Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Will Self

Having been faced with images of Will Self on half the newspapers I've just read, I had to write a little about him and what he represents to me. Firstly he is my bridge with fame. Just like every celebrity's partners, friends and families are now becoming celebrities by association, I am at the furthest edge, having spent three years a year ahead of him at school from 1969-72 and visiting his nearby house at least once. But I haven't seen him (as far as I know) since so there is my tenuous link.
He has done pretty well as a writer, following a degree at Cambridge reduced by a continual intake of drugs. He has moved into TV and now seems to be extremely popular as an individual, a level people seem to reach this century beyond what they have done to become famous and simply exposed for themselves. I read a fascinating interview with him describing family members I'd met and been on the receiving end of, and like my 5 seconds on Big Brother just feel a part of his world as I do with BB, in fact a lot more so having him around for a lot longer than 5 seconds.

But it spurs me on in my own emerging media career. For the sake of earning a living I put it on the back burner until I could find a way to kindle it as well as making some regular income. It took till now, but the spark is finally becoming a little flame. The PR companies keep a ridiculous but fixed celebrity scale from A to Z. Everyone qualifies at Z and may work their way up. How they decide F or G must be based on more complex principles than our council tax, but they manage to label everyone who qualifies with a letter which basically dictates how much they earn per hour for appearances and which programmes they will be accepted on as many have a cut off point. Love island does this in reverse with no one probably above Y, and thank goodness the viewing figures reflect this. But I stray. My next ambition is to gain a letter. I've had the performer in me since primary school and wish I could have turned my back on a degree and thrown myself into an acting career at 18 but I wanted security. So I have a nice house, just enough money in the bank and the ability to earn a few bob doing what I studied for. But I'm a nobody and haven't had a chance to make people laugh in their millions.

Yet. The biggest barrier was crossed on March 3rd this year with two more please god (I'm superstitious, not religious...) on their way. I reckon after three appearances including on the largest satellite channel (around half a million possible viewers compared with 50,000 so far) I may make the list with a Z. To me that would be like getting a second degree. If someone wanted to pay me to sign books, write articles or open a shop I could go to Hendon, cut a tape and be home in time for tea for about £500. What a life! No more dole money, no more guilt for not having a job, and fame builds on itself, the local papers would discover they had a new celebrity in the area and do a piece on my school life or cat and people would start recognising me gradually. Then I could get an agent and finally get paid to write something. Currently writing appeals as it means I can work from home and won't make myself ill. If I can get out and do little TV bits and pieces all the better but one way or another if you're on the list the work comes in in some form or another.

Then instead of having to shlep out the same 30 year old stories about Will Self and Toby Young by association and not even currently, they or anyone else who ignored my emails on friends reunited will see me on TV and say 'I used to go to school with him!'
For a change, ny speculation is totally realistic. Seeds planted for my whole life are finally sprouting, and if only I could bring people into my life the same way...

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