The thing about celebrities is this. We know them, they don’t know us.
They are celebrities, in fact, for that reason.
This all might some pretty basic stuff for you lot but I’m getting it straight for myself. And I’m a little slow.
Take my recent encounter with John Toshack, the Wales football manager.
In my defence, I’d point out the meeting took me by surprise. It was in the toilet of a rather pleasant hotel in Dublin.
I’d enjoyed a liquid lunch and an equally solid-free high tea.
On wandering into the gents to make myself more comfortable, I saw a figure at the sink. Although he had his back to me, the centre forward’s build was a familiar one.
“John!” I blurted out, from my unsteady position at the cubicle.
He spun around, no less nimbly than had he been getting on the end of a pass by his 1970s Liverpool strike partner Kevin Keegan.
Tosh stared. I’d say he was trying to put a name to the face but there was, I can say without any doubt, absolutely no recognition in those eyes.
And why should there have been? We’d last met around 1980 when I’d got his autograph during a charity event at Llandysilio. I’d been about 11.
“It’s Greg,” I said, only half stumbling on my own idiocy. “I’m from Wales.”
Faced with this bumbling idiot who, after all, was using the function for which the curved porcelain was provided, what would Tosh do? Smile politely, then turn on his heel and leave, surely.
Well, no, actually, he gave me his thoughts on Wales’ upcoming spring contest with Ireland and talked through the different permutations which could still see the side qualify for Euro 2008.
Great quotes, but I didn’t get any of them down.
Some journalist, eh?
Though I wasn’t in the best position for making notes.
This is a cold, telephone-talking, computer-communicating call centre world designed, in spite of what they say, for the seller, the business, the multi-national, and not for you and me.
That’s why unassuming consumer champions often find themselves celebrated local heroes.
Take Roger Annies, the postman who showed people on his round how they could put a stop to junk mail.
When he was suspended by Royal Mail, there was an outcry. He was reinstated after a disciplinary hearing but hasn’t returned to work through stress.
He must be heartened by the campaign started in his local paper, the Barry and District News.
The News wants German-born Roger nominated for one of the Royal Mail’s own First Class People Awards.
The ceremony honours posties who carry out public spirited acts.
Well, if like me you’ve a bad back from transferring junk mail from the door mat to the bin, you might want go along to the News’ website and post your support for Roger.
:First published The Big Issue, December 4-8