Tag Archives: namedropping

Are they still celebrities even if you don’t know who on earth they are?

Someone said I was namedropping in yesterday’s blog when I mentioned that comedian Peter Cook once almost collided with me while he was running in the rain in Hampstead…

I don’t think it was. It is merely bizarre how people intersect with others. It is usually less than six degrees of separation.

I remember Jewish American comedian Andrew J.Lederer telling me (and, indeed, mentioning in one of his Edinburgh Fringe shows) that once in New York he encountered the Nazi’s favourite film director Leni Riefenstahl and she, of course, had shaken the hand of Hitler so he – a New York Jew in the 2000s – was only one handshake away from Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

Someone told me last night that she thinks she may have briefly met Sammy Davis Jnr “at Alice Cooper’s birthday party” in the US perhaps 30 years ago…. “But it might not have been Sammy Davis. I did not talk to him and Alice Cooper was not even at the birthday party.”

I once showed Captain Sensible, formerly of punk rock band The Damned, round the Coronation Street set. He was up at the Granada TV studios in Manchester for some long-forgotten pop show, but all he really wanted to do was have his photograph taken in Coronation Street. I seem to vaguely remember him sitting happily on top of a red pillar box.

Comic Bob Slayer tells me: “At the Killer Bitch movie premiere, I met that lovely lady The Black Widow Murderer who was Myra Hindley’s hairdresser. I once had an ex-girlfriend who said she was having an affair with Neil Morrisey, but she was making it up. And several years ago (at least ten) I had a go at internet dating but didn’t have a digital photo of me myself or a camera so, I used an image of Buster Bloodvessel (lead singer of the band Bad Manners) which I found online… no-one ever said the photo was not of me.”

I myself once drove Buster Bloodvessel from Monmouth to Norwich for a film shoot.  He was very nice.

Bob Slayer says: “I drove Snoop Dogg from St Martin’s Lane to the Playboy Club in London recently, where he was doing a private gig. At the Club, there was some little fella having his photo taken with some bunny girls who were nearly a foot taller than him. I leant in and told him that there were probably some others his own size inside. Inside, some guy I did not recognise was talking about football to a bouncer. The next day, I saw the showbiz photos taken at the Playboy Club and it turned out the short-arse was Joe McElderry. Apparently he won the sixth series of The X Factor? It also turned out that the guy talking about football was Ashley Cole and the big fella who I thought was a bouncer was boxer David Haye.”

Andy Warhol was wrong when he said that, in future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.

He should have added “…but you may not know who they are”.

Who is the Black Widow Murderer and is there only one? It sounds like a tabloid term that may have been used more than once in different countries.

Fame is a fickle mistress.

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John Lennon’s night on the tiles and Bernard Manning’s tarbrush legacy

Comedian and actor Matt Roper recently told me a story about defiantly adult Bernard Manning being considered for  the 1972 movie Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – I blogged about it last week. Matt is up to his ears moving flat today, then straight off for three weeks of summer festival performances – firstly at Glastonbury, then Lushfest in Poole and then the Maker Sunshine Festival in Cornwall.

Very new school trendy.

But as the son of George Roper, star of 1970s ITV series The Comedians, he grew up with the old school comics and their chums.

“There are tons of stories about the old school,” he tells me. “I never really think about it all too much as my contemporaries are quite young still and don’t really know who most of these guys are. The slightly older generation of alternative comics of course do. I got sick of defending the new school to all the old school and vice versa. They’d hate to hear it, and I’ve thought about it for a long time, but they have more in common than in difference.

“People sometimes tar all of those old school comics with Bernard Manning’s brush. It’s hard, having been so close to my father and loving him for his gentle mind and manner, to hear him being lumped in with all the stereotypes about Northern racist comics… Somebody said to me recently that “Bernard was all about the darkness and your father was all about the light” which was very sweet but makes me think – Never mind Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, they should’ve been cast in Star Wars!

One source of stories when Matt was a kid was legendary Granada TV producer Johnnie Hamp.

“He was full of interesting stories which I soaked up happily like a sponge.,” says Matt.

“My favourite story is of when he and his wife were in bed, at home, asleep. It is 2.00am when the phone rings. It’s John Lennon, out on the tiles in Manchester after a TV recording. He asks if Johnnie is coming out to play.

No, says Johnnie, I’m in bed, asleep. But, if you have any trouble getting anywhere, just mention my name.

“As if John Lennon of the Beatles would have had any problem getting into a club and have to resort to name-dropping!”

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