I am, from time to time asked the question “are you famous?” to which I invariably reply
the “the answer is in the question”. Other answers include “the words ‘famous’ and ‘poet’ form a perfect oxymoron.
One of the enjoyable things about being a variably successful poet over a period of time
is knowing and watching industry neighbours – actors artists singers – become famous.
There are various chemical reactions that happen when the heady fluid of fame is added to the potent mix of personality .
I saw an actress who on becoming stop on the street famous became an absolute pain in the artery to anyone who was close to her. This is excusable as the constant adrenalin rush of newfound recognisability can be over powering – however it is not excusable on a continual basis and inexcusable in the face of someone who knows fames vagaries and someone who knows that his friends know that he knows fames vagaries. She is no longer a friend. Apparently, I was part of her plan. What is a stepping stone to one person is a river bed to the river.
Becoming famous like any form of “success” makes a person more of who they really are – or more of who they perceive themselves to be. Fame is not a way of running away from yourself – and I would never suggest it was – fame is a way of realising yourself. In other words it’s a good thing. Like money, it’s how you use it.
“Don’t change” is the oft made remark by friends of the newly famous. Some friends change dramatically when their friend is famous! And what rubbish. Do change, I say. Change and grow and enjoy it all. The better you are the better it is for me as your friend. But there are some things that happen with fame that are just plain ridiculous and funny and scarey all at the same time. Like what happened to a very good friend of mine which I would like to share with you.
She’s stop on the street famous and went to a massive concert just the other day and loved every minute of it, that is until she fainted. In the ambulance outside the venue the paramedics recognised immediately who she was “what’ve you taken”. They said. As she swilled in and out of consciousness she answered “chicken wrap” they put the question another way “what else”. She dipped in and out “and… glass of champagne” she replied. The question echoed in her mind as vision blurred in and out of focus. The ambulance men were puzzled “tell us again” and then spelled out the words “What. Have. You. Taken”. She thought that delirum was taking over her. Hadn’t she just answered the question “chicken wrap and… and… one glass of champagne” she repeated. This went on for some time. Never did she lose her head with them. She just fainted again, of exhaustion.