The Starstruck Idiot Strikes Again

I once got the chance to meet one of my idols, James Taylor.  I wrote about the experience in  this blog entry which you probably didn’t read…. and despite the link I just provided, you probably still won’t read it.  But it’s a blog rule that I have to at least provide you with the link, both to prove how techno-savvy I am and also to pretend like you give a shit.  Hey, I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.  Although if you ever find yourself in an embarrassing situation and think, “no one has EVER made a bigger ass out of themselves than I just did” then you might want to go back and read the entry.  It will give you solace to know that someone else experienced abject humiliation and lived to tell the tale.  Anyway, moving on….

I recently got another chance to meet a celebrity I adore, Hugh Laurie.  I wrote about my love of all things House, M.D. in this blog entry – again, just following the blog rules.  But unless you are following Hugh Laurie’s career as closely as I am (and you’d basically have to set up shop inside the man’s ass to accomplish that feat), you probably don’t know that he has taken a temporary leave of absence from acting and begun a new career as a professional blues musician.  He just launched his new album called Let Them Talk.  I’ll admit that you could fit what I know about blues music onto B.B. King’s pinky finger, so my music review doesn’t count for much – but I loved the album.

My husband, being the loving and indulgent man that he is, saw an opportunity to make his wife happy on her birthday and bought me tickets to see Hugh Laurie play in concert.  In the few weeks I spent waiting for the concert’s arrival date, I thought about what I should do to prepare, so that on the off-chance I got to meet him I would be ready.  Please save all eye-rolling and forehead slapping until the end…..

I bought his book The Gun Seller so that I would have something for him to autograph – I wasn’t about to show up with a House t-shirt and sharpie marker like some pathetic groupie.  I wanted to show that I recognized him as a true renaissance man – actor, author, and musician.  Plus, I figured that I could sell the autographed copy of his book for a buttload of money and pay off my credit card debt.  That’s me – appreciative AND pragmatic.

And I even read the book!!

I also decided to write him a letter extolling his many virtues and thanking him for his awesomeness – how’s THAT for ego?  I actually believed that not only would he take the time to read it, but that he would also give a rat’s ass what I thought of him.  But the letter wasn’t just to show my appreciation, it was also my insurance policy against the starstruck idiot residing in my head.  After making a monosyllabic moron of myself when I met James Taylor, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to string a coherent sentence together should Hugh Laurie and I come face-to-face.  So, here’s what I wrote on the envelope…..

I thought it was cute and clever, and I hoped it would make up for the fact that all I could do was stare and grin at him in wide-eyed adoration when I handed it to him.  It was only later that I realized my bold, all-capitals handwriting may have made me look like a crazed stalker.  Live and learn.

When the concert ended (the show was amazing, by the way), my husband and I waited for Hugh to come out for a little meet-and-greet with some of his fans.  After about a half-hour, the security guards started to usher people out of the concert hall.  I quickly changed my message on the envelope and tossed it onto the stage by Hugh’s piano bench.  I hoped that one of the roadies would take pity on me and hand deliver my letter to him.  Here’s what the new message said….

Now I sounded like a crazed stalker who they had to physically escort out of the building.  Awesome.

We were on our way back to the car when we spotted a group of people gathered around the back alley to the concert hall.  Revived with the hope that I still had a chance to meet him, I decided to join the throng of fans and wait to see if he would come out.  With The Gun Seller in one hand, and a carefully chosen pen in the other, I waited.  And waited…. and waited…. and waited.  An hour and a half.  Well, if I was going to be perceived as a crazed stalker, I might as well act the part.

There were only fifteen or twenty fans left at this point.  I reasoned that our chances of him coming out  grew better with each fan that deserted because now he wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time signing autographs for a million people.  Sounds logical, right?  He didn’t seem to share my logic because when he finally exited the building, he headed straight into a twelve passenger van with his band, and drove away.

Hugh Laurie (aka the dream crusher) is the one sitting behind the passenger seat.

