I have always been slightly intoxicated by the thought of fame.
I’m not entirely sure where this stems from. All I remember is that when I was very young, with every blowing-out of birthday candles, I would press my eyes together as hard as I could, grit my teeth and wish that I would become famous. It is odd, I know. However, I think that the fanciful idea of fame and celebrity, projected as success to young and easily influenced minds, eventually is shed during the transition into adolescence.
Not for me
Over five years ago there was a period where I would somehow find out when and where film premieres would be held and I would organise to go. I was never a diehard enough fan to be waiting hours and hours or often nights in advance, however, I would gather a group of unlikely buggers to accompany me on the quest to catch but a glimpse of these ‘stars’.
The same thing would happen at each one. I would find myself trapped within a cocoon, dripping with fan-boy/girl anticipation and overexcitement. And yet, despite the fact that I too had stood around pressed up against a metal railing in often adverse weather conditions (see below), I would internally mock this subculture of ‘celeb spotters’ and deem them as slightly sad.
Then suddenly, after hours of making acquaintances with the outright mental around me, the cars would start to pull up. Everyone on their tiptoes, one arm keeping people at bay from crushing them to death, the other with a camera / pen / poster / boob at the ready. This sudden burst of energy would be followed by a unanimous loud sigh of disappointment when a non-recognisable guest would disembark.
“No one cares about the sound effects guys”
When the main stars would eventually make an appearance on the red carpet, the immediate world around me would erupt in chaos and pandemonium. It was easy to be swept up in the wave of adrenaline. Woah, woah, I thought. I recognise this celebrity from magazines, articles, the big screen, and now, in human form, they appear before me, almost god-like yet surprisingly mortal and expressing an underlying vulnerability.
This was part of the job I suppose. Being ushered from side to side, from one screaming fan to another, they would participate in this charade whether they liked it or not. Endless autographs and selfies became the next hour or so of their lives, pushed through the red carpet conveyor belt of repetition. Would I want that life? Having to constantly maintain a public image that with one slip, or one false move could end your career as quickly as it started?
Fast forward 7 years…
And so after this part of my past that I like to keep relatively hush, imagine my excitement when I was told that I had a ticket to go the Entourage Movie premiere. Fuck, it could have been the Sex and the City premiere for all I cared. This was too much for me to initially take in. I had made it. I was on the inner circle. Fuck you world!
Told only a day in advance, I was advised to dress smartly. With this information, I frantically burrowed through my wardrobe and drawers in search of anything that even remotely resembles smart. Why why did I never dress up for anything? Why do I continue to dress like a seventeen year old skater?
Having scrambled together a half-decent outfit, the next thing on the agenda was to plan how to make the most of the event and milk every last drop. My head instantly was swooned by images of myself in front of the paparazzi, hoping that if I stood confidently before them, I could deceive them into thinking I was photo-worthy. This, in conjunction with going up and signing autographs and posing for selfies, would eventually lead to me being featured somewhere on the gossip section of a shitty tabloid which would obviously then propel me into instant stardom. Soon I would be at afterparties in Hollywood snorting lines off Miley Cyrus’ ass while my boi Leo D would watch on in awe. Harvey Weinstein would plaster me across Tinseltown as the next big thing, appearing in blockbusters and art-house films until I had a reserved spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
I had it all planned out.
As we walked down to Leicester Square, you could feel a certain buzz of anticipation and excitement. The same excitement I experienced all those years ago, although this time, I was to be on the other side. My hand clenched the large Entourage premiere ticket tightly – my golden ticket, my way in. Despite not arriving in a chauffeured automobile, we felt a certain air of importance as we shuffled through the hullabaloo. The grandiose appearance of the premiere was all too overwhelming to take in. As we showed our tickets, we were then propelled onto the blue carpet. Yeah, I know, slightly disappointing.
So here it was. The moment of truth. My time to shine. The booming sound of Alex Zane’s cliche presenter voice echoed throughout the square, muffled only by the screams of fans that packed the sidelines. Where do I go now? Without even the chance to contemplate going up to some of the fans and sign away as a celebrity impostor, we were ushered on.
Dawdling for too long, unable to absorb my surroundings, I was being physically scurried along the carpet. Still a nobody, pushed along to make way for the actual stars. A brief glimpse at the wall of flashing cameras and I was suddenly inside the cinema.
We were to be sat in Screen 7.
I had always assumed we would be sat with the stars in a huge King Kong-esque theatre. Why did the movies continue to lie? As we were sat in our seats and handed complimentary ice lollies?!, we had to sit through half an hour of the live stream of the premiere. Watching the antics of the carpet we had once been on, we now sat a matter of yards away in a darkened room wondering if it was all a dream.
WHAT A LET DOWN
Alas, as the dream slowly dwindled and as my own ego returning to its normal, slightly swollen state, there was a sudden shuffling at the side of the screen. It wasn’t over. Thank god. In came Thierry Henry along with the cast and creator of the show (Thierry being invited despite his cameo lasting a whole three seconds). Despite being a matter of metres in front of me, I still felt as if there was the same barrier here that existed outside. Spectator and spectated.
As the stars looked on numbly, having had to repeat this same ‘bit’ at every screen at every premiere, I saw a gaping hole in the veil of fame and celebrity. I realised that no matter what, it is an impenetrable world. A world of facade, of hollow glamour; shallow success.