You know how record shop staff are: bored, indifferent, clockwatching, hate dealing with enquiries or, indeed, any member of the general public. Well, having celebrities stroll into your shop is easily the highlight of any day/week/ month/ year. Incredibly famous people have to go to the shops too!
And so it was one day in late 1994 when I was confronted by the wonderful broadcaster Sue Lawley while I was working in Putney Our Price. Ms Lawley was a bit of a legend music-wise anyway, as her name would was regularly sung to the tune of The Police’s ‘So Lonely’. Now, this is funny once, twice, maybe three times at a push, so I would have thought someone like Sue Lawley would have quickly sickened of such antics – after all, this was the woman who once had a rant about the supposed pointlessness of sundried tomatoes on live TV.
So imagine my not unnatural surprise when she proved there were no hard feelings between herself and Sting, striding up to my counter clutching a copy of the Police singer’s solo ‘Best Of’ collection Fields Of Gold. I used to wonder how ‘differently’ celebrities perceived things from the rest of us; but I’d guess Sue Lawley probably thought, ‘oh no, this young chap’s about to say something idiotic like, “aren’t you Sue Lawley?”‘. But actually, no, there I was thinking of saying, ‘So, tell me, do you actually sing “Sue Lawley, Sue Lawley” to yourself at home?’
The best part was at the end of the transaction; I’d put her CD and receipt in the bag and thanked her for her custom; meanwhile, a couple of my colleagues stood behind me regarding the former newsreader and Nationwide presenter and, far from being intimidated by our gawping, she simply gave us a regal nod, a little smile, and turned on her heel and out of the shop. Every bit as classy as I always thought she’d be.