Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Meeting Celebrities Part 1: The Rock Star(s)

I have met several celebrities in my life. And I know what you're thinking, Internet: of course you have. You are best friends forever with Michael Cera, you are brilliant and sophisticated, and you are the world's first blogging caterpillar! Surely you must be rubbing elbows with the best and brightest Hollywood has to offer.

However, Internet you are wrong. I am not, in fact, a rising star in the diamond-studded world of celebrity bloggers. I am actually not famous at all. And seeing as how I've been blogging for like two whole months now, that is fucking lame and maybe I should get famouser. In the meantime, though, I'll have to settle for occasionally meeting them and getting all starry-eyed and spewing out wordless gibberish.

There are several different types of celebrity meetings that I have experienced:
  1. The Rock Star(s)
  2. The Politician
  3. The Celebrity Who's Not That Famous
I was going to document each of these hilariously awkward experiences for you in one post, but it turned out it was getting stupid long. So! I'm very excited to tell you that I am going to be putting together my first-ever blog miniseries. Today, we're exploring the first section: the rock star.

After reading these three posts, you'll see why I should be famous. I am really, really terrible at being a person who isn't famous.

The Rock Star(s)

In my case, I met the celebrity at an autograph signing, and the celebrity was actually three celebrities: the members of Green Day. I know Green Day is kind of an easy target for music snobs nowadays, but I am not remotely a music snob so I am allowed to shamelessly love Green Day, and fuck you, music snobs. Go burn a Lady Gaga CD and leave me alone. I've been listening to Green Day since grade school, so when they were coming to Toronto for an autograph signing to promote the American Idiot release in fall 2004, my friend Anna and I were there with bells on.

(Do I still have to tell you that names have been changed? We all know how this works by now, right? I think I'm going to update my info page to reflect this system. Her name's not really Anna.)

At the time, I had a broken arm. I had broken it about a month earlier in the midst of some drunken tomfoolery that maybe I'll blog about in more detail one day. I was 20, and for whatever reason I didn't want people to sign my cast; I think I just didn't want to deal with drunken morons scrawling penises all over me. However, when I realized I would be attending this autograph signing with said arm still casted, I realized I could not miss the opportunity to have rock stars sign my cast. ZOMG! I was glad it was as yet untainted, because now I could make it the best cast ever.

It was a month old, though, and I didn't want Green Day to be grossed out by my dirty greying cast. The night before the signing, I got another friend to paint some funky blue flames on it so that Green Day would be so enamored with me that they'd write a song called "Cast of Flames" and even though other people would think it was some sort of political metaphor about American oppression, I would know it was really about me and how I'm the awesomest fan ever. Plus, it looked pretty rad.

The next day, Anna and I got towards the front of the line with some special VIP passes we had picked up earlier that week. We looked roughly twenty people ahead of us, and there they were, being brought out to the table to a chorus of shrieks and cheers: Green Day.

Although I had heard as much, I was kind of shocked by how short Billie Joe Armstrong is. The Internet tells me he's about 5'7", but he looked even shorter than that. I've seen Green Day live several times and Billie Joe's got such a commanding presence on stage: he's funny, appropriately crude, and crazy energetic, with a massive voice that just erupts out of him. It all boils into this perfected rock star persona that somehow seems too huge to fit into any mere human body. So to see that he's not only human-sized, but actually pretty short, sort of put it all into perspective for me: the actual, real-life, human members of Green Day were right fucking there and they were going to look in my face and say words at me. It was wild, but terrifying.

As we approached the table, Anna and I were downright giddy. Anna's a happy, talkative sort of person, and I'm not sure if she was a little nervous too and that's just the way she expresses herself or if she is simply way cooler than me, but she fucking owned during our brief encounter. She was all "Hey, look at you guys!" and laughing like a champion and chatting them up about I can't even remember what, because I froze the fuck up.

Have you ever thought you'd be cool when meeting a famous person? Yeah? So did I.

There they were: Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool, just sitting there, saying hi, being perfectly friendly, like they thought they were regular people or something. When I reached Billie Joe, he was blinding me with his existence; I could barely look in his direction, let alone in the eye. I finally managed to choke out a "I'velovedyouguyssinceiwas9canyousignthiscdplease," and Billie Joe looked oddly embarrassed. (Jesus, this man has to be the most humble famous person ever. This was 2004, ten years after Dookie's release, and the frontman of one of the biggest rock bands of my generation was all weirded out by me gushing at him like this was the first time he had ever met a fan.) It was even more humiliating for me since I had to witness the contrast between his larger-than-life stage presence and this short, sweet, humble, shy guy sitting in front of me, and yet I was still incapable of using my tongue to form actual coherent thoughts.

After they all signed our CD's, we were starting to walk away, when I looked down at my hand.

I had completely forgotten about my cast!

The security guards were being all important-looking and trying to shoo us away so that the next people could reach the band's table, since the rule was one signing thing per person, but I guess they took sympathy on my panic-stricken face and my little cry of "YOU HAVE TO SIGN MY CAST!" as I whipped back around to the band.

Tre Cool, who was last at the table, looked a little surprised as I flopped back over to him like a flesh-coated slinky and shoved my cast in his face with some sort of whimper of "CAST!!". But after he figured out what was going on, he just laughed excitedly and said "Oh man, yeah I'll sign it! That's a sweet cast, did you paint it yourself?"

Tre Cool fucking complimented me, guys. My brain exploded into seven thousand pieces of uncomprehension at my own luck, but I just grinned like a moron and said "No, my friend did it for me." He signed it, and I proceeded to shove it in Billie Joe's face. He also smiled his approval at the artwork and even looked kind of psyched to be signing someone's super awesome blue-flamey cast. I guess that's the sort of thing that qualifies as exciting when you're just sitting there signing a hundred million CD's.

Sadly, I didn't make it back to Mike Dirnt at the front of the line, who had already moved onto the next person, but as I walked away, I felt pretty satisfied knowing that two-thirds of Green Day had just signed my cast. I would get to walk around for the next couple of weeks until the cast had to come off, and when people asked me if they could sign it, I'd be able to say "Oh, are you a rock star? You're not? Then fuck no!"

I still have that cast, hanging from the ceiling in our work-out room. Mr. Caterpillar thinks it's gross, and of course it's gross, because it's a seven-year-old cast coated in arm sweat and rock star germs. But you know what, Mr. Caterpillar? When you meet one of your favourite bands and they not only sign your cast but also tell you it is awesome-looking, then you can decide whether you'd ever get rid of it. Because, no, you fucking wouldn't!

Next post: Meeting Celebrities Part 2: The Politician

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