Sitting with my celebrity friend who shall remain nameless for the moment, I was intrigued to see her wave to the slightly grubby looking driver of an even grubbier white(ish) van from our vantage point outside Cafe Rouge on Hampstead High St.
Hampstead High St is generally the runway for new ferraris and porsches, not grubby white vans. But she smiled and waved and he waved back, mouthing the words "have a nice day off".. Who's that? I says, "A pap" she says, with a rictus grin spread over her face now. "I have to be nice to them" "If I'm not it's me that pays". The van drove off and she pointed to his rear window, which had a black drape where one of the panes of glass should be. "That's where he stakes out houses and shoots when you come out" she said, speaking from experience. "How do you know him, and why do you speak to him?" It was an obvious question, I know, but I'm not that good at celebrities.
"Well they do you a kind of service by keeping you in the public eye. It's just that they're shits."
Now, I'm not going to go all soft and soppy, feeling sorry for slebs in their permanent war with the paparazzi, Hugh Grant and his baked beans are perfectly capable of looking after themelves, but my friend has had more than her fair share of doorstep vigils, kiss and tell exposes from ex partners, and described what it was like to be stalked. "The first time you're driving home in the dark, and you see a car following you, you can't help but be scared. But you get to know them, you smile and be nice, even if you're pissed, in a flaming temper, and just had a row."
"There was one, though" she says, "I'd never seen him before, he followed me home in the middle of the night from a party, I didn't recognise the car or anything and outside my house he parked and crossed the road towards me, half running. He had something in his jacket (presumeably a camera) and I was spooked. So as he came towards me, I ran at him, lamped him, and knocked him to the ground. I kicked him a few times and screamed at the top of my voice that I was being attacked and raped, and I just kept kicking him, really hard. I laid in to him and he must have been really shocked. I just kept kicking him, right back across the road. He couldn't even get a picture. He just managed to get back on his feet and ran off, limping and moaning. I tried to jump on his back and whacked him over the head as he got back in his car. I think I even kicked his car as he drove off. Never saw him again"
Slebs 1. Paps 0.