22nd July 2016
They say that being famous gets old really quickly. I can't say I wouldn't like to try it for a day or two, but it does seem to be one of those butterfly illusions you can never quite catch and make work for you. Those multi-million-dollar stars of film want you for them, but not really near them. It's just the way it goes - take a line from young Justin Bieber: stop throwing shit on the stage for me.
I was once at a John Denver concert (yes, John Denver - I admit it! Much maligned singer/songer writer that he was - forget "Thank God I'm a Country Boy," and think "On the Road" or "The Game is Over." He wrote as many good songs as James Taylor (whom I also admire) but didn't have the requisite edge...hadn't actually been in a mental hospital or lost grey matter to LSD.)
So, anyway, off track - I was at this concert, and there he was up on stage doing what he did best, when a woman who was rather advanced in age and should have known better, arose from her seat on the aisle and headed towards the stage (where are those security guards when you need them?) She walked up in a rather embarrassed lope, and tossed him some cheerfully wrapped present with nice paper and ribbon. I imagine she had probably knit him a hat or something she could weave a bit of herself into. It was a cringe-worthy moment. John stooped down to pick it up and said, "Thank ye, Darlin'," with as much disgust as is humanly possible without actually wretching.
Just for the record, I don't live in Aspen because of John Denver, but it was a nice perk for as long as he lived here, too, before he went off flying and someone blew up his plane with sugar in the gas tank (This is a personal conspiracy theory of mine.) But I did run into him once outside the liquor store (well, everyone has their vice.)
"OMG," I thought. "There's John Denver!"
It was him, too, wearing a blue down waistcoat with a big sunburst on the shoulder. And, because I figured it was probably the only time I was ever going to get within five feet of the man (which turned out actually not to be true), I decided to look him right in the eye. I stared, and he realised I was staring and the look he gave me back conveyed something like, "Say anything, and I'll kill you."
So fandom comes crashing down. It's the nature of the beast. What it says is we all need to get a life and stop thinking that being in the proximity of stars makes us burn a little brighter. Actually, it extinguishes what little light we have.
JD used to open his shows with the line: "You can join in with the chorus, but let me do the verses. It's my show." Step away, little fan! Justin Bieber is right: keep your little knitted hats and your sense of self to yourself!