Tag Archives: celebrity

Graham Norton – Can celebrities write good books?

Graham Norton is on the latest We’d Like A Word podcast and radio show that I present with Stevyn Colgan. We know that celebrity sells books, but do celebrities write good books? Books worth reading? I’m thinking fiction in particular.

I’m asking because although Graham Norton is well known as a comedian, a TV chat show host and forever immortalised as Fr Noel Furlong in Father Ted, he’s also an author. Two novels – Holding and A Keeper. I’ve read both. But are they any good? (Spoiler alert: They are. Especially A Keeper.)

Martine McCutcheon – yes, her off Love Actually

And even if Graham Norton can write, (he can), what about other celebs who’ve done it. Like Martine McCutcheon, who had a terrible public hammering for her efforts, and for whom I have a soft spot myself. And fair play to her for actually writing The Mistress herself. Unlike another celeb author who, when asked if she had written her novel herself, responded: “Write it? I didn’t even read it.”

There’s a celebrity authors subsection of Irish comedians who definitely can write fiction. As well as Graham Norton, you have Sean Hughes (The Detainees) and Ardal O’Hanlon (The Talk of the Town). But anyone else?

So you’ll be wanting to hear me and Stevyn Colgan and Graham Norton chatting about his books, how he writes them, the influence of Ireland and his Mum, and how linked they are to his public comedic personna. There’s a competition too, but you have to listen to hear about it. Click on the link here, or search for We’d Like A Word wherever you listen to podcasts.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your best and worst experiences of celebrity authored fiction.

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I’m now officially famous

I’m now officially famous.

And it’s thanks to Padmini – to whose odd request I responded.*

This is big. Possibly even as big as appearing on Good Morning Ulster in days gone by.**

Even bigger.

I’m now an internationally famous megastar as featured in The Hindu newspaper in India – the country’s most prestigious publication.***

What you may find ironic, bizarre, hilarious or some other word – is the reason that I’m in The Hindu.

Best just have a look for yourself Continue reading

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The Day I Met… Jim Jarmusch

When asked what was the best advice he'd ever received from Tom Waits, Jim Jarmusch replied as above.

This Wednesday’s very thoughtful entry to the The Day I Met… Competition comes from Peter Rudd. You can see his Coromandal blog here.

The man he met was indie film maker Jim Jarmusch, of whom Tom Waits said in the New York Times:

The key, I think, to Jim, is that he went gray when he was 15 … As a result, he always felt like an immigrant in the teenage world. He’s been an immigrant – a benign, fascinated foreigner – ever since. And all his films are about that.

His films are not middle of the road and include Down By Law, Mystery Train, Dead Man, Coffee and Cigarettes, Broken Flowers, The Limits of Control and – perhaps the most mainstream one (which I saw and enjoyed) – Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.

But let’s get on with Peter’s face to face celeb encounter on…

The day I met Jim Jarmusch

There is a sweetness and maybe glory in being between things and having the time to sit and watch and walk and to soak in the places you would otherwise busily and blindly navigate through on your way to destinations and obligations.  Two summers ago I was in that in between place having just finished a gig overseas and moved into a new place in Queens.  I was halfheartedly looking for a new job and wholeheartedly toing and froing between the neighborhoods of New York:  Billyberg, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, the Village, the lower east side and Soho Continue reading

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The Day I Met… The Queen

"I just can't bear to look at that man."

The bar is hereby set to a new high for the The Day I Met… Competition. We’re talking mightily prestigious here. Almost John Peel level. Someone who has two birthdays each year. Holiday homes across the globe. Likes the gee-gees. She even knew Princess Diana. Yes… it’s the Queen. Queen Elizabeth II (or I if you’re Scottish). As monarchs go, she makes up in dignity what she lacks in liveliness.

This startling tale comes from Rudy Noriega of the Gullible’s Travels blog.

Regardless of your politics (and you know how I compromised mine here and here), Queen Elizabeth is the sort of person for whom you’d want to scrub up well before meeting. You’d want to make a fairly good impression, wouldn’t you? Not encounter with your flies down or spinach between your teeth. You certainly wouldn’t want to encounter her when you were… say…. oh I don’t know…  PISSED! (That means drunk, by the way, not angry, for any Americans reading this.)

