Wednesday, 30 July 2014

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: The Day I Met George W. Bush

The above image is not photoshopped in any way.

And here's the thing: it has been 38 months since Part II of this series, and none of the delay can be explained in any straightforward manner. Truth be told, I have been in a decent position to write this list for well over a year and a half now (as the extended 50+ entries should effortlessly demonstrate), but there was a bit of a pesky nuisance in the way. Due to some dodgy surgery performed in a central London alleyway, I formed an infection within my womb and spent the majority of 2012 vomiting hot concrete and Blu-Tack from every hole in my face—mouth, nostrils, tear ducts, you name it. Doctors were baffled, but I knew what was wrong, and spent many a night between fainting fits googling the Darknet for organs on the black market. Eventually I found what I was looking for: a chalk rib, perhaps even my old one, but perhaps not. I ordered it for the extortionate price being asked, and when it arrived in the mail, I verified its authenticity by inhaling the piece down with a touch of nitrous oxide. And it did the trick! I am feeling much better now and grow even stronger per each celebrity meet, until I reached this very point right here, a level of confidence which granted me the courage to tackle this chapter of our journey.

The following accounts were ordered pedantically by utilising a secret algorithm which would take far too long for someone like you to understand, but involves the complex division and shuffling of factors such as: the chances you will know of said celebrity; my personal adoration for the person in question; and the level of spiciness per the meeting itself. As a result, if you do not recognise a name, I recommend you simply keep scrolling until you do, I’m not bothered. Let us begin.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 30. Kate Nash

30. Kate Nash

Famous for: Singing in a cockney style before morphing into one very preachy feminist.
True Story: Starting off without a bang, this is a dumb narrative, but Kate Nash did this thing on Twitter where anyone who tweeted about her new album Girl Talk would get a follow. I guess desperate shameless promotion isn’t beneath her, but of course, I still obeyed instruction like a lapdog, and true to her word, she followed me, continuing to do so until this very day.

Kate Nash follows me on Twitter

She follows around 7,600 people at this point, so the chances of her seeing my posts are next to nothing, but I can FEEL HER THERE, man. Furthermore, she now boasts more than 115,000 followers herself, so I am part of the 6.66% or something. And for what it’s worth, I do really like her, for quite a few reasons.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 29. The Pimps

29. The Pimps

Famous for: Not much! But they did have a song on the Mission:Impossible II soundtrack, which has surely got to count for something.
True Story: This entry qualified purely because of the story factor, even though it was soooo long ago that I could have told you this as far back as the first Greatness blog. In fact, it stands as a mirror of that very piece’s entry #7, so I’m not sure why I am only talking about it now. No matter! Here it is: When I was 15 years old or something, I used to do this thing where I pretended to be a South African journalist and emailed bands like The Pimps, who were just big enough for me to know who they were, yet just small enough to do an interview for a fake magazine, lol. The bassist from the band got back to me (I think his name was Adam maybe, but they are so un-famous that I can’t verify, sorry) and he actually answered my questions really well, so it’s a dying shame that I’m the only one who has ever read it whilst rubbing my dick all over the printed pages as if any of this even matters.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 28. Braids

28. Braids

Famous for: Making rad dreamy arty music without anyone really noticing.
True Story: Even when considering the probable chance that you’ve never heard of Braids, they mean the world to me, point proven when I called their debut album Native Speaker my 17th favourite album of 2011 as well as ranking their show at The Lexington my 28th favourite gig of all time. In fact, it was that very show which this story is about, for after said intimate performance, I went and shook each members’ hand nervously, eventually having quite a decent conversation with their guitarist/keyboardist Raphaelle Standell-Preston. He was very nice, and told me about their tour with The Antlers. I love The Antlers, yet felt compelled to inform him that “you guys are better”. That’s kind of where the conversation ended, awkwardly. Still, I am a huge fan and so even if you don’t care, it’s me who is talking here.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 27. Savages

27. Savages

Famous for: Becoming one of the most popular UK post-punk revival bands in recent years.
True Story: This one almost seems like it means something, because I did not come into contact whatsoever with not only one but TWO Savages. The first member I did not come into contact with was the bassist, Ayse Hassan. After one of my regular yearly panic attacks, I joined a band, and one of their members was Hassan’s brother. This was before they became Pitchfork gold, of course, because if I could have seen the future, I would have held onto that bassist for the rest of my dear life, riding his sister’s success-trail like a starving donkey on heat (I'm not proud of that analogy, but I ran out of time).
The second member of The Savages I did not come into contact with, was the drummer, Fay Milton. According to reports, when I moved out of my house in Hackney (The East Village, as we called it) I was replaced by some guy or other who happened to sleep with Fay on occasion. Now, if you know me and if you knew that house, you’d know that beds never get replaced and mattresses never get washed. That is to say, I’ve had sex on that piece of furniture hundreds of times with about a billion wanks on top, so perhaps in some weird way our juices got all mixed up somewhere within that filthy resting place. Anyways, I have a lot friends who know her quite well, so I’m sorry for being gross, Fay, I JUST LOVE YOUR BAND.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 26. Frank Turner

