Writer, photographer, "rapper" and general technophobe takes on the internet in what could be a very, very messy fight. But it's alright: she's harder than she looks, and she's wearing every single ring she could get her hands on.


Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The perils of fame

The thing with being famous is that everybody wants a piece of you.

Ping, said the bell in the Holiday Inn reception. Ping.
The receptionist licked her middle finger and turned a page of her magazine over.
The receptionist looked at me incredulously, and then at the bell.
"What?" she said.
"I've got a room," I said modestly. Not for me the demands of divas. I know how important it is to be down with the people: I read Heat.
"Yeah," she confirmed. "Probably." And then she looked at me for a couple of seconds and recognition dawned in her eyes, so I gave her a look that said: yes, I know you saw a thumbnail sized picture of me in Metro, but please try and behave with a little self-respect. Don't start crying or screaming or anything: it just doesn't impress me. I am a very down-to-earth person, you know. It's part of my appeal.
"You're from Tescos, right?" she said.
"Umm." I looked at my bags. "No. I shop there, but I wouldn't say it's my origin."
Receptionist stared at me suspiciously.
"You sure you're not from Tescos?"
"Pretty sure, yes."
"Well. Name?"
I smiled warmly, enjoying the game. As if she hadn't been looking forward to this meeting all day. As if she hadn't ironed her Holiday Inn outfit especially. I could smell the extra-special starch from where I was standing.
"Holly Smale," I said, holding out my hand. "Nice to meet you."
Receptionist stared at my hand suspiciously.
"Right." She edged away slightly. "Sign here."
"What would you like me to write?" I asked. "Perhaps all the best from the Whitsundays, to you and your whole family?"
"The whats?" she said narrowly. "Your name will be fine. And I'll need your passport too."
"Goodness," I exclaimed, taken aback. There should be some kind of boundary, I thought: manners that non-famous people should adopt when confronted with celebrity. Demanding somebody else's passport is just not polite, and - frankly - it reeks of desperation. "Everybody just wants a piece of me," I confided sadly, leaning on the reception.
"Not really," she snapped back. "Just your passport. You can collect it again on check-out."
"Okay," I said, shaking my head and handing it out. "It's all very exhausting. I haven't slept in hours."
"Do you need a hand with your bags?" the receptionist said, ignoring me.
"Gosh, I'm not that famous," I said, tinkling with laughter. "As if I can't carry my own bags!" Then I paused. "Actually, I shouldn't be carrying my own bags. I was in Metro you know."
The receptionist rolled her eyes.
"Lovely. I'll get somebody else to help you. You're in room 409," she added.
"Keep it down," I hissed urgently. "You can't tell the paparazzi that! I'll be hounded. Hounded, I tell you. I've only just managed to get rid of them!"
The receptionist looked over my shoulder and raised an eyebrow.
"I can't see any paparazzi."
"Well of course not. I just told you: I managed to get rid of them. But you just wait: all I have to do is ring them up and tell them where I am and exactly what I'm wearing, and they'll be in the local restaurant in, like, forty five minutes flat. It's the BBC, you know. BBC One. Not even BBC Two."
"I've got another customer," the receptionist announced after a long pause. "I just heard them coming. From a long way away. We can't see them yet, but I know they're coming."
"Okay," I said understandingly, just like a common non-famous person. "I'll carry my bags myself."
And then I walked into the lift and pressed all of the buttons, in case the receptionist could see which floor I was heading to. As nice as she was, I didn't want her ringing me up at midnight and offering me sandwiches on the house and free pay-per-view films and what-not. She was obviously very taken with me, but you have to draw lines somewhere. Otherwise it would be embarrassing for everybody.

After all, fame's just all about keeping it in perspective, you know? Keeping it real. I learnt that from J-Lo herself.