I wanted to hate him, I really did.  But being the avid fan I am, I couldn’t manage to stay mad for long.  After about ten minutes of bitching and brooding, I started to rationalize his quick escape.  I thought that he probably had another gig in the morning and had to get on the road…. or he had to get home to his heartsick wife and kids…. or he suffered a painful blow to the head backstage and temporarily forgot that he had adoring fans patiently waiting for him outside.

But more than likely he was just trying to get some physical distance between himself and the crazed stalker that wrote him this letter…..

September 11, 2012

Dear Mr. Laurie –

First off, let me thank you for thoroughly entertaining me for the last eight years on House.  I will miss seeing your scruffy mug on my television set every Monday night at 8:00.  The Fox network has now put Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen in that timeslot – which leaves me with nothing to watch because quite frankly, that guy scares the hell out of me.  He’s like the culinary world’s answer to the boogey man.

The face that launched a thousand nightmares.

But I digress…

I thought once you had retired from House, you would go back to England and live out the rest of your days sitting high atop some grassy knoll, sipping tea and eating scones.  Never having been to England myself, I’m sort of assuming that’s what British people like to do in their spare time.  But much to my surprise, you went in an entirely different direction…. though there still might be scones involved somehow.  Hard to say.

When the TV cameras turned off, you chased after your dream of becoming a professional musician.  I watched a handful of the TV interviews you did after you launched your album – it’s obvious to me how passionate you are about the music.  I don’t know if you feel the same way when you’re acting, directing or writing (do you ever sleep?), but I can tell that playing blues music lights you up on the inside.  When you play, you look like you are exactly where you want to be.

I don’t know what living the dream FEELS like,
but this is what it LOOKS like.

There are two things that happen when you do something you’re passionate about:  First, you get to enjoy an intoxicating mix of adrenaline, joy and excitement that can’t be found anywhere else…. at least not without the help of pharmaceuticals.   And second, you put your heart and guts on display for the world to see – kind of like going through that full-body scan at the airport, times a million.  I think it was extremely brave of you to expose that part of yourself to the masses and take the giant leap of faith required to do what you love rather than what may be expected of you.

When most people reach 50-something (I hope you’re one of those “age is just a number” people, otherwise, sorry for bringing it up) they stop taking risks, stick close to the path they’ve carved out for themselves (good or bad) and lay past dreams to rest. They resign themselves to the thought that if it hasn’t happen yet, it’s never going to happen.  So, when I saw someone turn that line of thinking on its ear, I was enormously inspired.  Suddenly, it all seemed possible.

It didn’t matter that 40 was breathing down my neck or that I had about as much chance of seeing my dream come to fruition as I had of becoming the next Miss America – which given my repulsion towards swimwear, tiaras and dreams of world peace, seems unlikely.  (Okay, maybe I’m not really repulsed by world peace, just by pageant contestants that can’t seem to come up with anything better to talk about.)  You showed me that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

So, I muzzled the pessimistic voices in my head that delighted in reminding me about my dismal odds of success and pathetic lack of qualifications, and put my dream of becoming a writer into action.  I was scared as hell before I started my blog – even more scared than I am of Gordon Ramsay, which is really saying something.  What if people hated my writing and I never became an author?  Or what if I disappeared among the millions of other blogs out there?  I knew it was as easy to get lost in the blogosphere as it was on the streets of Manhattan – easier for me because my sense of direction is total crap.

But I reasoned that if a white guy from England could sing the blues (and kick some serious ass doing it!), then perhaps a housewife from the suburbs could write.  So, a blog was born….

I don’t know if anything will ever come out of it, but it feels amazing to be doing rather than just dreaming.  Thank you so much for being such an inspiration, and for showing me that taking a leap of faith isn’t as scary as it seems.  I wish you much success in following this dream and any others that may spring up during your adventures off the beaten path.

Take care,

Linda (inserted last name here)

P.S. – While I appreciate you making the trek onto Long Island and saving me the hassle of a 45-minute train ride into Manhattan to see you perform, you may want to investigate the very real possibility that your agent is smoking crack – isn’t he/she aware of the commuter hell involved in getting on and off this godforsaken island on September 11th?!  If they book you for a concert in Pamplona during the running of the bulls, I’d fire their ass.

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32 thoughts on “The Starstruck Idiot Strikes Again

    • Thanks! I really appreciate that you keep coming back, time and time again to read my rantings.

      As for my letter, since it depended solely on an overworked, underpaid roadie to take the time out of his back-breaking schedule to hand it to Hugh, I doubt he ever saw it. Sigh. But it has been fun to fantasize about 🙂

  1. Greetings from the Surrey Hills in England! I’m sitting here with a china cup of Earl Grey tea and lemon (truly!), but, sadly, no scones…I might bake a batch later 😉

    I’m a big fan of Hugh too. It’s been difficult to get past his early days on the UK scene when he played a succession of very posh chinless fops, but as House he made my toes curl up in a good way, genius, obsession, passion, piercing blue eyes and a drug habit – pushed all the right sexy buttons for me. I love a deeply flawed hero type to clutch to my comforting bosom, as my chequered relationship history will attest. I loved both your posts on Mr Laurie and I’m deeply envious that you got to see him in concert!

    Unfortunately, there’s no compelling eye candy on UK TV either now, all we’ve got to look forward to is Homeland, but ginger with a mouth like my cat’s bum just doesn’t do it for me….

    • I knew you guys liked tea and scones!! 🙂

      Glad to meet another Laurie fan – most of my friends don’t get my obsession with him. Like you, I prefer my leading men flawed and a bit scruffy around the edges, rather than the Adonis-like heros my girlfriends chase after. Perfect is pretty to look at, but kind of boring.

      As for the concert, it was a GREAT show. He played for over two hours, non-stop. His musical performance was a perfect marriage between his musical talent and his goofy Jeeves and Wooster personality. When he wasn’t playing his piano, he was telling jokes or dancing around the stage like a total goofball. While part of me missed his scruffy face and sarcasm, seeing his silly nature was a nice change of pace. If you can’t catch him in concert, just go to youtube and watch all the clips on there of his performances – there are TONS.

      Thanks for reading!!

  2. It is cool to end up with signed items. I have a signed copy of Nichelle Nichol’s autobiography that my grandparents gave me as a gift. And my name is spelled correctly; something not everyone can manage. Most of the signed items we own are Magic the Gathering cards autographed by the artists. It is pretty easy to get this done as no one knows who they are and you can just walk up to them in their booths at conventions. If I could wait in line to see one celebrity, it would be Harrison Ford.

    • Autographs are cool to collect. The only thing I have is a badly signed concert ticket from James Taylor 😦 I know I joked that I would have hocked my autographed copy of The Gun Seller (if I got it, which obviously I didn’t), but realistically speaking, there would have been NO way I would have let that book go for all the money in the world…. well, maybe ALL the money in the world 😉

      P.S. – Harrison Ford is HOT.

    • I love Bon Jovi!! I think he would be another person that would cause me to morph into my alter ego – the starstruck idiot 🙂 He is ridiculously hot and sweet…. did I just make him sound like an order of chinese food? Oh no, that’s sweet and sour. Never mind.

    • Thanks!! And look – you’re not the last comment this time! 🙂

      I’m not much of a blues fan either – strictly greatest hits stuff. But I did enjoy the hell out of Hugh’s album. I’m not sure if it was the music I enjoyed or his enthusiasm for the music (it was contagious). I love watching someone doing something they are passionate about – it’s magical.

    • Thanks anonymous person who I may or may not know!! Although there is a very short list of people who call me “Lin”, so I could probably guess your identity. But you may be trying to keep that secret, like Batman. So I’ll play the dutiful Alfred and keep my mouth shut 🙂

  3. That really made me smile 🙂 Your blog is fast becoming one of my favourites to click onto when I’m fed up of writing my own…I once met Brian Mcfadden in an airport ( back when people cared who he was ) .He was sitting on his own surrounded by chairs which I assume were to put off annoying fans, to be fair to him he was perfectly nice when i hopped over said chairs and asked for a cheeky pic 🙂

    • Claire – I love hearing that I made it onto your favorite blog list. Great for my ego, especially when my creative well runs a bit dry and I can’t find anything to write about… like now 🙂

      Good for you for having the guts to ask for a picture with Brian McFadden! I can’t even do that much. I guess it’s part starstruck idiot, and part fear of rejection. I don’t think I could take hearing “no” from someone I idolize. But I guess if you don’t take the chance, you’ll never know, right? I suppose rejection is slightly easier to deal with than regret.

  4. Ahh, you cant beat Blackaddder! I followed Hugh on Twitter for a while…mostly slightly odd comments about Lupus as I recall?? As for a lack of eye candy…have none of you ever watched Suits? And F1 is possitively full of it…hmmm, Michael Schumacher……

    • I love all those british humor shows – Jeeves and Wooster, A Bit of Frye and Laurie, etc. Very funny stuff. I’ve never heard of “Suits” though – who’s in it? And what’s “F1”? I’m so freakin’ clueless….

      • Hi, sorry for delay in replying…I lose days like other people lose socks!! Suits is one of your’s which we get over here on a glorious channel called Dave. Yes, we name our tv channels after sunday league football players. I have no idea who the actors are, but the one who plays Mike Ross is properly scrumptious!
        F1 is Formula One, (you have Nascar), only in F1 they drive on racetracks all over the world. Fit blokes include Schumacher (obviously), Mark Webber, Seb Vettel, Fernando Alonso etc.
        See…I’m a mine of pointless information!!

  5. Linda, Loved your post on Hugh Laurie. I can just imagine how your heart must have sank as he walked away with his band to that van. I bet you blinked, blinked again, as he was gone in a flash. Ah, fame, does funny things to people. Your expressions as a avid fan warm the hearts of all of us who love music! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks! And yes, my heart sank and then splattered into a pulpy mess around my feet…. or at least that’s the way it felt. But I think when you’re as famous as Hugh Laurie, you can’t go anywhere without getting mobbed, and that probably gets old after awhile, and makes you a bit leery of the general public…. especially after one writes you a stalker letter 😉

    • The dreams to goals road that I’m taking right now is romantic and inspiring, but also scary and riddled with doubts. But it seems when I hit a low point, there are comments like yours to pick me back up and make me keep going – thanks 🙂

  6. Linda you are so funny!!! You make me laugh so much i may need some stock in poise!! One question, was your husband (i don’t know if i can mention his name on your blog!) standing with you or waiting in the car? I was a house fan too, only i never knew what house’s real name was!! Someday I’ll see someone reading one of your books, and I’ll think, “I know her”!!

    • Thanks, Eileen. You are fast becoming one of my die-hard blog fans 😀

      Kevin (I’ve divulged his name in a number of blogs, so it’s okay) was standing right next to me the whole time, and he was the one that thought to snap the picture of the van as it drove away…. I was too busy sulking and staring in disbelief 😦

  7. You are quite a character. Your passion for certain celebrities is beyond words. Or I should say that I am beyond words. You are definitely not! can’t believe he couldn’t sign a few autographs. Sorry

    • Kat – I know, I’m a total nutjob when it comes to certain celebrities. But my list is relatively short. I wouldn’t know most Hollywood stars if they were standing on line with me at the grocery store. Most times, when I watch one of those E! News shows about all the Hollywood happenings, I think to myself, “Who the hell is that?”

      • I thought this when I was reading the latest issue of Cosmo. I haven’t read an issue in about a year. I have no idea who 75% of the celebrities pictured are; it makes me feel out of touch or maybe just old.

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