26. Frank Turner

Famous for: Writing rad acoustic folk punk music with some seriously decent lyrics over the top.
True Story: This is one of those “sister’s husband’s friend’s niece’s teddy bear’s tapeworm” stories, as it has so little to do with me that it really shouldn’t even be included, and yet here it is. It starts with yet another very good musician named Jon Shaban (check out his work here) who I kinda know and am appreciative for, as he is the pillar of this tale. Upon hearing Turner was performing in Cape Town, he phoned everyone in the world until they deservedly granted him the opening slot, which made him very happy, I assume. Anyways, the night before said show, Jon invited (the formerly straight-edge) Frank out for some drinks, where my sister and brother-in-law met up with them, and they all proceeded to get very trashed and probably said stupid things. This is unfair, in my opinion, because my sister was hardly aware of Frank’s work, yet he released my 39th favourite album of 2011 but WHATEVER, NOT JEALOUS. I especially wasn’t jealous when I received photos of the group of them hanging out together, nope, felt fine. Regardless, there was silver lining here when my sister (all too aware of my celebrity issues) got Frank to sign a piece of paper for me, which I currently have in my possession under my pillow, clutching to it at nighttime while I say my prayers. Look:

Hey remember that time Frank Turner signed a piece of paper for me?

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 25. David Firth

25. David Firth

Famous for: Warping the internet’s mind with his Salad Fingers flash animations, among other (superior) stuff.
True Story: Despite having made contact with this creepy man before (which I wrote about in the outtakes section of Greatness 1, clickie) this story is a little more beneficial towards my own desperate thirst for fame. Basically, last year I wrote a highly popular piece titled The Top 50 Animated Characters Ever of which Firth’s own creation, Hubert Cumberdale, landed at #5. Naturally, I figured Dave (can I call him Dave?) would want to know that I, Jared Woods, was talking about him, so I tweeted the information to his profile, and ... he retweeted me! Oh how I squirmed in my chair while I watched the hits roll right in. Thanks, Mr Firth!

David Firth retweeted me once

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 24. Modeselektor

24. Modeselektor

Famous for: Making some of the raddest modern electronic beats to come out of Berlin, evah.
True Story: In 2011, instead of my usual “Top 50 Albums Of The Year” effort, I went a little psychotic and approached the tradition differently, opting to write a short story for each album whilst connecting them all together as one long confusing tale about something or other, I forget. One of these albums (entry #23) was Modeselektor’s Monkeytown, because it’s super awesome, obviously. Many years later, I started toying with the idea of publishing a hard copy of this story, which immediately crashed on top of me like a piano made from reality due the following problem: album artwork has this pesky thing called a “copyright” slapped all over it, and so you can get into trouble for using it without permission, oh noes. Frantically, I emailed each of the 50 artwork owners, mostly hitting dead ends and ultimately giving up on that idea, but some people were very kind and patient, one of which being a guy in charge at Monkeytown records. He was polite and helpful, and ultimately granted me the blessing to use the albums’ image, and as a result, everyone should buy this label’s work all the time because they are super cool. When the topic of payment came up, he responded with “Would it be possible to get three copies of the book then? Two for the Modeselektor guys and one for the designer?” So basically, Modeselektor themselves (whether they know it or not) requested my writing. They would read my stuff! I may just print three copies of the story for that reason alone.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 23. Deftones

23. Deftones

Famous for: Helping pioneer the nu metal genre and then somehow surviving its death.
True Story: Sometimes my brushes with greatness are so brief, that I wasn’t ever there. Such is the case for the Deftones, as it wasn’t me who met them, but rather my sister, or even more importantly, my brother-in-law who managed to fucking interview the fucking band for fucking Hilltop TV (which you can watch here). That said, my family are good to me, and forced singer Chino as well as drummer Abe to sign my favourite Deftones album of all time, White Pony. Kykie:

Oh just when Chino and Abe from The Deftones signed my White Pony album, nothing major

On a lonely night I swear I can still smell his fingers were there. And even if you don’t reckon this is enough to warrant the mention, please note that this is actually my second contact with the band, the first detailed as entry #1 of the original Greatness article.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 22. Justin Pearson

22. Justin Pearson

Famous for: Dominating the noise punk scene in San Diego with multiple bands (most notably The Locust) and his Three One G record label. He also once made out with a boy on Jerry Springer.
True Story: Whether you know him or not, personally I’m gay for Justin Pearson, he’s good looking. And as always, my superfandom paid off quite a while ago, as My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part II detailed in entry #12, right there. If you give that a read, you will note that I am one of his 5,000 friends on Facebook and always enjoy his rambles about why the human race is stupid and what is wrong with modern day music models—all followed by lengthy comment debates, some of which I have been involved with. However, this entry goes beyond that, in particular on the day of my birth 2012, when I got notified that “Justin Pearson Posted On Your Timeline”. I shat and jizzed at the same time as I clicked, revealing this:

Justin Pearson wished me happy birthday

OH MY FUCKING GOD JUSTIN FUCKING PEARSON WISHED ME HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON HIS OWN ACCORD! As if that wasn’t enough for me to slit my wrists instantaneously in full knowledge life wouldn't get any better, one year later to the date, it happened again:

Justin Pearson wished me happy birthday again

So neat. Anyways, I’m sure Justin googles himself like we all do, so if you’re reading this, bro, I hope you don't find it creepy. And I want your babies, or at least am willing to give it our best shot.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 21. Matt Berninger

21. Matt Berninger

Famous for: Fronting the melancholic indie rock band, The National.
True Story: The problem with writing my whole life down is that a lot of these stories will inevitably be repeated across various blogs, and this is one such tale, already detailed in my Best 50 Bands I've Seen Live piece, entry #38. Long story short: me and my friends were riiiight at the back of the Roundhouse venue and I was getting kinda sleepy, not entirely due to boredom but mostly thanks to the lullaby quality of The National themselves (and, perhaps alcohol played a role). Just as I was about to pass out on my feet, the crowd started to act really weird, scattering and screaming until they parted like the red sea right in front of me. Through the light and people, a figure began to emerge. It was singer Matt Berninger. He was coming straight for me. And when he eventually got to me, he bumped me out of the way, and kept on walking until he touched the back wall of the building, and then casually turned around to return to the stage, just because he could. I patted him on the shoulder during this demonstration, my small way of saying “keep up the good work, dude”. They are one of the best bands of the last decade, and it was also a very nice shoulder.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 20. Tyler The Creator

20. Tyler, The Creator

Famous for: Eating cockroaches and leading the Odd Future rap crü to glory
True Story: After pursuing numerous angles to contact this celebrity who I don’t really care about, the connection finally landed on top of my head from out of nowhere. Literally. I was at an Odd Future gig, and Tyler stage dived despite a broken ankle, landing directly upon me, and then was immediately pulled away by other eager fans who wanted some of his skin molecules under their fingernails. Naturally, I surged towards him again and hung onto his wrist as long as I could without it being weird, which was for about a full minute. His legs also continuously smashed into my face, but I didn’t care because my heart had finally stopped hurting.
(feel free to read a lot more about this story in my Undeniable Proof That The Law Of Attraction Works! article, entry #7, it’s your life)

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 19. Scroobius Pip

19. Scroobius Pip

Famous for: Rapping over Dan le Sac’s beats, almost exclusively known for the track Thou Shalt Always Kill.
True Story: Once upon a time I went to a concert held by a band called At The Drive-In, do you know them? Fuck me, it was AMAZING. Anyways, on the way out, my mate was like “omg, look, it’s Scroobius Pip,” and so I did look, and sure enough, it was Scroobius Pip. What I always felt kinda weird about this though, was that he was standing by the door whilst everyone else was just trying to leave the venue, as if waiting for people to recognise him. Well, we recognised him, so I figured the least I could do was grant him the favour of saying “hi”. So I did, stuck out my hand, and he shook it without even looking me in the eyes, as if to say “here is your handshake now please leave me alone.” So yeah, the experience was a little uninspiring, but the pizza I had afterwards was truly magical. Stuffed crust and shit, proper mad.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 18. Mike Bernado

