I've never really mentioned this on here before, because it's a bit embarrassing and makes me sound like an absolute dick. Oh fuck it. I'll just come out and say it. I'm Gemma and I was a celeb-a-holic. It's true, I was actually addicted to fame. My psychiatrist told me! From the age of 13-24 I was utterly obsessed with all celebrities. There are SO many reasons why I ended up following Jason Donovan down a dirty corridor at midnight in Norwich, and why I pursued Ainsley Harriot into a lift in Waterstones bookshop, and why I sat outside King's Lynn Corn Exchange until 3am on a weeknight, warming my hands on the exhaust fumes of the Mansun tour bus. Boredom is the fundamental and most obvious excuse for these escapades. Factor in the knowledge that I was a tool when I was younger; really arrogant and not entirely sane. I was also on and off more psychiatric medication than I can possibly care to recall here. I did not want to be living my life, I wanted to mould myself a false life in the similar way that Katie Price created the monster that is (or was) Jordan.
I held an unshakable and sustained belief that I was destined to live among the bold and the beautiful. This was fuelled by two overestimates on my part:
1. That I would become a celebrity myself, despite having no performing talent whatsoever
2. That if the above didn't work out one would fall in love with me and take me with them on their glamourous journey through celebdom
Yeah, like I said, dick. I would have been happy even with C-list ex-Hollyoaks/Living TV presenter fame. So long as it meant I could go to parties and occasionally feature in the glossies. It didn't help that I grew up in the least glitzy place imaginable; West Norfolk isn't particularly renowned for it's famous inhabitants. We've only got Stephen Fry, who is wonderful, but not very cool when you aspire to grace the pages of Heat magazine, getting drunk in a hot tub with several naked members of NSync.
I was totally obsessed with meeting celebs, any celebs. Much of my university experience was wasted calculating exactly what it would take to rub shoulders with C-listers, and then executing these plans, with varied outcomes. I did actually meet quite a few famous people. But many were douchebags. Some were hilarious. Most were disappointingly normal. And the irony is that even though I revered these people I never felt enriched or fulfilled as a result of meeting them, just anxious and hungry for the next experience to take place. My most active years were 1999-2003, naturally, I had the most time on my hands then, and because this was pre-diagnosis, I was frequently off meds and operating on psychotic autopilot. They were the best of times and the worst of times.
One thing I wasn't, however, was a stalker. I had absolutely no interest in finding out where these poor souls lived, or what their phone numbers were. I certainly didn't want to have any dealings with their families, friends or everyday activities. These things would have made an awfully unsightly tear in the glossy exterior of their media lives (that I devoured so fervently). I wanted them to be idols; gods and goddesses of tabloid gossip pages to venerate above all others. And for a time, some of them were.
Then I had a grand old breakdown at 24(ish) and everything just seemed to fizzle out. I started worrying about getting through the day, instead of getting off with Robbie Williams. I see quite a lot of moderately famous people every day now, because a few live on my road, and in my area of London. I don't report them to my friends unless they're funny and/or remarkable. Now I'm just a boring, one-dimensional husk of a human being, living a life of banal everyday experiences, carting around fuzzy memories tinted with sadness and regret at the stupid life I never had. Nah. Not really. I'm absolutely fine, and definitely more content.
*Right, there are now THREE adverts on this blog and I still have no idea how they got here or how to turn them off. The one of the kid with the cleft palate is particularly stubborn.
**She's gone! Can she read?