Chance Encounters With Britain’s Famous and Not So Famous

by Neil Bamforth

It’s amazing really how many people on this planet think their life has been enhanced merely by somebody ‘famous’ smiling at them – even if the smile is just a general smile at their fans some think it’s just for them. “I just know Elvis was smiling at me at that concert even though there were three thousand people there. He picked me out!” – Yeah, right. Tell me, have you ever actually had that thing commonly known as a life?

Mind you, it does happen. Well, sort of. Sometimes some people have a form of contact with people temporarily ‘famous’ and it makes them glow all over.

Sometimes, however, it makes them shudder all over. Well, it probably does if they’re some groupie who’s succeeded in getting shagged by Mick Jagger or something like that.

On a personal note I have had various types of contact with people who might have been famous briefly or, remarkably as I had ‘contact’ with them, still are.

Having discussed this at some length with a number of pals I have realised that, whilst there will be many many people on this planet who have been or, indeed, still are ‘close’ to someone famous other than being married to them or being genuine friends with them, I seem to have, completely by accident, had possibly more than my fare share of ‘encounters’ with the briefly or, in some cases, perpetually famous.

Declan McManus, for example, briefly lived in the same area as me and once frequented a pub I used. I ended up getting inordinately drunk with him on his one known venture into said pub. All he talked about, whilst we retained the power of speech, was music.

He was originally from Liverpool and was with some band or other. Or he had been or something.

Several months later walking down the road I passed a record store. In the window was an album. Black and white check cover with the artist in the centre with his guitar. It was Declan. The album was, and is, his debut album entitled  “My Aim Is True”. His stage name is Elvis Costello.

In the 80’s I was dating a girl from West Ham called Rosie. After all night clubbing we retired to an all night café for sobering up coffee. I was, in my defence, ridiculously drunk and, as always, ridiculously stupid.

A band who had just recently found some success was called Bowwowwow. Their lead singer was a young Anglo-Burmese girl called Annabella Lwin. “I Want Candy” is probably their biggest hit.

She was sitting alone at a corner table. I staggered over on recognising her and said “Fancy a shag?” at which point she emptied her coffee over my head and flounced out.

See? I did say sometimes contact with the stars can make you shudder.

I went to see the late Mick Ronson after Bowie split The Spiders From Mars at a solo gig in Manchester. He’d recently released his magnificent debut solo album “Slaughter On 10th Avenue”. Well I think he had. It may have been later.

After the gig I joined lots of primarily Bowie fans at the stage door who wanted his autograph. He cheerfully signed them. One cocky git (me) said “Give us your jacket Mick” and he did.

I still have Mick Ronson’s leather jacket in my wardrobe somewhere – and no, it doesn’t still fit me.

After Malcolm McLaren replaced original Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock with Sid Vicious I attended a Pistols gig and Matlock was there despite having been replaced.

After copious beer and for some reason forever lost in the mists of time I decided to slide down some stairs on a drinks tray.

As I arrived in a drunken and uncontrollable state at the foot of the stairs I narrowly missed running over both Glen Matlock and Siouxsie of Banshees fame.

Matlock called me a ‘fucking dickhead’ (I think) and Siouxsie put her nose in the air and stalked off to a safer location.

Lene Lovitch had a couple of decent chart hits in Britain. “Lucky Number” and “Say When”. I was at a gig featuring her and my pals and I were discussing whether she was really a man as we decided she looked a bit masculine.

Due to copious beers (beer has often got me into so much trouble I am bewildered why I love it so much) I volunteered to establish her sex.

Somehow – the security was clearly very lax – I got on stage and – I’m so so embarrassed and sorry to say – shoved my hand where I certainly shouldn’t have and shouted to my pals “It’s a girl!!!”

The security woke up, grabbed hold of me, quite rightly beat the crap out of me, and threw me out.

Mind you, my pals bought me days worth of beers as a reward, although I’m suspicious they did so to see if I would do anything else so ridiculously dumb. I probably did but, if so, thankfully, my mind has erased it. After all, there’s only so much anyone’s mind can take eh?

The thing is.

As Mad Mikes America brings a degree of ‘fame’ to it’s owner and given my track record of brushes with the famous, should he be afraid? Should he be very afraid?

Especially if I ever come over to the States.

Actually I’ve just popped back into ‘edit’ as I’ve just remembered. Former Sham 69 bassist, Albie Slider, (“If The Kids Are United”, “Hurry Up Harry”, “Angels With Dirty Faces” etc etc), was a workmate of mine in cargo at Heathrow Airport.

How the mighty have fallen eh? 😉

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Posted by on August 4, 2017. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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9 Responses to Chance Encounters With Britain’s Famous and Not So Famous

  1. Michael John Scott Reply

    August 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I arrested Chuck Berry back in ’66. Does that count?

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      August 4, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      Only if he still had his dingaling ????

  2. Lyndon Probus Reply

    August 4, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I haven’t met anyone famous unless you count the time I sat next to George Clooney on an international flight from New York to London 🙂

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      August 4, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      If you touched him it counts ????

  3. Dale Feltz Reply

    August 4, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I actually hung out with Elvis in 1974. It was a trip. No need for some silly humor here Neil but thanks for thinking of it.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      August 4, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      ???? very cool!!

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      August 5, 2017 at 9:16 am

      Elvis? Wow man. What Neil said!!!

  4. Diane G. Reply

    August 6, 2017 at 2:48 am

    Can you “frequent” something just once?

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      August 6, 2017 at 9:08 am

      I think you can only frequent something frequently….oops…my bad as they say today ????

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