18. Mike Bernardo

Famous for: Kickboxing, going on to become a K-1 world champion.
True Story: Back when I was a troubled youth, I attended various meetings and clinics to try and sort myself out, and as one would imagine, I met a varied mix of crazies along the way. On my first day at one of said clinics, I found myself sat next to a motherfucking monster of a dude who could have eaten my head if he was feeling a touch peckish, but instead he was preoccupied by his own tortured thoughts, crying into his hands about the painful life he had lived. Such moments are experienced in confidence and so I am reluctant to give away too many details, but I will say that (despite kicking the faces off many well known fighters, Butterbean included), he was a gentle guy with a big heart and an even bigger belief in God (which he tried unsuccessfully to convince me of during our many, many conversations). Unfortunately, this story has an unhappy ending, as while I got much better and turned into the upstanding member of society you see today, Mike lost his battle against his demons and took his own life on Valentine’s Day, 2012. You are missed, Bernado, see you on the other side.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 17. Daughn Gibso

17. Daughn Gibson

Famous for: Crooning over sexy indie electronic beats, creating my 12th favourite album of 2012 in the process.
True Story: Walking into the Electroworkz club in 2013 to watch Daughn perform, I was surprised at how unknown the guy is, as hardly anyone was in attendance, there wasn’t even any security, and the sound was so terrible that I kept thinking I was locked in my kitchen cupboard again. Regardless, such an intimate show comes with its advantages, as Daughn walked around freely after the gig, giving me the opportunity to pounce upon his manly manliness, and gush about how his song Ray has some of the best lyrics I’ve heard in a long time. He seemed chuffed enough, and then we took this photo yay, look:

that day I put my arm around Daughn Gibson, please note the hover hand

Please note the hover hand.
I’m a superfan of the guy, so your ignorance does not apply, it was a big one for me.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 16. The Bloodhound Gang

16. The Bloodhound Gang

Famous for: Talking about a roof being on fire whilst making crude sex jokes despite their 40-something age group.
True Story: As a loooong term BHG junkie, I am very proud of this one. Back in 2000, they released an underrated yet surprisingly solid album titled Hooray For Boobies. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the artwork only to find that they had thanked me specifically within the cover! Take a look for yourself:

Bloodhound Gang thank me personally in their Hooray For Boobies cover

Do you see it? No? Well then click that image for a larger, highlighted version.
You see it now? You see? Right there! “Anyone named Jared”. That is my name, and there are not that many of us, and it’s my spelling exactly, and you don’t see them mention your name anywhere, do you? It counts.

Special thanks to little sister Jaclyn who was very friendly and scanned that picture in for me without even complaining. You saved my blog!

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 15. Neil Gaiman

15. Neil Gaiman

Famous for: What isn’t he famous for? He writes books mostly, though.
True Story: Sometimes you follow celebrities on Twitter, not because they are interesting (read: more often than not, quite dull) but because you are praying for the day when you jump up and down high enough in the virtual world to get their attention. THIS STORY IS ABOUT ONE OF THOSE DAYS. Basically, Neil started a debate about the “efficacy of good books vs high heels for meeting people”. I responded very poetically that “Books = effective on trains and in libraries. High Heels = effective on trains and in libraries and everywhere else.” In case you’d like to read that again, here it is in image form:

As you can see by that helpful arrow, Neil retweeted the response himself, which has gone on to (currently) be my second most popular Tweet of all time (according to Favstar). Thank you Neil, you can be my favstar if you like!*
(* limited time only offer)

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 14. Little Dragon

14. Little Dragon

Famous for: Being a crazy awesome Swedish electro band of note.
True Story: As previously mentioned, in 2011 I wrote a Top 50 Albums blog, except instead of granting each album a normal review, I wrote them a short story, a daring and ambitious concept executed by an embarrassing experiment in masturbation. Regardless, it had its merit, some people really enjoyed it, and certain events justified its existence completely. For example: this story. For you see, after tweeting to all the relevant artists informing them of the project, some of them smelt my desperation and gave me a wink or a nod, which was the exact case for Little Dragon, the band effortlessly retweeting my post and no doubt forgetting about it 10 seconds later, whilst my life suddenly had meaning. Look:

hey do you remember the time Little Dragon retweeted me?

However, what makes their retweet all the more special is the following two points:
(1) They were my second favourite album of the year, #2 of 50, which just proves how much I love them and why it means more than if, say, Graveyard did it.
(2) Furthermore, they have some proper star followers, like Flea (who only follows 360 people or so) or Murdoc from Gorillaz (who only follows 25 people or so). Meaning: there is a small chance that someone even more famous clicked that link and read my blog. Unlikely? Sure. Possible? Sure!

