A recent trip to Madame Tussauds really put the meaning of the word celebrity into the forefront of my mind. What makes a celebrity? Why are they so famous? What is it about them that makes them so different to you and me? Not that I don't think you are fabulous - of course you are, you just aren't celebrity material. Why is that?
Is a celebrity someone who stands out in a crowd? Are they perhaps people we feel we can scrutinise, disparage, mock and discard at our whim. That doesn't necessarily make them special people, it almost makes them scapegoats. And why should a person in a position of authority be famous? And is there a difference between famous and celebrity? I don't have the answer, I'm just pondering the questions. The first room you go into at Tussauds is the A list party room which means the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie etc etc are stood around waiting for you to have your picture taken with them. And milling about are the great unwashed - so to speak. And all the dummies (difficult to tell which at times) are dressed up to the nines and you have your jeans on. And you have to go pose with a dummy. In front of lots of people. Who also want to pose with said dummy. And the thing is - they want to, there is real electric excitement in the air as people see a celebrity they recognise and rush to be seen with that celebrity. The interaction is so real, it's almost like they actually think they are standing with the real life person. Although perhaps there wouldn't be so much of an orderly-ish queue.
At first it was very awkward to pose but you soon loose your inhibitions and join in with the excited squeals of - look look, its him etc etc. I have to say that the politicians and religious heads of state did loose me somewhat. Forgive me if I choose not to have my picture taken with Hitler or the Pope - careful to note which is which lol. I did however stand with Tony Blair because he looks like my Dad (apparently, according to my Mum) and I did stand with Princess Diana, who is my royal (long story, another day) and that was a truly special experience. There was even a hushed mention of her name as people entered the room, I think that is the sign of true celebrity rather then the latest plastic orange creature that pops out of the TV onto your newspaper.
It was a fun day and some happy photos were taken. I still think that the measure of celebrity is somewhat off these days and that perhaps different people have different opinions on who makes the grade and who is lacking. At least they give us something to talk about on cold, wet, dark, windy evenings and we can assure ourselves that we wouldn't like their lack of privacy anyway and isn't better to be surrounded by those we know truly love us.