Ever since I started working properly in the media business, well-meaning friends and family will often ponder if I can get them an autograph for someone. This is a little tricky because:
- I don’t generally meet celebrities any more in my line of work anyway!
- Even if I did, it’d be very hard to interrupt an interview or a meeting with a “Oh by the way, can you sign this for my grandma?” or “Can we just pose for a photograph?”
- I’m terrible at asking anything of strangers. Unless I have to.
- How many journalists do you know who interrupt press conferences to ask for an autograph? It’s just not done.
- Most importantly, I’m usually the only Chinese person in the room. Which means:
- They’re far more likely to notice me – I tend to stick out like a sore form even when I don’t say anything – and thus, form an opinion, good or bad.
- The last thing I want to do is enhance the racist assumption that Japanese/foreign journalists are idiotic and don’t know the ‘rules’
Having said all that, outside of work, it seems to be OK. During one birthday celebration in a Soho pub, June Whitfield came into the pub. Before you know it, my then evil scum of workmates had corralled her into posing for a pic next to me – I’m not too sure where that picture has gone, but it’s around here somewhere, with the odd sock. And somewhere in my archives, I also have Woody Allen’s autograph.
Of course, it seems to be just me who has a problem with asking celebrities for autographs where I work. My friend Shari in New York, who’s a radio engineer, had her pic taken with Hugh Jackman and was very proud of it. Stephen Fry, as ever, is the realist and has the do’s and don’ts of approaching a celebrity.
Do you work in the biz, as pretentious people like to call it? Do you collect autographs or photographs, or just get on with it and work with them as colleagues?