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 13. Mr. Nice

13. Mr. Nice (Howard Marks)

Famous for: Smuggling a fuckload of drugs around the world and then writing a book about it.
True Story: My memory is hazy (which is poetically relevant to Mr. Nice, if you think about it), but at some point in 2011 I went to a club where Howard was DJing. Hardly anyone was there, so me and my mate Ash walked up to him and shook his hand. Ash got his book signed and rambled on to the guy who was noticeably uninterested, while I decided to steal a piece of Jenga from the club’s board game section just because I’m not very Mr Nice. Brief, but they did make a movie about Marks, so he’s pretty fames, worthy of my attention at least.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 12. AlunaGeorge

12. AlunaGeorge

Famous for: Creating some of the most delicious electropop garage 2013 has ever seen.
True Story: After releasing my 37th favourite album of 2013 I was beyond ecstatic when (during my weekend at Reading Festival that same year) I found out that AlunaGeorge were at the signing tent, and I could go meet them for free. So, naturally, I got super drunk for confidence reasons and then queued up until I was face to face with the exceptionally attractive Aluna and the awkwardly awkward George. They signed my stuff whilst I just blurted out random shit that went something like “omg I just wanna say you guys are fucking incredible omg seriously one of the coolest artists right now I loved your show earlier what I like the most is the way that you George manipulate Aluna’s vocals and it becomes difficult to know where Aluna ends and George begins and Aluna omg are you going to be at The Disclosure tent tonight and can I get a high five omggg?” Despite looking quite tired, they actually appeared rather amuse at my ramble, and were glad to comply with the high five request. In fact, when I left, George looked at me with this sincerely grateful flash in his eyes and said “thanks, man.” I dunno, can’t really explain it, but I think I was a sliver of entertainment in their otherwise dull monotonous fan meetings. Anyways, evidence!

Me hanging out with AlunaGeorge
AlunaGeorge signed a yellow card for me at Reading Festival 2013

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 11. Beardyman

11. Beardyman

Famous for: Beatboxing ill skillz.
True Story: As my favourite beat boxer in the whole wide world wide web, it’s pretty amazing at how many run-ins I’ve had with the guy. The first was right outside my work. I was simply walking towards the front doors of my office and *poof* there he was, wandering around aimlessly. I shook his hand and he looked bothered, so I left him there with a smile on my face, a wonderful start to my day. Fast forward to a few months later, and *poof* he was in front of me again, this time on the same train. We were standing practically shoulder to shoulder as he danced to his headphones, while I got more and more angry. I mean, the rest of the train seemed completely oblivious to the fact that they were in the presence of such a star, how dare they? I nearly started screaming at people but decided that wasn’t the British way and instead opted to keep rubbing my dodgy nipple upon his t-shirt. And as the train rode on, I started to fantasise: what if we got off at the same stop? Then I could talk to him FOREVER! I could follow him to his house and become his BFF! So you must imagine my disappointment when the doors opened the stop before mine, and he turned to leave. Dissatisfied, I reached out and tapped him on the shoulder, to which he spun around and I gave him the thumbs up. His eyes were super bloodshot and he gave me a goofy smile, and that was the last time I ever saw Beardyman. Although, I did manage to get hold of him the very next day on Twitter:

me and my homeboy Beardyman conversing on Twitter

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 10. Amanda Palmer

10. Amanda Palmer

Famous for: Standing as one half of the Dresden Dolls (as well as many other projects), raising $1m on Kickstarter, and marrying Neil Gaiman.
True Story: Procrastinating to the last minute, I was unsure whether I should go to Amanda’s show at The Roundhouse one night in 2013, all alone. I decided I’d better ask her, and this followed:

me and Amanda Palmer having a bit of a chat on twitter

So I made it happen, and as it turns out, it was a fantastic idea, as this became the 5th best show I’d ever been to in my life and she even got naked.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 09. Storm Thorgerson

09. Storm Thorgerson

Famous for: Creating the greatest album artwork in history, for such legendary artists as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Muse, Mars Volta, and everyone else.
True Story: Yet another brush with greatness that doesn’t actually involve me, this story once again revolves around my little sister who went to an exhibition in South Africa focusing on the man’s work, which he himself was in attendance. Near the end, she bought me his book The Raging Storm, got him to sign it, then mailed it to me (along with her recently removed wisdom teeth, yissss). This is a fucking HUGE deal, not only because I have been obsessed with the man for a decade, but because he died a year later, this autographed book blatantly upping substantially in value whilst I have even less interest in selling it. Look:

my signed Storm Thorgerson book, and my sister's wisdom teeth

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 08. Greg Puciato

08. Greg Puciato

Famous for: Singing his guts out for mathcore pioneers The Dillinger Escape Plan.
True Story: When I went to watch Mastodon at the Brixton O2 in 2012, I had no idea it would go on to be my 14th favourite gig of all time, and not even because of Mastodon themselves. No, rather it was the opening act Dillinger Escape Plan who stole the show, most likely because I got right to the front whilst dancing disjointedly to their fucked up time signatures, suffering through the elbows like shots to the ribs. There were plenty of moments which stand out, but in context of this blog, it was when Greg climbed on top of us and screamed whilst we held him up the best we could. At one point he looked down at me and shoved the microphone into my face, almost smashing my teeth out in one vicious stab. I didn’t know what to do so I just screamed as loud as I could, which was probably the right move. I consider this to be a potent brush with greatness, not only because I squeezed into Greg’s wrist like a stress ball, but because for an abrupt moment, I performed live at the O2 with Dillinger Escape Plan. Have you?

