Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Celebrity Bumping

Noah Taylor & The Sloppy Boys @ Phoenix Public Bar Brunswick 7.12.11

A couple of months ago I was walking down the streets of Melbourne on my way home. Yes, I can assure you, I did just that! Only that on this particular occasion I realized the person walking towards me is non other than actor Noah Taylor (you may remember him from Shine, or more recently from Game of Thrones). He was tall, skinny and smoking. And he was a celebrity.
Our looks crossed each other and it was obvious he acknowledged my gazing.
We went past one another and that was it. A question remained in my head, though: Noah Taylor is a fine actor, but what would have happened if it wasn’t Taylor that I bumped into? What would have happened if I was to randomly bump into a celebrity I care about? The specific name that came into my mind was Yvonne Strahovski: it is not entirely impossible for me to bump into her on the streets of Melbourne, you know. I don’t know (or care) how American she now is, but she is an Aussie; and obviously she worked in Melbourne before (Killer Elite was shot here relatively recently).
This remote possibility triggered thought experiments in my mind. What is, exactly, the correct protocol for engaging a celebrity I care about during a random meeting? Obviously, they wouldn’t care about me in the least; obviously, anything I do would be an intrusion on whatever it is they are doing. Yet, on my side of things, the opportunity to exchange a word or even take a photo with the celebrity is priceless. Plus, being that the celebrity’s entire status hangs on the shoulders of people like yours truly regarding them as celebrities in the first place, one can surely argue that to one extent or another they are in debt to us minions?
So, what is the right thing? Having thought about it on my way home that day I arrived at the conclusion that if I was to walk down the street and bump into an otherwise unoccupied Richard Dawkins I would not be violating the Geneva Convention by dropping a word of admiration. And if that word receives a favorable reply, but only if, I should not feel as if I murdered a puppy were I to ask for a minor favor. Say, a photo.

All this came into my brain’s agenda today because this weekend I expect to be bumping into celebrities I care about at Melbourne’s PAX Aus. Armed with my son, I am looking forward to bumping with the likes of Patrick Weekes (lead writer for this game I heard about called Mass Effect, and author of this book I quite liked) and wife Karin Weekes (lead editor). Or perhaps Bajo and Hex from ABC’s Good Game?
The premises are different. At a gaming convention these celebrities are much more fair game: one of the core purposes of these events is to allow mingling. On the other hand, when I’m person 10,000 to ask Bajo a silly question, should I expect him to take kindly to the matter?
I will therefore try and handle myself according to the previously mentioned rules of celebrity engagement. I will, however, try and utilize the five year old by my side to create more charming terms of engagement.

Image by debra, Creative Commons license

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