Luckily I knew this trip to London would not be wasted because a couple of days ago I confirmed to meet up with Ewen MacIntosh (Keith), so I had a little wander round Trafalgar Square. I know technically I can’t go round a square but stop being pedantic and enjoy the blog. When I google mapped the pub it came up with some information and some pretty big celebrities had been spotted there. I think because it’s kind of part of a theatre. I was really hoping an A-lister would be pottering about inside so I could ask them to take a picture of me and Ewen. That would have amused me, but they were all regular normal people. In the end I didn’t get a picture because we were in the middle of a busy pub and it just felt a bit awkward, but below is a photo of the signatures so you will just have to trust me.
This brings me to a total of three signatures in about two and a half months which keeps me on track. In total I have a year to get twelve, so you do the maths. Following this I thought, considering how much I have spent getting to London, it’d be silly to come to Trafalgar Square and not go into the National Portrait Gallery. Admission is free but they have little donation boxes all over the place. I wouldn’t mind putting some money in if they didn’t also advise a £5 donation. There’s no need for that, I’ll give what I can and you’ll be bloody grateful for it. I donated £1 for a map in the end. They had a great exhibition of comedian portraits, inlcuding one of Ricky Gervais. Very enjoyable. The rest of the day was pretty standard, besides getting almost blown over by the wind on my way back through Norwich. Great day for Tracking Down Ricky, and thanks for all your comments!
Yesterday was a long day. I set off at 7.30am and headed for Norwich Railway Station. It takes about an hour to walk from my house and I needed to get the 9am train to London. I went straight for the quiet carriage, which was almost empty, and passed the time by reading The God Delusion. Anyway, you don’t care about this. I have been keeping it pretty quiet on here but the plan was to try and meet Mackenzie Crook aka Gareth. I discovered that he’s in Jerusalem at the Apollo Theatre until mid-January so I decided such dire time constraints called for me to stoop lower than I have ever stooped before… I became an autograph hunter.
Now let me tell you, all the pre-conceptions about autograph hunters are true. I know what you’re thinking, how can I get on my pedestal when this entire blog is just a glorified autograph hunt? Well, there is one crucial difference between myself and a typical autograph hunter – I have a purpose. One lady actually had one of those little autograph books and this annoyed me. I have never seen anyone use one of those before in my life outside Disney World. What’s the point? What do you do with it? All that does is prove how boring you are that you voluntarily waste your life hanging around theatres so for five seconds you can be in the presence of a celebrity. Why do people care so much about saying they have met a famous person? You will never hear me say that on this blog. I am tracking people down because I respect them professionally, I love The Office, and it’s a genuine pleasure to meet the people who made it so brilliant. Another thing that got me was one bloke who tried making conversation with everyone. Why? We all know what the deal is, just let them get on with it and get inside. Do they think they will ever be mates with these people? I can’t stand autograph hunters.
After about 15 minutes or so, Mackenzie arrived and I kept to my word. I asked him politely to sign the DVDs which he did, and I managed to grab a cheeky picture just to prove I actually did get his signature. He seemed like a nice guy, but part of me is mortified that he just thought I was another crazy autograph hunter. I’m sorry I have to rant. Another thing that annoyed me – the others would crowd any actor who approached the theatre and get their autograph, but because I was only interested in Mackenzie I looked like the rude one. That’s the sort of crowd I’m dealing with, when you end up looking impolite for NOT stalking someone.
Anyway I was thrilled to get Mackenzie’s signature on the DVD, regardless of the method. But that’s not all. I had a pre-arranged meeting with another star of The Office later that day which I made my way to after a celebratory coffee and croissant from Starbucks.
At about 2.15 I got a call from Emma and half an hour later I was back at the stage door of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre waiting to meet her. Her hospitality took me by surprise. I guess my expectations are that these people will be taking time out of their busy days to sign some DVDs for a fan so the meetings would be brief and very to the point. This couldn’t be further from what happened with Emma. We chatted for ages over a coffee about all sorts from The Office to Life’s Too Short, and I ended up getting tickets for her show, The Heart of Robin Hood, where I would meet her afterwards for a quick photo.
So I went off around town with my Mum and we grabbed a quick bit to eat before strolling back to the theatre for the show. I had no idea what to expect, and it turns out neither did anyone else. About half an hour into the play the lead actress playing Marion injured herself and ran off stage. After a few minutes pause a member of staff announced a short break while Emma gets ready to step in. So if any other out there are reading this I suggest you meet me because I am a lucky charm, although your friends/family/colleagues should be cautious.
The play was very good, and funny, so if you do get a chance to go you absolutely should although it is almost sold out. We headed to the stage door for the third time that day after the show where Emma was waiting and we had a quick photo. This was the only point when I felt like a mad celebrity stalker. I’m not saying I didn’t look like one before, I just didn’t feel like one. Here is pictoral evidence of my meeting with Emma, and evidence of the signature:
Remember to keep an eye out on the blog tomorrow when I’ll be uploading the Christmas Special of Tracking Down Ricky filmed in Stratford-Upon-Avon, or just subscribing by clicking the button on the right and you will be emailed when it appears. Simple.
In the build up to the Tracking Down Ricky Christmas Special which I am releasing via YouTube on Christmas Eve, here is the first of two parts about my day in Stratford-Upon-Avon tracking down Emma Manton for my first signature.
I left Norwich at around 8am and headed west with my Mum as we started our 300 mile detour on the way home for Christmas. It was pretty easy going and we arrived midday. The first thing we saw on entering the city centre was William SHakespeare’s birthplace.
If you didn’t know this is where he’s from and every other building is named after him or something he made, but it’s a lovely city and reminded me of York. For those of you who don’t know me I lived in York for three years and being here made me miss it a great deal. There were so many odd little shops to explore tucked away down little alleys. We went to Starbucks.
After a little wander around town we came across a sign for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre where I was due to meet Emma Manton and went asking for her at the information desk. I told them who I was meeting but I sounds like a bit of a wierdo. Nonetheless they pointed me in the direction of the stage door and left my details with the receptionist for Emma to give me a call back. I had no idea if today would bring a result as the last few emails I sent were unanswered, which meant either everything was fine or I was about to walk straight into a restraining order and the end of Tracking Down Ricky.
As we waited for an answer we had a stroll around the little park and waterfront area where the theatre was situated. It was lovely, except for the pigeons who I think were trying to intimidate me. Little dollops of poo were falling all around me as I took this picture of the river. It’s now 2pm and we decide to head back the way we came and explore a few little shops like HMV with our fingers firmly crossed…