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 07. Norman Reedus

07. Norman Reedus

Famous for: playing Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead, as well as Murphy McManus in The Boondock Saints. Also for being very sexy, no homo.
True Story: The first of three “London Film And Comic Con 2013” stories, where tons of celebrities were scattered around, signing autographs, shaking hands, getting paid. One of the main attractions was Reedus, and we queued politely until the man was ready to see us. He was very nice, shook my hand and said “Hi, my name is Norman,” to which I replied “Yes, I know who you are”. We got his autograph which seems very nice and all, but the whole experience was tainted by the fact that my then girlfriend squirted out of her vagina as she hugged him, leaving a disgusting embarrassing mess for the cleaners. I was jealous.

oh, just me casually pointing at Norman Reedus, no biggie
me and my ex holding up a signed photo of Normal Reedus

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 06. Helen Zille

06. Helen Zille

Famous for: Leading South Africa’s opposition party (the DA), as well as standing as the former Mayor of Cape Town.
True Story: One day Helen made the statement that any promiscuous man who had unprotected sex should be charged with attempted manslaughter, which due to the high AIDS rate in the country kinda makes sense, but in regards to human rights, doesn’t. I figured I should tell her so, and did, as you can see here:

The reaction got out of control, insane really. According to this account I was actually trending in South Africa for a while, and of course, Helen’s army came crawling out from the dirt at all angles, biting my sides yet only succeeding in tickling me a little bit. It’s a long story, but I have written about it in mass detail here if you feel like getting the full picture.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 05. Peter Dinklage

05. Peter Dinklage

Famous for: Pretending to be Tyrion Lannister in the Game of Thrones series, among others.
True Story: The second of my “London Film And Comic Con 2013” trilogy, and this is quite a cool one, I think. Basically, after queuing for a while and being informed we weren’t allowed to touch Peter (his little hands were hurting from all the signage, bless), my three friends and I were practically hyperventilating by the time we were in his presence, standing with mouths agape and shaken by the star presence he omitted—ironically the biggest guy in the room. Noting our fear, he took the conversation reigns and asked “what’s the secret?” and we were like “the secret to what?” and he replied “the secret to staying young?” All my friends froze solid and I realised I would have to save the day by blurting out “sleep a lot”. He laughed and explained that he definitely didn’t sleep enough, and we all giggled, in love. He signed our well chosen postcard of him lying on top of a naked lady, to which he remarked “thank God she was so tall, so I have more space to sign.” We didn’t laugh because we weren’t sure whether he was purposefully mocking his own stature or not (what is the PC protocol?), but regardless, I give mass props to Peter for being such a super chilled dude and living up to his own hype completely. Checkit:

there Peter Dinklage, right there!

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 04. Sinéad O'Connor

04. Sinéad O'Connor

Famous for: Singing emu songs, most notably the rearrangement of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U, one of the highest rated and selling singles of the 90s.
True Story: Sinéad went a bit crazy on social media in 2011, probably the most fascinating of it all when she tried to find a husband online, stating many reasons as to why she was a catch, the best of which being “yes I 'do anal' and in fact I would be deeply unhappy if 'doing anal' wasn't on the menu, amongst everything else$$ So if u don't like 'the difficult brown'.. Don't apply...” Naturally, this is a silly thing to say in public, and the internet took it in turns to each post their inappropriate comments, with me on the front line with them. What I didn’t expect, however, is that she was actually listening, and got back to me, the whole ordeal looking like:

that day when Sinead O'Connor swore at me

Of course, groupie backlash was quick to follow, but what no one seemed to understand was that I am a massive O’Connor groupie myself, and as a result, adored the whole scenario in that OMG SHE SPOKE TO ME WHEEE kinda way. Unfortunately, this thrill was short lived, as the very next day news came in that she had tried to kill herself the night before, and I will always wonder to what extent I played a role. Probably not much, but still ... sorry, Sinéad, I was only teasing.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 03. Alfie Allen

