I'm a Celebrity... of a sort...


Occassionally I go into Primary schools to do assemblies and my general principle has always been wind the kids up, walk away and leave the teachers to scrape them off the ceiling... Well, not quite, but almost... I try to make what I have to say as memorable as possible, so I try to do something a wee bit different each time...

What is interesting is the response I get for a few weeks afterwards... some of the children who are in the youth and children's organisations associated with our church will greet me with a cheery/accusatory "Hey Mister! Weren't you at my school!?" Others who see me on the street quite often do the classic double-take, or 180 degree head-turn... which could potentially cause an accident...

I rarely get the same response from adults... the closest would be when, as at present, I appear on Radio Ulster's "Thought for the Day" (I'm on again tomorrow for those who are interested). This happens about 4 mornings in the year... but I get more comments from those 4 than from the 12 weeks each year that I do for the commercial radio station, Downtown. I don't know whether this says more about the listenership of the resepective stations or whether the folks on Downtown have just got bored of me.

These two experiences are just about as close as I'll ever get to celebrity status... They're flattering in their own small way... But it does make me wonder what it would be like to live in that kind of a celebrity bubble all the time? I'm not sure that I would like it, and it certainly would never be a driving force in any ambition of mine. Even when I was, briefly, considering a career in theatre, whilst I enjoyed the applause at the end of a well-performed play (especially that rarest of things... a standing ovation) and a decent review in a paper, it was never that which inspired me. It was the process of crafting a performance that was the important thing to me... Building a character or shaping a play... forging relationships with other actors each playing their parts... feeding off the creativity of others... I have heard others speak in similar terms about music...

Yet today, with X-Factor, the late-lamented "Big Brother" and "Britain's Got Talent" etc, the emphasis is not on the process but the product... and the product is not a work of art... but artifice...

Celebrity...



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