame that I could never have dreamed of before. A waitress in a Thai restaurant in Edinburgh became slightly flummoxed when she was serving me because she had recognised me from my by-line photo. I didn’t get any money off or a free prawn cracker, but it was still nice.
Then just this week I was invited to the grand VIP re-opening of Garfunkel’s in Bath. That’s right, look impressed. If I was prepared to shell out for the train fare and hotel room I could have had a free three-course meal in one of the most disappointing chain restaurants I have ever been to. I took a date to the Leicester Square branch in 2004, before going to see the Starsky and Hutch movie. I think it might be the least impressive night out in the history of seduction. If only we had made love she would have had the perfect triple-bill of failure. But for some reason we didn’t get that far.
Even the PR woman who invited me to the VIP night knew it was a tough sell saying, “If you haven’t paid Garfunkel’s a visit for while you are in for a surprise.” Though to be honest if they were serving food that looked fit for human consumption that would be enough of a shock for me.
I also once got some free Mr Kipling cakes after mentioning them in a column. And a woman from Ferrero Rocher said she might send some free chocolates (but never did). Maybe I should set my sights higher. I really like the new Aston Martin DB9.
Yup, my life has become a whirlwind after just 18 months of writing these columns. How do I keep my feet on the ground?
I seem to live in a strange hinterland outside the citadel of celebrity. I am like some beast-like chimera, hiding in a bush, eating grubs, blinded by the celestial lights in the near distance. Occasionally the door opens slightly and they leave out a dish of milk or a plate of crumbs that have fallen from the plate of one of the proper celebs, like Science from Big Brother. But I am not welcome inside.
I don’t mind. Just as Groucho Marx would not want to belong to a club that would have him as a member, I would not want to attend a celebrity event that would have me as a guest.
A few years back I got an email at 6.30pm inviting me to a media launch that started at 8 o clock that evening. I think when you get 90 minutes notice to a party you can only conclude that you weren’t very high on their guest list. It’s about as insulting a party invite as you can get. “Hi we’re short of guests and found your name in a 1990s Radio Times. We assume you’re available. It’s not like you’re working.”
To add insult to injury they informed me of some of the people who’d be there (clearly invited in advance) including Peaches Geldof, L’il Chris and Patrick Neate (he won the Whitbread Prize in 2001). This is how deep they had gone before thinking of me.
There was even a list of celebrities who might be attending which included H from Steps. I decided I didn’t want to be at a party that even H from Steps was having second thoughts about going to.
I stayed home and ate a whole tub of Phish Food ice cream to myself instead. Mmmmm, delicious, Phish Food.