03. Alfie Allen

Famous for: Portraying Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones.
True Story: This is an interesting one. I was just chillin’ in my room, doing Jared chillin’ things, when I heard my housemate come home. I’m polite, so I went downstairs to say hi, and there was this other guy sitting there instead. He introduced himself as “Alfie”, and I explained I must have met him before, because I recognised his face. He said perhaps I was familiar with his acting work, to which I laughed at his blatant boasting, telling him I didn’t think so because I hate people who try to sound cool. He then stated very matter-of-factly that “Well, the latest thing I’ve been working on is called Game Of Thrones, you seen it?” and I choked. It was really weird, because I had literally just finished watching a GOT Season 1 marathon the day previous, and if he’d visited a week earlier, I wouldn't have had a clue. So anyway, we sat there for a while smoking a spliff and talking exclusively about him, and then he left, inviting me to a party which (like an idiot) I didn’t follow up on. The last thing I said to him was “I’ll keep an eye on your career, mate,” and I have.
Only once he left and I googled him (finding a few pictures of his penis along the way) did I realise to my shock that he was Lily Allen’s brother, which as most people know, is kinda the closest to fame I’ve ever come.

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 02. Mike Skinner

02. Mike Skinner

Famous for: Rapping in a mockney accent whilst driving The Streets, one of the most popular English UK garage acts, ever.
True Story: Despite holding onto his wrist for dear life back in 2008 or so (which coincidentally is also featured at #2 on my very first Greatness blog), I think you will find this interaction much more satisfactory. After closing the chapter on The Streets, Mike also wrote many more chapters about the chapter, and then sold it together as one book called The Story of The Streets, which I bought and thought was okay. Anyway, in order to sell more copies, he had an in-pub signage which me and my then girlfriend attended, eventually sitting down with the guy for a minute or two, chatting over a pint. Naturally, I was nervous as all hurl and ended up saying stupid shit, such as “wow, you must be so bored of this”; “is your new band called The Dot or The D.O.T?”; and “I heard you hate Aphex Twin, how the fuck do you hate Aphex Twin?” whilst waving a finger in his face. Still, he was chilled and very good looking, and I ended the conversation by asking “please tell me who When You Wasn’t Famous is about? It’s Rachel Stevens isn’t it?” to which he replied “the answer is in the book.”
Spoiler alert, it was in the book. It said “When You Wasn’t Famous is not about Rachel Stevens.” Well played, Skinner. Anyways, here we are:

Just me chilling with Mike Skinner
Mike Skinner signed his book for me yay

My Brief Brushes With Greatness Part III: 01. David Hasselhoff

01. David Hasselhoff

Famous for: portraying Michael Knight in Knight Rider and Mitch Buchannon in Baywatch, as well as singing and just generally being The Hoff.
True Story: As the final stop of the “London Film And Comic Con 2013” adventure, the tale itself is somewhat dull. We stood in line, got to the front, I shook David’s hand and shouted “DUDE YOU ARE LEGEND” to which he laughed but his eyes looked a bit scared, which I reckon is as a good thing. He signed a suggestive postcard of himself for me saying “Life is Beautiful” (I’m sure it is, you rich bastard) and then we left. But the point is ... I met fucking David Hasselhoff, yo! I touched his hand! And his autographed picture is on my wall to this very day, strategically placed there to remind me what life is really about. It’s about The Hoff. I honestly can’t think of a better entry to top this list.

thumbs up to The Hoff
David Hasselhoff told me my life is beautiful


31. Donald Sutherland (Famous for starring in countless films for nearly 50 years)
This one happened two days ago! At Secret Garden Party, my friend pointed out this guy who looked suspiciously like a celebrity. Naturally, me mate asked him if they could take a photo together, he agreed, and I snapped the shot. Only once we got home did we realise it was Donald, and now I wish I was in that picture too :(

32. Devvo (Famous for calling people a dickhead on David Firth's website)
Weirdly followed and unfollowed me on Twitter several times. Mentioned him on my 10 People You Have To Follow On Twitter blog and he thanked me for it.

33. Pogo (Famous for the best plunderphonic electro beats in the world, made up from film sounds, listen)
Follows me on Twitter to this very day for some reason.

34. Rolf Buchholz (Famous for earning Guinness World Records for the most single count piercings and the most body modifications (male))
During my quarter life crisis last year, I got suspended, it was great. At the same time, Rolf was also hanging by hooks, looking very scary and intimidating as he did so (google images of him!). He even took a few photos of me, then I shook his hand as I left.

