Wednesday, 24 September 2008

In which I get excited about seeing someone famous, who turns out not to be famous, but looks instead more like a different famous person

I went to Beckenham late this afternoon to meet Miss R. On the train, I sat across the aisle from a man who, in profile, looked exactly like Bernard Cribbins. He had all the physical trappings of an eccentric, ageing actor – flamboyant red trousers, overcoat, Kangol hat and large reading glasses – and indeed some of the physical trappings of Bernard Cribbins, which is to say a bushy white beard. By chance, I had heard that Bernard Cribbins was appearing on The One Show this evening, so I realised he was unlikely to be on his way to Beckenham, but I reasoned that there may have been some argument over his outrageous dressing room demands which meant his appearance had been cancelled, so I remained optimistic. However, when we both disembarked at Beckenham Junction, and I saw him face-on, it turned out he actually looked far more like Mr Shorovsky, the taciturn music teacher from Fame. Equally exciting, plainly not the same.

This reminded me of a time a few weeks ago when I was on another train, and there was a man sitting facing me, but far away down the carriage, who looked exactly like my dad – same glasses, same pattern of baldness, same eyes alternately soulful and severe (I don't mean one eye soulful, one eye severe, I mean his whole expression alternating), the same ears even. Unless I had slept through a fairly significant breakthrough in medical science, there was, of course, no way it could have been my dad. Yet the likeness was extraordinary – the closest resemblance since I'd last seen my dad, over three years ago. As you can imagine, I couldn't stop looking at him. It wasn't sad or spooky, it was just incredibly strange. However, as we pulled into Charing Cross and everyone began shuffling in their seats and remembering to take all their personal belongings with them, part of his face was no longer obscured by the seat in front, and he suddenly looked exactly like Norris from Coronation Street, who looks nothing whatsoever like my dad.

On my way back home later this evening, I saw a man on the platform of Beckenham Junction station who, in profile, looked exactly like a fox.

And this time, I'm telling you, it was uncanny.

1 comment:

Big Brother said...

In which I get excited about about seeing someone I think I know, who turns out not to be someone I know, but instead a famous (ish) person

So there I was sitting on the train home minding my own business when the lady opposite caught my eye. "Hmmm", I thought, "she looks familiar. I have definitely seen her with young children". So I ran through the Young Miss Jones' friends, and couldn't find a matching mother. "I have also seen her in a retail context - yes, a distinct image of people handing her money over a counter, and her handing something back". I systematically ran through every shop I might have visited in the previous couple of years - again, no match.

After thirty minutes or so of furtive glances the penny finally dropped. I'm very sorry Hannah Waterman, if you are reading this, but your role as Ian Beale's child minder, wife, fish and chip shop assistant and whatever else you got up to, has done you no favours in the eyes of this particular viewer. Although I have just found out that you play the tuba - which I do respect. And your dad was quite cool in Minder.