In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a clip of the opening moments of an interview which has been doing the rounds on social media this week, featuring The Cure’s Robert Smith, as the band were about to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:
I was reminded of a conversation I had with my friends Gary and Meg when I stayed over at theirs the other weekend.
We were talking about encounters with famous people; I was saying that I generally wouldn’t approach them, as I figure they must get hassled by people enough without me adding to it. I prefer to catch their eye and give them an appreciative nod, maybe tweet them later so they understood I had been respecting their right to public privacy.
Gary’s view was that on such occasions it was perfectly okay to speak to them as you would probably never have the chance again – provided you were going to say something nice rather than confrontational.
Meg’s position was that in her line of work, she had encountered many celebrities and coming over all fangirl was definitely frowned upon.
We all had various examples of our actions to support our position; me: Al Murray (who clocked me as I waited for Gary and Meg outside a Teenage Fanclub gig, and who gave me a “Don’t you fucking dare” glare – not that I was going to – I tweeted him about it later and he was perfectly lovely), future Dr Whos Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi (independently of each other, and both just before they were announced as the next Dr Who, to the point where I wondered if any actor I encountered would be unveiled as the next TARDIS incumbant shortly afterwards): Smith caught my nod and gave me an appreciative smile in return, Capaldi sat opposite me on the tube, steadfastly refusing to make eye-contact with anyone, like most people do on public transport); Gary: George Martin, who he accosted in a theatre (at a Rolf Harris gig, of all places….this was some years ago, I should add) and got his autograph for his troubles; Meg: Jonathan Ross, Caitlin Moran, one of The Magic Numbers (I forget which one), and Robert Smith, amongst others.
And it was as she related her tale of not bothering Smith that she came out with a phrase which I thought was so brilliant, I asked her to repeat, and then clarify:
Meg: I passed Robert Smith in a corridor at the BBC once, and he was dressed as Robert Smith….
Me: Sorry, what?
Meg: I passed Robert Smith in a corridor at the BBC once, and he was dressed as Robert Smith…
Me: Sorry, what do you mean, ‘dressed as Robert Smith’?
Meg: You know, his hair was all over the place, loads of mascara, slightly wonky lipstick…
Me: But you’re describing Robert Smith to me. Are you saying he doesn’t always look like that?
Meg: Well, yes. He can’t look like that all the time, or he’d always be getting stopped. He must dress like Robert Smith out of The Cure only when he’s being Robert Smith out of The Cure, surely?
It was something which had never occured to me before, but the more I think about it, the more I think Meg’s probably right. Much as I’d like to imagine Robert Smith popping to the shops to buy some toilet roll dressed as Robert Smith out of The Cure, he probably doesn’t. He probably just wears the eyeliner and passes on the lipstick.
Me: That’s brilliant. You know I’m going to use that on my blog, right? Credit will be given, of course.
Meg: (utterly nonchalant about the epiphany I’d just had) Course you can.
I’m a man of my word.
Here’s a bloody great song by The Cure, featuring Robert Smith dressed as Robert Smith out of The Cure, one which I bought on 7″ back in 1987, and which still gets a spin every now and then: