For some time now, I have been complaining that I haven’t bumped into any famous people. When Dick Whittington came to London, it was with the promise that the streets were paved with gold; I was under the impression that they were paved with celebrities. I don’t know why I clung to this idea so. I’m hardly a fawning fan-girl, waiting to scream her head off at any Z-lister that appears; indeed, I’m a chromosome’s leg short of a uterus. I think I just find it odd that people who have previously only been represented to me in pixels and on paper can actually take a full, three-dimensional, human form, presumably with a consciousness and/or a soul.
Well, I have finally broken my duck, in an especially topical way. This morning, I read that Rowan Williams’ successor as Archbishop of Canterbury has been all but confirmed as Bishop of Durham Justin Welby. This evening, I was next to him on the tube. I even gave up the opportunity of a seat for him. (How very Christian of me.)
Or at least… I think it was him. Here is the problem with my ambition to meet famous people: I suck at faces. (Not literally.) I know a lot of people think they are bad at faces but, at the risk of appearing solipsistic or wannabe-non-conformist, I suck worse. I can’t remember them; I can’t describe them; I have trouble recognising even those that I know best. If people change their hair, clothes or weight, I’m completely screwed. I have a terrible fear that I will be the only witness to a horrible crime, relied upon to describe the suspect, and the best I will manage will be: “Black/white, tall/short, dressed/naked.”
Therefore, I will be completely penitent if Bishop Welby turns out to be one of my many readers and can inform me that in fact he was nowhere near Tottenham Court Road station this evening. However, it’s almost as if the good bishop was going out of his way to ensure that I recognised him.