Friday, 10 August 2007

The day I didn't meet Kate Winslet.

Well, this happened way back in 1998 and as is often the way when I meet people for the first time, I was retarded drunk and made a twat of myself. Still, I have never been one for being star struck and this probably makes a funnier story than if I had just said “Hello” and asked for an autograph.

At this point in her life Kate Winslet was at the top of her game. It was less than a year after Titanic had been released and she was pretty much a household name. She was also engaged to be married to a guy from Leeds; Jim Threapleton. Incidentally, Liv Tyler is also married to a guy from Leeds; us Leeds boys must have some pretty fly game or something. Anyway, I digress, and besides, they are those kinds of posh guys who claim Leeds but are probably from Harrogate or Rothwell or somewhere like that. Still, Kate and Jim were in Leeds on this particular day in 1998.

At this point in my life I was not, unfortunately, at the top of my game. I was not a household name nor had I starred in any blockbusting films. Instead, I was a dick, stranded miles away from home having just alighted from a friend’s car during a police chase. The police were chasing us in the belief that we were up to no good. We were resisting being arrested for the crime of Up-To-No-Good-edness. Always preferring to rely on my own physical prowess rather than someone else’s driving ability I decided to take my share of the chase on foot whilst my friend escaped in his car. After many evasive manoeuvres I found myself no longer pursued, but feeling a bit vulnerable and not particularly keen on walking around the streets I decided to find a place to lay low for a while. I happened to be in a pretty affluent area, and so I ducked into the grounds of a local conference centre named
Weetwood Hall
(ironically it is directly over the road from Weetwood police station). Weetwood Hall also has a posh hotel and pretty nice adjoining pub; The Stables. I decided to hideaway in The Stables until I felt sufficiently numbed by alcohol to be able to disregard the risk and venture out into the Big, Wide World.

Writing this now, I am asking myself why I didn’t just phone a taxi and go home. It would have only been about £7. I didn’t though. Instead I sat down, ordered a pitcher of vodka and orange and phoned my friend. Thankfully he had also escaped the clutches of the police but he informed me that he had had to hide his car and couldn’t come and pick me up until the fuss had died down and he could get to a different car. I told him, "no problem. I’ll sit and drink. I’m in no rush. Phone me when you’re on your way to get me".

Anyone who knows me well knows how much alcohol I can sink in a couple of hours. They will also be fully aware of the dumb fuck that I become after said amount of alcohol has been consumed. I had probably done in a few pitchers of vodka and orange when a young couple came into the bar and sat opposite me at the next table. The guy looked familiar to me, he had dirty blonde hair; stylishly messy and a face I knew from somewhere. The lady had a fleece jacket on, with the collar up, and a woolly hat pulled down quite low, almost covering her eyebrows (Clue #1). They were sat at a circular table so they were both kind of facing me. Aside from the few staff in the place we were the only people there. They ordered some food and some drinks. The lady produced a credit card to pay and all of a sudden, when the waitress looked at the card, she got all flustered and started flapping around this couple. I was only half paying attention but I heard her babbling about “such an honour” and “will inform the manager” (Clue #2).

My interest must have been piqued ‘cause I started scoping them out and wondering why the guy seemed familiar. Drunk as I was it wasn’t long before I thought, “Fuck it, I’m off to ask him”. On my next return journey from the bar I plonked myself down next to them and slurred to the guy, “ere mate, are you famous? I recognise you. Have you been on’t telly?” They both kind of looked at each other, the woman started giggling and looked demurely down at the table while the guy, humouring me, said that he had indeed been on TV a couple of times but wasn’t particularly famous. I stayed for what was probably, to them, a very long few minutes, all the time firing questions at this guy as to how famous he was and what he had “been in”. I finally, left to go back to my table but, despite not recognising Kate Winslet, I somehow still remember vividly how ‘the lady’ was quite visibly amused at the whole thing whilst the guy was looking pretty embarrassed.

My friend eventually came to pick me up and I buggered off thinking nothing more of it. It wasn’t until the next day when I read the Yorkshire Evening Post that I thought of them again. There was a huge article about Kate Winslet’s forthcoming wedding to a guy from Leeds, telling of how they had finally settled on a date. In the middle of the page was an A4 sized photograph of Kate Winslet stood next to her fiancĂ©, Jim; the guy whom I had been haranguing in the pub. Now, unless he was out on an illicit date with another woman, I think I may have interrupted their celebratory meal in order to ask a nobody if he was “off the telly” whilst his Hollywood superstar, world famous wife sat next to him laughing at me.

I feel this type of stupidity doesn’t bode well for my chances of becoming a successful journalist.

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