Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Being famous must be

awkward to say the least. 
There was a short clip on the news of an interview with George Michael. It seemed he liked the success - but not the fame that went with it. 
I suspect a lot of other people feel the same way - after they become well enough known for people to recognise them. They reach a point, perhaps very quickly, where they just want to be able to go out without being recognised. The constant recognition puts stress on them. "Be nice to your fans!" their agent warns them, "They're your bread and butter - jam too." 
Other people, even their friends, begin to treat them just a little differently. "Is s/he going to think I'm being friendly because I want something?" runs through their mind. The person who has become a celebrity wonders too, "Does this person like me or do they like what I am?"
I have known an extraordinary array of people - I still do. If anyone has been fortunate in that respect I have. In the past I was working on something that led me to have contact with more people than I ever thought possible - and yes, a lot of them were far more important than I was then or am now. My present job involves working with a diverse range of people. It is one of the many things that makes it interesting.  I try and treat everyone with the respect they deserve. That means there are well known people to whom I will be polite and not so well known people to whom I will give an enthusiastic greeting. I won't normally engage the former in conversation. I let them initiate it.
Some years ago though I was in a lift in a very tall building. I had entered at the ground floor. At the next level a very, very well known person got in. He looked at me and gave a sort of resigned smile - as if to say, "Hello, I know I need to be polite but now I suppose I'll have to have one of those conversations..."
So I said with a smile, "It's all right. I don't know who you are."
He actually laughed and asked why I was there. We exchanged a couple of remarks about the project I was working on. We got out at the same floor and he went one way and I went another with the person I had come to see.
I met him again several years later. Someone went to introduce us but he told them we had already met in a lift. He asked about the project I had been working on. The person who had been about to introduce us was startled.
I was too for a moment. Had I really made that much of an impact on someone in the short space of time it took to go up in a lift? 
On reflection I decided that he had remembered for two reasons. He was genuinely interested in the project - proven by his support for it a little later when a large amount of funding had to be allocated for it. The other reason was that the conversation between us had been a normal, everyday sort of conversation - something he must almost never have had.
He was always surrounded by people but I suspect he was lonely...and that many other well known people must also be lonely. 


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