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Stumbling onto the red carpet and meeting Eddie Izzard

Stumbling onto the red carpet and meeting Eddie Izzard

There was a time when I’d be going about my daily work business, somehow manage to spot multiple celebrities passing by and get ever so slightly excited. But those days seem to be fading ever further away. Someone once showed me a Facebook picture with them and some bloke, who turned out to be Stephen Gately from Boyzone.

And last night, I managed to stumble past three celebrities without even noticing.

Thanks to Screenjabber, Hyperham and I had tickets to a Cineworld screening and Q&A of Believe: The Eddie Izzard story, hosted by Phill Jupitus. Thanks to London traffic, we got to the cinema 25 minutes late, convinced the screening was about to start, so we barged past some hangers-on and …

ended up on the red carpet, with journalists and camerapeople all in front of us. I walked on bemused, convinced that if all these journalists were in front of us, the whole thing was running late and …

walked past Eddie Izzard himself, who was answering questions. Indeed, I didn’t spot him until HyperHam pointed it out to me. We tried to get a quick photo with HyperHam beaming next to Eddie, but we were very politely ushered into the VIP bar. Which had one barman, and a scowly-looking tall woman with ridiculously high shoes. And for whatever reason, HyperHam and her made eye contact and shared a mutual whinge with HyperHam about the lack of canapes. We left the bar, and then Hyperham ducked back in to say something else to the tall woman, before coming back out to me that …

she had just exchanged pleasantries with “the first supermodel” Janice Dickinson. This somewhat surprised me because I’d vaguely seen her on TV a few years ago, and the two images didn’t exactly mesh.

Anyway, we finally made our way to the auditorium – surprisingly, in a crowded theatre, people will make way for an 8-month pregnant lady – and watched the documentary. (Full review to come: but in essence, very good if you love Eddie Izzard. If you don’t like him, then why on earth would you watch it?) The Q&A that came afterwards was surprisingly disappointing, seeing that most of the questions had been submitted before people saw the film, so the film pretty much answered most of those questions.

We stumbled out of the auditorium, and HyperHam yet again somehow cunningly worked her way to stand next to Eddie – who had been patiently standing by the box office alone for about five seconds till the crowd pounced on him – and got her picture taken with him.

On the way out, fighting the crowds, I somehow managed to miss the moment when HyperHam stumbled, and clambering onto anyone for quick support as WeaponX made his presence felt, managed to grope Phill Jupitus.

And in all the chaos, we somehow managed to totally miss the likes of Derren Brown, Bill Oddie, and Vanessa Feltz who were also there.

Maybe I’m getting too old for this sort of thing, which is quite disappointing!

(Read HyperHam’s version of events on her Facebook)

Why I don't (usually) ask celebrities for autographs or photographs

Why I don't (usually) ask celebrities for autographs or photographs

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?

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