If you could be a famous person for a day, who would you be? Why?
I’m not very curious about the lives of famous people. The really famous people have biographies. I like reading biographies, mainly for the ‘collateral’, that is, who else they hung out with. There are a lot of the ‘fifteen minute famous’…. I feel I know far too much about them already. I’ve definitely seen far too much of them. They’re always pathetic after their short time in the spotlight. I dont want to be like that.
There’s no point knowing anything about the current ‘It’ girl, because they change every day and they’re always the same.
So who would I be? I’ve managed to live a fair bit of the highlife myself, so I probably dont need a day of sybaritic debauchery. I’ve been on stage and had people cheer…. so I dont need to be a pop star.
In the end, I’ve chosen James Boswell, the eighteenth century diarist and biographer. Ironically, he wasnt that famous in his lifetime. He would have loved to be well known. As it was, he was relentlessly curious and he did get to hang out with an amazing collection of people. His diaries shed a lot of light on other famous names. People are now famous because he knew them…. so he was a form of reverse celebrity.
He liked the ladies, ladies quite liked him, he liked a drink and he had a great sense of humour. He was also a talented writer and an amateur musician. He would have certainly had a very entertaining blog. He was well aware of his own failings ‘My brilliant qualities are like embroidery upon gauze’.
I will choose the day in Boswell’s life he wangled a dinner at the Royal Society. He met Captain Cook there, who told him about his plans for another voyage of discovery in the Southern Seas (ie. he was off to ‘discover’ Australia).
That would have been an interesting day, and a damn good dinner.
Fame never lasts for long.