Have you ever had a cringeworthy moment where you clapped eyes on a famous person (say, a television personality), and thought they were someone you personally knew, not realising that they looked vaguely familiar because you were seeing them in the flesh? Once, whilst checking out shoes in a Russell and Bromley store on Oxford Street, I saw a woman seated on a stool trying on an arresting pair of strappy sandals. Raising her head and noticing me staring, she gave me a pleasant smile, and I realised with a start that I actually knew her from somewhere. I walked over, and in my opening sentences, punctuated my words with 'Auntie', because 1)I thought she was my mother's friend, and 2)I am Ghanaian, and any woman or man above a certain age is referred to as 'Auntie' or 'Uncle' especially if they are African.
Encouraged by the warm smile on her face, I sat down and pretty much quizzed her about where she thought we might have met previously since I couldn't quite put a finger on it. She let me talk a bit more before finally bursting into laughter and coming clean about who she really was. She was one of the popular newsreaders on Ghana Television (GTV)! Of course, as soon as she mentioned her name I thought, no wonder you looked so familiar! But I felt like such a git.
Another time I was walking along a posh backstreet somewhere in Central London when I made eye contact with a familiar looking man walking towards me. We exchanged smiles, and I continued walking at a leisurely pace. It wasn't until I rounded the corner that I realised the man had been Jude Law. Clearly, I won't be turning paparazzi to the stars any time soon - I'll probably see them, not recognise them, and proceed to call them Auntie or Uncle.
But wouldn't it be something to meet some of the famous people you've always wanted to meet? In person. They could be dead, alive, in hibernation, past their 'sell by' date, forgotten about..etc. On my list would be:
1. Nelson Mandela: This meet would really be a reunion, since deep down - way deep down - I know I've met him before, and it wasn't in my dreams. Naa'Sei you are warned.
2. Julia Roberts: I figure it's about time she met her biggest fan.
3. Simba: Let no one tell me he's only an animated character from The Lion King. End of.
4. Barbara Wood: For writing one of my favourite novels of all time, Green City in the Sun, and birthing a desire in me to visit Kenya one day.
5.David Beckham: To let him know that I have some fancy footwork of my own..and that I can bend it better than him.
6. Sidney Sheldon: To inform him that I am still enraged that his novel, Rage of Angels, ended on an unhappy note. Many years after reading it, I continue to feel the odd twinge of pity for the heroine, Jennifer Parker.
7. Marvin Gaye: Someone's got to say thank you for the song Let's Get It On.
8. Jackie Chan: Why ever not?
9. Jean-Luc Godard: For revolutionizing French cinema in the 1950s and introducing the world to the timeless classic A Bout de Souffle (Breathless), the definitive film of the French new wave cinema.
10. Michael Jackson: To ask one simple question: 'What happened, man?!'
11. Chris Tucker: I just know instinctively that he and I would click.
12. Samson from the Bible: To be a fly on the wall in a modern day business meeting between him and top execs from Gillette.
13.Achilles: I'd keep it short and to-the-point:'Dude, next time
wear protective footwear.' And then I'd slip on my Ray-Ban, and disappear as noiselessly as I'd entered.
14. Adolf Hitler: Fascism. World War II. The Holocaust. This man has so much to answer for.
15. Julie Andrews: How do you solve a problem like Maria? You don't. Just get into The Sound of Music.
16.Didier Drogba: Because whenever I watch him play, I see a footballer and a showman.
17. Arsene Wenger: He cuts such a neat figure. That's all.
18. Ebo Whyte: Which could be arranged, right guys? *smiles*
19. Kwame Nkrumah: Africa's man of destiny whose foresight was second to none. I'm sure I could tap into his exceptional ability to plan ahead.
20. Jesus: To seek revelation and interpretion of the mysteries of God.
This is not an exhaustive list, by the way :)
Other people whom I asked the same question came up with these names:
Malcom X, Louis CK, Beyonce, Barack Obama, Woody Allen, Billie Holiday, David Bowie, Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein and Immanuel Velikovsky.
Who would make yours?