Oh Rudy, Rudy, Rudy… Continue reading

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The Day I Met… Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg packs a political punch

(Ta dah!) It gives me a queasy feeling in my stomach to introduce the latest entry in The Day I Met… Competition.  Here’s a taster:

We had to stop at a hotel to collect someone. A performer. Someone whose first album I owned. My first discovery of political music for myself. Even my dad rated him. Squeak!

But then it all goes wrong. The story is from Speccy and her Me, Mine and Other Bits blog in Belfast.

I’m trembling a bit. This is about a musical hero of mine. An inspiration (of which more below). A singer songwriter. If you’re from somewhere that has not yet had the pleasure of Billy Bragg (also at his official website), he’s an unashamed leftie. The “Bard of Barking” has sung against the right-wing press, Thatcher, the arms industry, war as an easy option (he had a brief spell in the army himself) and racism; in favour of trades unions, international solidarity, sexuality in its various manifestations and the humane treatment of asylum seekers; and about loss, relationships and love.

But he’s mainly known as being incredibly right-on. (Which is an odd term, as it generally means being on the left, in a politically correct sort of way.) Right on – and fun. And a good song writer. I’ve seen and heard him live quite a few times – every time a good ‘un.

But hark! Perhaps the Braggster is not quite as saintly as he seems Continue reading

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The day I met… (Competition Time)

Did you notice the owl? An owl!

Drum roll please – It’s the all-star celebrity competition.

I said I’d do it – and here it is. Inspired by Rasjacobson, I would very much like to have your stories of celebrity encounters. There’ll even be prizes. But before you rush to leave a comment, breathless with excitement, read on…

It’s partly Jackie Leven’s fault. Now he’s what I call a celeb. Never mind his transcendant singing and story telling – just look at his picture. Looks both rugged and fey. Gazing into the distance. On a motorbike. No helmet. With an owl. An owl!

I got an email from him today because I’ve been trying to track down a copy of an album he made. Turns out it was a private limited edition and sold out. So he’s given my the go-ahead to think laterally (a euphemism). Which I will. But how lovely to hear from the owl-meister personally.

It’s a far cry from the unfortunate encounter I had with one of my favourite writers when I finally got to meet him. I was very silly. He wasn’t impressed.

And that’s the sort of tale I’d like to hear most – how you got to meet someone (need not be someone well known, though fun if it was) and it did not go as planned. Perhaps you finally got to speak to Robert de Niro and spilled gravy in his lap.

"Psst! Can you pass me some loo roll. I know daarling, I know, it's a little embarrassing. But at least it may make an entertaining blog post some day. Goodness daarling, this toilet is very comfy. I hope I'm in the right place..."

Perhaps Liza Minnelli whispered quietly to you… to ask you to pass some toilet roll into her cubicle next to yours. Or you nipped in ahead of another driver, only to find you’d just stolen the Dalai Lama’s parking place. It’s over to you.

This is how it will work (I hope).

  1. Have a giggle or blush about that time when you met… yes, that time.
  2. Doesn’t have to involve a celebrity/icon/politician/etc – but good if it does. (If you’re worried about getting into trouble, we can use a pseudynom for the celeb.)
  3. Also good if it is funny.
  4. Length? Up to you.
  5. Write it down and email it to me at paulwaters99 at hotmail.com
  6. I will put it on this blog as a guest post – with a link back to you.
  7. You will bask in the satisfaction of seeing your story on a highly prestigious, critically acclaimed, hugely popular blog – er… this one. And if that’s not enough…
  8. I’ll also send you something lovely in the post  if you’d like (probably a book to be honest, I’ll give you the options,  you can choose). I’ll email you back for your postal address and won’t tell it to anyone else.
  9. Hang on – doesn’t that mean everyone who enters could win. Er… yes, I suppose so. I better buy in some stamps.

I’ll post on my embarrassing celeb encounter, but I’d love to hear yours. So have a think.

But in the meantime do leave a comment to let me know if this tickles your fancy, whether I should be bracing myself for overseas postage – or whether I should join the Foreign Legion to avoid having to look at an empty inbox for the next few years.

Have I left anything out? Any vital piece of information? Tell me.

But more importantly – tell me you’re joining in.

Yeeow - that hurts!

Here’s another prompt. It’s audio. It’s got me in it. (Oooh!) It’s an episode of a podcast on life in the UK that I used to do for a German media company. I’m interviewing Tanya who reveals how she accidentally assaulted Donald Rumsfeld Continue reading

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