The Fame Game

Walking around the streets of the capital, it is not unusual to spot the odd celebrity.

In and around North London where I have been living for the last few months I’ve seen Little Britain’s Matt Lucas walking his dog near Marylebone High Street, Gwyneth Paltrow on the school run in Camden and Kate Moss in a café in Hampstead.

Even since this post began to mull around in my brain prior to writing it down – I have spotted the journalist and dancing disaster John Sargeant (somewhat shorter in stature than I had expected); and just this morning I bumped in to Zoe Wanamaker -much more attractive in the flesh than on the small screen.

So how should one react when we “spot a celebrity”?

While we might know not just their names but frequently many personal details about their lives; they, on the other hand,  haven’t the faintest idea who we are – and probably not the tiniest desire to add us to their friendship base by finding out. I would suggest that those that fall in to the “truly talented” category, are secure enough not to seek constant recognition and flattery from strangers in the street.

Having flirted on the outskirts of notoriety during my radio past -where I also had the pleasure of interviewing many “famous” people – I would recommend, as a general rule, it is advisable to respect every body’s personal space.

When the situation is merely a casual “street recognition” and in the absence of any formal introduction, my tendency is to treat the celeb as one would any other passer-by. If eye contact is established, I might smile but always with a sympathetic expression which says “don’t worry, I am not going to whisk out my mobile phone and steal an unflattering shot” or even more crassly request an autograph (a collecting hobby I have never understood).

I firmly believe that talented people (as opposed to the instant fame of reality TV stars) are pretty much like the rest of us. They have worked hard to achieve success in their chosen field and probably merely tolerate the notoriety which inevitably, in our celebrity-driven culture, goes with the job.

This may be an easy and comfortable philosophy to adopt when your paths cross on a pavement; but how do you react when you find yourself sitting next to a famous person in a waiting room? Or to put it even more specifically: while you are waiting for Laser Eye Surgery?

The London Vision Clinic in Harley Street is no stranger to celebrities who – just like the rest of us – yearn to be free of glasses and contact lenses.

Some months ago, while sharing the GMTV sofa with Fern Britton, Phillip Schofield interviewed Dr Dan. Those of us who watched the programme couldn’t help but notice that this was not an abstract piece of journalism… the TV presenter was clearly intrigued by the procedure and wanted to experience it for himself.

So it didn’t come as a huge surprise to know that just before Christmas Phillip Schofield became a patient of the London Vision Clinic and is now happily glasses free. You can watch the video below or you can see the video on his website.