You know how it is, you hardly ever have a big night out and then two come along at once.
On Friday’s we’ll be travelling north to see the Mrs Brown’s Boys stage show (for the third successive year) and seventy-two hours later, Elaine and I will get the chance to see—and hear—the wonderful Bo Bruce at Newcastle’s O² Academy. We’ve had the tickets for ages, so I suppose it’ll be nice not to have to find the money—although as I remember, you don’t get much change out of a tenner for a drink and a hot dog at the Metro Arena (that’s where Mrs Brown’s Boys is taking place).
Of course, we could split the hot dog and get two straws for the drink. Better still, pig out at home and try and smuggle some pop past the security men...
Last year, we were lucky enough to meet most of the Mrs Brown’s Boys cast and I was impressed by how approachable and friendly they all were. I’m sure that in the world of celebrity, you will encounter any number of people wanting a bit of your time. Exchanging a few words, signing an autograph or posing for a photo might only take a minute or so, but especially for the young “fan”, those few moments will be both personal and special.
Down the years, I’ve almost shied away from such encounters, mainly because I always remembered meeting a couple of people I’d admired from the world of sport and let’s just say the prospect was far removed from the reality.
I wouldn’t use the word “heroes” —that word is reserved for the likes of Muhammad Ali—but when I was about nine years old, my favourite cricketer was the Lancashire and West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd. The meeting was a chance encounter with the West Indies touring party at York railway station. Virtually the whole squad had signed my autograph book when I offer my book and pen to the team’s figurehead.
But he refused... he’d signed too many autographs...
Sadly, at nine years old, I didn’t know the right word to describe my immediately ex-favourite cricketer. Forty years on, I know loads of suitable words... but I fear the moment has gone.
A number of years later, I was a club cricketer of little or no repute, and still a Lancashire fan despite being born in the White Rose county. I went to “an evening with” Paul Allott, decent test bowler and future poor commentator. I did admire him as a cricketer, but when I spoke to him, he was arrogant to the point of being rude.
Luckily by the age of twenty-six, I was far better acquainted with the term “arsehole”...
Thankfully, such examples are few and far between, but just go to show how the memory of one bad experience can linger for years—which probably explains why I don’t eat rice pudding.
So much as I’m now far too old to be “star-struck”, I’m really looking forward to both nights. If the last two years are anything to go by, Mrs Brown’s Boys will be great and, having exchanged quite a few e-mails with Bo Bruce before her career really took off, she seemed to be a kind and genuine young woman —as well as a fantastic singer. Who knows, maybe I might get to meet her in person next Monday: I won’t have my autograph book (I threw it at Clive Lloyd’s carriage as the train pulled away), but, just in case, the camera’s already on charge!
All my own work... almost.