35. Rob Harvey (Famous for fronting the alternative indie band The Music)
As one half of Mike Skinner's The D.O.T. project, he was there at entry #2. I didn't recognise him, but he did tell me to not walk into the camera he had set up. Lol.

36. Matana Roberts (Famous for creating some of the coolest improv jazz I've ever heard)
After telling her about my short story based on her album (#13), she responded with some comments proving she read it :D She then followed me on Twitter, but has since unfollowed me :(

37. Ninja (Famous for spitting zef flows as one half of Die Antwoord)
Much like my second Greatness blog (#3), Ninja landed on my head once again, this time in 2013 at the Brixton O2.

38. Chris (Simpsons Artist) (Famous for drawing some of the weirdest pictures on the internet)
We've had quite a few online interactions, but the best came when I ordered an image of Ronald McDonald he drew, which he signed along with some other bits and pieces.

39. The Caretaker (Famous for creating some insane dark ambient ballroom tunes, incredible)
After placing his album An Empty Bliss Beyond This World as my 4th favourite of 2011 (as well as writing a short story about it) I contacted him much like Modeselektor, and ended up having quite a long email conversation with the guy. Groupie squirt!

40. REKS (Famous for rapping some insane East Coast flavour)
Much like The Caretaker before, I emailed asking about using his artwork for short story #29, which he said was fine, as well as "Thanks for the support, Homie!" Hey, it's not a problem.

41. Robag Wruhme (Famous for making some wicked druggy electronic tunes)
Went to an all nighter Robag show with my friends, we danced to his wonderfulness, then went and spoke to him a bit afterwards, suffocating him with our presence. There is a photo of this somewhere.

42. Snowman (Famous for experimenting with rock in the most delicious of ways)
Despite being blessed with yet another one of my 2011 short stories (#40), this story has nothing to with that. Instead, after hearing their album, I found the singer on Last.FM, wrote on his wall praising him, and so he wrote back thanking me.

43. Kezia (Famous for being the self-proclaimed "World's Leading Female Pick Up Coach")
During my shameful PUA days, I went to a Ross Jeffries seminar and met Kezia. We then became friends on Facebook, and upon noticing how boys worshipped her shoes, I took it upon myself to challenge her methods, generally when I was drunk. She was always quite bitchy about it and eventually deleted me. Whatever, she's smoking hot.

44. Dumbo Gets Mad (Famous for some rad psychedelic indie pop stylings)
Once again thanks to my 2011 short stories (#31) I contacted this band's label informing them of my hard work. They thanked me, followed me on Twitter, and Dumbo Gets Mad themselves were quick to follow them following me.

45. Fink (Famous for singing some gorgeous folk electro something)
2011 Short Stories, #16, told him about it, he said it would take him a while to read it all, lol.

46. Giles Corey (Famous for creating some fucked up haunting slowcore acoustic shit)
2011 Short Stories, #44, granted permission to use album artwork.

47. Psychic Paramount (Famous for burning off ears with noisey psychedelic rock music)
Last one of these, shew. 2011 Short Stories, #46, told them about it, they said they liked it.

48. Tripp Eisen (Famous for performing guitar with Statc-X, Dope, and Murderdolls, as well as fucking an underage girl)
After being released from jail due to a mishap where he kidnapped and slept with a 15-year old, a formspring account cropped up claiming to be Tripp. I asked him why he was targeted because I thought all rockstars slept with little girls (haha), and he said yes, they were picking on him. No idea if it was really Tripp though, but who cares.

49. Perez Hilton (Famous for being an asshole to celebrities via his blog)
A while ago this weird thing happened on Twitter when you could force people to follow you. For some reason, I did it to Perez Hilton, and hopefully it annoyed him. He unfollowed me quickly after. What a story.

50. Professor Green (Famous for rapping about tough first world life in London)
I walked past him on the street once, and kinda just stared at him until he went back into his hotel. Does that count?

51. Crash of Rhinos (Famous for singing emo music, their album Knots well praised all over)
Laziest brush ever! After listening to their album, I wasn't impressed, but due to its length, became one of my "most listened to artists of the week" according to Last.FM. Now, I have this thing which automatically connects my Twitter to my Last.FM, and each week it tweets my "most listened to artists of the week". So Crash of Rhinos (while obviously searching Twitter for their own name) found this tweet and favourited it. Basically put: I literally did nothing, and they are literally not famous at all.

Mass props to my friends Lisa and Eleanor, who have met so many celebrities themselves that their lists would put mine to shame.
Here’s to hoping that this is the last time I write one of these stupid things before I become famous myself. Then maybe someone will write about meeting me! Actually, yeah, please somebody do that.

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