Have you ever met any real pop stars? You know, the ones that you thought were the absolute bees-knees of pop perfection during your peak music consumption teeny-twenty-something years?
As a youth, pop music ranked alongside soccer as something you must be into. I never liked soccer that much though as I only ever seemed to reach the position of ‘substitute’ on the infant school team. I never scored any goals and I was better at fouling other players by kicking them than actually kicking the ball. I never kicked any pop stars though.
No, I loved pop music, and even wanted to be a Pop Star, but never seemed to find the time to do anything about it, though I did write many songs and developed a musical style reminiscent of a monotone Pet Shop Boys, complete with 80’s st-st-st-st-stuttering ssss—ssss—samples. (n-n-n-nineteen anyone?).
I’m glad I’m not one. I’ve read many pop star autobiographies and while the bit which involves going on stage and playing a gig in front of 100,000 screaming fans seems fun, the road to the top and back down again seems altogether too smelly, unsavoury and filled with people who would induce anyone to become paranoid (with or without the seemingly obligatory hard drugs). So, when it comes to the pop world the nearest I have got is standing or sitting next to some now reasonably famous people.
I once stood alone at the Uni Bar next to Vince Clarke of Yazoo, Depeche Mode, and Erasure fame. I wish I had said hello. I was a shy youth.
I met Stephen Duffy twice (of 80’s Tin Tin and now Robbie Williams co-song writer fame). He signed my record and I snuck backstage after the gig for photos. For a long time my photo was on his website. My fashion sense of the time though was sorely lacking and shall for ever more be etched in internet history. I also interviewed him once for the ‘Friends of the Lilac Time’, but I was too worldly naive to impress him with my interview technique and he disappointed me by being just an ordinary person with an extraordinary ego. I can’t blame him for that. Artists never match up to perfection of their artistic creations. The interview never saw the light of day.
Mark from ‘Take That’
I sat next to Mark from Take That once outside a solo promotional gig, after Take That had split. He was busy fuelling an unhealthy habit. I always wonder how people who live unhealthy lifestyle can even make it out of bed on a morning, never mind expend massive energy on stage. I guess that’s why the unhealthy habits start in the first place.
The (EX) Prime Minister of Australia
So that’s about it for Pop stars I have met… Apart from one. Even though he’s not a pop star, in the Australian media his persona sometimes takes on the aura of one. I gave Kevin Rudd a hug (now of ‘I am the (now EX) Prime-Minister-of-Australia’ fame) when he popped into our church. Its a very huggy church, and no-one was hugging him, so I went over and made him feel welcome. He was mildly surprised. I forgot his name and said “welcome to the church PHIL” (temporily confusing Kevin Rudd with Phillip Ruddock). Later that year he became Prime Minister (Kevin, not Phil). I don’t think the two events are related but you never know; a butterfly flaps its wings here and an earthquake is triggered on the opposite side of the world.
Update! Poor old Kevin is now no longer the Prime Minister. He has been usurped by the Ginger Ninja Julia Gillard. I don’t expect to be giving her a hug any time soon. I promise though that if I ever meet her I will endeavour to get her name wrong too.