Extract from The Uncollected Notebooks (31/5/2003)

In which The Author wonders what he has
to do to get some privacy

(Written in the Pickled Pepper, Aberdare, approx 8.00 pm)


The joys of small-town life as recorded by Kelly & Co [Stereophonics] on their first LP came to full and horrible realisation tonight. I was told by a friend that I’d spent last Monday evening in the Black Lion in the company of a blonde woman. Talk about Big Brother! (Although, given the usual Chinese Whispers that make up the majority of Aberdare gossip, it’s a wonder I wasn’t spotted in the Blonde Lion with a black woman.)
If I decide to take a walk to Penderyn, you can guarantee that a few days later my mother will be on the phone to record the latest Cosmic Tigger sighting. I often find that my letters to the Ladder [the local paper, the Cynon Valley Leader, famed for its typos] have been published only when one of my mates texts me to say they’ve enjoyed the latest offering.
Even a strange encounter at Cardiff Station with a man who tried to procure a sexual partner, at which point the Goddess of Chaos intervened (see ‘Shot Down in the Night‘), is the subject of debate in the pubs I frequent.
I was in a pub a few years ago when Kelly [Jones], Richard [Jones] and Stuart [Cable], together with their girlfriends and a gang of mates, walked in. A couple of kids playing in the street clocked them on their way in. Within fifteen minutes the place was besieged by youngsters wanting autographs.
The guv’nor allowed them in for a little while, and they took autographs from everyone (myself included, even though I was only chatting to the guitar technician). If I’d known then that I would be this famous, I’d have done a proper job and offered them all signed photos.
It never ceases to amaze me that an ordinary bloke, with a mundane job and no X-Men type powers, can be the focus of so much attention. Yes, I know how to hold a pen; I know how to do simple calculations on the back of a beermat; I can string together the odd sentence; I’m half-decent when it comes to pub quizzes. Thoth (my third and so far latest tattoo) was revered as a god by the ancient Egyptians for more or less the same reasons.
Is this all it takes these days to become a living legend, whose every action is reported to the public at large?
I can’t imagine how it feels to be Kelly, who makes it into the newspapers if he goes for a bag of chips, but it must be a thousand times worse. The Big Brother / Pop Idol phenomenon merely confirms that anyone’s life is more interesting than your own.
If people could for one moment learn to enjoy their own lives, we (the ‘famous for fifteen minutes’ brigade) could get on with ours in peace.

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